Sophomores Sydney Pulliam of Kansas City, Missouri and Crystal Cotton of Detroit, Michigan are currently experiencing college life abroad at Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand. Pulliam stated, “This is a once in a lifetime experience to study abroad.”
“There are currently 170 international students in our program, three of them are from other Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). It’s like we are double minorities here, first we are international students and secondly we are black students,” Cotton stated.
Study abroad offers students exciting opportunities to live and learn in another country for at least one semester while earning academic credit towards their degree at Alcorn State University. Students will take a full academic load at a foreign university in programs administered by ASU exchanges or U.S. based and accredited study-abroad providers. In some cases, the program will also include language enhancement, cultural immersion or service learning.
The experience for the two has been exhilerating and memorable. According to Pulliam, “Being here in Thailand has definitely opened our eyes up both socially and personally. When locals ask where we are from and we say America they have this stunned expression on their faces. Most locals only think of Americans as Caucasians, so that really just made us want to travel the world more.”
While studying at Mahidol University, Pulliam and Cotton will also get the chance to travel to other countries within Asia such as India, Malaysia and various islands within Thailand.
Pulliam, reminiscing about her experience thus far stated, “Our most memorable moment was the day we went out to the mall and noticed two monks. Now, we had both seen monks before but what astonished us was when one monk handed the other a cell phone to take his photo. Being from a western hemispheric culture, we have always viewed monks as people who were drawn away from the world. No matter how much you think you know about a country, there are always things to learn about the country and its culture.”
With so many changes taking place within the world, these two young ladies are allowing this experience to mold them and allow them to see the world from other culture’s point of view.
“Our time in Thailand has given us the experience and knowledge to see the world in a different prospective. While here in Thailand we had the chance to visit an elementary school that was teaching their students English. The experience was so beautiful to see these students experiencing something new,” stated Cotton.
With four months left in their academic adventure, both Cotton and Pulliam are planning to use these next four months to make the most out of their adventures.
“Everyday holds a new lesson for us. We’ve even learned how to make a traditional Thai meal from a shop owner. The people of Thailand are so nice and considerate, it’s as if we are connected. We are so gracious for the shop owners hospitality. She gave us the products free of charge. This gesture definitely showed us that no matter a person’s nationality, gender or origin everyone can be nice in some way,” says Pulliam.