The GoGlobal Blog

No Thaim till Thailand

No Thaim till Thailand

When your countdown app reaches the single digits, you know it’s real.

Hi everyone! My name is Brandon, and I’m about to takeoff in less than 9 days for a wild year in Chiang Mai, Thailand with the USAC program! I’ll be spending my sophomore year at Chiang Mai University. CMU is one of the best universities in Thailand, and has about 50,000 students! I’ll be living in an apartment with another USAC student, but I don’t know who quite yet. This actually will be my second year abroad in Thailand, since I was previously an exchange student with the Department of State’s Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange & Study (YES) Abroad scholarship program during my senior year of high school. I lived in the south of Thailand in a coastal city called ‘Surat Thani’ (soo-raht tah-nee) with an incredibly host family. I can’t tell you how stoked I am to experience nine more incredible months of adventure, exploration, learning, weird smells, strange foods, elephants, and constant smiles. This time, I will be way up north in the mountains, in Chiang Mai. From what I’ve experienced already, the culture in Chiang Mai is far more relaxed than Surat Thani (Surat Thani is known as a fast-paced city with a lighting-fast dialect of Thai spoken), so I’m interested to see how daily life differs. And, of course, I will blog the entire year just like I did the first year! Before I make it to Thailand, I’m going to Toronto, Canada, to spend a week with my best friend in the entire world, Vinny! I leave the USA on August 11th, which is coincidentally the same day I left for Thailand back in 2014. Summer classes are almost done, flights are booked, visas are ready, and all I have to do now is pack my bags and say my goodbyes!

Most of the classes that I will be taking this year will apply towards my Political Science and International Studies majors, so I won’t be doing much with Neuroscience until I return to Loyola in 2017. Here’s what I’ll be taking this semester:

– Diplomacy in Southeast Asia

– Global Health Issues

– Reading and Writing Thai Language

– Sustainable Development

– Thai Civilization

– World Economic Issues

I’m probably most excited about Global Health Issues and Sustainable Development! While I’m abroad, I’m planning on working with the Chiang Mai ‘Care For Dogs’ Foundation, where I’ll just be volunteering and taking care of some sweet pups. I’m also planning on interning with a local hospital and the U.S. Consulate. One of my goals this year is to occupy my time with any and all opportunities that are available to me. Last time, I wasn’t as progressive with going for opportunities as I was so swamped with college applications and preparation, exams, and other things. I know for sure that I will be doing things that I don’t know about yet.

As for how I’m feeling about leaving for another year, I do have to say it’s a whole lot easier. I’m not exactly feeling very nervous or excited either, I’m just ready. I am however, feeling pretty blue about leaving my friends and family. That part hasn’t gotten easier. BUT, I do get to see my host family a few times this year, and my best friend Ashley Cox is coming all the way to Thailand to backpack with me around Southeast Asia for Christmas break. Also, my roommate this summer, Noah, is coincidentally planning on doing the Chiang Mai program as well next spring, so I’ll get to see him! I’m sure I’m going to meet so many incredible people this year, and I absolutely cannot wait; that’s one of the best parts of living abroad in my opinion.

Possibly the best part of my experience this year will be all the countries that I will be visiting. I received an awesome travel grant to work with, so I’m excited to get exploring! Here’s where I’ll be going this year:

Canada, Taiwan, Thailand, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, India, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, France, Netherlands, Germany, Iceland, and Canada (again)!

Some of these destinations will be random weekend trips, some will be during my winter break, and the rest will be part of an around-the-world trek I am undertaking by myself while on my way home from Thailand. I know it sounds astronomically wild and maybe a bit dangerous, but there’s so much world to see and I’m taking this opportunity and running with it! It’s going to be a blast!

I will write again right before I depart!

Until next time,




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