So here I am.

Posted by Alex at 9:28 am on Thursday, September 22, 2011
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I am not really sure how to start of my first blog now that I am in Tokyo. I suppose the best thing to do would be to introduce myself for anyone reading this who does not already know me. My name is Alex Pinn. I am a Junior and a Marketing Major at SUNY New Paltz. I will be living and going to school here in Tokyo until the beginning of February, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. These first 2 weeks in Japan have been amazing.

After a quick 13 hour flight I was in the airport, ready to begin my journey. Figuring out my own way through customs, to the bus station, and eventually to my host family’s house was an exhilarating experience. It felt like a rite of passage.  I think the word “surreal” is used too easily a lot of the time, but being in an entirely new country. One you have dreamed of going to for years, can be describe by no other word. As someone who has never done any sort of international traveling, I felt prepared to tackle Tokyo head on after that. Let’s just say I wasn’t quite as ready as I thought.

The very first day in Tokyo I wound up getting lost in Shinjuku station (One of the biggest stations in the world) for an hour and a half before I found the person I was meeting. I also quickly realized that my language proficiency was no where near good enough to feel confident speaking with native Japanese people.

Despite getting lost and not really knowing a whole lot of useful Japanese, I am still having the greatest time here in Japan. I spent the entire first week being a complete tourist. Conquering the train system, and traveling to all parts of the city taking in all of the sites.  The food here is incredible!  Some of the most delicious food I have ever had has been in the past week.

So that is all for now.  It is getting late and I am tired.  I will post again soon about school and my host family.  Next time there will be more pictures, maybe even a moving one.  But for now these two sum up my first week pretty well I think.

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Today makes 1 month in Thailand

Posted by Loretta at 1:30 pm on Sunday, September 18, 2011
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Today Sept.18th makes a month since I’ve been in Thailand. I can’t believe what I’ve experienced so far, words can’t explain.  After the 18 hour plane ride from NYC to Korea, then from Korea to Chiang Mai, I was greeted at the airport with Welcome to Thailand posters.  From the second I arrived I knew I made the right choice to study in Thailand.  That night the group of Thai studies students rode in a Songthaew (Red Truck Aka Taxi) from the airport to Payap University. We rode through the old city of Chiang Mai.   When I arrived to the International Dormitory (PHI) I was amazed, it was beautiful.  A group of Thai English major greeted us down stairs and we were assigned roommate. Most of us called it a night from that point … Exhausted from the long plane rides.

The first week was wonderful more Thai studies students arrived.  It was a diverse group of 22 college students from all over the US, Africa and Japan.  The Thai studies staff arranged tours for the group, so we had the opportunity to visit local markets, temples and historical sites. Throughout the week students ventured out to explore the city and try new foods. Chiang Mai is definitely a cosmopolitan city, but still maintains its traditional aspects.  There are street vendor everywhere selling traditional items and popular foods.  I was most amazed by how kind and helpful the local people. Although there was a language barrier they made us feel welcomed and were happy to share aspects of their culture with us.

Stay Tuned …

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The Million Dollar Question: WHY THAILAND?

Posted by Loretta at 2:36 pm on Tuesday, September 13, 2011
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I always had this strong desire to study abroad in an Asian country and experience another culture. I felt Thailand would be the best location because it is a region rich in cultural heritage. I had the opportunity to apply for a standard study abroad experience, but while studying overseas I want to volunteer in a country where I can experience poverty first hand. In Thailand I could learn more about Asian Culture particularly in Chiang Mai since it is a cosmopolitan city, but still maintains its traditional aspects. I felt the opportunity to study abroad would allow me to learn the history from the indigenous people.

The experience would become a part of me and I can share it with others. Instead of sharing what I have learned from a textbook, I can share information from personal experiences. Most importantly I wanted to completely immerse myself in Thai culture so I can have a better understanding of how people live in Southeast Asia. This would be my time learn more about the peoples’ opinions on gender, sexuality and religion, so I can understand what influences their way of life.

Overall this experience shows others that I am not afraid to take on new challenges and I am willing to embrace situations that are unfamiliar. This experience could prepare me for life and the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

~Stay Tuned for more about my experiences living, working, and studying abroad ~

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