I was born and raised in Bangkok, Thailand, but left home when I was fifteen to study at college in Wellington, New Zealand. Like most international students, I experienced a culture shock when I arrived. Everything was different from home, from the food to the people. Weirdly enough, my biggest culture shock was on my first day at school where I was surprised that students had to change rooms for different classes. In Thailand, it’s different as we stay in our form rooms for the whole day.
After two months, I began enjoying making new friends and learning new traditions. I started to get used to the culture and began to do things that I’d never done before. Even though I was raised in Thailand, I felt as though I grew up and matured in New Zealand where I began to think about what I wanted in life. I didn’t have my family with me in New Zealand which somehow made me more independent and made me focus on myself. I also have New Zealand to thank for my skill in English as it certainly got me where I am right now.
While I began to think about where I wanted to go for universities, I owe my mother for suggesting I go to the UK for university, as I was considering going to the US instead. It was at the university in the UK where I found my friends for life and also my partner.
For my fellow internationals, you may sometimes feel as though you’re stuck in between two cultures because you have adapted yourself to fit into both environments. You will, however, in time get over this sensation as you naturally adapt back to your home surrroundings. One of the things that I’ve learned from moving between different countries is down to you to choose what you adopt from one culture as it makes you grow as a person. You pick up things that work for you and omit anything that doesn’t suit you. Most importantly, you should never forget where you come from as it is the foundation of who you are as a person.