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Study Abroad Thoughts


Yes, that is a picture of an acceptance package.

No, I did not get accepted. I did not even apply.

I still have one more year of graduate school left then I’m off to the “real world” with a butt load of debt trailing behind me.

I was recently told by someone that due to the nature of my current degree, it is possible that my school loans can be taken care of either fully or partially; that this is a possibility for people with degrees in the education field. I still need to look more into this because although I am in the education field, I am not studying to be a teacher so I’m not sure just how much this applies to me. But Lord knows just how grateful I would be if my school loans could be taken care of.

So back to the posted picture. In one of my other Random Musings posts, I mentioned how I have been deeply contemplating expanding my education yet again and studying abroad since I never got that chance in undergrad. That was back in December 2016 and I had been having those thoughts for going on 6 months. Well it’s the Summer of 2017 now which makes a little over a year since the idea first dropped into my lil ol’ brain and it’s stronger than ever. Seriously, it just won’t go away. And I think that means something.

In my other post, I also mentioned that the country at the top of my list to study in was Thailand. I researched other countries I had an interest in but I would always find myself coming back to Thailand. I don’t know what the pull is about this country or why my heart and gut has settled on it so strongly but Thailand is my top choice country.

While at work, I have been doing research on different schools and the degrees they offer. And based off my interests, the degree calling my name is Thai Language & Culture and it’s perfect. I have even narrowed down the schools I am interested in to a list of three: Kasetsart University, Mae Fah Luang University, and Chiang Mai University. Out of these three, my top choice is Mae Fah Luang University. They have absolutely everything I would want in a study program and the school offers so many things for international students. Based off the school’s website and videos online, the school really takes care of its international students and does a good job at integrating them into the school community.

Then I started thinking……am I too old to be thinking about going back to school? I mean, I’m only 25, and I haven’t even finished my current degree yet for heaven’s sake! What if adult students aren’t viewed the same way they are here? Here in the states, it’s okay for adults to return to school or to even start college at a later age. The majority of undergrad college students are aged 18-25, but it is still common for adults and mature students to get degrees and they are not looked at funny or judged. They are actually respected because they usually do it while still having full-time jobs with children. And that’s hard!

All of this really worried me because if being a foreigner wouldn’t be enough, I would be older too? Although looking older doesn’t really bother me. People still think I’m 18 or 19 anyway. So, while still doing my research, I fell across a graduation video from Mae Fah Luang University and it was this past graduation of the international students back in February. Some of the international students were interviewed so that they could talk about their experiences at MFU and to my surprise, half the students that talked to the camera were older students! This was so reassuring and encouraging to see! Maybe it’s a common thing for the international students to be a little older there? Who knows, but it made me feel better.

So what do I want to do with a degree in Thai Language & Culture?

Well, I love to read and write. So translating is something I would like to do; translating for websites, business documents, stories and books for authors, being an interpreter/translator at meetings, or translating subtitles on movies and TV series for international fans. This sounds fun to me. Also, I was hoping I could use the degree and combine it with the skills of my current degree (counseling) in some way. Such as helping women and children in under-served communities. Or if I’m being really ambitious and dreaming big, I would like to work at a university in a counseling center for international students helping them adjust with living and studying abroad. I want it to be an open and safe space for students. And since counseling is not really a big or common thing in Thailand, then I would like to start one. But like I said, that’s really big dreams.

Deep, deep down, I know this is what I really want. But the present is what is giving me doubts and making me feel like this is just some silly, unachievable dream: I still have one more year of grad school, my internship year, starting in the Fall; I still have mounds of debt to pay back despite the hundreds of dollars I have already paid back; And don’t even think I voiced any of this to my family! They didn’t even want me to apply for the Critical Language Scholarship program. I wanted to study the Korean language in South Korea and it would have only lasted for the Summer – 2 and half months – so I am more than certain that I will not have their support on getting a 4-year degree at a school on the opposite side of the globe. But lucky for them and disappointing for me, I didn’t get the scholarship.

A part of me – a major part of me – just wants to finish out my last year, work for a year or two in the field, then apply for the school and not say anything until I know whether or not I have been accepted. If I were to get accepted, there is no changing my mind. I would just pray my family won’t be too upset with me because this is literally my dream.

……….

If you have made it this far in this blog post, thank you so much for reading. This is just my way of getting my thoughts and frustrations out. I don’t really know how to end this post either so again, thank you for reading. I am certain that there will be more posts like this in the near future. I am genuinely making plans on how I can make this happen: how I can earn money while in my unpaid internship; more research on the schools, the programs, the surrounding areas, living situations, etc.; finding first-hand accounts of previous international students; the general cost of plane tickets; student visa information. The list goes on. But I guess the first step in making this happen is indeed making plans.

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