Jasmin, Outbound to Thailand

Today officially makes 4 months in Thailand for me. I would like to use this journal to talk about my personal learning experience while on exchange. I graduated from high school before leaving for exchange. I even got accepted into college but am not enrolled anywhere as of right now because I did not want to take online classes. My year abroad is serving as a gap year for me and I honestly don’t think that there is a country better than Thailand to be doing a gap year in. Before I came to Thailand I thought that every school would be like the stereotypical rigorous Asian school. However, I now know that in Thailand not every school is like that. Here is a little similar to the United States. You have public schools, which I and every other exchange student I know attend; private schools, which are more like the stereotype; and international schools, which are insane and like the private schools of private schools. I was scared that I would be attending a very strict school here that wouldn’t let me learn what I wanted to and made me very stressed about homework or tests. Luckily though, I got put in the most perfect school in the world for me. I attend โรงเรียนสมุทรสาครวิทยาลัย (Samutsakhon Wittayalai School) in มหาชัย, สมุทรสาคร (Mahachai, Samutsakhon). Surprisingly none of my host families live in the same city as my school so I must take long bus rides my entire exchange to travel to and from school. I would not want to go to school anywhere else though. This school is perfect for me because of the amount of freedom they give me when it comes to learning. For my first semester here the faculty picked my schedule. I only took electives because the school was aware that I had already graduated from high school. I got to learn traditional Thai dance, Thai ballroom dance, traditional Thai music, traditional Thai art, Thai cooking, Thai handicraft, Thai culture, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, badminton, and ping pong. This schedule allowed me to branch off and learn new things instead of sitting and relearning material I already knew in math, science, or English. The big surprise and cherry on top was realizing I never was given homework, tests during the semester, or exams at the end of the semester. I’m able to learn at my own pace without any stress at all here. Also, the freedom I’m given allows me to focus on learning the language a lot which I love the most. My school provides me with about 5 hours of Thai language lessons a week, my district provides me with 1 hour of Thai language lessons everyday after school, and the rest I study on my own. My first semester here was an absolute dream come true and so much better than I could have ever imagined. Currently, I’m more than a month into my second semester. Everything is pretty much the same as my first semester except this time the faculty let me pick my schedule. I thought it would be best if I took math and science classes to ensure I didn’t forget everything I had learned in high school before going to college. Now I learn, calculus, biology, chemistry, soccer, futsal, Thai ballroom dance, Thai language, Thai culture, Thai handicraft, and traditional Thai music. I take a lot fewer classes than last semester because I knew I would need time to start re-applying to college and I’m able to see my friends at school more too. I have learned a lot thanks to the freedom my school gives me. I still have a lot more to learn but I’m sure I’ll be able to learn everything I want and more at my school.

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