The Graduate School of Chulalongkorn University Bangkok Thailand never fails to amaze me with their supports for my study and research experiences. Through the Faculty of Nursing Chulalongkorn University and my supervisors, all of my dreams gradually come true. After helping me to reach my dream to visit London for presenting my works on April 2018, they also encouraged me to go to Gainesville Florida to learn deeply about research and expand networking from August 15, 2018 until March 15, 2019. This has been a part of my PhD journey that will never be forgotten for the rest of my life.
In Florida, I learned so many things, including life, culture, and study environment. For the first two months, of course, I had a cultural shock due to a life difference from the busy life of Bangkok city to a quite city of Gainesville; from Thai English accent to American English accent; from Thai food to American dishes; from formal dress to casual style; and from staying alone to staying with other 3 roommates. It needed some times for me to adapt the situation, but not more than 2 months.
What I like from Gainesville Florida, especially from the University of Florida, was the study environment. I kept moving from one to another library, from one park to another park, to observe the way the students learning and giving comments and critiques. I am pretty sure there are differences in student’s participations among Indonesian culture, Thai, and American culture. “To the point”, “straightforward” probably are the correct terms to describe that.
I mostly spent my time in the library although the College of Nursing University of Florida provided me an office to work. I just needed the great learning environment by seeing or joining random students and got to know each other. In other words, I needed to see the level of my confidence talking with strangers, instead of being individualistic. In fact, I made some friends from nursing, dentistry, chemistry, law, and many others. Unfortunately, I met Thais and Indonesians after I stayed there for five months, which indicated that I was not the one who was really good at catching Pokemon. I met Thai students in the bus while they were talking in Thai language, which is familiar in my ears.
Without a motorbike or a car in Gainesville might not be good enough to stay. Luckily, there were free buses for students to tour around Gainesville both inside and outside campus. They were more active in the working days (from Monday to Friday), but less active or limited buses on the weekend. Thus, Uber or Lyft is another option. However, the costs for Uber or Lyft might be high for students’ pockets.
It was not too hard to find Indonesian or Thai foods in Gainesville. There are some stores providing Indonesian ingredients, and some restaurants for Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese foods. Besides, Amazon could be a great choice to find Thai tea if I really missed it.
Data analyses of my dissertation and writing manuscripts were the main objectives of my visit in the College of Nursing University of Florida. And these objectives had been fully accomplished with a total of 6 manuscripts. In addition, I also had an opportunity to learn new knowledge and skills in regard to mixed methods study and data mining for my next papers. What a great opportunity!
In addition, I also had a chance to present a part of my works with my team in the Rita Kobb Nursing and Health Informatics Symposium on February 15, 2019, and I was completely grateful once I knew that all audiences were satisfied with my presentation. “Excellent!” that’s my supervisor told me. You know how it feels, right? as that was my first experience in presenting my works in front of all Americans in their own country.
On the other hand, I was able to visit New York and Miami during the spring break in my last month. That was an amazing opportunity to see another side of America and its culture.
Overall, I was so happy for staying in Gainesville Florida and becoming a part of Gator family. It was short time, but meaningful. I look forward to returning back to this city in the future.
Thank you, University of Florida for the chances!
Thank you, Chulalongkorn University for the supports!