It has been a busy week! Last Friday we got to switch from staying in a hostel for orientation week to moving into our dorms at Payap University. It was so nice to unpack our suitcases! ISDSI provided us with bedding and bikes, helmets, and locks for getting around. There was still a lot of things we needed for our dorms so on Friday night we all went to the mall. On Saturday we got to sleep without setting an alarm – not sure I’m totally adjusted here as I still get up pretty early. My roommate and I decided to go exploring around campus to find something for breakfast. We get meals from the cafeteria in our dorm building weekdays for breakfast and dinner, but on weekends, we’re on our own. Payap University is bigger than I expected! The campus is beautiful- lots of water features and nice buildings, but after walking around in the sun for awhile, we understood why they gave us bikes! We found some street food and after some amateur exchanges in Thai, we had a great breakfast. One thing I’ve noticed here is that there isn’t necessarily “breakfast food”. At home, I love having oatmeal for breakfast- here our cafeteria serves dishes like fried rice and pad thai for breakfast. It’s all good, just something I didn’t think about much before I arrived. We spent a lot of the weekend learning things like this and exploring on our own. On Saturday afternoon, we ended up walking around Old City for awhile – went into some shops and markets. On Sunday, I did laundry, finished unpacking, and relaxed a bit. In the evening we went back to the mall to get more dorm necessities and to stack up on snacks – all geared up for the next week of classes!
Our weekdays are structured to be pretty similar. In the morning we eat breakfast in the dorm cafeteria and then bike to Thai class. We have our same Ajaans and classmates as orientation week, but now our classes take place on Payap’s campus. I still really like Thai class – though it has been getting more difficult. After Thai class we have a 1.5 hr break for lunch. There’s a food court on campus that has a group of restaurants that sell Thai food, smoothies, bubble tea, and desserts. I get food and eat there for awhile – then sometimes go to study or hang in a building with AC. Aside from Thai class, we have 3 other classes: on Mondays I have Becoming a Change Maker (social justice course), on Tuesdays I have Societies and Cultures of Southeast Asia, and on Wednesdays I have Sustainability and the Environment in Thailand and Southeast Asia. I’m excited about all of my classes – our first sessions were really interesting. After class, I bike back to the dorms to change out of my school uniform and unwind a bit. One day, I went with a few other K students to the gym. The gym is small but we still had a good time and got a workout in. After class, I’ve also biked around the area some more, visited a few cafes, and of course worked on Thai HW lots!
On Thursdays (which is the day I’m writing this), we don’t have afternoon classes so we have even more free time. After dinner in the cafeteria, we went to check out the Night Bizarre scene in Chiang Mai. This was one of the more tourist-y places we’ve visited so far. There was lots of beautiful lights, live music, and more vendor booths than a person could possibly look at. On Fridays we don’t have classes, but we have field trips to somewhere around the city that will relate to our curriculum. Tomorrow, we’re visiting a few more museums and another temple to learn more historical context of Chiang Mai – I’ll write about it in next week’s post!
One big highlight for me has just been getting situated in a dorm. It’s really nice to have my own space and to have a sense of home (especially compared to staying in the hostel last week). The set up here is really nice, and it’s been fun walking through markets looking for things to decorate our dorms with. My room is still kinda barren but I’ll upload photos of it eventually!
Aside from moving into dorms, it’s been really fun to have bikes. The campus is large and spread out, so it’s been great biking to classes – it makes transportation time much faster. I’ve most enjoyed getting to ride around and see places I might not have gotten to on foot. It’s a funny sight to see Americans riding around on a bikes with a helmets while many Thai people whiz by us on motor bikes or incars. Regardless, I appreciate being able to explore my surroundings better. I’ve already had a few moments of being lost, but thanks to my Thai phone, I’ve made it back to my dorm each time!
Thank you for reading! You can see more of my photos from this week (and others) here!