February 26, 2011

Why I should never be allowed to Google.

I always suggest, "write what you know," and today, like many days, I know total confusion.

I've been stressing about getting the right kind of funding at Northern Arizona recently because of the out-of-state tuition. On top of that stress, I've never even been to this campus, nor do I know any faculty of current students. I've never even been to Arizona (though a roadtrip will soon fix that). The underlying problem is one I've had many times: I picked the place on a hunch, fell in love with a romanticized idea of how it would be, and and now wondering if I am making a good choice.

Speaking of romanticized ideas, I also know a lot about those today. From time to time, I've considered graduate school abroad (you may be saying, didn't you already apply? twice?). My interest in international students always seeks out the type of environment that is automatically presented during schooling abroad. I have many day dreams of studying in a foreign country and feeling like I am on an adventure with an academic purpose.

Enter Payap University in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I had a brief visit to the place in 2007, and the campus seemed very accommodating and the town small enough to suit me. By chance, today I saw that Payap offers an MA TESOL program--very similar to the program offered in Arizona. Payap's tuition, however, is less than one third the cost of in-state tuition, and the cost of living is about one fifth that of Flagstaff. Granted, it's a developing country, and it's a long way from home, but I've actually been there--it was surreal to see the online pictures of the dorm rooms where I stayed a few years ago. A serious advantage of the program in Thailand is the hands-on teaching potential in the community. I could be volunteering or working in my field while going to school. Did I mention I would be living abroad? Again? And going to graduate school? It's all the things I want to do. I think? Or maybe not. I don't know. Who knows?

Maybe the snowglobe world outside has me feeling cabin fever a little too strongly. I'm not saying that I am going to ditch any current plans, but I wanted to write about the things I am working through. Since I'm in the strict phase of South Beach, I can't even eat away my problems correctly. No one gorges on asparagus. This calls for Ben and Jerry's. Or at least a bag of licorice.