Northwood University

The Northwood University Study Abroad Blog


Archive for July, 2011

First Glimpse of Asia

We’ve only been in Southeast Asia a short while and I can honestly already say that it’s one of the greatest experiences of my life thus far. We’ve seen so much in such a short amount of time that I’m grateful for all the pictures I’ve taken to help me recall everything. If I had to name my favorite activity done or sight seen… I couldn’t. But I can tell you about one that moved me the most.

The Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum was absolutely amazing. We walked through and learned about the railroad that was built from Thailand to Burma by American POWs and many others including Thai, Dutch, and local natives. Over 100,000 people died building this railroad, of which around 14,000 were American. We saw many picutres and actual footage of the men enduring horrible working conditions. They worked as long as 18 hours at a time, were given a small amount of rice and vegetables twice a day, were beaten, tortured, and made to endure this grueling work for a railroad benefiting the Japanese during World War II.

After viewing the inside of the museum, we got to go down to where the actual railroad was and saw remnants of the tracks themselves. It was surreal to see something of such historical importance that we knew little to nothing about. While in school, I in particular feel like I didn’t learn as much about Asia as I did about other parts of the world, so this trip is really opening my eyes to things of which I was clueless.

The Railroad from Burma to Thailand is an experience that moved me in ways that I can’t explain and will definitely never forget.

-Paige Eldridge

(Pictured above is the outside of the Hellfire Pass Museum)