25% There

Updated: Mar 22, 2020

So, I am now 25% of the way through my placement and my chapter here in Bangkok. Time truly is flying by.

I would like to say I am settled into my new living routine but the reality is, I still get lost on a weekly basis and there is a constant sense of confusion that comes with living in a country whose primary language isn’t English. However, this makes my day to day life interesting and I am enjoying the challenge of it all. I catch public transport to work every day, which includes taking a very crowded sky train. So crowded in fact, that I have felt people’s phones vibrating in their pockets and interestingly enough salami appears to be a popular breakfast choice.

I am learning a lot at work and currently performing the best out of the team regarding one of our KPI’s. We have regular training sessions in which we learn professional skills as well as learn about global issues relating to the Sustainable Development Goals. I have been asked to prepare a presentation about the below SDG’s which I will present sometime next month.

The training we have undertaken has covered various topics. Topics including the Rohingya Refugees Crisis, Cyber Sex Tourism in the Philippines and Clean Energy. We also have covered sustainable living and how an individual can live sustainability and ethically in a consumer fuelled world.

Some small but daily practices that I have committed to are:

- Minimising my meat consumption

- Using less plastic

- Minimising how much I throw out #zerowaste

In my time here so far, we have celebrated three holidays. Children’s Day, Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year. The latter being the biggest and most widely celebrated with red Chinese lanterns appearing all around Bangkok. My workplace even celebrated the day with a traditional Chinese lunch which including the giving and receiving of hóng bāo. Which is money given in a red envelope for good luck and prosperity for the new year. It was very interesting to learn about the tradition of how Chinese New Year came about. For those that are interested in learning about it click here. Valentine’s Day was just as interesting with women dressed as Angels at the train station handing out free mouthwash. Children’s Day included a festival that had various stalls and games teaching children about dental hygiene and other educational activities.

I also celebrated my 19th birthday this month. It was a fun but a different day. Thank you to everyone who wished me well! I had an enjoyable evening and went and saw Black Panther (would recommend) at the cinemas as well as had yummy chocolate cake at work.

The work I have been doing has been quite varied. I have undertaken public speaking training, conducted market research, designed a website and completed legal work. We are currently all preparing for the 9th University Scholars Leadership Symposium. There will be approximately 1,000 young world leaders from over 80 countries in attendance, as well as an expected 15 UN agencies present. Here is a video summarising the symposium from last year (Click here). It is a big job but it is also very exciting.

In terms of random weekend adventures, I have visited the Wildlife Friends Foundation which is an animal sanctuary that has over 600 animals including over 20 elephants. We got to walk and wash the elephants and it was truly an incredible experience. I also have visited the Bangkok Arts and Culture Centre which had some truly interesting artwork, one of my favorites was a portrait that was painted using mud, clay and dirt. Bangkok is truly a varied city and there is always something to do. Whether that be cultural, touristy, shopping or fine dining, it is up to you. I have also had four visitors from Australia which has been a lovely surprise.

The last 25% has been truly incredible and I am growing personally, professionally and spiritually. I am looking forward to what will happen in the next 75%.

Thank you once again to my endless support system back home. I couldn’t do it without you and I am working hard to make you all proud.

- Ashley

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