Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Sam Wan (Day Three)

We've just barely gotten over jet lag, and have managed to move in to our new office and house (see pictures below), meet with a few of our mentors, and complete some contemplative education activities - we did our first one today, where we had to flip a small cloth from one side to the other while all standing on it and not touching the ground, and then reflect on the process - we were very successful, but it's more about the process than the outcome anyway. We've even managed to throw in some time for daily GRE studying and relaxation. These first two weeks are all about getting oriented to the program and our surroundings, and building relationships with one another. The four of us already have such a strong friendship, and it's been amazing getting to know each other on a deeper level and figuring out the best ways for us to understand, utilize, and challenge our strengths and weaknesses to become a cohesive whole. We had breakfast and lunch with the program's closest mentor, who led us through meditation exercises, and helped us find a common reason that the four of us came back to Thailand. Although we are all have different backgrounds and different motivations for returning to Thailand, we were all able to understand that "changing yourself to change others" was a good place to start.

It is so weird being back - it's really exciting to be in this position, where I'll be able to facilitate the learning and change that I underwent as a student here for other students, but all these memories and stories are continuously flooding back, as if I never left. Eating at my favorite restaurants, driving down familiar streets, and walking past my old room, is so bizarre, since so much is going to be different. Becky, Anne, Cait, and I are working on distancing ourselves from our student experiences to grow better as interns while also using those past experiences to inform parts of our relationships with incoming students.

I'm so glad I gave myself this opportunity to come back. I'm in a really different place with the program, in terms of its education model, emphasis on group process, and community organizing, than I was when I left, in a good way. I've let go of a lot of the frustrations that I held with the program last May, and now realize how much I had come to appreciate them over this past year back in the US. Not only am I excited to begin working on the projects that were the motivation for my return like the Rasi Salai Learning Center and Green Study Abroad (Climate Action Plan), but I am ready to challenge myself in facilitation, contemplative education, and reflection.

Cait, Anne, and Becky in our office (the best arrangement CIEE has seen thus far)

Ban Farang 2.2


  1. And I forgot to mention, I learned how to drive the motorcycle today!!