Mya Senesom

Thailand

Hometown: St. Petersburg, Florida
School: St. Petersburg Collegiate High School
Sponsor District : District 6950
Sponsor Club: Rotary Club of St. Petersburg Midtown, Florida
Host District: 3360
Host Club: The Rotary Club of Chiang Mai Phuping


My Bio


Hello, I'm Mya Senesom. I was born and raised in St. Petersburg, FL. I currently go to St. Petersburg Collegiate High School where I'll earn my AA degree and high school diploma when I graduate. I'm a part of my school's Interact Rotary club and Take Stock in Children club. Both clubs do many volunteer and charity activities like food drives, toys for tots, recycling, etc. My major is International Business Marketing. I love to travel and learn new cultures. I'm interested in researching demographics, especially in the Asian market. Despite my studious major, I'm actually more of a creative person. I enjoy activities that include writing, music, fashion, and film. I'm the type of person who can sit for hours just listening to music and writing down ideas. My exchange country is Thailand which I'm excited for as I am Laotian. Thai and Laos are sister countries so they have similar cultures and language. But unfortunately I don't speak the language too well. My grandparents immigrated to America in the late 70s so my mom was born here. Since me and my mom were both born here, we don't speak Laos fluently. I have had exposure to the culture since my grandparents put their best effort to keep traditions but it isn't the same as actually living there. I'm very joyous to join the Rotary Youth Exchange. I hope to use this experience to learn more about my culture and be able to encourage others to take this great opportunity.

Part of Chiang Mai's historic wall/gate

Part of Chiang Mai's historic wall/gate

District 3360 of all Inbound students to Thailand

District 3360 of all Inbound students to Thailand

My Thai host club: Chiang Mai Phuping

My Thai host club: Chiang Mai Phuping

At Wat Phra That Doi Suthrep

At Wat Phra That Doi Suthrep

Thai dance performance by classmates

Thai dance performance by classmates

View inside of my school

View inside of my school

Chiang Rai mountains

Chiang Rai mountains

Me and my friend with a lantern

Me and my friend with a lantern

The Loi Krathong we put in the river

The Loi Krathong we put in the river

School Play

School Play

Wat Rong Khun (White Temple)

Wat Rong Khun (White Temple)

The beautiful lantern filled sky that welcomed the new year

The beautiful lantern filled sky that welcomed the new year

Christmas fashion show

Christmas fashion show

school performance

school performance

Journals: Mya-Thailand Blog 2018-19

  • Mya, Outbound to Thailand

    It’s almost 5 months since I’ve come to Thailand and so much has happened in that time. In October I had my first Thai Halloween which is more just costumes and for adults. My Thai friends took me to a haunted house which was honestly not that scary but fun until we got lost figuring out where to go. Still real fun and afterwards we went to a street market to eat food I hadn’t tried before.

    In November, it was my first Thanksgiving without my family, but I didn’t really feel homesick. I did miss my family a little more than usual and I found out that they don’t eat turkey in Thailand. At all, really. In November I experienced my first Thai Loi Krathong. Loi Krathong happens during the 12th month of the Thai lunar calendar and is celebrated to show respect to the river Goddess. Chiang Mai celebrates Loi Krathong longer than other towns as they typically celebrate for only a day or two. Chiang Mai celebrates for 3 days filled with festivals, lanterns, and positive wishes. For Loi Krathong I celebrated with my Thai friends who took me to put my banana flower float (meant to represent the previous years bad luck) in the river (to wash away the bad luck and bring in good fortune). They also took me to release lanterns and visit the temple to pray for a good new year.

    December was my busiest month. I went to Chiang Rai (a province more north from Chiang Mai) with other YE for a few days. At Chiang Rai we visited the white temple, blue temple, hill tribe people, and Hinoki land (Japanese theme park). It was all so fun to see and experience. During the month of December my school had a big end of the year play. It was really cool to see the process of who gets picked to be in the plays and how everything is created from scratch. For anyone in the play it was a huge honor to be included since you are meant to represent the school’s pride in being a performing arts school.

    I was a little homesick during Christmas time, especially the morning of Christmas day, but my school had a lot of fun activities for Christmas. It made me feel much less homesick. In the morning my school had a fun day with a play about the birth of Jesus, a Christmas tree contest, a fashion show, and many prize drawings. I also handed out candy canes to everyone to show my thanks and Christmas spirit.

    For New Years countdown, I went with my Thai friends to a night market near the center of Chiang Mai where we ate and walked around before counting down to the new year. It truly was one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen. As we were counting down, there were paper lanterns lighting up the night sky, fireworks in the background and people around me laughing and excited for the new year. I’m so happy to have brought a new year in Thailand. I’m so excited and grateful for what’s to come in 2019.

    Click HERE to read more about Mya and all her blogs

  • Mya, Outbound to Thailand

    I can’t believe it’s been one month since I’ve started my exchange in Thailand. Everything I’ve experienced and seen has been amazing. The people I’ve met and became friends with have all been very nice to me and help with anything. Especially my host family. My host mom is really great to me. She allows me to have my own freedom and treats me like her own daughter. My first week here, I spent time adjusting to the 11-hour time difference and getting know my host family as well as other exchange students.

    My second week, I had my district orientation during the weekend and it was great to meet all the other exchange students. I’ve become good friends with a few of them and also closer to my district Rotarians. We have a district group chat in order to keep in touch and updated with other students and Rotarians. I only met my host club once so far since they have their meetings during school time but they also are very helpful and even welcomed me to their club with a bouquet of roses.

    I started school a few days before the orientation but I would say that I really started during my third week of exchange. On my first day at school, I had to introduce myself in front of the whole school. I was extremely nervous but managed to introduce myself in English and in Thai, but I wish they informed me beforehand that I was going to speak in front of the whole school. The Thai students are so sweet and so helpful, I don’t know how I would’ve survived my first few days if they weren’t so kind. Everyone is always a little shocked when they talk to me and learn that I’m not Thai and actually a foreign exchange student since I look like a normal Thai student.

    School here is a little different. It may be because I go to a dramatic arts school and their main focus is on the student’s performance skills rather than academics. My school is from middle school to college but the number of overall students is small. My schedule is also different from the other high school students as they typically have their performing classes in the morning and academic classes in the afternoon. But since I already graduated, they’ve given me only performing classes for right now. I currently have Thai dance in the morning and Thai instrument in the afternoon but I definitely want to learn Thai theater and international music later.

    Outside of school, I’ve had the opportunity to explore and experience the Thai culture by visiting many temples (including the Wat Phra That Doi Suthrep, located on the mountains), visit night markets, shop at their huge malls, eat new foods, and so much more. My Thai friends are actually taking me to experience my first Thai movie theater tomorrow so I’m very excited. Thank you to RYE and the Rotarians in my district and sponsor club for giving me this amazing opportunity and I can’t wait to share more of my wonderful exchange.

    Click HERE to read more about Mya and all her blogs

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