How Studying in Thailand “Ruined” My Life: Problems with Re-acclimating into American Life
I wish they had told me before I got on that plane; someone should have warned me- Thailand, well, Thailand just does everything better. After spending five months studying in the beautiful Northern city of Chiang Mai, the South East Asia withdrawal is REAL. Here’s my list of symptoms you’re likely to experience after your Thailand adventure.
1. Coffee Depression
If you’re a coffee drinker, Thailand is your Nirvana. If you’re not a coffee drinker, Thailand will turn you into one in less than 48 hours. “Iced mocha please” was one of the first things I learned to say in Thai, and at 80 cents per tall glass of caffeinated happiness I was using that phrase a lot. Starbucks doesn’t stand a chance, so get ready to be disappointed with your home style cup a joe for a while when you get back.
2. EVERYTHING is Now Too Expensive
In Thailand, I considered spending fifteen dollars or more at a time a shopping spree. On an average day I would spend less than five dollars on food and maybe a couple bucks on taxis if I was running around town. For your first month or so of being home, expect a few mental breakdowns over price tags. Refusing to buy anything at all is also a common symptom.
3. Different Seasons… ughh
As many of us know all too well, Kentucky not only experiences four seasons a year, but often four seasons in a week. There’s nothing like studying in the land of perpetual summer to make winter back home so. Much. Worse. Snow days are nice but, I’d like my 86 degrees and sunny back please.
4. Where Are All the 7/11’s?
Where are all the 7/11’s? 7/11’s are the lifeblood of Thai society, and I’m only mildly exaggerating. There’s kind of this unspoken rule that when you are standing outside one 7/11 you should be able to see at least two more. Always stocked and open 24 hours, these convenience stores are so much more than just that. From Snickers and Coke, to salmon flavored potato chips, hangers, and umbrellas this store is bound to become your newest vice.
While I may spend a little too much time pouting over my sub-par overpriced cup of coffee now, Thailand has given me such an appreciation and understanding of my home. I have been able to form a much more informed and well-rounded view of America as well as the world—even if I am pretty biased towards Thai food these days.
Photo and written by Lizzy Southard
Lizzy Southard is an Education Abroad Peer Ambassador. She is a sophomore studying International Studies, and she participated in a UK Partner program (The Education Abroad Network) in Chiang Mai, Thailand.