Matters of Reflection featuring: ANDREW SWIETON


Who is Andrew Swieton?

I am a 25 year-old first generation European-American man and I am currently teaching and living abroad as an English foreign language teacher. I currently live in a suburb of Bangkok, Thailand. I teach English at a gifted science and math boarding school. My favorite things about Thailand are the nature and food. I am obsessed with all the mountains, beaches, jungles, fruit farms, and rice fields. Now  that I live near the city, you will frequently find me day dreaming about life in Northern Thailand or planning my next trip

Short Answer:

Top 3 movie or book recommendations:


  1. The Truman Show
  2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  3. American Beauty


  1. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
  2. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
  3. Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari


  1. Justin Martin
  2. MK
  3. Rufus Du Sol


Favorite quote?

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”-Mark Twain


Favorite artwork?

I love all different kinds of artwork. My favorite Chicago street artist is JC Rivera. My favorite painter is Dan May. I have so many tattoo artists that I like too. I think my favorites are Iain Sellar and Kirk Jones. (I dream of getting tattooed by both one day) 


What is travel for you?

Travel to me is living in the country. –Not backpacking and going to the obvious tourist destinations. My idea of travel is experiencing the actual culture of an area by living it. I like to experience raw and unfiltered moments of a respective culture.


Why is traveling important?

To put it simply, travel is important because it broadens our perspective of what life is like elsewhere around the world. The things you experience while traveling cannot be read in books or accurately portrayed through films.


What do you think is the biggest issue facing the world today?

The biggest issue facing the world today is education!!! I truly believe that people around the world are not given the necessary educational opportunities to become successful. For example, at my first school in Thailand, my student’s education was based on the amount of tuition they paid. Just for some perspective, if a student paid 2000 baht per year, then they were in the ASEAN program. However, if a student was able to pay 20,000 baht per year, then they were guaranteed acceptance into the Mini English program which meant their instruction in English would be better. Although, I will state a disclaimer that I am in the education field so I acknowledge my views may be biased.


What do you hope to achieve from traveling?

I do not have an ultimate goal for my travels per se but I do have a goal for life which one could say incorporates traveling. I’ve always had a goal to understand the lives and cultures of as many humans as possible. We are all so different and where we have ‘roots’ has a huge impact on our differences.


What kind of traveler are you? 

I am more of an Eco-traveler. I enjoy roaming and exploring wherever I am traveling. And while I prefer nature I can still enjoy getting lost in an urban jungle too.


Favorite place you have been so far? Place you are going next? 

This is hard…Thailand is my favorite place so far, but I live here. I think my favorite place that I have traveled to is Vietnam. In my opinion,Vietnam had the perfect mix of city, history, nature, and FOOD.

The next country on my bucket list is Peru. I really want to see Machu Picchu and trek the trails in the area. The pictures of the area are just breathtaking. 

What is your motto?

To not be so quick to judge someone. I believe we all have struggles that we deal with on a daily basis and those struggles differ greatly from person to person. So just, you know, have some fucking sympathy for your fellow human.


What is a question you would most like to ask others?

I want to know what truly makes others happy. I find I have struggled a lot with this question myself because I think our societies present day idea of happiness is very skewed.


What do people accuse you of?

I am oftentimes argumentative. I always feel as though I have to defend myself.


What do you doubt most?

I doubt religion most because I believe it was started by people who were born into poverty in order to give them hope for a better life. I believe being a morally good human should be in our nature despite our social status or religious beliefs. We are social beings and have to interact with people from all walks of life. I just think we need to face the realities of life and rather than allowing religion to remain the only answer to our problems I hope that people will also invest in real time solutions that do not just give people false hope for the future.


If you could choose, what would you have for your last meal?

My last meal definitely consists of any Chicago food staples. Two of my favorites are either a well-done sausage deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati’s or a peanut butter chocolate cheese cake from Eli’s Cheesecake.


What would you never do no matter the price?

 I would never intentionally belittle someone.


If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?

 I want free and fair education for all.


What do you want to be when you grow up?

This has become a continual question of mine for the past few months especially. The honest answer is I have no idea. I originally wanted to become a principal but I cannot picture myself sitting in endless meetings.


Please feel free to ask Andrew questions in the comment section and if you are looking to connect or follow him, you can find his social media presence at the following platforms. 

Feel free to contact me:


Instagram: the_sweed23





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