I went to Thailand to teach English and this is what I learned.

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When I decided to move to a foreign country, it wasn’t a shock to my family, but it was quite the shock to me. I have never lived farther than 15 miles from my mom and we have an oddly close bond that I had no intention of being apart from. After a hard semester and some trials I didn’t want to deal with. My impulsivity got the best of me and I joined the International Language Program, a program where I could help students learn English in Thailand for four months.

I didn’t realize how long four months truly was until I was flying somewhere over South Korea and writing in my journal of all of the things I would miss from home. This list included things like: In-N- Out, my mom and my new friends. I knew that I was making the right decision but it was a harder decision that I would’ve liked it to be. The first month living in a foreign country was tough.

Teaching was a lot harder than I had anticipated. Being a kindergarten and preschool teacher was proving to be much harder than expected. I suddenly had the upmost respect for my kindergarten teacher. You wouldn’t think that making paper binoculars is hard until you have to make paper binoculars for 44 children who don’t understand English. But after six weeks of training, practice, and falling in love with those adorable children, I had grown to love being what the students would call me – “Teacha Hannah”. While I was there I also got the chance to travel all over Asia.to I traveled to Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Pai, Cambodia, and Indonesia.

To me, traveling teaches you more than school could ever teach you. School teaches you how to be reliable, be proud of your work, and be held accountable. UVU has taught me how to take that reliable accountability and use it to my advantage while in my travels. Traveling teaches you how to be fiercely independent, how to live in another culture and about really creating yourself and discovering who you want to be. I can’t tell you how many times I have been pushed to my limits, at my breaking point, and out of my comfort zone while traveling. That, which is why I left my life back home for four months. That is why I packed up my clothes, cameras and a few books and headed out for a rural town in central Thailand. That is why I left my near- perfect life for something completely new and completely different.

I wanted to learn, grow and stretch myself to become the best version of myself. And the best part is, it worked. I have learned so much and I recommend studying abroad to any college student I come into contact with meet. Travel while you’re young, because this is valuable knowledge you’ll want to know before the age of 40. Live your life, get out of your comfort zone, and see how the other half of the world lives. You will never know how big the world is if you don’t go out and explore it.