Tourism management student discovers true Thai culture

Annabel-FreethGoing on an exchange to Thailand was the best decision Annabel Freeth ever made. ‘I had the most amazing five months of my life and made so many friends from all around the world and got to know so many locals and witness the world through their eyes,’ she says.

The South East Asia tourism hotspot was a perfect fit for the La Trobe University Business student majoring in Tourism Management. She attended the Mahidol University International College (MUIC), in Salaya, a small suburb near Bangkok known for its market street food and famous coconut ice cream. She studied interesting subjects like Tourism in Developing Countries, Introduction to Thai Language and Culture and Airline Business Management. The teachers were super friendly and she got to know them well.

‘Going on exchange to Thailand opens up your mind to a whole new world of possibilities,’ says Annabel. Studying with Thai students, engaging with the community and travelling around the country helped her understand why Thailand is a thriving tourist destination.

‘Thailand is a breathtaking place full of different extremes from stunning natural landscapes and mountains to pristine beaches and waterfalls and many other natural and built attractions making it such an exciting and interesting place to live in.’

Riding an elephant through the jungle in Chiang Mai, hiking up a spectacular waterfall and getting her scuba diving license are some of her favourite memories. But the true highlight of her exchange was learning to speak Thai at the University with the other international students. Knowing the language helped her communicate with locals and made her feel like a true local herself.

She would recommend doing an exchange in Thailand in a heartbeat. ‘The Thai people are so beautiful and kind and the vibrant Thai culture is jam‐packed full of delicious food, colourful and fun festivals and customs, interesting history and uplifting Buddhist beliefs and ceremonies.’

Find out more about how you can explore a new culture by doing an exchange overseas.

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