Katie Furlong – Thailand

Katie Furlong 1I’m currently attending the Regents International School located outside of the city of Pattaya, Thailand. I’m participating in the first year of the International Baccalaureate program (Year 12), which sounds insanely difficult.  Luckily, I’m not required to complete any of the harder curriculums. There are about 70 people in my grade, so it’s slightly smaller than at Athenian. The classes I’m taking include psychology, geography, environmental sciences, and theory of knowledge.

Katie Furlong 2Before setting into school though, I got to spend three days exploring Bangkok. I got to go on a river tour that took me through a bunch of different neighborhoods in the city. My three days also included lots of temples and markets, one of which was in Bangkok’s China Town (it’s very different from the one in San Francisco). The best market I visited was the Chatuchak Market, where I got to try some of the street food. My favorite by far was the coconut ice cream, which was served in half of a coconut shell. One of the highlights Katie Furlong 3of my three days in Bangkok was the Grand Palace, which was previously used as the primary residence for the King, but is now only used for royal ceremonies.

After my tour of Bangkok, I was driven to the city of Pattaya, which is a coastal city about an hour and a half south of Bangkok. My school is just a short drive outside of Pattaya. I asked my friends here to describe Regents since I was having trouble figuring out where to begin. I got lots of responses like “cool” and “dope” but my friend Cati decided on one word, which was “well-rounded.” I definitely agree with her. Everyone at Regents is not only incredibly smart, but also nice, fun, and somehow relaxed even though they have so much schoolwork. The school itself is very diverse, even more so than Athenian. There are students and teachers from all over the world. There are even a few students from America (from Texas, Indiana, and Florida). It’s nice having them around, so we can talk every once and a while about real football and how great In-N-Out is. A lot of my friends have attended schools all over the world before coming to Regents. I find this hard to imagine as I’ve lived in the Bay Area my entire life.

Katie Furlong 5The biggest difference for me in Thailand is the weather. It’s insanely hot, and even hotter this year because a lot of Southeast Asia is in a very serious drought. The average temperature during the school day is anywhere from 95 to 105 degrees. Katie Furlong 4I’ve mostly adjusted to the heat now, but sometimes I go outside and I feel like I’m about to melt. Luckily, I’m not alone. Even some of my friends who have been living in Thailand for several years can barely take the heat.

Here at Regents, I’ve staying in the dorms. Although I can’t leave school on weeknights, I’ve been able to see Pattaya and the surrounding areas on the weekends. This past weekend, I was taken out of boarding by one of the gappies to get a full tour of Pattaya, which included brunch and a lot of the time at the beach.

Overall, I’ve been having a great time in Thailand and I still have a lot to look forward to. I can’t wait to see what the rest of my exchange has to offer.

Katie Furlong 6