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Student Profiles

Overseas Study Program

Khon Kaen,  Thailand

Enjoy the village stays. You’re really going to miss them when you come back.”

Benjamin Smith

Ben's major: English with a concentration in Creative Writing

Term Abroad: Spring 2010

Reason you chose this program: I was looking for a challenging experience, and one that would force me to fully engage with my surroundings.  I felt like studying somewhere that would be completely unfamiliar to me.

Favorite Classes: The Human Perspective on Development and the Environment

Housing: We were headquartered at a dorm-style apartment a minute’s walk away from our offices. Much of the time was spent at home stays in various villages.

Best Memory: Eating homegrown, organic pumpkin soup at a farmhouse in Yasothon province.

If I could do it over I would…not change a thing.

What you know now that you didn’t know before going abroad: I have a better understanding of consumerism, urbanization, food processes, and the benefits of collective action.

What I wish I knew before I left: The wonders of squat-style toilets.

Greatest challenge: Having to leave the villages.

Going abroad vs. staying on campus: A lot of people pass up study abroad and tell themselves that they’ll travel later. A lot of them never do. It was the best experience of my life, and it really informs the way I live now that I’m back on campus.

Fact about Thailand people would be surprised to learn: In Thailand, it is disrespectful to sit with your feet pointing at a human being or a representation of the Buddha.

Advice to future study abroad participants: Get prepared to work a lot and learn more than you can imagine. Enjoy the village stays. You’re really going to miss them when you come back.