On January 25 I got back from a rural village in Northern Thailand, Baan Ton Chok, where I stayed with a host family for five days. Since the home-stay, I have been preparing for my actual classes and the inevitable routine of studying while trying to fit in exercise, sleep, and fun excursions.
During the home-stay I and my fellow peers were placed in homes with no English speakers. While there, we helped plant rice, toured organic farms that promoted self-sufficiency, and also got familiar with how the majority of Thai people live within their country (as Thailand is still considered a developing nation). As I battled mosquitos and horrific bathrooms (with holes in the ground…enough said), I still found absolute peace with the entire experience. I arrived dreading my choice of study abroad while looking at the run-down accommodations. But my peers and I became familiar with the village. We became attached to our host families. We slowly forgot about the bustling, polluted air of city-life as we gazed into starry sky at night.
Staying in a rural village for an extended period wasn’t the most life changing experience for me, but it was still enlightening. I not only learned the nuances of nonverbal communication with non-English speakers, but I also learned how different life really could be. My previous post dealt with the familiarity I felt while in Chiang Mai’s urban landscape. In Baan Ton Chok, I got a pure taste of a Northern Thai lifestyle that changed my outlook on conditions I’m not used to. My time the past week highlighted literal culture shock, and the growth that comes with it.