Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Government Schools in Thailand

There is no education system without flaw, and it's improbable that such an ideal even exists. Certainly, though, there should be some type of universal educational standard. After nearly nine months of teaching in Thailand, I must make this bold, but long overdue statement:

The government school system in Thailand is horrendous.

I don't claim to be an expert, but after working at two different schools across the country and comparing notes with teachers around Thailand, that is my opinion. I admit to generalizing, as there are some decent government institutions and extremely intellectual people, but they are far and few between. I might mention that I mean no disrespect; I hold the utmost regard for this country and its people. I have here outlined what I see to be some major faults of Thailand's Ministry of Education. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

How to Cross the Street in Vietnam

With as many motorbikes as there are families in Vietnam – of which the entire lot is commonly squeezed on one bike (along with chickens, balloons and other arbitrary cargo) – chaos is an understatement.
After a lifetime experience crossing the street, the task seems like a no-brainer. In Vietnam, however, it is necessary to learn a completely different set of rules to avoid becoming the next unknown meat in a street stall noodle soup.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Quarter-life Crisis

Over eight months ago, I left America as an over-ambitious, post-grad soul-searching wide-eyed twenty-two year old. I voluntarily called quits on everything important in my life and positioned myself across the world.


Because I felt too young for anything resembling monotony. If not now, then when?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Have You Eaten Rice Yet?

As I watched my favorite street vendor whip up the usual thirty baht (approximately $1 USD) shrimp Pad Thai, I noticed that she added more love into it on this particular evening than usual. Devouring the perfect blend of sweet and sour rice noodles, it dawned on me what separates Thai cuisine so greatly from others: that extra bit of love that comes in every dish.
I have always been inspired by all things food, so it was only natural that my appreciation for the Thai cuisine (at least the Americanized version) influenced my move abroad. After 8 months in Thailand, I feel at home in a culture that prioritizes their unique food culture. My body has accumulated to the Thai diet for breakfast, lunch, and dinner – so much so that I can no longer taste food if it isn’t spicy.

Friday, June 1, 2012

A Familiar, Unfamiliar Beginning

Given the right effort and a positive attitude, it is possible to build a life for yourself anywhere.

A few weeks ago, I found myself yet again in that all-too-familiar unfamiliar environment: a new city surrounded by new faces. I had to find the strength within myself to make an effort, once again. 

My first real wave of homesickness came during this first week in Ubon. Suddenly, it hit me that I've been across the world, away from many of the people closest to my heart, for nearly 8 months. 

My new full-time job, although a complete upgrade from my last school, seemed monotonous and a semester far too long. How was I going to make time pass pleasantly?