Category Archives: 2016 Thailand Learning Abroad Blog

Blog Post #1

  1. The Wat Temple visit was a really great way to be introduced to the Thai culture. Being exposed to the different relationship dynamics, especially between the monk and women, was really interesting and will surely be helpful when we actually get to Thailand. It was definitely reassuring how accepting and welcoming the Thai people at the Temple were. Personally I am an atheist, as others have touched on as well, but they made me feel comfortable in their religious environment. It was a very calm and serene experience.
  2. One goal I have for my study abroad experience is to challenge my comfort zones. I’m also going to try and work on letting go of some of the routines and stressors that I find negative in my daily life. In other words, I am going to try and live by the philosophy: “Life isn’t about what happens to you, it’s about how you handle what happens.”
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Blog Post #1

  1.  I really enjoyed my experience at the Wat Temple because it really emersed everyone in the Thai culture. I was surprised by how welcoming they were to everyone and just how humble they were. I didn’t realize that their religion is so intertwined in their day to day lives. I have grown up somewhat religious, but my parents never practiced their faith. As I got older, they started to find it and I started to realize that religion wasn’t for me. The Wat Temple did not make me feel uncomfortable or unwelcome and that made me feel even more invited. I also LOVED the food. I am a huge Thai food fan and really enjoyed getting to taste what authentic Thai food is like. I think this will definitely help me in Thailand because I will know what to order at restaurants. 

2.  A goal that I have for myself is to not hold back and truly embrace the unknown of this adventure. I never thought I would be doing a study abroad and that just makes it all the more special. I want to focus on each day and not think about whats going on back at home. I also want to feel connected to each city we visit and to the people that we meet.




Wat Temple

When I got out of the car I, like a lot of people, was caught off guard by the house in front of me. However, the exterior of this temple did not change how much I took out of the day. I am still in awe of my experience at the Wat Temple. The Thai culture is something that I wish my life was more like. The family and people that we met were kind, generous, and very careful and caring about how we were feeling. I think that being mindful of yourself and how your actions make other feel is a virtue that everyone should at least try to incorporate in their lives. Throughout the whole day I was at peace. This may have come from the meditation exercise that we did. I have actually been trying to do this everyday and it really makes a difference.

One learning goal that I have for this trip is to learn and take home with me a piece of Thai culture. I tend to get stressed out quite a bit. I think that incorporating the Thai and Buddhist beliefs into my own life will make me a happier and healthier person.


Blog Post #1


As we enter into Wat Temple,  the sun was bouncing off my winter-white skin and the birds were chirping their daily songs. We were struck by the spring breeze that brought immediate calmness to our busy mind. We sat quietly as the Monk enlightened us on the multiple benefits of using breathing techniques to bring calmness and peace into our lives.  What stood out to me,  was when the monk mentioned that we should live our lives in a world where we are not dependent on material things.  When we can survive by the simplest things in life,  that’s the best way to live. We are often blinded by how materials things can enhance our image in the society we live in. I appreciate the simplicity in the Thai culture, in their food and their values.  My goal for this learning abroad seminar is to go back to my roots and learn to live life with simplicity.

Sawat Dee! #Orientation

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My name is Chee. Like some of you, I was born in a refugee camp in Thailand in 1991. This refugee camp was called Ban Vinai and I lived in section 2. I found a picture capturing the whole of the camp in it’s entirety and immediately I was feeling nostalgic. My mother was able to pinpoint where we lived up until 1994. 

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Question 1: My experience at the Wat Temple was great. I think just to be immersed into the exposure of the monk and the Thai religion was an eye opening experience. From observations alone, I was able to learn some Thai mannerism, behaviors, interactions and much more. I saw the way posture and sitting on the floor posed to be quite dificult for many of the students (myself included), I noticed that we were all constantly adjusting and readjusting. I was also aware of how buys the kitchen was and how grand of a hospitality they all provided for our stay. Afterwards, I was thinking of how and in what ways can I learn to project similar things once in Thailand.

Question 2: My learning goal is to be mindful, open minded, and receptive to learning opportunities during our stay in Thailand. This includes learning and practicing the language. Hopefully this will help me foster my sense of identity (being a Hmong woman, daughter & student.


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I had a wonderful time at the Wat Temple meeting everyone and getting exposed to the Thai culture.  I learned right away that it wasn’t the look of a temple that I had expected.  I need to be more open minded that not assume what things are going to be like based off of social media and the Thai lakorns that I’ve watched in the past. My experience at the Wat Temple helped me to understand the respect that people have for Monks.  We must be cautious of our space and not point our feet towards the monk.  It was nice knowing that there are still people who follow the old tradition even though they are in America where people tend to shift culture.

During the trip in Thailand, I hope to emerge myself in Thai culture and step back away from my judgments.  I want to learn about the Thai culture and traditions of how it differs from culture in America.  I am excited and I believe that this will be a wonderful experience.

Nina Thao
May 2, 2016

#1 – Orientation @ Wat Temple

Hey it’s Madison! And this is my all-time favorite place (so far) – the Pacific Ocean.1013336_10207020517089200_1158828270358853220_n


Orientation at the Wat Temple was my first significant experience with Thai culture, and wow, was it already an eye-opening experience! I had the image of an ornate temple in my head prior to arrival, and while we were approaching I believe everyone in our car made a comment on the odd rural location. I was extremely taken back when I discovered it was more-so a large house that didn’t fit my conception of a traditional Buddhist Temple whatsoever. Right then and there I decided expectations only limit open-mindedness and should, from this point on, be avoided in order to immerse myself completely in this unique learning experience. Once inside, the presence of the monk filled the room with this nobility that seemed to pull out my innermost respect. I was transfixed by his words, even though I had no clue what he was saying. I’m so intrigued by their religion and have done some reading on it, so listening to him and the translator was a highlight for me. I also really enjoyed the short meditation session we had. I don’t know if it was the environment or if I was just tired, but I was so relaxed and at peace after that. I can’t forget to mention how warm and welcoming I noticed the Thai’s were to us, and how thankful I am for that delicious meal they prepared for us!

My learning goal is to ~BE CONSTANTLY LEARNING~ throughout our expedition around Thailand. I want to learn from the people, the environment, and this reliant and respected relationship between them.  In particular, I’m personally excited to learn as much as I can absorb about the Mekong River, due to my interests in water quality and public health. Another goal of mine is to get to know and make friends with my fellow travelers! I’m looking forward to this wild journey!! Just have to get through finals………

Blog Post One. :)

  1. Being at the Wat Temple during orientation was the first encounter that I had ever had with the Thai culture, other than eating Thai food or watching Thai movies. The Thai community members were very welcoming and it reminded me of my family. It was really interesting to see how respectful and mindful the Thai community acted towards the monk and to see how much the Buddhism religion influenced Thai culture and their ideas of morality.
  2. One learning goal that I have for myself in regards to this Learning Abroad seminar is to be open-minded and to be able to understand things through different perspectives. I feel like it is hardest to understand things that we aren’t accustomed to in our own cultures that sometimes we just disregard them instead of trying to appreciate them like the people who practice those cultures. So my goal is to appreciate things even though I may not be able to understand them.
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First Meet: Wat Temple Reflection

1: It was a long ride to the Wat Temple, but Mai, Maimee, and I made it safely and was even there a bit earlier than expected.  The moment I realized that this was the Thai temple was when we went inside and there were beautiful Thai temple furniture/props set up. They were open to sharing their space with us and really made sure we felt as if we were at home.  In addition to that, I began to feel familiar with the Thai culture when Acharn Catherine started speaking Thai to the owners. I use to watch Thai Lakorns (Thai TV shows) all the time, but seeing it and hearing it live was mind blowing to me.

2:  A personal goal I have in mind is to really take in everything I am learning. I want to take advantage of this trip and do more than just focus on getting my assignments done, even though that is very important as well, but I hope to take what I learn from this trip and pass it on to the people at home and to any upcoming opportunities ahead.

Blog Post #1


1.) The Wat Temple in Elk river was such an amazing experience for me. It still hasn’t fully resonated with me that I’ll be studying abroad in Thailand, but the orientation made it feel so much more real. The moment that I entered the room I immediately felt the overwhelming feeling of peace and enlightenment. It was fascinating to hear about the Thai culture, the concept of mindfulness, simplicity, and everything that Buddhism entails. The meal that we were provided with was not only amazing, but the way that the hosts were so giving and encouraging us to eat more was so heartwarming.

2.) One learning goal I have for myself in regards to this Learning Abroad seminar is to attain the practice of mindfulness and immerse myself in the Thai culture. I love and deeply admire all the aspects that Buddhism embodies and would love to be able to emanate that within myself and have it contribute to my personal growth as an individual.