Clothes, shoes, a camera– all things you’ll need for a trip. But studying abroad isn’t just any other trip, and you’ll want to be prepared for the whole duration for your stay, whether it be a summer, semester, or full year abroad. There are a lot of differences between Thailand and my home in the U.S., including the language, culture, climate and cuisine. I’m embracing the complete change of pace, but you’ll likely be more comfortable in Thailand if you pack along the following things:
1. As many rain jackets as you can fit in your suitcase
This is a good tip if you happen to be in Thailand between May and October. This time is the rainy season, or as I like to call it, an endless monsoon. My rain jacket is either wet or drying, never dry. It rains here every day, but normally only for about an hour, so come prepared.
2. Your soccer shoes/cleats/football boots
Thai people love to play soccer. They’ll play it in the street, on turf fields, at school, or wherever. It is a beautiful game, and they love to play. They also love for you to join in. Be prepared! (And remember to call it football.)
3. Deodorant that you like
Thailand has an unfortunately small selection of men’s deodorant. For women, it is a different story, but my choices (after searching for some time) came down to Axe or Playboy. I won’t tell you which one I chose, but I have regretted not just bringing an extra canister of something basic from home.
Thailand is slower than any country I’ve ever visited. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but you should be prepared. Traffic is slow, wifi is slow, the people move slowly. Thai people understand walking, and running, but not fast walking. Patience will be your best friend, especially if you come from a city where people are always running late.
5. Peanut butter
As an American, I’ll be honest with you, I eat a lot of peanut butter. There is not much peanut butter in Thailand. This is a big problem for me. I think peanut butter might be one of mankind’s top three greatest creations, thank you George Washington Carver. Make sure you bring some with you. If you’re on the way here before December, bring some for me too.
6. A sense of humor
This is more of a general travel tip, but you will have more success if you are prepared to laugh. People inevitably have problems when they travel, and stressing about small things can dampen your spirits and your overall trip. Try finding something to laugh about when things don’t go your way, and your time abroad will be better spent.
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