Start of a New Journey

Hey everyone my name is Lijin and I started my internship in Bangkok early September this year. Although my visa application started 9 weeks before, I was so pressed for time that I got my Thai visa one day before the flight departure. But anyway, I caught my flight, arrived Bangkok on time and fall in love with the city immediately.

First impression of the city

As I’m originally from a place where there’s no summer, my first impression of Bangkok would be: SO HOT! You can easily tell that I’m a foreigner here because I’m the only one who sweat crazily when everyone else is fine.

Everything is so new to me, the tropical plants, the heavy heavy rain, language local people speak, tons of motorcycles threading through the long lines of cars in the streets and so on. But Bangkok is not that unfamiliar to me either. It’s a vibrant cosmopolitan city with cars, skyscrapers and crowds of people everywhere. While it’s a busy city, local people I met in streets are very nice and are willing to spend their time to help me find direction. These all remind me of home and I love them.

My neighborhood

This is actually my first time to live alone in a foreign city, so it’s a both nervous and exciting experience to start a new life here. I took the apartment from one of my IEDP cohort. The condo is located at an amazing area. There are many restaurants, cafes, a TESCO and a shopping mall near my place. As a result, though I arrived Bangkok late in the afternoon, I still got everything I needed very quickly. Besides, it only takes 5 minutes walk to go to BTS sky train station, which makes it very easy to go to work and explore the city during weekends. Since I learned some very basic Thai in summer, I tried to use them during shopping. It was a little frustrating to realize that I can not communicate with my poor broken Thai at all, but what’s funny is that everything went so much better after I gave up speaking Thai and started to use gestures. 

My condo

I like everything in Bangkok so far, especially Thai cuisine. But the small portion size and spiciness of food are what I’m trying to get used to. I always thought my tolerance for spicy food is high until I had my first lunch in Bangkok. It was a small plate of rice and chicken. It looked nice but I was disappointed by the portion size. However, it turns out to be more than enough for me. The chicken was so hot that my tongue burnt and I literally had tears all over my face. (But I have to admit it tasted really good XD)

My first lunch
Before: The portion size would be enough if I’m 9 years old
After: Too hot for another bite

Start of my internship

I work with Inclusive Quality Education Section of my organization during internship and my team has a focus on mother-tongue based multilingual education and early childhood care and education. 

The team was about to hold a large conference on mother-tongue based multilingual education (MLE) in two weeks, so I started my internship at a busy time. I joined my first meeting discussing conference related issues 30 minutes after I arrived office and the second one in the afternoon. Due to my lack of background knowledge of the conference, it was challenging and overwhelming to catch up with everything in the first few days. Luckily, my supervisor and other colleagues were very supportive, they helped me through all the difficulties in the first week. I was also very grateful that I came at this timing for having many tasks to work on and new things to learn, which makes me feel like I’m making the most of my time and I’m having a good start. 

Currently, all my work is related to the MLE conference and I’m told to work on ECCE projects after the conference. I would like to share more of my working experience in my next blog after longer stay.

View from my office

Getting ready to have a life!

Enjoying my stay here is my big goal in Bangkok as well. Although I’ve only been here for a week, my local colleagues have showed me several places they like to go, such as restaurants, roof-top bars and shopping malls. I didn’t understand why local people like to spend their weekend in shopping malls until I went to one. You can find everything in a shopping mall and I particularly like Thai style clothing by local designers. Of course the most important reason to go to a mall is the hot weather. After going to all the tourist attractions in the city, shopping malls with cold air are nice places to hang out.

Besides exploring the city, meeting new people and making friends from all over the world is also great experience to me. I mostly hang out with other interns and volunteers from my organization currently. It’s great to spend time with these wonderful people who share same interests with you. I also met several other people during travel in weekends, heard many interesting stories of them and useful suggestions on where to go in Bangkok. As I’m getting more familiar with the city and starting to have friends here, I look forward to making amazing memories in the rest of my time here.

Sep. 15, 2019

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