This post is about how I chose the International BusinessWinter Southeast Asia Seminar and how I was very nervous before going. I am sure some people are full-on adventure-seekers, but for me, this trip was something I was very nervous about. It all worked out though! International Business Seminars was amazing and I met some awesome people, so I left Asia happy and with new friends.
Why I Chose Southeast Asia
One of the reasons why I chose the Southeast Asia International Business Seminar trip was because of the location. Thailand is somewhere I have always wanted to go. I mean always. When I was little, I used to tell anyone that asked that Thailand was this faraway place that I wanted to go visit one day. So anyway, as soon as I found out International Business Seminars had a trip that went there, I knew I had to take the opportunity and go on it. Not only would I earn college credit, but I also was going to a place I had always wanted to visit.
On December 31st or New Year’s Eve, I hugged my mom goodbye at the airport in Charlotte, North Carolina, and walked to my gate. In hindsight, I remember being so nervous because I was sick, alone, and flying all the way across the world by myself on New Year’s Eve. Honestly, I am not sure why the fact that it was New Year’s Eve bothered me so much. It may have been because that is a day I have always spent with my family. But I just kept reminding myself that Thailand was one of my dream trip destinations and that it was finally happening!
As I boarded my first long-haul flight from Chicago to Tokyo, the nerves were still forming in the pit of my stomach and they would not calm down. I remember wondering if every student going abroad felt like this. Studying abroad is so exciting and all of the elements of planning and the thoughts of trying new foods and doing new activities are very exciting, but when it comes down to it, at the moment it can be very scary. I am writing this so that you all know it does get better. Every minute of my International Business Seminars experience abroad was so worth it, and every minute exceeded my expectations. However, it is not all glitz and glamour in the beginning. Nerves are real, jet lag is real, and second thoughts are a very normal thing. I tried to remind myself of this very fact and that this was going to be the adventure of a lifetime as I dozed off in my plane seat.
Arriving in Thailand
The next morning, or really just fast forward two days, on January 2nd, after a few more flights and some layovers, I was finally in Bangkok! I arrived at 5 am with a few other people in my group. I am not going to lie; this day was rough. I still did not feel my best, and we were encouraged to stay up all day so that we would then sleep at night and hopefully be better acclimated to the time change. This was tough after two days of sleeping upright in a seat on a plane. However, we made the most of it.
The First Day Jitters
The first day in Bangkok we met everyone in our group, got assigned a roommate, and checked into our hotel. This was when my nerves started to ease. Trust me, it is so easy to meet people! You are all alone in a foreign country together, so everyone becomes friends and relies on each other. This was something I remember being uneasy about, but it ended up being fine and I met some awesome people. I know sometimes people are hesitant to step out of their comfort zones, and if you add being alone to this it makes the task ten times scarier. However, keep in mind that you do get a roommate, so you are forced to be friends with at least a few people. Everyone on the trip is also just as tired and confused as you are, so you are all in it together. This really helped me relax for the next few days. To know that even though I did not have my best friend right beside me, I was definitely not alone.
The Best Part
Something that surprised me about this trip was also the amount of free time that we had. Almost every day we would go on a company visit and do some sort of sight-seeing activity, but you would be surprised how much time we then had leftover. This was one of my favorite parts because we always had the option to do a group activity, or we could make plans on our own and explore with a smaller crowd. International Business Seminars really does do an amazing job of making this a learning trip, while also making it your own personal abroad experience.