1. That first night out with new friends
This is the city that will be you home for almost half the year, and nothing makes it feel more like home than forming new friendships over bottles of cold Singha (Thai beer).
2. Meeting your Thai roommate
This wasn’t exactly our first day meeting, as you can see by the amount of affection beaming from this photo, but the day you meet your Thai roommate will be one of your first lessons in the friendly and fun nature of Thai people. My Thai-mate, Cherry, will surely be one of my friends for years to come.
Editors note: TEAN students can apply to live with a Thai student, or with another TEAN student.
3. Hugging a Chang (elephant)
During the TEAN Thailand orientation, the program takes students to the Elephant Nature Park, and lets you all spend a whole day feeding, bathing, and playing with elephants of all ages, who have been rescued from various forms of enslavement. Wrapping your arms around a creature as peaceful as it is massive, is life-altering.
4. Your first weekend trip
That first time you decide to venture out of the city limits via bus or train, can be scary. But when you do it, and you inevitably go to Pai (aka the most magical place on earth besides disneyland) you’ll wonder why nerves ever entered your mind. The really cool hostel with the really cool people staying at it will keep a smile on your face.
5. The 5 days of intense culture shock
Spending five days in a rural Thai village with non-English speaking Thai families is the cultural immersion you didn’t realized you needed until it was over and you were sad to leave, but happy about the lessons learned.
6. Learning Thai language
Improving your proficiency in a quite difficult language should be motivation enough to go to class; having a vivacious professor who is dedicated to making you laugh and determined to improve your language skills is just icing on top of the cake.
7. Swimming in the Andaman Sea
Swimming in this warm, crystal blueish green water will surely make you wonder why anyone even considers studying abroad anywhere but Thailand.
Songkran is the Thai New Year festival that takes place in the spring. It is a country-wide 3-day water fight, and if you’re not equipped with at least two water bazookas then don’t even bother showing up—unless you just want to get drenched and watch the amazing fun that happens, which is cool too.
9. Traveling outside the country
When you plan a trip outside of Thailand to another one of Southeast Asia’s many gorgeous countries, you’ll have the opportunity to step even further outside your comfort zone, and into a dream universe where things get more magical despite how sure you were that they couldn’t.
10. Making the best friends of your life
The people you meet while studying abroad (no matter where you go) will forever be the people you shared countless memorable moments with during your time in a foreign home. Never let them go (don’t stalk them or anything) and never forget about the place that bonded you all together.