Whether it was excitement, joy, or homesickness, these 8 weeks in Bangkok had me experiencing every possible emotion all at once. Now, after a long 12-hour flight, I am back in Aotearoa, where I can finally sit down and take the time to reflect on my time in Thailand.
The PMSA program was an amazing chance to gain great connections, friendships, and acquaintances during my time there. Whether they were coworkers, bartenders, or local laundry ladies, the people I met on this program will always be the best part of this trip.
The Constant Energy office (my internship company) is where I spent most of my time throughout the weeks. Working with such a diverse group of people in the office has really been the highlight of my time there. The intense work environment was challenging to adapt to, but at the same time, an experience I will never forget. Meeting engineers from different countries here in Thailand opened up opportunities for me to expand my global network overseas and gain valuable connections for my future career.
Reflecting on the culture shocks and my thoughts on Thailand itself has been a lot harder than I thought. The constantly busy streets, hot and humid climate, cheap food and amazing shopping culture have all become a day-to-day normality by the end of the two months we spent here. Having this opportunity to experience the Thai culture, learn of the traditions, and see the beautiful country from a local perspective has been extremely eye-opening. With the newfound knowledge and experience, I can critique as well as appreciate certain ways we do things in NZ that might be different to what I’ve experienced in Thailand.
One of the things I will not miss is the extreme anxiety of crossing the road in Bangkok. Even after two months, I still haven’t gotten used to the stress of it. However, amazing shopping malls, convenient transport, and $3.50 meals from Chicken Kay (or, as we called it, the Big C Chicken place) are all things I will have a hard time letting go of now that I am back in NZ. One of the many things I truly loved about Thailand was the easily accessible and delicious Thai food.
Someone I will greatly miss from this experience is our advisor / Thai Dad, Aaron, who greatly contributed to an easy transition into Thai culture. Aaron and his team are all people I will miss the most after this trip. Aaron has been the best advisor we could have had to support us. Having him and his cheerful and loving character around was immensely comforting in the new environment, leaving a long-lasting impression on us all.
After this programme, I am sure to continue seeking more overseas opportunities through which I hope to further expand my knowledge and skills within my career. The connections I made and the experiences I gained are all things that made long-lasting impressions on me. I’m proud that I got the opportunity to represent Aotearoa as the Prime Ministers’ Scholar here in Thailand, along with nine other equally amazing people I met during this internship.
If you are reading this and thinking about applying for the Prime Minister’s Scholarship in Asia… do it! It is a unique experience that will make a strong impression on you and help you grow into a more confident and independent individual.
The End! กุ๊ดบาย