Return to Thailand with Asia Institute and Chicago School of Psychology
Updated: Jan 13
Join us in celebrating our inaugural post-pandemic collaboration, a pschology-themed, educational trip for graduate students from the Chicago School of Psychology, in collaboration with Asia Institute (www. asiainstitute.org), which took students through "The Big Mango", Bangkok, through seaside Hua Hin and historic Lanna Culture of Chiang Mai. We met with several local educational institutions and organizations to help students more deeply understand the complex history, belief systems, business and psychological practices and histpric and contemporary culture of this fascinating country.
In Bangkok, students got a glimpse into the meditative practices of Wat Dhammamongkon (https://www.dhammamongkol.com/) through an introductory lecture by Ms. Nuttarree, who also guided students through a walking and seated meditation practice to fortify our daily living. Through the Meditation for Self Conquering Course, students were able to better understand how meditation practices can be embedded into and benefit their routines. This helped to clarify the role that Buddhist practices can enhance and iinform life decisions in a practical way.
Head Coach of STEAM Labs Rob Parker and
Learning Technologies Director Keith Wilson introduced Chicago School students to St. Andrews International School, an elite, STEAM-focused institution catering to ambitious students in central Bangkok. Impressed by the facilities provided for the focused students of St. Andrews (https://www.standrews.ac.th), we gained an understanding of some of the multidisciplinary projects this school engages in to better prepare its students for high-tech futures. From learning about the VEX Robotics competitions that promote creative development among St Andrews students to a Q&A session with students, that allowed Chicago School students to speak directly to some of the students enrolled in Ethical Hacking courses, this visit gave us insight into an institution focused on elevating the technological competancies of Thai students. St. Andrews represents the forefront of STEAM education in Bangkok, as they continue to push forward the technological competance and adoption within middle and high school students in Thailand's central city.
Moving northward to Chiang Mai, students took a day to explore the Thai countryside with a service learning experience at ECHO Asia Impact Center Chiang Mai (www.echonet.org), a compound dedicated to producing stable and sustainable circumstances for local farmers through various agricultural projects like fly larvae farming and seed bank development and preservation. The visit to this organization and the introduction by Hanni Oppel expanded our understanding of what technology means to different populations and in different areas of access. We learned about the organization's recent projects. ECHO has recently aided local farmers through the pandemic by providing seeds to help the recent influx of rural residents sustain themselves through harsh economic times. They explained their activities locally and internationally in helping to advance rural regions.
Visiting Chiang Mai University's American Corner at the Faculty of Political Science (https://www.facebook.com/AmericanCornerCMU/) allowed us to engage with CMU's Thai Buddies to learn about each other and understand the bond between the United States and Thailand, as well as the ambitions and trajectories of local students. CSP students formed connections among the Chiang Mai University student body that helped to welcome them to Thailand and make it feel more like a home. We would like to thank the Political Science Department's Dr. Pornchanok Ruengvirayudh for a lovely and informative presentation, and International Relations Officer Ms. Supheerutai B. Pui for organizing the interactive event. We hope to see some of our Thai Buddies in the United States in the future!
No trip to Thailand is complete without
visiting a local elephant sanctuary. Elephants have been symbolic of Thailand in international spheres for years, due to their prevalance in Elephant Rides, and street performances. Thankfully, in recent years, the focus has turned to preserving the species and permitting them to live out their lives in natural habitats, taken care of in a sustainable way, rather than in service of the tourist industry. Elephant Legend in Chiang Mai (https://chiangmaielephantl.wixsite.com/cmelephantlegend) demonstrated for students the care and upkeep that goes into every day of taking care of these elegant creatures in a traditional village setting, where they often live in Thailand. We would like to thank our cheerful and friendly guides Pam and Tim for an exciting day feeding and swimming with local rescued elephants, who were clearly the stars of the show! At Edu-Odyssey, we like to engage in hands-on learning as it activates the widest variety of learning styles and provides profound identification with the setting of each excursion.
Altogether, we welcome the reopening of
study abroad and travel-based programming. It is an essential component of expanding one's understanding and equipping students with the capabilites to operate in a gloablizing and interconnected world. Many thanks to Asia Institute (https://asiainstitute.org/) for continuing to provide quality programming for university groups seeking to connect in a meaningful way with international settings. We look forward to upcoming programs in Spring 2023.