Why Katie Snyder has learned to wai


As members of the Malone community are still adjusting to the hour gained from Daylight Savings Time, senior Katie Snider is working to gain her bearings halfway across the world in Bang Na, Bangkok, Thailand, where she is student teaching.

“In my apartment, everything seems pretty ordinary, but when I look out the window or walk out the door, I realize again I am in the midst of an entirely different place surrounded by people who speak a language that I don’t understand and a culture I am just starting to learn about,” said Snider. “I’m full of curiosity and an eagerness to explore this place and these people and just live the adventure. Each time I go out, I learn something new about how people here live.”

For example, Snider has learned to wai (or give a little bow) to people when greeting them as a show of respect.

And in fewer than two weeks, she has experienced lots of new things: crossing a 16-lane highway on a walking bridge to attend an international church service on the ninth floor of a giant tower. Riding a motorcycle taxi to a home Bible study. Coming face-to-face with a 6-inch gecko hiding behind her curtain. Eating unidentifiable (but mostly enjoyed) food at new friends’ homes.

Even her flight, Snider felt, was special – from Chicago to Tokyo, she connected with a flight attendant who has a niece attending Malone.

Snider is teaching at the International Community School of Bangkok, a Christian school in a Buddhist society – and most of the students at ICS come from Buddhist families.

“We have such an opportunity to show these kids what it looks like day in and day out to live for the glory of our one true living God,” she said. “And to show them love because of the love we’ve been shown by Him.”