The Harvard of Thailand

You might think that someone going halfway across the world to study in a foreign country would do a little research into where they’ll be studying. Dear reader, you’ve never met someone like me before. I’m lucky that I can get out of bed in the morning without someone coaching me through the steps; the first being ‘wake up’ and the second being ‘get out of bed.’ Yet I’ve managed to find myself studying in one of the most prestigious and rigorous schools in Thailand and maybe even Asia.

My first day of university was a few weeks ago although it feels like I’ve been in Bangkok for years now. I remember putting on my uniform for the first time; something this boy from Small Town, Indiana hasn’t done since he was in elementary school. I then eagerly hopped into a shuttle and was off to my home away from home (away from home).

When I had walked through the campus a week prior there was hardly any life. Now, this campus was teeming with bright, young students wearing the same uniform as I was, but each one looked like their uniform was made just for them. As I walked to class through new buildings and tropical landscapes the gravity of my situation had begun to sink in; Mahidol University is an incredible place. This theory was later bolstered by my professors.

All of my professors are top-notch. Each one a doctor in their field and some of them went to big name universities across the globe. My physics professor showed us a lecture from MIT and very casually mentioned that the lecturer was his physics professor when he had gone to MIT. The students here are pretty incredible as well.

Most days, it’s a test of willpower just to keep up with the note taking and studying schedules of some of these students. I thought studying abroad was supposed to be easy, but here I am actually studying. It’s not all studying however, I’m learning so much about Thai culture and I’m making tons of new friends. With midterms coming up everyone in my classes are coming together much in the same way as a band of soldiers becomes a family while huddled in a trench. One of these new brothers of mine mentioned that Mahidol is to Bangkok as Harvard is to the United States. I’m starting to believe he wasn’t joking.

In closing, if you take one thing from this post then let it be this: do your research on where you’ll study abroad. I certainly don’t regret Mahidol or Thailand. However, I definitely wouldn’t have loaded up on difficult courses if I knew I was going to be studying at Harvard. 


Nikko Rivera is a student at Trine University and is an ISA Featured Blogger. He is studying abroad with ISA in Bangkok, Thailand


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