Petersburg Pilot -


Exchange student relates Thailand experiences


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Quitslund trained for three months at a Thai kickboxing camp during his student exchange.

Petersburg High School Junior River Quitslund, returned this summer from a ten-month student exchange program in Thailand.

After applying for and being accepted by the Petersburg Rotary Club's Youth Exchange Program, Quitslund departed for Chiang Mai, a city in northern Thailand, in August of 2012.

"It was really different than Petersburg," Quitslund said. "I don't know where to start."

Quitslund began his 80-degree days, like most people, with breakfast. But, bacon and eggs or a bowl cereal weren't typically listed on many Chiang Mai menus.

"I really liked sticky rice," Quitslund said. "It's a breakfast where you get a barbequed piece of pork on a stick with rice."

He also sampled other Thai staples such as fried banana peels and scorpion.

To travel through the province, Quitslund took tuktuks-a kind of taxicab.

"It's like a cab on the back of a truck," Quitslund said.

Quitslund went to school where he focused on English classes. But he brushed up on his Thai before leaving Petersburg and learned more while he was there. Two out of three of the host families he lived with didn't speak English well.

"It was a lot of trial and error in trying to get your point across," Quitslund said.

His credits didn't transfer back to Petersburg so he's now playing catch up-taking three online classes and two science and English classes this year.

"It set me back quite a bit actually," Quitslund said.

But he said it was worth it. He trained in a three-month Muay Thai kickboxing camp where he learned from the World 2006 and 2009 middleweight Muay Thai champion.

He also participated in a ten-day meditation camp in a Buddhist temple where he learned Buddhist principles and helped a monk take alms-the collection of food in exchange for a prayer.

"I meditated a lot in those ten days," Quitslund said. "It was an interesting experience."


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