Missouri State University
Southeast Asia Study Away Program
A blog about participants’ anticipations and apprehension before, during and after the program.

Asia Excitement

The moment I was accepted to Study Away I could not believe it. It felt as if it were a dream. Now after finishing our first class it is starting to set in. I have started watching Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown. I just love his show. He has traveled to many different places and experienced very many cultures. Most of his seasons are on Netflix and he has traveled to Vietnam twice! I’ve watched the episode and I just don’t think I can wait any longer. If I could I would pack now and leave tomorrow. I wrote down some of the restaurants he went to and would love to try them while we are abroad. He has also traveled to Sri Lanka, I have not watched that episode yet but I will. If you have not seen these episodes or have never watched the show, you should! You learn a lot about cultures around the world and in the United States as well. All in all I get more excited as each day passes.

Posted in 03-March 2017, Pre-Trip | Leave a comment


I have always been a big writer throughout my life, as a hobby and just generally enjoying writing assignments. The idea of starting a blog has always intrigued me as I follow many of them. I’m curious if any of you have tried blogging, aside from this assignment.
I think I might start trying to make one and see where it goes. Just a random thought but I’ll share the link if all goes well! My dream job would be becoming a travel writer so this trip would be a great start. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Posted in 03-March 2017, Pre-Trip | 1 Comment

Investment Items for Study Abroad

So, I have been such a night owl lately and find myself on amazon looking at travel items that I feel would be very helpful to have on the trip to Asia. I have never owned a pair of Chaco’s but I heard this is a great investment due to all the walking that we will be doing and how hot the weather will be. Another item I have been looking at is a KAVUbag. My friends that went to Peru said this was very light and could hold on to many things and was kept close to the body to avoid getting it stolen. Also, I like that it has a water bottle holder since we wont be able to drink the water from the tab over there. I am going to invest in a travel pillow and blanket for sure and will have that in my carry on. Overall, I feel like I am slowly becoming more prepared for this trip.



Amanda Mullen

Posted in 03-March 2017, Pre-Trip | 4 Comments

scuba diving certificate research

Maldives is one of my dream places. I don’t have any scuba diving experience/knowledge, but this is what I want to do there. Following is the class info I found:

White River Dive Co in Branson

Open water certificate

cost: $395  The class fee includes online academic training classes, 5 times pool, 4 times dives

If you are an undergraduate student, this place can transfer this class as school credit.

I know it is super expensive. So I am still thinking…. Just feel that I want to share this info in our group.



Posted in 03-March 2013, Pre-Trip | 2 Comments

After First Meeting Mar 20th

“Xin chào”

This is the first longest trip (3 stops, 3 destinations in 3 countries in Asia) ever in my life and I have a lot of worrisome in my head, after class some of my concerns were answered. Especially I am the only guy in the group so I believe there is burden on my shoulder literally :))

Since I was born and raised in Saigon, Vietnam, this is like a home visit to me. Unfortunately, I have never got chance to visit Nike or UPS factories in Vietnam so I am very excited to see how they operate in not only Vietnam but Southeast Asia. I plan to buy some premium tea while visiting Sri Lanka and a tea plantation over there.

I am a guy so I do not care much about packing or carrying tons of stuffs with me (usually I travel with light packing – one backpack for all electric devices and one luggage); however, I bought some gifts for my parents and I need to figure out how to carry these gifts.

I pray to all that our trip goes smoothly and safely, counting down 54 days

Posted in 03-March 2017, Pre-Trip | 1 Comment

3/23/17 – Day Bag

When looking over the checklist, it said to bring a book bag and a day bag. I started looking on Amazon for different day bag options and found a style that I like. It’s called a sling bag. It is kind of like a book bag but much smaller and only goes over one shoulder and across the back. It can be worn in the front, back, or around the waist, which I think is perfect for all the different places we are going. The bag is small enough to keep close to me at all times but big enough to hold a light change of clothes. It is waterproof and has a pocket for your phone on the front strap and a compartment on the side for a water bottle.

For those of you who have been in Asia (or travel frequently), do you think this would be a good investment? If not, what are some other options for day bags?


Posted in 03-March 2017, Pre-Trip | 1 Comment

backpack checklist sharing

I have been on the international trips a lot. So I would like to share the checklist of mine about what I will bring in my backpack at the airport:

1) electronic bag:

camera; all chargers; headphone

2) cosmetic bag

make up remover sheets, toner, cream, overnight mask, hand cream, lip stick, sun cream

3) others:

gum, pen, sunglasses, travel pillow, hot steam eye mask, rugular silk eye mask, blanket (this is the MUST on my list for international flight), hat, travel slippers


Followings are the products I have been using ( just FYI):

hot steam eye mask: KAO Megurhythm Hot Steam Eye Mask

travel pillow: Muji Well-Fitted Neck Cushion


Hope these will give you some ideas.




Posted in 03-March 2017, Pre-Trip | Leave a comment

After First Class

I have a lot on my mind about this trip and after class some of my concerns were answered. I have never traveled out of the country before so I’m a little nervous when we received that huge list of flights and all the transitions. However, I am going to go into this trip with an open mind and try to go with the flow.

I have a count down on my phone….only 59 days until we head to Springfield Airport to experience this amazing opportunity with a great group of people. But who’s counting! 🙂

One thing that kinda worries me is the communication barrier. I have been looking at how to communicate with local while we are over there because I want to try and carry on a basic conversation when we go to eat or travel to all the places to show my respect. I have also been thinking about what I am going to bring with me to give out to the people I meet as a gift of respect and thank you for welcoming me to their country. I have several friends that have traveled abroad and they talked about small things that they brought along with them to give to special people that they meet along the way. Some options are small hard candies, gum, chocolate (since our chocolate is much sweeter than what they are use to- even though this doesn’t travel well), small calenders, thank you cards.


After speaking with some students from the prior year I am thinking about the night life that is in Vietnam and about all the fun stuff to do on our free time. So many thoughts going on and on my free time I keep looking up random facts about the places we are going to be traveling to.

Tạm biệt (Good Bye)

Posted in 03-March 2017, Pre-Trip | 2 Comments


The firs meeting we had was very helpful and full of information I had been dying to know! Most of my questions were answered, but I am still a little confused about a few things on the packing list. I’m not sure exactly what type of shoes to bring to wear for each day and also what specifically the clothing requirements for each place will be as well. I have a few ideas, but was wondering if anyone specifically knows what they are going to bring for hiking in Sri Lanka. Overall I am very excited to get to know everyone and go!

Posted in 03-March 2017, Pre-Trip | Leave a comment

Post-Meeting Thoughts

Well I must say, overall, I am extremely excited. I feel like our group will get along just fine and that will make the experience even better. I’m looking forward to future meetings and getting to know our group even better.

My only real concern is: What are some good hiking shoes for our destinations? The packing list said “no runners” and that’s really all I have experience hiking in. If anyone has any suggestions of light-weight shoes that they like that would be helpful! I know of the popular brands but popular doesn’t always mean the best for our situation.

I will be looking into this further as I find time but I figured if anyone had a pair that they loved that fit the packing list recommendation this would be a good start.

Posted in 03-March 2017, Pre-Trip | 2 Comments