After some amazing first experiences with Thai Culture in Bangkok, the clinical group traveled by van (largest van we have ever been in) to Nakhon Ratchasima (or as we like to call it, NR for short). Thailand recently had some large rain falls- which led to significant flooding along the preferred route of travel to NR, leading us to take an alternate route. We traveled through lush green areas and winding mountain roads that had breathtaking views of the jungle. Our travel time was stretched when we came across heavy traffic- everyone had taken the "back roads" to avoid the huge floods, and we soon saw that the backup was related to a semi truck that had flipped over on the wet hilly roads and left its cargo laying across the entire stretch.
Along the way, we stopped at a very authentic Thai restaurant for lunch. The views were once again beautiful and surreal. Our Thai clinical leader, Nar (a graduate from the University of Michigan- GO BLUE) ordered us lunch and helped us gain more insight to Thai culture and cuisine. We ate a variety of new foods- including a full fried fish with head and eyes still intact.
SUT (Suranaree University of Technology) became our new home away from home for the next two weeks. After settling into our rooms and getting tour of the campus, we prepared for our first clinical experience with the Nursing Students at SUT. Meeting the students was a wonderful experience. The students and faculty were extremely welcoming and interesting in learning about us and our purpose for travel. Each UofM student was assigned a group of 4th year SUT nursing students to teach and review clinical health assessment. This was a fun and educational experience for both sides, leaving everyone with new ideas about clinical health and wellness. We were also able to connect with the students on a personal level and develop friendships, leading to multiple new Facebook friend requests.
The rest of our day in NR was spent exploring our new surroundings. We traveled to the city center and explored the NR mall (which could give mall of America a run for its money). Everyone in the group took the time to stop for an hour-long ($6.00!!!!) Thai massage that stretched our bodies in ways that we didn't know were possible.
Our day ended with a group trip to the local market. Upon arriving, we were met with a vibrant atmosphere- full of food vendors and small shops. We all explored the area and enjoyed authentic thai cuisine as we sat outside and watched the SUT nightlife at full pace. Tomorrow we all begin our first clinical experiences at the community health care sites. We are all eager to jump in and help those in need by providing primary care through the SUT Nursing motto- the higher the technology, the greater the need for human touch.