Rescued Thai Cave Survivor Now Freshman at Middlebury College — But Hasn't Decided on Major Yet

Adul Samon, one of the 12 boys who were trapped in a cave in Thailand for over two weeks in 2018, is embracing his new life in America

One of the 12 boys who was rescued from a cave in Thailand in 2018 is now embracing his current life as a college student in America.

In an interview with Today that aired on Wednesday, Adul Samon — now a freshman at Vermont's Middlebury College — acknowledged that five years after the harrowing rescue, he has a lot to be thankful for. “I think everything (that) surrounds us is (a) miracle," he said.

On June 23, 2018, a group of youth soccer teammates and their coach were exploring the Tham Luang Nang Non cave complex in northern Thailand when heavy rains and rising floodwaters obstructed their path and prevented them from leaving. At the time, they had no food and little oxygen. They were trapped for over two weeks until they were rescued in an operation that involved 19 divers.

Related: Behind the Secret Plan to Rescue Boys Trapped in Thai Cave: 'The Only Option Was Knocking Them Out'

“It's really hard for a young teenager who was only 14 years old to have that experience,” the teen told Today. “We were dropped in this small cave or space and then we couldn't do anything. We couldn't see a light, we couldn't hear anything.”

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The teen was accustomed to personal obstacles having grown up in poverty in Myanmar. Being the oldest of six children in his family served him well during the ordeal as he was able to serve as a big brother figure to his teammates. He was one of the few boys who knew how to speak English, per ABC News.

In a recent interview with The Middlebury Campus school newspaper, the student shared that he "was able to use my skill of speaking English to communicate with the British divers."

Related: Missing Youth Soccer Team Found Alive After Being Trapped in Flooded Thailand Cave for 9 Days

After being rescued, Samon’s story caught the attention of Laura Danforth, the headmaster at the Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, New York. She welcomed him to her school in 2020 and brought him in contact with a host family.

“He feels as though his higher power has put all of these obstacles in his way to test him,” Danforth said, per Today. “And he’s just doing fine on that test.”

Related: All 41 Workers Trapped in Indian Tunnel Rescued After 17 Days: 'Great Joy for All of Us'

Before becoming a student at Middlebury College, the school awarded Samon its inaugural Global Citizen’s Award in 2019.

“Adul’s inspiring story is exactly what we had in mind for the Global Citizen’s Award,” said Laurie Patton, the school’s president, in a news release at the time. “Our intention is to recognize a person who, through their communication skills and compassion, are able to change the world with no expectation of being in the limelight—a global citizen who has been working without recognition.”

As for his studies, Samon told Today that he's interested in medicine but hasn’t yet decided on a major just yet. “I'm still exploring,” he said.

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