After completing a semester abroad in Sydney, Lorenzo shares what he learned about how you can make connections and the most of the opportunities abroad. In his final post, he also talks about why he decided to stop over for some new adventures in Thailand before flying home.
My CAPA program in Sydney finished over a week ago and I have been trying to make my way back home, but not without new adventures. As a little reward for completing my hard earned requirements and working out a successful semester, I decided to take a week-long trip to the tropics on the way back to my country. I spent three days in Bangkok and another three days in Koh Chang, an island south of the city, at the border between Cambodia and Thailand. I can for sure confirm that I had the relaxed and quiet time I was looking for as I’ve gotten myself detached from the school-work routine and into vacation mode.
On a beach in Thailand.
I had been to Bangkok before so it wasn’t much of a surprise to me. It is a crazy city with people, cars, and tall buildings everywhere, but also delicious food and low prices, especially coming from Sydney. I love the fruit stands on the side of the road, for only 25-50 US cents you can get a bag full of cut fruit, ready to eat, with exotic choices such as mango, papaya, guava, dragon fruit and others. In Thailand, it’s very common to negotiate prices, and especially if you are farang (foreigner) the locals might try to overcharge you. Once you get a good idea of what the prices are and learn how to say a couple of numbers, you’ll be fine.
The blue waters of Koh Chang, Thailand.
Koh Chang was a new experience for me and a place I had been waiting to go to for quite a while. It is a pretty big island four hours south of Bangkok, full of rainforest, monkeys, elephants, resorts and things to do. Everything, from guided tours to restaurant prices or renting a motorcycle, was extremely cheap and I got some bang for my buck. One day I went on a snorkeling excursion to some outer islands and it was a great time discovering hidden beaches and swimming in crystal clear waters. Another day I did a jungle trek outing where I got to feed an elephant, see some wild monkeys, and get bitten by a bunch of mosquitos until I was able to get some protective spray. The rest of the time I was visiting local villages around the island with the motorcycle or relaxing at the resort, eating a lot of food and getting back massages.
The cityscape of Bangkok, Thailand.
Study abroad is much more than only the location and university you get to attend—it opens up tons of opportunities. I know most other people in the program with me went on to explore wild places after the end of it, from Pacific Islands in the middle of nowhere, to skiing towns in New Zealand and ancient ruins in Southeast Asia. The connections people make in these places and the new activities they go on to do stay with them forever and have a positive impact in one’s personal growth. I don’t know anybody who can say they are the exact same person before and after doing a study abroad.
Sunset off of Koh Chang, Thailand.
Reflecting on Australia, I am just very glad to have made the decisions I did. I had more support than I thought I would have, experiencing the amazing and unexpected, all while progressing towards my goals and improving as a person. If studying abroad, or coming to Australia, is floating around in your thoughts, go for it! I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Lorenzo Corazzin is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2018, sharing his story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Global Studies major at the Arizona State University, he is studying abroad in Sydney this semester.
See more of Lorenzo's journey in Sydney.