“This past week I had the amazing opportunity of spending a full week with a Thai family, in a small village in Chiang Mai Province  and it was nothing short of breathtaking. Having never been to any type of village or rural area I was nervous about not being able to adjust to a new way of life. Once I had spent a day in the village I realized that I was truly seeing a new side of humanity. I’m used to the hustle and bustle of city life and the fast pace of the U.S  and seeing the beauty of big cities. Yet, I was amazed to be in a village of no more than 200 people surrounded by the most spectacular views I have ever seen in my life . Every day I woke up, lifted up my mosquito net and went on a bike ride with my fellow experimenters and every single time i felt awe inspired to be in a place surrounded by blue mountains an palm trees. I could simply feel the kindness and tranquility of the village. The home stay was new and sometimes strange but I would do it all again with the same vigor and open heartedness as the first time. This trip is my first time in Thailand and will most definitely not be the last.” -Taeya

“We just returned to our hostel in Chiang Mai after a week long homestay experience in Baan Sri Kuhn, a village in Northern Thailand! The village is home to about 200 people who are spread out amongst eighty or so homes. When we arrived to the village a week ago, we were welcomed by all of our host mothers. I was quickly recognized by my host mother who ran and embraced me in a hug. I did not expect to be welcomed so quickly into the home of strangers or to become as comfortable as I did in their presence.

My host mother and father spoke no English, but it did not stop us from communicating exactly as I hoped we would. We spent the week making hand gestures to each other and laughing at my attempts at Thai.

By the end of our first meal together, I was patting my stomach and telling my mother I was full. She continued to feed me until she believed I was full! My favorite meal together was during one of our outings. We took a day trip to a waterfall and our families packed picnics. I sat with my mother, brother, and a bunch of other host families and friends. Food brought by our host families was shared with everyone. Laughter was shared between our Thai parents, and conversation was loud. Meals brought this community together and it became apparent in this moment. In a village so small, food becomes the center of communication. At least once a day, my host mother would take a trip to the local market, and often someone would bring food to our house.

It was really amazing to see how a small community stays close to each other and how food and mealtimes play a part in that closeness.” – Ethan