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Joe Paul

One Month in Thailand

by Joe Paul Monday, September 18, 2017

Hi Friends,

Today marks one month since my arrival to Thailand. I can hardly believe it! The energy and pace of the city is making time fly by.

Currently, I am living in Nonsi Residence and it is quickly becoming my home. The residence is a converted hotel where almost all Chula exchange students live, which makes meeting new people and organizing weekend adventures very simple. However, upon arrival I had a difficult time being confident in my ability in making new friends. I mean think about it, it’s been over two years since freshman move-in, so I was a little rusty! But with advice from my friends who have studied abroad before, I have been able to find diverse group of people that I can already tell they are going to be lifelong friends.

 Joe Paul group shot
After a delicious meal and welcome presentation organized by Chulalongkorn’s International Department

My favorite thing about Bangkok is the mixture between extremely old neighborhoods intermixed with modern skyscrapers and shopping malls that are the paradigm of luxury. It is an amazing perspective that keeps me on my toes knowing I will always see something completely new every time I turn a corner.

Thai culture is very different from the West, and I will try to do my best to explain these differences during my time here. One month in, I have only been amazed with the sincerity of Thailand’s people and the depth of its historic traditions. I have felt discomfort with my new home very rarely.

In fact, attending school in Thailand has been one of the hardest adjustments. Every class is a blast from the past since the school uniforms, small class sizes, and Thai student culture is reminiscent of my high school days. However, the way Chulalongkorn University structures its curriculum lessens our workload outside of school and gives us four day weekends which makes exploring Southeast Asia incredibly easy!


Joe in a white shirt and long pants in front of a large school building
First day of school! Yes, the uniform is as warm as it looks!

My favorite thing about Thailand so far is the countryside. Whether I’m driving in an open-backed tuk tuk or riding my own motorbike for the day, the fresh air is the best recluse from the city. Not to mention the fact that rural Thailand is one of the most beautiful places I have ever encountered. So far I have taken a bus to the eastern island of Koh Chang, and spent a weekend along the coast in the beach city, Ao Nang by Krabi. The rolling hills, soaring cliffs, and pristine coastline always make me pinch myself to be sure I’m not dreaming!

Joe jumping on a beach in front of a rocky island
Jumping for joy in Railay Bay! In fact, these cliffs were my computer wallpaper prior to me leaving! 

You’ll hear from me soon!