I am nursing student who interned abroad at Ban Mon Clinic in the wonderful city Chiang Mai, Thailand, the “Land of Smiles.” Every day in Chiang Mai was filled with adventure, and every day I learned something new. My time was spent working at a local clinic cleaning and bandaging wounds, traveling to patients’ homes for wellness-visits, watching and assisting with medical procedures, and much more. I learned many Thai medical terms and how their healthcare system works. Thai language is truly beautiful like music, and the Thai’s intricate healthcare system provides free public healthcare to all its people.
Even in my leisure time I enjoyed the fun of learning about different aspects of Thai culture. I visited a Thai elephant sanctuary where I was able to feed and bathe elephants. Thailand has many elephant sanctuaries that create refuge and peace for abused and neglected elephants. The elephants certainly enjoyed my presence there. After all, I fed them sugarcane and bananas and scratched their backs during bath-time.
Later on, I learned to cook traditional Thai foods like chicken and cashew stir-fry, panang curry, spring rolls, and chicken in coconut soup. The local people were the instructors who taught me step by step to make these delicious meals. After having spent the day cooking, I was excited to practice my Thai cooking skills at home.
One of my favorite things to do in Thailand was to go to Chiang Mai’s Sunday night market. There you can find plenty of trinkets and souvenirs along with tasty treats from countless food stalls. This market is so big that multiple city streets are closed down solely for the purpose of the market.
After my time interning at Ban Mon Clinic, it is clear that I have made the right decision to intern abroad. The environment, food, and people were fantastic. I have made many great friends and many great memories. Each time I cleaned a wound or visited a patient’s home, I was happy with my decision intern in Chiang Mai. Despite being a small clinic, Ban Mon offers a lot of services to the community, ranging from diabetic clinics to traditional reflexology to home visits. Overall, I can genuinely say that my time in Thailand was filled with discovery and growth. Though immersing myself in a foreign country was a daunting task, the experiences I had and the people I met made me feel at ease.
Mackenzie Lefler is majoring in Nursing. She spent the summer interning in Chiang Mai, Thailand through CISabroad. Mackenzie had the following to say about her intern abroad experience, “If I had one take away message from this whole experience, it would be; studying abroad will change you. Whichever country, city, or region you choose to go to, you will be changed for the better. You will leave the comforts of home and engage with unknown cultures and its people, and you will come out of the experience a more confident person.”
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