Edler was raised in California and was a Junior sociology major
from Westmont college when she participated in the 2005 Spring Semester
in Thailand program.
have learned from the Buddhist Monks, my Thai family and the village
about living and knowing each step of life, about loving others
deeply and genuinely from the heart, I have seen faith that moves
mountains and been challenged to seek these same qualities in my
own life. I feel encouraged and prepared to return home and to bring
with me a testimony of the people here through a new way of life.
I cant tell you how much I have learned from this program,
it has been incredible.
Vannatter was raised in France and was a Sophomore Movement Science
Major from Gordon College when she participated in 2004 Spring Semester
in Thailand Program.
only way you will realize the magnitude of a decision to spend a
semester in Thailand is to go there yourself. I had no idea before
I went the extent to which you would become part of the Thai community.
The opportunity I had to live with Thai families and Karen hilltribe
families blew my mind while I was there and still today when I'm
back at home. If you ever want to experience Thai culture, much
less Asian culture at all, there is honestly no better way than
through this semester. Even foreigners who have lived in Thailand
for many years may not have gone to live in the mountains for a
month, in fact many don't care a hoot about those not in their own
circles. The program enabled me to cultivate my heart for the Thai
people in all circumstances, since I got first hand insight into
the wealthy class and the poorest. No quick backpacking trip can
cover what I covered, or get me as authentic an experience."
McBride was raised in Northern California and was a sophomore Art
Major from Westmont College when he participated in 2001 Spring
Semester in Thailand Program.
was the most life changing experience I have ever had. It challenged
me spiritually, emotionally, socially, worldly... everything! The
big thing I prayed for before I left was that I would be stretched,
and that I would mature, and boy did these two things happen, and
fast. And Mike Leming was a huge part of that. The program that
he set up was the main reason my life was so changed. Let me give
you a small example. My main struggle throughout the semester, I
think, was the issue of Buddhism vs. Christianity. Do Buddhists
go to heaven? Why do Christians think they have all the answers
and try to convert people from Buddhism, destroying whole cultures?
What is with Christian elitism? The main way SST helped us with
this struggle was through the Thai society class.
had both Christians and Buddhists come and speak to us about Buddhism,
and they were great lectures. Especially by Ajaan John Butt, a Christian
who spoke to us about Buddhism. In this way many of us were stretched
in our faith and in our thought. I remember the field trips took
us on through Buddhist temples. These temples were amazing and beautiful,
I gained such a respect for another religion, I gained not only
tolerance, but love. I learned this semester that people can get
very scared about what they don't know and don't understand, and
this fear breeds anger and hatred. I know the value of love towards
another religion, and this, I think, is one of the most important
things any of us could have learned this semester."
Carlisle was raised in Pennsylvania, and was a Junior Sociology-Anthropology
major from Messiah College when she participated in 2004 Spring
Semester in Thailand Program.
I call it Amazing Thailand! Asia is on the other side of the world,
and before I heard about the Spring Semester in Thailand program
Id have to look at a globe for awhile to find Thailand. But
now that Im back home in the U.S., I feel that Thailand and
its people, history and customs are far from foreign. As a person
who cares deeply about others and hopes for nations, states, and
people groups to live peaceably, being given the opportunity to
learn about an unfamiliar place (while living there and building
relationships with real people) has been one of the most shaping
experiences of my life. I learned truths about life that I hope
to be able to use in bringing harmony in the world: how people find
and express meaning, how they interact, how they learn, what they
value, what makes them happy or frightened, what enables them to
Particularly through my internship teaching English to monk students,
I learned how valuable friendships are and what an enjoyment it
can be to share your life with others. I feel that my understanding
of humanity is more holistic and more realistic. I know that I am
better equipped to make important decisions now and in my future,
whether its concerning a career, graduate school studies,
or how to form good relationships in my every day life. I am so
thankful for the chance to become more knowledgeable about how to
live in this world. And it was even more fun than I could have imagined."
Kia Yang was raised by her close-knit Hmong family in St. Paul,
Minnesota and was a Sophomore Social Work from Bethel College when
she participated in 2002 Spring Semester in Thailand Program.
had always wanted to go to Thailand. It didn't really matter when
and where. I just knew that I had to be there. At first, I wanted
to go and teach English in Bangkok. Then, Aj. Mike came along and
that gave me an opening. That week, I strongly felt a call from
God pushing me to go. I knew that it was my chance and God was calling
me to it.
my parents were born from Laos and were refugees in Thailand, I
have heard lots of stories. My friends would tell me of all the
fruits there and how delicious it was. It made me dream of going
there, especially since I was born in the States. I also had relatives
there, but I knew there wasn't a way for me to see them alone.
a pessimistic person, this was my first very optimistic experience.
I let anything and everything come my way, bad or good. This experience
led me to become a very optimistic person now. I have learned so
much from the Thai people and have grown in my faith. I saw God
daily at work. My greatest experience was staying at the Karen Village.
It challenged me to use the Thai that I had learned and challenged
my faith as a Christian to practice my faith. I thank God everyday
for this amazing experience. God is truly present."
Beadle was raised in New Orleans, Louisanna and was a Junior Sociology-Anthropology
and Pre-law Major from Messiah College when she participated in
2004 Spring Semester in Thailand Program.
remember the day I found out about the Spring Semester in Thailand
Program. At the time, I was the Student Body Chaplain of my college
and had just founded a campus chapter of a human rights organization.
I had finally decided on my major (Anthropology), and was beginning
to love living in an on-campus apartment with my own kitchen and
living room (one of the perks of being an upperclassman at my school).
Then for some reason Ajarn Mike's e-mail about spending a wild four
months in Thailand caught my eye and somehow God convinced me that
I should set aside all the wonderful things I was involved in at
the time and go to exactly the other side of the world to learn
whatever it was He had to teach me.
spending four months in a country I couldn't have distinguished
from Bangladesh before I left, living with five wonderful Thai people,
successfully communicatingn Thai language, interning at the very
human rights organization whose campus chapter I had started, and
getting to know the Karen people (a kind of wonderful people whose
lives are radically different than ours) ... I can honestly say
that I would have been a fool to pass up the Spring Semester in
many things I learned about myself and about this world that our
God created have made an indelible impact on me. The professional
and cross-cultural experience I gained in my internship were priceless.
And the relationships that bloomed in the midst of culture shock
will continue to nourish me for years to come. Since I've gotten
back from Thailand, I've looked into other study abroad programs,
but none has proven itself to be as holistic, comprehensive, and
immersive as the trip I took to Thailand five months ago. Like I
said, I would have been a fool to have passed it up."
Carriere is a junior Sociology major from California Lutheran University
when he participated in 2004 Spring Semester in Thailand Program.
When he is not in Thousand Oakes, California, he makes his home
in Grand Coulee, Washington.
always knew I wanted to study abroad somewhere, to spend some time
out of the U.S. meeting new people and seeing the world. College
is the perfect time to do this and so I began looking into programs
that could give me what I wanted. I originally spent a lot of time
looking at Europe because that is the typical thing to do. After
awhile I got frustrated because I wasn't finding what I was looking
for, but the thought of going anywhere other than Europe hadn't
really crossed my mind... until I found out about the Spring Semester
knew two girls who had gone to Thailand before so I talked to them
and slowly my interested grew. Before I knew it I was swept up into
going to this amazing country in Asia where I would live with a
host family, learn a totally new language, stay in a tribal village
for a month, and meet some of the most amazing people ever. As I
looked forward to our departure I knew that I had gotten myself
into something good, but I had no idea how could it would really
be. Now as I look back on my time in Thailand, I can honestly say
it was the best time of my life. We got to experience so much on
the Spring Semester in Thailand program that can not be experienced
in any other conventional study-abroad program. We did so much more
than study in Thailand, we went and were immersed to the extent
that the experience touched us and changed us mentally, emotionally,
know that I personally experienced and learned things that will
stay with me for years to come, and made friendships that will stay
with me longer. This is something that can only be experienced for
oneself so I encourage anyone looking to experience another place
and another culture to go beyond what you know and do something
other than ordinary, and that's what Spring Semester in Thailand
Hamilton was raised in New Mexico and was a Junior Pre-Medical Biology
Major from Westmont College when she participated in 2001 Spring
Semester in Thailand Program.
"If one asked me about my time in Thailand- I would say it
was wonderful, I had many new experiences, faced challenges, and
the people are kind, warm, loving, and a lot of fun to be around.
I took my studies seriously and I can honestly say I acquired a
good amount of knowledge pertaining to Thai culture, society, history,
Buddhism (popular and intellectual), the anthropology of the Karen,
and Thai language. I was also able to learn and be apart of rural
public health. My time with Inthorn was absolutely amazing and it
really solidified my goals of going into the field of international
public heath in conjunction with becoming a medical doctor. My passions
for health care in rural communities has increased. You never know,
I might end up back there someday.
the challenges, I grew in the Lord and I grew as a person. If you
asked me, "Would I do it all over again," I would say,
"Yes, yes, yes!!"