Northwood University

The Northwood University Study Abroad Blog


Semester in Asia 2012

So far, so amazing! Rio Berriochoa reporting to you from semester in Asia 2012. We are coming upon the third week and from what I have experienced culturally, spiritually, mentally is unlike anything I could’ve expected. In the past two weeks we have seen historical sites such as the bridge over the River Kwai, Hell Fire Pass, and area’s effected by the 2004 tsunami. We’ve also been introduced to cultural influences such as the Golden Pagoda, the influence of Buddhism on the Thai culture and their traditional values that are used every day.
The bridge over the River Kwai and Hell Fire Pass share the same history. Going to these palaces and hearing the stories of how they came to be was enlightening, but very sad to hear of all the lives lost in order to accomplish them. Although, it was very impressive to see how these structures were built by only men and no machinery.
Culturally, Thailand is much more humble and appreciative than America. Since I have been here it has been a blessing to hear of the Buddhist culture and see how it influences all the people around it. People are always smiling and willing to help a foreigner in need without asking for anything in return and that is just because they know it is right. This is the majorities mentality in Thailand.
With regards to sustainable development, we recently ventured to an elephant trek resort. We were split into groups and rode elephants by twos. What was so interesting about this was that the land this resort was located on was not changed at all from what the elephants would be used to living on, and the people who cared for the elephants adapted themselves to live how the elephants would be comfortable. While doing this they have created a tourist attraction, brought money into the community, supplied jobs, and could have very well saved as many as a hundred elephants lives. It was a delight to see such happy and smart creatures.
More to be discovered in the near future, until then, good day.