Sydney Puliam and Crystal Cotton explore a new culture while studying abroad
Sophomores Sydney Puliam of Kansas City, Missouri and Crystal Cotton of Detroit, Michigan are currently experiencing college life abroad at Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand. Both Carroll and Cotton stated, “This is a once in a lifetime experience to study abroad."
“There are currently 170 international students in our current program, three of which are form other Historically Black Colleges and Universities,” Sydney and Crystal stated.
When asked about their experience so far, both stated, “Being here in Thailand has definitely opened our eyes both socially and personally. When locals ask where are we from, and we say America, they have this stunned expression on their faces. Most locals only think of American’s as Caucasians, so that really just made us want to travel the world more.”
While studying abroad at Mahidol University, Crystal and Sydney will also get the chance to travel to other countries within Asia such as India, Malaysia and various islands within Thailand.
“Our most memorable moment so far was the day we went to the mall and noticed two monks. Now, we have both seen monks, but what astonished us was when one monk handed the other a cell phone to take his photo. Being from a western hemisphere culture, we have always viewed monks as someone who was drawn away from the world. No matter how much you think you know about a country, there are always things to learn about the country and its culture.”
With so many changes taking place in the world, the two young ladies are allowing this experience to allow them to see the world from other cultures’ point of view.
“Our time in Thailand has given us the experience and knowledge to see the world from a different prospective. While here in Thailand, we had the chance to visit an elementary school that was teaching their students English. The experience was so beautiful to see these students experiencing something new.”
With four months left into their academic adventure, both Sydney and Crystal are planning to use these next four months to make the most out of their adventures.
“Everyday holds a new lesson for us; we also learned how to make a traditional Thai meal from a shop owner. The people of Thailand are so nice and considerate, its as if we are connected. We are so gracious of the shop owners’ hospitality. She gave us the products free of charge. This gesture definitely showed us that no matter a person’s nationality, gender or origin; everyone can be nice in someway.”
Crystal stated, “Being outside of the country allows you to see and explore the world more. I wouldn’t change anything about this experience. We are so grateful to experience this wonderful island and culture.”