Hello from Thailand! I just finished my third week at the Regent’s School in Thailand. Man, the time has flown by really fast. Thailand, as you can probably guess, is much different than America and my school is much different than Athenian. My school is in a city called Pattaya, which is a pretty sleazy city. There are strip clubs, prostitutes, and a lot of hardcore drug use. Fortunately, there is a well-secured fence around my school so no knuckleheads can get in. At my school, we are required to wear a tie every single day and we call our teachers ‘sir’ and ‘miss.’ This is much different from Athenian, where I can wear whatever I want and I can casually say “Hey April” to my teacher instead of “Hello Miss”. Although I understand that they are trying to teach respect and everything, I feel there is a large divider between teachers and students. It seem like the students are hesitant to ask the teacher a question, whereas at Athenian I know that every student is comfortable asking a question. Other than that I think the school is fantastic. Everybody is so smart and very nice. At Regents, there are four different houses, or families: red, blue, yellow, and green. Every week we compete for different prizes and bragging rights. It is really fun and it ties the whole school together.
One thing that I found very hard in the first few days was making friends. As sad as it sounds, I hadn’t really made any new friends in 4 or 5 years because I have known all of my friends at Athenian for years. So my first few days here I had just kind of forgot how to make friends. At a couple of times I realized how awkward I was being and laughed to myself. But all is awesome now. I have met almost everyone in the grade and I have a hilarious group of friends that I hang out with every day.
I live on the top floor of the boy’s boarding house with a few other guys. My two best friends are Tony, from South Korea, and Nikita, who is from Russia. They are both very nice and hilarious. They are also the ones who picked me up from the airport. I think the school day schedule is a lot better than Athenians. We either have 1 to 3 classes in a day and each class is 80 minutes long. Breakfast is at 8 and lunch isn’t until 1, so I am always starving when lunch rolls around. After school there are always plenty of activities to do. I have tried my hand at cricket and rugby, both not going the greatest, but it is fun to do nonetheless because it’s clear that nobody is judging me or expecting me to be good.
My first week here I got to visit Thailand’s countryside, and I found out that Thailand’s countryside is awesome. After a half-day of travel I found myself in a beautiful floating village that was just amazing. The people living in the village have been untouched by commercial society and I think that is really special. The lifestyle they are living just seems so simple. They live day to day by selling to each other and buying from each other.
In the upcoming weeks I will be going on a few trips. I will be going on a night safari to see unique Thai animals, I’ll be riding an elephant a few miles to a river to then wash him, and I will also be going on a trip through the jungle. The only complaint I have about my exchange so far has been the humidity and the bugs. It has been a solid 90 to 103 degrees every day and I usually call it a good day when I go to sleep with less than ten new mosquito bites. Also, I was using the restroom and a foot-long lizard scrambled underneath the door and ran around my feet and the toilet until he ran out again. But those are minor things that I am willing to deal with if it means that I can ride an elephant through a jungle.
Overall my experience here in Thailand has been amazing. I would definitely recommend other students come here if they are willing to leap out of their comfort zone.
Looking forward to my next few weeks here.