Tag Archives: Thailand

Sawatdee from Thailand!

I have officially been living in Thailand for almost 2 weeks! Writing this in the middle of an afternoon thunderstorm, it’s clear that I still have tons to adjust to in my new home. After our orientation in Bangkok the first week, we have now moved to our placements throughout Thailand. I still wake up occasionally and forget where I am- even after flying 20 hours from Texas here, it’s all very new to me right now. Well, except maybe the heat and humidity I know so well from Texas 🙂 Also, my school hasn’t even started yet so that adventure is yet to come!

Here are some favorite moments of my time in the “Land of Smiles” so far. I’ve been able to explore Bangkok and my new province and city, Nakhon Pathom. So many exciting things have happened since arriving here, which makes me really look forward to the rest of this semester. Of course, there have been challenges as well such as getting “traveler’s tummy” on the first day of week #2 (I’m about 95% recovered, thankfully!). And the Thai language- Passaa Thai yaak! Thai is difficult! But also sanuk, fun. Today I bought a water bottle from a street vendor with my basic Thai and got a smile of understanding from her in the end. Moments like that make my time here absolutely worth it.

2015-10-22 10.03.162015-10-22 09.55.31Ayutthaya

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ayutthaya has some of the most beautiful ruins I’ve ever been to. Plus we went here on the second day of orientation! Thanks CIEE and OEG, our Teach in Thailand program coordinators! Walking around this ancient Thai capital was amazing. Also, it’s just about an hour from Bangkok so very useful for a day trip.

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Exploring Bangkok via River Taxi

Coolest experience ever. It’s way faster and a lot more fun to get around parts of Bangkok in a boat taxi, we took one to visit the Royal Grand Palace during orientation. For a round trip from our hotel to the downtown area, it cost only about 14 baht. (current exchange rate: 33 baht=1 USD!)

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Grand Palace

A must see in Bangkok. So many golden pagodas and elaborately decorated halls. Many Thais make a pilgrimage here to see the Emerald Buddha- a smaller than you’d expect Buddha carved from emerald, definitely worth visiting in person. Glad we saw this during orientation as well!

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Getting settled in to live in Nakhon Pathom- local cats and more palaces!

These two cats are always around outside my school. They also happen to look a lot like my cats from home! One thing I definitely like a lot about this placement is having on-campus housing. Hooray for sleeping later! Today I adventured to a local palace nearby, which surprisingly was not listed in any Lonely Planet guide to my province, Nakhon Pathom. I highly recommend visiting, it’s called Sanam Chandra Palace.

An exciting disappointment

It’s been a few weeks since I learned that I will not be attending the September 8th A-100 orientation class for the Foreign Service after all. For the last class of this fiscal year, only 3 or so public diplomacy candidates I know of received offers. Despite my ranking of 7/103 (probably higher now!), I did not. This post should serve as a PSA to fellow Foreign Service hopefuls out there- it is much more competitive to become a US diplomat than you think! Hiring is really tough at the moment even if you pass every step along the way like I have. You can’t be 100% sure of a job until you receive the official offer, and it will be 28 days before the class starts, to boot 🙂

That being said, I am disappointed but not devastated. The Foreign Service will happen for me when the time is right- most likely in early 2016! If hiring stays around attrition like it has this year, I should get an offer before expiring off the register in December 2016. This gives me a shot at all the fiscal year 2016 classes- I’m especially hopeful that the January 2016 class will be larger and I will get an invite.

Until then, I am so excited to share that I’ll be teaching English at a girls school near Bangkok, Thailand with CIEE! I start in mid-October. My placement is in Nakhon Pathom province, about an hour outside of Bangkok: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thailand/bangkok/nakhon-pathom. Here is one of the tallest pagodas in Thailand right in the middle of my new home:

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In my view, English teaching is one of the US’s best forms of public diplomacy. I get to develop my public speaking and presentation skills, gain international experience, and live in Southeast Asia for the first time in my life. I can’t think of a better experience to have before joining the Foreign Service, whenever that may be!