Global Studies student Acacia Levin is currently studying abroad at Chiang Mai University in Thailand. Read more about her experiences living and studying abroad below:
"I have been studying at Chiang Mai University through The Education Abroad Network which is partnered with three other programs, thus bringing a diverse group of students together. Since the first day of being in Chiang Mai our program leaders have immersed us in culturally and educationally unique experiences that one would not be able to enjoy simply as a tourist. In just my first two months I have learned about the more 'behind the scenes' aspects of Thailand and Southeast Asia. I have gone on excursions focusing on rural Thai life, agriculture, ethnic minorities, the history of opium in this region, sex trafficking, animal cruelty towards elephants, alternative energy in rural areas, and Buddhism.
"A few of the many highlights from these excursions have been the village homestay I did in the second week where our group was welcomed into a rural village where we learned more about traditional Thai life and culture as well as learned how to plant rice and vegetables in the fields. Another amazing trip was hiking through Doi Inthanon- the tallest mountain in Thailand- where we experienced the natural beauty of water falls, terraced crop fields, and visited hill tribes for local coffee tasting.
"Aside from our numerous eye-opening excursions and rigorous yet fascinating classes, some of the greatest experiences have been personal experiences with local Thai people and with the art and music scene. After taking six hours of Thai language class each week, I am always eager to go out and practice reading, writing, and speaking Thai. By disciplining myself to really learn this difficult language, I have opened up opportunities for friendships with Thai people as well as the shop and restaurant owners in my neighborhood.
"There is a thriving music and arts scenes here as well. My two favorite events I have attended so far have been a metal festival which featured local Thai metal bands- now some of my favorite bands, and the very first film festival this city has had where I learned more about Southeast Asian culture, history, and perspectives. This entire experience so far has been so enlightening and I feel like I have made a new home for myself here."