A little over three years ago I arrived in Bangkok a neophyte to the international world. As I navigated my way from the airport to the Hua Lampong train station, I can still remember the feeling of the excitement of the unknown that was racing through my veins as I embarked south towards Phuket. I’d be lying if I told you excitement was the only feeling I was experiencing. I had just unplugged myself from the traditional ‘Corporate American’ career life we Americans are taught is the way to pursue the ‘American Dream,’ so naturally as I began this journey of teaching English abroad and studying in an international MBA program I was simultaneously experiencing feelings of nervousness and apprehension.
My first year living in Thailand was certainly an experience I’ll never forget. Compared to the daily life I was used to back home in California; my daily, weekly and monthly life had transformed into a whirlwind of controlled chaos. From getting acclimated to life in a foreign country, getting more comfortable in the classroom teaching English as a foreign language and setting out on excursions to explore this new world around me; my ‘new normal’ began to look more and more attractive.
The beginning of my second year abroad, October 2011, marked a few milestones. First, I had survived a year of teaching English in Thailand. Second, I was accepted into the MBA program at Assumption University. And third, I had just officially launched Go PowerKicK! as an online travel blog. And on that note, I began a two year trek as teacher, student and traveler.
Initially, I was teaching during the days and studying on the weekends. My MBA classes were all going well, however, for the first trimester I was on campus seven days a week. Feeling landlocked I switched from the weekend program to the evening program where I would study after I finished finished teaching. The evening program allowed me to mix with a more diverse group of students and it freed up my time on weekends which was a big plus. With more free time I began taking weekend motorcycle trips outside Bangkok, visiting holiday festivals in Thailand and taking the nights I wasn’t in class to treat myself to some of Bangkok’s best burgers!
The two year MBA program flew by and to wrap it all up I had two options, either take a comprehensive exam and write an individual research paper or write a traditional thesis paper with the requirement of having it published in an international journal. Not really knowing what to expect, I went out on a limb and chose to write a thesis paper and to try to get it published. From June to November ’13, I spent days and nights in my office burning the midnight oil researching and writing. I was also out in different districts of Bangkok on a few weekends surveying the Thai population attempting to get the data I needed to put together an informative and thought provoking paper.
My work culminated in Bucharest, Romania where I went to present my thesis paper at an international marketing conference hosted by the Bucharest School of Economic Studies. After a successful presentation of my paper and submission of the conference documents to the graduate office of my university, I was set to graduate in January ’14. The big day came quick and I was fortunate to have my parents fly out to Bangkok to join in the graduation celebration with me.
With the MBA program now complete, I find myself experiencing similar feelings to when I first arrived in Thailand three years ago. I’m not exactly certain what the future has in store, however, I’m excited to see which path I take and how life unfolds as I move forward.
I look at this month’s PowerKicK as the climax of two years of work studying in the classroom and work traveling and writing. It’s a photo that both celebrates the achievement of an advanced degree and captures the true essence of a PowerKicK, uniquely capturing a moment in time. This month’s PowerKicK is a tribute to all the family and friends who helped make this PowerKicK’N MBA possible…Thank You and This PowerKicK’s For You!