After graduating with a master’s in Food Studies from the NYU Steinhardt Department of Nutrition and Food Studies in 2019, Dharath “Tot” Hoonchamlong moved back to his home country of Thailand to work as the Environmental Manager of Bo.lan, a sustainability-focused—and Michelin-starred—restaurant in Bangkok. We spoke with Tot to learn more about his current role and his experience as an international student at NYU.
Bo.lan’s garden and the NYU Urban Farm Lab are both are in urban settings and share some similar main goals of growing for educational purposes and empowerment. My experience on NYU’s farm helped me feel more confident that Bo.lan’s garden will be able to be a part of the food system in Bangkok for the long term. It’s also fun to analyze and adapt knowledge about Western agriculture and community gardens in New York City to this side of the world while learning more about tropical crops and local varietals.
What was it like being an international student at NYU? Do you miss New York?
As an international student, I lived in New York for a brief scope of time and at a different pace than most of my fellow classmates. Being enrolled for a limited amount of time prompted me to manage my days even more efficiently, both at NYU and off campus.
I do miss New York, especially the people and certain places and foods. I returned to Bangkok because I felt like I had saturated myself for the time being – plus, what I want to learn and work on next is back here. It may just be me, but I think Bangkok and New York share a lot of similarities and both also have elements that the other doesn’t have.