When Olivia Draper stepped off the plane in Thailand this summer, she barely spoke a word of Thai.

Instead of studying abroad with a university program, Draper traveled on her own to Thailand, where she spent eight weeks working in a restaurant while learning Thai, and another five days living as a nun in a Buddhist monastery near Bangkok.

“Learning any language not in a classroom setting is very difficult,” said Draper, a second-year applied linguistics student. “It was a long journey, but it was definitely worth it.”

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