Seated at the wooden benches at the open-aired area at my favorite vegetarian restaurant, a group of six students and I waited for food and the commencement of our anti-oppression readings discussion. I was nervous and excited for the topics of privilege, intersectionality, systems of oppression, and allydom. Talking through them allows you to learn so much from yourself and the experience of others. Talking through them can be emotionally charged, vulnerable, and assumptive. Needless to say, expressing the ways we have been oppressed and the ways in which we perpetuate systems of oppression is not the stuff of casual dinner conversation.  It is however, a critical conversation for relationship building, for understanding the identities and experiences we bring with us in our interactions as human beings, for building a common ground for working together, working for justice.

The discussion commenced and flowed. It was informed by the immortal voices of McIntosh, Hill, Edwards, and Hooks. It came to life through our internalization of these readings, our understanding of how they reflected past experiences or informed future aspirations. It was intimate, honest, supportive, and challenging. There was active listening; there was building off of each other’s contributions. It was interspersed by acknowledgements of a shared space together—the restaurant cat choosing a lap to occupy, a request for the passing of an unfamiliar dish. It was human and cathartic.

After two hours in feeling engaged with each word spoken, in feeling more alive myself, we walked back to the office together. We stopped for a favorite Thai dessert (chocolate balls!) and skipped from patch to patch of the pavement not completely submerged by the day’s rains.

It felt like some barriers were crumbling. I felt closer, and more capable of seeing into the complex lives of each student and understanding their contributions to a shared learning space.

Is it a single turning point? Is this the pivotal component to achieving my goal? Unlikely. But its certainly one of many instances which, if adequately reflected upon, may help get there.

Drops of water turn the wheel, singly none.

Anne

It was only a month and a half ago in New Orleans that the past year’s Interns passed down a guiding text to inform our intern group’s work in the coming year. The Program Facilitator Guide is filled with anecdotes, precautionary tales, and mantras to help us navigate the program structures and our relationships with staff, students, and each other in the coming year.

The students arrive in four days (Ahhhh!) and those mantras float in and out of our conversations as we prepare their program guide (which includes their schedule for the entire semester), their orientation reading packets, and their orientation activities for the first month of the program. Last week we laid out a “road map” documenting the program’s learning phases, indicators for whether the student group has achieved that learning phase, and our goals and strategies for pushing students to achieve each successive phase. We have not yet gained the lived experience of the semester to inform all of these decisions we’re making on the students’ behalf. But we do have those words of wisdom from the last group to guide us along. Here are the adages that currently guide me:

Your role is to challenge and support.

We like to demonstrate this one with hand motions. The challenge hand forms a flat-palmed pushing motion away from the body, the support hand scoops underneath and meets the challenge hand at full extension. As Saul Alinsky would say, “You have to meet people where they are.” This means building trusting relationships with students and knowing “where they’re at.” Are they externalizing insecurities about themselves on this new place? Are they feeling overwhelmed by the schedule/language barrier/issues covered? Are they really fired up by the program? Allowing these kinds of supportive relationships to develop then allows us to challenge students to learn more/practice empathy/develop skills/take action.

Don’t do for the students what they can do for themselves

Although we’ve already been through the student role and may have a great idea for how students could plan a workshop or reading discussion, this program is not for us. They will have to have the experience whether its around success or failure, to evaluate their situations and determine alternate solutions. This could present a challenge for me. Even though I instinctively want to rush in and help, they will learn more from the situation if I let them work it out.

Be present. Don’t hover in the in-between.

I remember when my Program Facilitator, Shayne, gave us this piece of advice my very first day as a student in Thailand. I’ve only been here five weeks but I’ve found that I need to more consciously heed this advice. One of my main objectives in returning was to find out which part of this experience really spoke to me. Was it the organizing people towards a goal that drives me? Is it the environment of education and alternative learning? Was it the group visioning process? I wanted to reassess which of those things could sustain and energize me in a future career.  And I’ve already caught myself anxious about my direction and vocation when I return home next June. These anxieties are unproductive. I need to fully engage in this learning experience before I can plan beyond—I need to give myself the time for that.

Develop your group process to where you see yourselves as a unit.

Yesterday, amidst an insanely busy schedule that keeps us at the office most mornings from 8am-10pm, we managed to hold a “Where We’re At.” A WWA is a session in which we talk about where we are in our headspace. How are we processing this role? How are we dealing with the workload or pet peeves or the communal living situation? How are we doing outside of work?

Being here has forced me to acknowledge many strengths and weaknesses, among the latter is a tendency to be passive or passive-aggressive. Yesterday we actively created a space where I felt comfortable sharing fully how I was interacting with others what was working and what wasn’t. And because we were all coming from a place of deep friendship and love (see next mantra), we could communicate honestly without personal offense or malice.

So the lesson here is that we all have our strengths and weaknesses. When we’re completely open with communicating those, seeking support for those, we can begin to see ourselves not as four individuals but as one functioning unit—which will be essential when students arrive.

Approach your work with others from a place of love.

Bell Hooks. Eric Fromm. These names were passed down from the past intern groups. I’ve read Fromm and will be delving into Hooks in the next couple of months. How can love guide our work with the students? How can’t it?

“This experience doesn’t change you. It will not give you some spiritual, intellectual, cosmic makeover. No magic element about it causes you to reflect and grow. You have to actively work to let this experience change you. It is an active process of reflection, evaluation, progression, making-up, and taking advantage of what is around you. Being passive is always bullshit.” –Program Facilitator Guide, 2011

Here are a couple of scenes from our office to take you out:

Here is the office garden that students in Spring 2010 built. It needs some work...

This little guy was lurking outside our office door...

Love,

Anne

Hello All,

I’m once again drafting a long correspondence from my seventh floor room of the Khon Kaen Ram Hospital.  Some of you may remember my experience with this hospital two years ago when six other students and I simultaneously came down with food poisoning.  If you had food poisoning in the US typically you would probably circumvent the hospital wait and bill and opt to recover at home. In Thailand, I was kept for two nights. Going to the hospital here is certainly not something to dread. I have my own room, a spectacular view, a shower with hot water, and a lot of time to read and write. If only injury or illness weren’t required to get you in the door…

So that brings me to my most recent injury. As it turns out I am particularly unskilled at riding a motorcy.

A motorcy is not a motorcycle and not a moped but some mix of the two that can reach 60 mph but is small and able to make tight maneuvers. It is a primary source of transportation in Thailand. Most Thais ride them with one or two people on board, but I’ve seen motorcy’s loaded with as many as four giggling children at a time. Between the four interns we have two motorcys that we’ll use for basic transportation around Khon Kaen. They allow us to make longer trips to campus or to the downtown quickly and are really nice after a long day when the walk home seems much longer than a mile.

This is Johnny Utah, one of our Program Factilitator motorcys. He's modeling a 2008 campaign sticker and some of our lovely riding gear. Yes, I promise we always wear helmets.

Before we can ride uninhibited around the city we should get our motorcy licenses which means passing a driving test and a written test. And you’ll be happy to hear that I did pass the written portion. This was made especially difficult as there was a lot lost in translation in the hour long video we were required to watch in Thai to prepare for the test. We did find a handbook online for English speakers but it was riddled with translations like the following:

“It is illegal to use vehicles that polluted the environment’s pollution on a public road.”

?

And of course, the second part of the motorcy exam is a driving test, which means I have to learn how to drive the darn things. In my training I’ve toppled (I hesitate to say crashed because both incidents were so minor and at such a low speed that they really don’t deserve such an ominous title) the motorcy twice. I think both times I was nervous and failed to make the mental connection that cranking the accelerator is probably not the best way to start out and pulling it back further will only make the bike go faster. The second time I got some “road rash” on my foot and elbow, leaving enough of a mark to be something to show for and a deep enough one to get infected. So of course, that’s what it did.

I should have known something was wrong when, on a 75 degree Fahrenheit day in Thailand, I was wearing two sweaters. Yep, that meant fever. And after a full day of chills I was brought to the hospital that night. By this time I had looked up the symptoms for Dengue Fever and was pretty convinced that I was the next victim. But as I was wheeled into the emergency room, the doctor listened to my symptoms, took one look at my swollen foot and made that connection. Infection.

And that brings me back to Khon Kaen Ram. It’s again been really been a lovely two-night stay here but I’m ready to get back into my intern team and start the crazy amount of planning we have ahead of us to prepare for the students. We’ll commence planning our goals and learning objectives for the students for the entire semester not to mention their orientation, program guide, and reading packets. Oh and they come in two weeks. And I still need to pass that motorcy test.

There’s nothing else to do but to get back up on that motorcy!

Love,

Anne

The title of this post is a quote from a quote that a friend and inspiration shared in an email before our last homestay and I can’t get over how relevant it was to my experiences in the past two days.

Our intern group spent the last two days in a new community called Huay Top Nai Noi. A man who is currently trying to organize with the village contacted CIEE and thought it would be an important community to work with in the future, so it became an intern project to travel to the community, develop a relationship and an understanding of the community’s efforts against a dam project, and determine what students could learn from the community and how to assist the community’s organizing efforts.

Here’s what we learned:

  • The group called the Chiang Ta River Preservation Group formed twenty years ago in response to the Royal Irrigation Department’s (RID) approval of an irrigation dam on the Chiang Ta River in 1989. The group now has around 90 households as members.
  • Huay Top Nai Noi is a protest village (gotta love them) that was established 15 years ago. Villagers intentionally moved here knowing that their homes would not be destroyed if the dam was built. Their farmland and the wetlands in which they sustain their livelihoods would however be destroyed. So in an effort to more directly combat the dam they moved into the flood zone.
  • In the past the anti-dam movement was strong because, even though villagers opposing the dam were in a minority in the wake of major RID propaganda campaigns which proclaimed the benefit that the dam would have for downstream farmers, they had significant organizing support from Thailand’s Assembly of the Poor, a national people’s rights network, and considerable media coverage. Through their organizing the villagers were able to delay the dam and successfully lobbied for an Environmental Impact Assessment. But in the past few years the network support and media coverage have waned. Now the community is in the difficult position of having to restructure its organizing process, platforms, and future plans.

So that’s the quick introduction to the community.  And here are some pictures to emulate the introduction that we had to the community’s way of life.

Ajaan Poi (ajaan means teacher) is our rock star co-worker, translator, Thai teacher, and friend. She is incredibly helpful and hilarious!

On our second day we went on a 5 hour hike in the woods that would be flooded to get a sense of how the villagers lived off of the forest.

The Paws guided us through the jungle, often off trail. We didn't go 5 minutes without one of the paws or mehs stopping to tell us about the cooking or medicinal properties of a vegetable or herb. We essentially collected our dinner for the night from food of the forest, and also killed a bat, a lizard, and two tarantulas that would at end up as dinner at some point as well.

A special vine in the forest...

...that you can drink water from! That hat was made by Meh Ed out of leaves she found from the laan tree in the forest.

Our hike ended on the top of the mountain in a cave. The villagers have many cave legends. Many of them are from a Hill Tribe that was forced and scared off of their forest land when the RID began surveying the dam area.

Interns!

When we asked about why they were still fighting the dam, the oldest Paw gave this answer: "Because I can't imagine how our next generation will have to live. We fight for them, so that they can know this forest and benefit from this land." It was evident here that it takes a village to raise a child. Villagers collectively teach and nurture the youth of the community.

There was so much to question and process after this community stay. In a way I felt like I was hurdled back into the world of a student. I felt so close and appreciative of the villagers, who shared their time and stories and compassion. They were truly some of the most welcoming and sincere people I’ve met, language barrier aside. And I’m pretty sure they made the most delicious home-stay food I’ve ever had!

And at the same time I was so overwhelmed by the magnitude of their struggle, and the intersectionality of complicated development issues they face. This community has dam issues, land rights issues, and feels the forces of industrial agriculture as well. They are trying to preserve their local knowledge in those woods as well as the medicines and food upon which their livelihoods depend. In their organizing history there has been one murder, several cases of arson, threats, lies, action, successes, the fear of not having elsewhere to live, and the sense that they are working against something much bigger than themselves. They are a litmus test for a huge series of irrigation dams to be built in the Isaan region. It reminded me of the intense complexity of these issues. And I know that the point is to have to struggle with these issues, acknowledge all truths, and take informed action in solidarity. But there is also this sense of fear for their future.

Then I have to take a step back and see this community in the context of its larger struggle. And I have to realize that the relationship that we’ve developed over the past few days is an important development for the community’s self-organizing. Being able to tell their story again and again will help them direct their next actions. And having willing students to commit to projects which will strengthen their capacity will give them a sense of solidarity and support.

In Thai the word for empathy, hen jai, literally means to see another’s heart. I’m still struggling with what the last three days mean to me. But I find a lot of confidence in this picture, which, to me represents that effort of practicing empathy to inform actions.

“What is real to me is the power of our awareness when we are focused on something beyond ourselves. It is a shaft of light shining in a dark corner. Our ability to shift our perceptions and seek creative alternatives to the conundrums of modernity is in direct proportion to our empathy. Can we imagine, witness, and ultimately feel the suffering of another?”

— Terry Tempest Williams

In Love and Learning,

Anne

The eucalyptus trees are still standing in the Kon San Forest...

but so is the Baw Kaew protest village!

Hello,

The interns just made a two day excursion to celebrate the second birthday of the Baw Kaew protest village. This community came to CIEE during my semester and was interested in documenting their land rights struggle. My final project with this community was to write a Human Rights report about their land rights violations using the International Covenant of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights. It was wonderful to see the village head woman P’Tookta, the NGOs P’Pramot and P’Dai, and the many supporting mothers, fathers, grandparents, and children in the village. I remembered how much it meant to me to be in that warm and supportive community. The celebration consisted of a press conference, many activists speakers, and a lot of playing and dancing to mo-lam music!

I’ll write more about our update next week. Now we’re preparing for a four day home-stay in a new community in Chaiya Phum province. The community is in the early states of organizing against a dam that will displace some 90 families from their land and will signal the commencement of a major development project in the Isaan region called the Isaan-Keow II Project. Appartently the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand and the Irrigation Council are planning a major development project in the region with 16 dams which will eventually supply electricity to a series of potash mines that will follow. We know the NGO’s who are working with this community and will hopefully create the foundations of a long-lasting community relationship.

I don’t have time now to expand on the Birthday party but I’ll post pictures and updates soon. For now some community context might be helpful. Here is the link to the Human Rights Report that my project group created when I was a student on the program.

http://globalgrassroots.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/baw-kaew-human-rights-report.pdf

Also, here’s a great update article from the Isaan Record on the most recent developments in the village:

http://isaanrecord.com/2011/07/20/protest-village-celebrates-second-anniversary/

In love and celebration,

Anne

Sawadee ka!

 

It’s really fortunate that our Thai language lessons cover vocabulary pertaining to development projects such as dams. Today it was quite useful to know the Thai word for flood–naam tooum.
I’m now especially aware that we’re in the rainy season in Thailand. After a long day of discussions and meetings we interns went home around 4pm to practice riding motorcys before returning to the office for an evening Thai session. As we began our trek back to the office it started to rain, but happy for the cool relief of the day’s heat, we proceeded without thought or caution. Our house is about a twenty-minute walk from our office and is at a lower elevation, but because the incline is gradual, I don’t usually notice it on the walk. Today however the rain came down so hard and fast that the sewers near the base of the hill instantly swelled with water, unable to take in both the rainwater and the water streaming downhill. So there we were, four foreigners wading shin deep in water as motorcys and cars struggled to get through the deep waters around us–naam tooum! We couldn’t see where the road ended and where the run-off ditch on the side of the road began until Larissa made the unfortunate discovery. The water depth with the ditch plus the flooded portion was about the equivalent of Larissa falling into a bathtub. Despite being now soaked with water with goodness knows what floating in it, her good-humored nature shone through as she emerged from the water in fits of laughter.
So there is your humorous anecdote and for the rest of this post I’ll talk a little about what the heck I’ll be doing the next semester. I’ve described some seemingly nebulous concepts when talking to you about my next year and hopefully the following section will lend some clarity.
For the next year I will be a Program Facilitator for the Council for International and Educational Exchange with three other graduated American students. The program studies globalization issues and development projects in the Northeast part of Thailand–the agrarian, rural, relatively impoverished region of the country. The program operates under a popular education model in which students self-facilitate their learning. Students study four main development topics: Agriculture, Land Rights Issues, Dams, and Mining. But studying for these students looks like reading discussions and briefing sessions facilitated by their peers. Class is held on the floors of community centers, through exchanges with villagers who are affected by the development projects, NGO’s who work with them, and government officials. The final exams come in the form of a community visioned project in which students are empowered to work with the community members they’ve been learning from to develop some action to further the community’s goal. My place in all of that alternative learning is to challenge and support the student group through a series of program learning phases.
The four phases that the students go through somewhat mirror Kolb’s learning cycles. Kolb maps problem solving phases that begin with identifying the problem, selecting the problem to solve, seeing different solutions, evaluating possible results, and implementing the solution. As we’re learning through self assessments and reflection, everybody has strengths in certain parts of these phases. Kolb breaks the process down in to four learning types: concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization, and active experimentation. In our self assessments, I found that I rely pretty heavily on understanding through my own or others’ concrete experience and reflection. Ideally the students learn how to use their learning strengths to complement the learning process of their entire group, realizing that the whole is greater than the sum of their parts.
So my role in this whole process is to challenge and support students through their growth and learning. Ideally we do this by trying to guide the group through four learning stages. The first is Awareness where students expand their knowledge of the development issues and structures. Second comes People to People in which students come to humanize the structures they’ve learned about through personal, emotional connections with villagers and community conditions. Third is Being in the World where students start to see themselves as a part of a global community and their student group as a unit which has an organizing process much like affected villages develop an organizing process. Finally students go through a stage of Connectedness in which students start to understand that the skills they have built on the program can be applied to organizing around issues they know in Thailand and at home. That’s the road map–the game plan for the next few months!
We just got the passport pictures of our 24 students for the fall semester. They look like a great bunch and we commenced facebook stalking the group last night.
Next week we’ll be going back to a couple of communities to catch up on things that have happened in the past few months. This means I’ll be able to return to Baw Kaew, the community for which my project time group wrote a human rights report. I’ll try to attach the report to this post if I can figure out how.
Also, big news. The final Harry Potter movie comes out in Thailand a full 24 hours before its released in the states. We’re definitely going and will be dressed up. I’ll try not to spoil the ending for anyone.

The results of the aforementioned excursion? We were the ONLY ones dressed up in the entire theater.

With love,
Anne

After all of that talk of being prepared to come to Thailand I wasn’t quite prepared for a 21-hour plane ride and a nine-hour bus ride after a five-hour wait in the bus station. But we did make it to our ban (home) in a village about a mile walk from our CIEE offices. Our house is quaint with two bedrooms, an open and versatile living room, a kitchen, and a western toilet and showerhead (probably my favorite features). The house has white walls, big open windows, and has easy to clean, tiled flooring. Even though we are the first group of CIEE interns to inhabit this place, the legacies of past intern groups live on. Our extensive library features titles ranging from  An Introduction to Development Perspectives to one titled, On Bullshit. Additional legacies include an extensive collection of long, flowing, culturally appropriate skirts, t-shirts from former community campaigns, bed mats, cloth, and kitchen necessities such as a mortar and pestle to make homemade som-tam (see future post about the art of som-tam preparation) and two boxes of instant cookie dough mix! Now all we need is an oven.

We spent all of yesterday morning moving furniture, deep cleaning, and unpacking. The day culminated in a home-cooked meal with items purchased from the outdoor market a couple of blocks from our home. Our schedules over the last few days have seemed practical and uncomplicated. We reorganized our office the first day, our house the next. Yet as a group of four interns we’re finding that time spent doing physical work together is still time spent learning from each other and bonding in the process. What better way to bond than through actualizing a vision and belting Beyoncé’s new album?

Sitting down (on the floor of course) to our first meal in our new house!

Cait and Josh cooked a Thai style meal with stir-fried veggies, chicken, and a Thai omlett (aroi-mak = very delicious!)

Almost settled into our new room. The bed mats are surprisingly comfortable.

I’ve started some reading that I sense will elicit themes I’ll revisit many times this year. I’m reading Erich Fromm’s The Art of Loving. Fromm states that love is not, as our culture teaches, a passive activity that is inevitable in our lives. You cannot simply fall into it; Finding your one true love is not happenstance. Yet our culture teaches us about the problem of love as a problem of being loved, rather than that of actively loving or one’s capacity to love. Active love, like any art form, takes work and patience, theory and practice.

Fromm considers the act of giving as a means towards actively loving.

What does one person give to another? He gives of himself…he gives of him of that which is alive in him; he gives of him his joy, of his interest, of his humor, of his sadness–all expressions and manifestations of that which is alive in him. In thus giving of his life, he enriches the other person, he enhances the other’s sense of aliveness by enhancing his own sense of aliveness. Giving implies to make the other person a giver also and they both share in the joy of what the have brought to life.

I’m finding that concept of love through sharing of oneself particularly useful as I come to learn more about my fellow interns. This morning a Thai NGO and one of our program mentors, P’Decha, stopped by for breakfast, conversation, and meditation. He asked each of us interns why we had come to Thailand. We each responded with very different but very meaningful explanations. P’Decha then asked us to come to a group consensus for our reason for coming to Thailand. After much synthesis and deliberation, we all decided that we had come to change ourselves. We also realized that we could not create that change alone and that by sharing ourselves, we may be able to help each other in achieving that end goal.

So that’s my life in Thailand so far. In the next week we’ll start Thai language class, contemplative education activities, and many other activities to develop our group’s internal process and capacity. Students come in five weeks and counting!

In the spirit of actively loving, I hope that this blog can be used as a space to not only communicate my experiences in Thailand, but to moreover provide a space for giving of ourselves. My growth and learning will be strengthened from the collective knowledge and experience of my friends and family. Please comment on if/how the Fromm quote resonates in your life and if/how these concepts apply universally.

P.S. I learned to drive a motorcycle today!

In active love,

Anne

I graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science on April 30th, 2011. In a ceremony attended by my parents, brother, and grandparents, I walked the field of the Big House (UM’s infamously large football stadium–think seating capacity 5 times the population of the City of Marquette) with 10,000 of my classmates all clad in black and adorned with multi-colored tassels.

I’ve been incredibly lucky to find and create small, meaningful, supportive communities at the University which deepen my learning and establish a support network of students, professors, friends, and advisors. So I sometimes forget that I am only one among 40,000 students who attend the University. Graduation was a visual reminder.

From 9am-10am we descended into the stadium in, what appeared to my dad and the other family members awaiting our arrival, the likeness of a dense line of ants. Despite the indestinguishable mass of students within the stadium, the University attempted to personalize the graduation expeirence outside the stadium. Before entering the Big House we funneled into white canvas tents for graduation photos. In the 25 seconds it took to traverse the tent I stood for 4 pictures in front of three graduation themed backgrounds. One by one, students emerged at the other end of the tent in peals of laughter at the absurdity of the whole process.

Without fail, my graduation photos were sent to me a week after the ceremony. Each photo featured me, dressed in my cap and gown, in front of an iconic campus building or a giant block M or some UM wallpaper. And each photo featured a bright, yellow tassel on my cap mid-wave, belying the perception of a photo shoot conducted with care.

That was April 3oth and the pace of life has not slowed since. Between working at a farm in Texas, traveling to Chicago with my partner for a visa run, traveling home to spend time with friends and my parents, enjoying the Ann Arbor summer my brother and friends on campus, working for an environmental non-profit in Ann Arbor, and preparing mentally for the year ahead in Thailand, I’ve felt that the tassel has not ceased its vigorous waving.

Finally the next stage is here. I find that, amidst all of the bustling of the past two months, it’s incredibly humbling and encouraging to think of all of the friends and family who have helped me here. I am finally ready to embark on this Thailand adventure and to take in the learnings in alternative education, globalization, environmental issues, Thai culture, and grassroots movements. I’m ready to share the lessons I’ve learned thus far with other students as we collectively make sense of our place in the world.

That doesn’t mean that I embark without apprehension. I’m anxious about a lot of things, so anxious that in some ways, I don’t even know the questions I seek to answer in the coming year. I expressed as much to one of my great friends and biggest inspirations over the phone. And she sent me the following excerpt that gives her solace in this time of personal and national change and turmoil.

From Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet:

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

Letter Four 6 July 1903

I hope that quote comforts you and your questions. I am so thankful for this opportunity and for the support network of friends, family, and teachers as I set off for this new year. Thank you for reading and thank you for being a part of my learning process.

Warmest Wishes,

Anne

P.S. This is my office address in Khon Kaen, Thailand. I’d love to send letters back to you if you post your address in the comment section.

Anne West

973/1 Moo 12 T. Sila

A. Muang, Khon Kaen, 40000

Thailand.

So Sam and I will both be traveling to Southeast Asia in the next year for adventures in experiential education. Anne will be a program intern for the CIEE Study Abroad program in Khon Kaen, Thailand and will fly out July 1st for a training before the semester starts. Sam is continuing his learning through a second trip to Vietnam in the winter. Both of us are incredibly excited about our upcoming opportunities. And we realize that we would not have these opportunities available without the love, support, and encouragement of friends and family members. So as a small token of our thanks, we want to be able to share some of what we will personally gain from this experience with you all.

So stay tuned! We’ll keep everyone posted with pre-flections of the trip and preparations as we engage in contemplation of exploring new nations.

 

 

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