Thai City Goodbyes and Rural Village Hellos

Sa-Wa-Dee-Ca! Dishan put passa Thai ma, gap chop protate Thai. Dishan maha wee ti aray ISDSI gap dishan suuk! Hello! I have been speaking a lot of Thai and I like Thailand! Im going to ISDSI University and I am very happy.

This past week has been crazy busy! First, we went to Mae Tang Elephant Camp where we got to feed and bathe elephants. We also learned how the park was humanely caring for the animals by using what they like to do to attract tourists that will give money so that they can feed the elephants. It was a very interesting, mind-changing experience, as I was convinced that any form of captivation for elephants was bad. We quickly learned that we were misinformed and because humans take so much space, elephants wouldn’t be able to find enough space and food in the wild. So, this park was actually saving them.

Next, we finished our first block of class, which was Thai foundations. Our final exam consisted of going to a fully Thai speaking, Islamic market where we had to observe, navigate our way around it, and talk to the vendors and buy food. We then had to use only public transportation to get back to campus and write a reflection on what we learned. It was extremely interesting and challenging.

Also this was my last week with my Thai host family :(. I have gotten so close with them and have learned so much from them as well as have gotten so much joy. On our last night eating at home, I made them an “American Meal” which consisted of tacos and smores. They were confused as to why American food was so messy, but loved the flavors. 

This week, we have been continuing to study Thai language, but also have been learning about sustainable agriculture in preparation for our agro field study. We have been learning about how organic agriculture is overall better than conventional agriculture, but is not realistic. We have been doing activities such as creating a fully sustainable rural village and attempting to solve world hunger with what we have learned in 30 minutes. The group is extremely creative, so we were all able to bring interesting and different ideas to the table. Next week my group of 14 students leave for a 3 week field study in rural northern Thailand. We will be living with the villagers without any internet access or cellphones and will be basically learning how to run a sustainable and organic farm. We will be cooking, farming, harvesting, and everything in between with them.

I am so excited to begin this next journey of field studies with my classmates, and will update you all in three weeks with how it went!!

Thanks for reading!

Aria Nicoletti