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Greatest Time Ever1This trip was taken by my daughter. She had the most amazing time ever. She will be going again in 2011 on another EF college tour. Thank You so much for enlightening our younger generation!!
Me Vs SE AsiaMy trip to SE Asia was absolutely life changing. We did so much each day I called it vacation boot camp! I am glad I got to see so much while I was there and wouldn't have had it any other way.
Thailand was incredible. The city is very busy, breathtaking, and diverse. The first day of the tour had activities that were mainly centered on shopping. Filtering through so many businesses that day made the tour seem as though it benefited the Bangkok economy than my education, but I understand other people might have wanted time to shop. The tour guide was fun and personal. The only thing I wish I could have done was see the famous beaches. The temples were amazing, the people were so genuine and kind. I loved all the forms of transportation I got to utilize. I went during the red shirt protests, just before the airports were closed. I could barely tell there was any unrest amongst the people.
Second stop was Cambodia, my favorite. The hotel was lovely, although there was an AC issue the first night. The floating city really put my life into perspective. Angkor Wat was fascinating and visually stunning. The tour was well planned and executed. The guide was very funny and personable.
I could have done without going to Vietnam, although that tour guide was my favorite. He used to be a teacher, so he was really informative and knew how to keep us engaged. We went to see the tunnels they used to defeat the US and were shown the torture devices they used to kill our solider. There was a lot of anti-American propaganda our guide had to shield us from, and the vibe overall was too heavy and focused on our history of violence. I would have preferred more time in Bangkok or Siam instead. The last day we took a boat tour and went to a market. That was the most fun. The guide also got me a birthday cake, which was so thoughtful of him.
Throughout the tour my vegetarian diet was for the most part accommodated. All the hotels were clean and comfortable. I learned so much about myself and the big wide world I live in.
A Incredible Exploration: Southeast AsiaPreparing for my study abroad trip to Southeast Asia: Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand, I always referred to it as "my trip to Thailand". For whatever reason I never thought about the other two countries I would be visiting. I expected to only fall in love with Thailand and the lush jungles that lived there, but from the moment I arrived in Southeast Asia all that changed. Vietnam was the first country I visited. I fell in love with the people who called this country home. From the second we stepped outside every single person, and I mean every single person, greeted us with enthusiasm as if we were a long lost relative they hadn't seen in years. The culture in this country is so rich and full. We were able to visit the tunnels where the Vietnamese would hid during the Vietnam war. Talk about a hit of reality! To hear stories of something so historical is one thing, but to be there and see it is an entirely different ballgame, and I'm ever thankful for such. Cambodia was the second country we visited and oh my goodness was it beautiful! I never expected to be blown away by simply the sight of Cambodia but I was. It was lush in green grasses and trees. Temples, Pagodas, and Ruins that my mind couldn't even begin to rap itself around the magnificent's of. Never in my life would I imagine I'd be visiting the "Lost City of Asia" trying to make out the ancient writings and touching the murals that covered its walls. The art was unlike anything I had ever seen before. I literally found myself feeling like I was in a movie because so much of what we saw felt so surreal. Thailand was the third and final country we visited and it was here that I believe I learned the most about politics (which happened to be the course I was studying abroad in) and that of a country. Thailand also surprised me with its aspects of Westernization that before visiting, I had no idea it had. One aspect of my trip that I'm extremely grateful for is that EF did a great job of providing us with tour guides who had infinite knowledge of the country they were touring in. Every and any question I or any of my classmates had was answered. History of art, culture, and politics, things I didn't even expect to learn on this trip, I learned. We were even lucky enough to have such great tour guides who would go above and beyond the given itinerary by showing us AND giving us the opportunity to see things we didn't even expect to see. I was overloaded with masses of information throughout each and every second of everyday. I left this study abroad program a completely different person, and for the better. And because of this trip I've been offered many amazing opportunities. Trust me you will not regret being able to put this on your resume after doing a study abroad trip. I recommend EF to everyone I know for most any trip. They were great at showing us places that weren't "touristy" so we were able to really enrich ourselves in each and every country, and they did a great job at keeping us safe along the way. I'm planning on partaking in another EF tour. A possible Study abroad to Europe, and an EF college tours trip to Japan. I also plan on visiting Southeast Asia again. Though my tour was full of great memories, I would describe it as the biggest learning experience I've had thus far in my 21 year old life. I could go on for days about how much this tour changed my life, because in the end it did just that. The tour allowed me to see an entirely different world that I would not been able to see otherwise.
Unforgettable experienceThis was really unforgettable experience for my students and me. Its educational value is tremendous and impossible to over evaluate. My students were fascinated with Vietnam and Cambodia history, culture and, of course, people. We had excellent program, wonderful tour directors and guides. We always felt safe and learned a lot. Meals and accommodations exceeded my expectations. Due to political instability in Thailand we requested to change our route and to avoid the country completely on this tip. I can imagine how difficult it was for EFTours to change the last third of the program and instead of Thailand bring us to Japan. My students, the college administration and, of course, parents appreciated very much for this change. We understood that EF is really does care and it is a very reliable company. You can trust EFTours!!
The Other Side of the WorldMy tour of south-east Asia was incredible and eye-opening - although I had long felt the wanderlust call to travel, I had never before been able to pursue it. I had never even been on an airplane before! But I flew the 26 hours from the east coast of America into Ho Chi Minh City, the capital of Vietnam, and stepping off the plane, I can't begin to describe the feeling of wonder and awe that came over me. Although it was night-time, the city was vibrant with life and alight with a rainbow of neon signs and strings of multicolored lights. It was like stepping into some dazzling twilight zone. The rest of the tour, I felt much the same way - a sense of excellent joy accompanied me as I sailed up the Mekong River, hiked rural Thai hills, rode an elephant, meditated in a lavishly decorated Buddhist temple, and watched the sun set from the vast stone stairs of Angkor Wat. Our tour guides were incomparable - funny, smart, and helpful - and the food was plentiful, regional, and delicious at every stop. I tried new fruits I didn't even know existed - enjoy a mangosteen, if you ever get the chance! I attended night markets and swum on rooftop pools. I was blessed by monks several times and learned to say "thank you" in four languages. I grew as a person and to this day, find myself more resourceful and appreciative of everything I have after visiting among people who live extremely happy lives while owning very little. I hope to return to these countries, especially Cambodia, several times throughout my life. Thank you, EF, for giving me this incredible life experience on the other side of the world!
See pictured: Me with monks-in-training, near Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
good with only one problem.The entire trip was fun, i loved all the places we visited and would want to go back. the only problem i had with the trip was once we got to Cambodia it felt as if everything was rushed.