Checking Thailand Off My Bucket List

IBS in Bangkok, Thailand

Straight Outta My Comfort Zone

This past December, I took a leap out of my comfort zone and decided to study abroad for two weeks. I joined IBS on their Winter Southeast Asia seminar and it was one of the most memorable trips of my life. I chose this program because Thailand had always been on my bucket list since I was a kid and it was the perfect time frame so I wouldn’t miss out on any college memories. And now it’s months later and I’m still processing those two weeks that just seemed to fly by. I’d like to start off by saying that I had to pinch myself when we got off that final flight in Bangkok at 6 am, I was completely exhausted.

Business & Buddhas

Checking Thailand off my bucket listOn our second day, we had our first business meeting with AMCHAM. To be honest, meeting with a foreign business director is kind of nerve-racking, especially if you spend your second morning stuck in a fire escape with three other people in your group lol. After our meeting with AMCHAM, we went to the Grand Palace. Touring the Grand Palace felt like a movie set. The details in every building and sculpture were exquisite, I was completely blown away by the level of appreciation. When we went to the Reclining Buddha, I was completely taken back. It was an honor to be able to witness their culture and the various practices displayed throughout the day.

Birthday Fun

Caitlan checking Thailand off her bucket listOn my birthday, Alyssa, J.D., Chris, and I took a sky train all the way to the last stop in Bangkok to tour the Ancient City. We rode bikes (first time in ten years), looked at beautiful structures, and honestly sweat our butts off. It was the first day where I felt like we got to relax, and I got to get closer to Chris and J.D. Later, that day, Shannon, Allison, Alyssa, and I went to the Marriott’s sky bar called Octave. It’s a four floored sky bar with an unobstructed view of Bangkok, which was completely breathtaking. The drinks were fruity and delicious. We ended the night by checking out the ladyboy bars near our hotel. The experience was overall kind of overwhelming but reminded me a lot of New Orleans.

My fave company visit

Checking Thailand off my bucket listWhen it came to companies, IKEA was probably my favorite. Their team members were so friendly and informative that I couldn’t help but be fascinated with the different details and tricks that make the company of IKEA run efficiently. I really liked IKEA because they are devoted to the customer in every aspect. The company pays attention to every detail during a customer’s shopping process in order to deliver the most beneficial experience for both the customer and the company. It’s fascinating to know that not only does IKEA buy/own shopping malls, but they are also one of the highest food retailers in the world. Being a Public Relations major, I would have loved to hear more about their client solutions and social media branding aspects. Overall, I truly enjoyed the company visit to IKEA.

A long lasting impression

The culture is something I continue to miss about Thailand, everyone was just so friendly and continued to have smiles on their face. The whole trip I don’t think I saw a single person express any amounts of anger (except for J.D. before the AMCHAM visit). I thought it was very interesting to hear that in Thailand it’s considered rude to point your feet towards someone because in the U.S. I feel that it’s a custom to point your feet towards someone when talking to show that you’re listening.

Bangkok reminds me a lot of New York, it’s very much a busy moving, big nightlife city. If I went to Thailand again, I’d travel more South and check out the coast. I feel like the water would be a completely different experience. A new adventure to add to my Thailand bucket list.

Caitlan Sutherland
Caitlan Sutherland View Full Bio

School: University of Alabama

If I’d learnt one thing from traveling, it was that the way to get things done was to go ahead and do them.

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