March 8th, 2011
My name is Tristan Thibodeaux and I am a Junior at UALR. I am currently studying in
Right now I am in intensive Thai language classes. I study from 9-12 everyday. Thai is a very hard language but I feel my Thai is coming along. Its funny, because when I first arrived hearing the Thais speak to each other in Thai was very cool. When you do not understand what is being said around you it appears that everything they say is very important and meaningful. Now that I can understand some of what I hear I have been disappointed to learn that Thai people’s conversations are often as mundane as ours are back home. While a place and a language may be different people are pretty much the same everywhere.
I arrived in January, and within three days I had job offers from various schools looking for English teachers. I never thought something that I completely take for granted and do without thinking-speaking English-would be such a valuable asset to some. I did not take a job, but I did take an opportunity to teach English at a primary school on the outskirts of town. I am a volunteer as the school could not afford to pay a native English speaker’s salary. I am the only “farang” or Westerner that I have seen in this part of town, and it does bring me a lot of attention. The kids at the school seem very interested in talking to me, even though they are often to shy to do it.
The majority of my activities take place after school. We have an “English Club” where we play games such a telephone and hangman. I promised them I would teach them American football, which they call super bowl. They were really interested in this, so I broke down and bought an American football (probably the only one in
I often wonder how I ended up here, half a world away from my home, family, friends, and school. It can be quite lonely to think that I am over a day’s travel from anyone that I knew before January. But at the same time life here is an adventure. Every day I do something new and exciting. I meet new people often and I have made good friends as well. It is strange how I can feel both at home and so far away from home at the same time.
Having the opportunity to come to