An exciting & insightful new perspective of Asia – KMUTT Thailand Winter 2016

From the moment we stepped beyond the threshold of the boeing’s cabin doors , we were greeted with relentless, incessant humidity that clung like a second skin. Over the successive 2 weeks, I grew to ardently love the dampness so unfamiliar from the dry oven-like climate that I had only ever known in Australia’s summers. I assume the change in weather was without a doubt the very first characteristic of this foreign land everyone noticed upon arrival.

Unfamiliarity was rampant for the majority of the former half of our Thailand experience. Unknowns strewn and embedded down to the smallest of notions around us. Unfamiliar faces, Unfamiliar sounds, when even the people we had flown over with were still somewhat of an enigma to us. And with the unknown, fear inevitably threatens to come hand in hand. It was all very new, shiny and by 8pm, clustered into the back of a taxi with all of our bulk and luggage, we were already immersed knee-deep in so much culture. How do I even begin to describe such an experience?

I am no stranger to Asia and it’s diversity in cultures, having flown back and forth since I was a child, visiting relatives and going on exchanges. Buddhism is always a welcome constant across the majority of Asia, and visiting the temples and paying my respects always evokes a familiarity like I’m closer to home, closer to my culture no matter where I am.

That isn’t to say I wasn’t absolutely enthralled by the Thai design. Temples were lined in gold and coloured stones and truly reminded you that you were standing in highly revered, royal, sacred ground.

KMUTT was a truly enjoyable experience. I loved how welcome and warm everyone was, how lovely the accommodation was, how accessible culture was, just outside the main entrance; we were in a perfect location surrounded by what only could have been the inspiration for “the land of smiles”.

Making friends has never been so easy. The bonding experience began immediately and the days that followed were spent in bliss as everyone got used to each other with cooperative planning with every night we went out, navigating around the city, playing group games on buses between excursion sites and looking out for each other in a foreign country with foreign laws and customs.

I will never forget the endless mass of land that surrounded us sitting in the steamy heat on a country train up north of Bangkok to see the Buddha ruins, how many hawkers and street vendors lined nearly every path, the majesty of elephants, the utter ecstatic excitement that came with talking a mere stroll down Koh San Road or even just how beautiful the city of Bangkok looked from my balcony at night.

A truly valuable opportunity, which landed me with some very good friends, a widened perspective on Asia, immersion into Thai culture, real world experience, gorgeous polaroids and wonderful memories.

Jasmin Russell

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