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Education Abroad

Vanessa Peterson

Hometown:  Olathe, Kansas                  

Where I studied abroad: Mahidol University International College, Thailand

Major: Marketing, with a minor in Journalism and Mass Communications

Favorite Foreign Food:  Som Tum

Favorite city/site visited while abroad: My favorite city so far has been Chiang Mai, located in Northern Thailand.

My next trip is going to be to: I am planning to spend a weekend in Malaysia soon.

Advice for future study abroad students: Meet as many people as possible. I believe the main purpose of studying abroad is to broaden your world view, and the people you meet can do just that. When you live in a melting pot of different cultures, nationalities, and backgrounds, you are constantly being introduced to new perspectives, ideas, and inspirations. If you get out of your comfort zone while abroad, you are more than likely going to walk away inspired, and ready to live your life a little differently than you did before.


My time abroad has just begun, but it has already been a transformative experience. I am so grateful for this experience. Grateful I have the opportunity to spend a semester abroad, grateful for the lessons I have learned, and grateful for the people I have met.

The people I have met, have molded my entire experience. From island-hopping together on the weekends, to pulling all-nighters before mid-terms, I have realized that despite growing up in completely different cultures we share a lot more similarities than differences. I know for a fact the friendships I have formed here will last a lifetime.

I am beyond grateful for the lessons I have learned. Within the classroom I have learned in a way that is unique to the Thai education system, forcing me to think and process my thoughts in a different way. One of the coolest things about studying in another country is that you are introduced to new styles of learning, ultimately bringing you out of your educational comfort zone.

Although I have learned a lot through lessons in class, my greatest lessons have been outside of the classroom. I have learned how to communicate without words. I have learned how to navigate trains, planes, and taxis, on my own. But most importantly I have immersed myself in a new culture, and learned how to adapt to and appreciate a different lifestyle.

I never dreamed that I would have the opportunity to spend six months traveling throughout Asia, trying new foods, seeing sights I never knew existed, and making unbelievable memories, so for that I am grateful.


Exploring Doi Inthanon National Park.


 I could stay on the islands of Thailand forever


The ending to a beautiful hike in Chiang Mai


I have not met a single person that regrets their decision to study abroad, but I have met people that regret not doing it. It changed me in ways I did not expect, and taught me more than I imagined.”