Blog Post by Pragya Thapaliya
After hours of waiting at the airport for fellow students from different flights to arrive, our Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) van with Students' Union volunteers and us — the newbies finally took off around 10:30 pm. Gazing at the distant lights, passing by the 7-Elevens that would pop up every other block, we entered the AIT premises an hour later. With heavy eyes and a growling stomach, we made our way to the accommodation office. A few procedures and a bunch of keys later, we dragged our heavy luggage, quietly following the lights and the roads that slowly led us to an array of unfamiliar buildings that would be our homes for the next two years.
It was dark, and I could discover much about AIT that night, but as the morning sun cast its light on the campus premises the next day, I ventured out for a walk. I come from the city — a concrete jungle full of mayhem. AIT at the first glance seemed like an antidote to all the chaos I came from. As I went around taking a look at lush green grasses, canal, bell-like flowers dangling from shrubs, I noticed a miniature crocodile like reptile which I later learnt was a monitor lizard, and that it was honestly a gentle giant.
"AIT at the first glance seemed like an antidote to all the chaos I came from."
Thailand to me personally wasn’t an entirely new land. I had been here before, but as a tourist on a vacation. Having done touristy things in the last visit, I only had the window to the glim, glow, and the glamour of Thailand that I felt was superficial in some ways. When I came to AIT, I felt like this was the door to the real Thailand — The land of smiles.
The changes AIT has made within me is visible. I tend to end my sentences with the word ‘Kha’, send ‘55555’ in my group chat messages, and at times I respond more to my Thai name that my friends have assigned to me — ‘Yadamani. Apart from this, I have learnt to limit my judgments. With deeper introspection, I have come to realize that we are all the same. We have family back home missing us. We have similar hopes and aspirations, and mostly a sense of adventure within us that made us move from the ‘familiar’ to the ‘unfamiliar’ to pursue our education.
"AIT has taught me that we do not need to speak the same language, look a certain way or have the same set of experiences and ideologies in order to connect."
In a nutshell, this place has given me friends from all over the world. I have made friends who come to my room at midnight to give me pain relief med when I have a minor neck sprain. I have friends that agree to go on a 3 am bicycle-ride with me just because I do not feel like going back to my room; and I have Thai friends who never get impatient explaining my vegetarian dietary choices to the waiters at restaurants.
After a month of being here, AIT doesn’t feel like a mere institution, but a home away from home. It is the one place that motivates me to get out of my comfort zone, yell “Carpe Diem!” and seize the day no matter what. There will surely be moments of ecstasy and inevitable moments of sadness in the days to come, but after a month of being at AIT, I trust the AIT surrounding and my community to help me get through it all.
Blog Post by Pragya Thapaliya. Pragya is from Nepal, and she is currently completing her Master's in Regional and Rural Development Planning.
(This was the award winning blog post in a contest organized for AIT students in August-September 2018).
Read also: Previous award winning blog posts
- August 2017 Semester: My First days at AIT by Nikita ValluriJanuary 2018
- January 2018 Semester: Curiosity killed the ignorant me by Rhea L. Gumasing