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Study Abroad and Domestic Study Away

Notes from Abroad: Bernard in Thailand

Bernard Kondenar ’20, an Environmental Studies major, is studying at Thammasat University in Bangkok, Thailand

When I first researched studying abroad in Bangkok Thailand, I will admit that fantasies of skirting the ocean waves in a ribbon festooned long-tail boat and culminating in a visit to a secret island cove for a romantic afternoon getaway would be high on my list of priorities, but, I didn’t actually get around to that until about week four. The fact of the matter is, Bangkok has a whole lot more to offer than your run of the mill tourist commercial can ever reveal. My university itself is steeped in history, and is just steps away from the National Museum, the National Gallery, the National Theater, and the Grand Palace. Evidently, recognition of this rich history is of the utmost importance to the Thai people as almost every block has a museum style placard commemorating the events that transpired there. I myself may become a footnote on one of those prominently placed signposts; as participation in the political science program entails a walk-on role in the inauguration of the incoming monarch—King Rama X. With the last king reigning for more than eighty years, it promises to be a very special event and one I am proud to be a part of. Known as the ‘Land of Smiles’, Thailand and its people have an extremely welcoming nature, and there is virtually no place in this city where I have not been warmly greeted and welcomed into. I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to all of the donors that without which this incredible experience would not have been possible. Thank you to ISEP for the much-needed airfare award. Thank you to the G. Dale Smith, ’37 and Ruth Peterson Smith Endowed Scholarship Fund for International Study-Abroad Programs for their support. And Thank you to Lake Forest College for their generous College Grant and Phi Theta Kappa scholarships. I would also like to extend my grateful recognition to the hardworking staff of the Lake Forest Global Engagement Office that makes these kind of experiences a reality for so many students year after year.