CONTACT RYE D. 3350 My First Impressions of Thailand By Derek Hollihan




PP.Napaskamon Promopakorn
YE program staff

Khun Prapa


Unfortunately, Thailand is a mystery to most [Americans]. The rich culture,
the beautiful streets, and the colorful foods just can't be comprehended from so far away.
I knew that going to Thailand would be a completely new experience, and oh was I right.

Upon touchdown at BKK airport, I put on my YE Blazer and got ready to get off the plane.
The first thing I noticed was the beautiful Thai smile. Flight attendants, airport workers,
and everyone around was smiling, making comments, and asking about the different countries
and cultures represented on my blazer. Throughout the past 36 hours I had been in multiple
airports in multiple countries and nobody had been so intrigued by my journey
and my roots - and I hadn't even met my host family yet!

When I finally got through customs and made it to where my family was meeting me,
I immediately knew that I was home (8,362 miles away from home, but who's counting!)
My family has been better than I ever could've imagined. They have made me feel
so welcome into this new culture and life of mine but have yet been so understanding
of the shock I receive from every new experience. There is no other family
I would rather have introduce me to the beautiful Thai culture.

After multiple days of sleeping and eating to accurately adjust to the time difference
(and insanely hot weather), it was time for me to start school. As with many things here,
I didn't really know what to expect. I may have been a bit nervous, but I wasn't really
ever worried. By this point I had met many different Thai people and never had I met one
who wasn't so excited to teach me their culture while being so interested in mine.
My first couple hours of school consisted of my host parents talking to school staff while
I sit there in a confused state - but the paperwork has to be finished eventually!
When I was finally brought to my class, I was asked to introduce myself in Thai. As soon as
I started speaking my broken, mispronounced introduction I could see the other students
starting to smile. When I finished, they were beyond welcoming as I joined their class.
This is when I knew that making friends in Thailand would be as easy as ever.

Overall, the Thai culture is completely unique and unfortunately unknown to most [American]
students and people. After my year here, I want to take all of this knowledge back
and let the world know what Thailand is: an amazing country that has given me so much
in such a short amount of time.


Derek Hollihan

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