Somrudee and Jenjira present on local TV Channel 11 about their tourism program

Our 7 new post-secondary students have just completed their first terms at Chiang Mai universities and colleges.  The students filter back into Chiang Mai after short but sweet visits home to see their families for the holidays.  I ask how they spent their time off.  The lucky few got free time, most worked hard on their family farms.  Starting a new school is tough enough, with loads of homework, hours of studying, mid terms and final exams. But pile on top of that the process of adjusting to a large unfamiliar city, and a very new way of life: language barriers, lack of computer experience, motorbike accidents, illnesses, stress and weightloss, struggles with sudden independence and money  management, boyfriends. Let me tell you these students really earned their holiday break!


It’s a tough transition, but these young ladies are taking it all on, and with ups and downs they are succeeding. They have all expressed how very happy they are to be learning, and how very grateful they are to have this opportunity. They have also expressed how much they miss their families. I look forward to meeting with the students as often as they are free.  At our meetings I get updates, teach English (especially speaking and listening) and make sure they are healthy and happy. In between I miss them like my little sisters! I emphasize every time I see them that they can call me if they need anything at all; if they have any problems I am happy to help. But I have yet to receive any requests, besides help with English….I hope this means they are all doing well and don’t need a single thing!  But I know that they are very shy to ask for anything. Let’s hear what some of the students have to say (translated to English) about their first term at university or college:

Somrudee: 20, from Maw Wah Kee village, Tourism student at Chiang Mai Vocational College.


“The hardest thing about Term 1 was studying “English for Everyday Life.”  The best part of Term 1 was going on tour! I had to learn about and present the places like a guide. I liked studying Chinese too, and being able to study in the same class with friends and help study together every day.”


Wannapon “Kitty” : 19, from Nong Tao, Toursim and Hotel Management, Rajabhat University

“My classes are not easy, not hard, but English is very hard for me. ” After a small motorbike accident during the first month, Kitty was bruised and felt scared to get around, not to mention fell a bit behind in the classes that she missed.  But she quickly caught up in school work and her confidence returned.  Kitty just began teaching first and second graders in her home on her days off, and says she loves it. She said, “I want students in my village to learn English the same way they do in the city…and not be shy!”  She is so confident and her improvement in English over the term is impressive.


Janthanee: 20, from Umphang village, studying English at Rajabhat University.



“The best thing is I’m learning so many new things, and doing things I’ve never done before.  It’s been the best time for me.  Sometimes I feel very stressed and serious about studying, but I am so happy I have friends to help me in my classes.  I come to study with Ingi, even though I feel lazy to study extra on my day off but I go anyways, and it’s a great time for me and helps me remember.” Janthanee also suffered a broken foot in a motorbike accident during the first week of class, but she worked so hard and kept up on her course work.



Nittaya: 19, from Nong Tao village, studying industrial design at Chiang Mai Vocational College


“The hardest thing so far was math and English.  But I am happy to live and study with my friends. We study together every day and I love working in groups together. ” Nittaya told me she is forming new ideas about bringing traditional designs from her village to mix with the styles of the city for textiles, bag, and clothes. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with!




Natjanan: 19, from Nong Tao, studying Business English at Rajabhat University


“I love learning and being able to study with my new friends in a group and help together.  It was really hard to do my homework alone.  Studying for tests was really hard, we have to memorize so much.” Natjanan is naturally confident and really enjoys the team-building activities at university, and the busyness of Chiang Mai life.



Jenjira, from Mah Wah Glo village, studying Tourism at Chiang Mai Vocational College


“The hardest thing for me was going on tour and being a tour guide. I’m not very confident yet to present as a tour guide.  But I loved making new friends and seeing new places and learning so many new things.”  At the time of publishing this blog, Jenjira and Somrudee had just been chosen to present on local T.V.  and I am waiting to hear how it went, especially for our shyest speaker!  Hopefully I will have some video to share with you all in my next post!