The last five months of my life have been filled with moments that have opened my eyes, mind, and heart. Not only was I given the opportunity to travel to one of the most beautiful places in the world, but I was also given the opportunity to meet some of the most beautiful people in the world. I spent my Spring ‘22 semester studying abroad at Chiang Mai University in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I was enrolled in classes that are not traditionally offered in Western Universities such as Mindfulness-Based Interventions and Traditional Thai Medicine. These classes were filled with knowledge that I had never really gotten the opportunity to explore, and they have inspired me to keep continue learning about Eastern Medicines.
Of course, the courses offered at CMU were fascinating, but the city of Chiang Mai is home to so many wonders. I spent my days studying at the local cafe, meditating at temples, going to yoga classes, riding my bike through the old city, going to markets, and immersing myself in the community. One
of my favorite things to do would be to go to a cafe called ‘Free Bird Cafe’-of course the food here was amazing, but the main reason I would go would see my friends Boo Boo (7 years old) and Rose (5 years old). Their mom owned the store- and instead of getting any homework done I would spend the whole afternoon playing, drawing, and laughing with these kids.
The market nearest to my house is where I would get dinner from almost every night, and eventually become so close with one of the vendors that I would call her my ‘Thai Grandmother’ and receive a smile, hug, and a piece of fruit every time I would see her. I made lifelong friends with some of the Thai students- Jasmine, Pae, and NaNa. They would take me to local Thai restaurants, bars, and cafes. We would spend every Wednesday night at one of their houses playing poker or going to our favorite bar and playing pool.
I also spent time with the Palong Hill Tribe and was able to experience their way of living for a day. Hill Tribes are groups of people that reside in the mountains of Thailand and they have their languages, customs, and culture. With the Palong I was blessed by the village Shammon, played with the children, and learned their native language. It was an eye-opening experience. I spent some of my time abroad traveling to different parts of Thailand. I went to national parks like Doi Intionan and Koh Sok which were breathtaking. I went further north and to more mountainous regions places like Pai and Chang Doa. I also went down south to visit islands like Koh-Phangan and Koh Tao where laid on the beach all day and got scuba certified.
I had such an amazing time studying abroad in Thailand, I made so many new connections and saw a completely different way of life. Everyone I met there was kind and welcoming, and I wish I could go back and do it all again.
Kiley Povlich (BS Exercise Science) spent Spring 2022 studying abroad in Chiang Mai, Thailand with USAC. Kiley had the following to say about studying abroad, “During my time abroad I learned to “expect nothing and appreciate everything”. Every moment was filled with something new and unexpected, even if it wasn’t the “best thing in the world” I still. learned to appreciate it because I was allowed the opportunity to experience it.”
Share this post: