“Six months will fly by!” everyone seemed to be telling me when I disclosed how long I would be moving to Bangkok, Thailand for.
Yeah, yeah, sure it will, I thought. I’ve got six whole months. I can take Thai lessons, I can get into a great exercise routine, I’ll be out in the city experiencing so much that I’ll barely see my apartment.
Well, things don’t always go exactly to plan. My advice to you future intern is that you will only take from this experience what you put into it.
I didn’t learn Thai properly like I intended, I definitely didn’t get into a great exercise routine and no, surprisingly, I was not out every night so that I barely knew what my apartment looked like. And all of that is just fine with me because I got results from this experience based on the efforts I put in.
Instead of sitting in a classroom setting for hours after work several nights a week learning a completely new language, I observed the world around me. I asked the women who worked at my local lunch spot how to pronounce the foods I liked or when I would teach someone an English word I would ask to learn it in Thai as well.
Despite having a pool and vowing to use it as much as possible, my “goal” of swimming laps several times a week quickly went out the window. Instead I tried new sports, such as Muay Thai, and remember the pool not as a place where my goal sunk, but rather as the place where I gave some swimming lessons to a few coworkers- memories I now treasure much more fondly.
While I definitely did not go out every night, I did make an effort to see as much of the city as possible which included going to events, galleries, new restaurants, and cafes. I tailored these outings to my interests, to find things in the city to get excited about and it really did make my experience richer, especially when trying to meet other expats. I can not only think of just the places I went as static locations, but vibrant memories of spending time with many interesting people.
This is not to say I didn’t have times of homesickness or feeling like I was missing out on life back in Victoria, because I definitely did. Those feelings are normal and valid. The point I am trying to make and what I am trying to do by writing this post is to encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and put yourself out there. Make some small goals for your time in Bangkok (maybe ones you’ll stick to better than me) and live your life to the fullest. Because before you know it, six months will have flown by and you’ll be left thinking “where did the time go?”