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The Northwood University Study Abroad Blog


I Can’t Believe It!

“I can’t believe it, we’re going to Asia!” It wasn’t but a couple of weeks ago that I said that. Now just a short ways into the trip, I still find myself thinking the same thing… “Wow, I can’t believe it!” This summer, a small group of Northwood students and I have traveled across the globe, to a different continent, and experienced two very different countries within it: Thailand and Malaysia.

Each day is filled with something different and new. Looking at our events throughout the trip so far, I find it hard to pick just one thing to share with you. Discovering Thailand’s history and culture by submerging yourself in it has proved to be the best way to learn. Visiting Buddha Mountain and temples with practicing monks has shown me so much more about a faith of which I had little knowlege. One day that sticks out in particular is the one where we spent the morning on the floating market surrounded by local Thai people and the afternoon trekking through the river on the back of an elephant. The terrified look on my friend Paige’s face was so funny that words cannot explain.

Something not on the schedule was stopping by a local spring-fed waterfall and seeing local children and families enjoying a hot afternoon in the water. That to me was so special because it’s a sight into everyday culture that not everyone gets to experience. On the other side of this watering hole were pieces of the railroad tracks from Hellfire’s Pass. Hellfire’s Pass was a piece of history that I knew nothing about. It was a railway project constructed in the early 1940’s to improve communication between Thailand and Burma. It cost many American and Dutch POW’s their lives along with Thai and other Asia natives. Standing on this railway looking over the hills of Burma where such history took place brings me new knowledge and an experience I will never forget.

In just the past couple of weeks, Asia has shown me so much… I still can’t believe it!

-Madison Dooley

(First pictured is our group in front of Buddha Mountain. Second is a vendor selling fruit on the floating market.)