The four-week study tour to Bangkok, Thailand was organized in conjunction with our partner institution, the Faculty of Political Science of Thammasat University. The students took courses here and stayed at a hotel (with a swimming pool and buffet breakfast!) nearby.
Study took the course, “Contemporary Thai Politics and Society in a Global World,” which focused on the nexus between the Thai domestic politics and its foreign relations in the age of globalisation. It explored the dynamics and challenges that Thailand and other Asian countries been facing in the post-Cold War era, including the issues on democratisation, development, globalisation, human rights, and poverty. The course also included a historical overview of modern Thai and ASEAN history. Additionally, the course analysed current political issues and problems that have recently emerged in and possible prognoses of the potential political trajectory of ASEAN.
To complement the lectures, the students took field trips to numerous locations, including the United Nations, Population and Community Development Association (a leading local NGO), Ayutthaya (the previous capital of Thailand), and the Grand Palace.
Many of them stated they became more independent during the tour and in their essays clearly show that they developed critical thinking and social skills. Others stated the study tour enabled them to become more patient, gain an ability to ‘step out of their comfort zone’ and ‘broaden their horizons,’ and became more respectful of foreign cultures. In particular, some students were able to appreciate aspects of Thai culture and make comparisons between their own culture and Thai culture. Other examples of critical thinking skills which they developed were a greater understanding of the harms of using of counterfeit goods.
Here are a few quotes from the students: