Studying at Chiang Mai University has been completely different to my previous experiences living in Thailand. Reading Thai culture in Leeds seems to have provided me with a whole new perspective on Thailand; this in turn has caused different reactions in various social interactions during the past year.
Living in another country, being surrounded by a new and exciting culture is a very interesting experience. Many things taken for granted in my home culture were suddenly questionable to such a degree that the simplest social interactions became baffling. A degree of understanding of these situations can be developed from continued experience and observation within the foreign culture. However, taking an objective look at these situations from outside of the culture and discussing them with others who have experienced similar situations helps to achieve a much deeper understanding of any foreign culture as a whole. In this respect the year spent studying Thai language and culture in Leeds helped me to develop a much more objective, much deeper understanding of Thailand and its people as a whole.
The new perspective on Thai Culture which I developed studying in my first year at Leeds helped my year a Chiang Mai University to be in a lot of ways much more rewarding in the anthropological sense than my previous visit to Thailand.