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How to call Thailand from the US

This is mostly for family and friends who want to be able to reach us while we are in Thailand. Each of you will have your own Thai cell phone with a local Thai SIM card and phone number. This will allow you to call out to your fellow travelers and faculty, to your friends and family in the US, and also send text messages. This is by far the cheapest way to be in communication while you are traveling. International roaming on your US phone is far more expensive. Continue reading

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What to Bring – Personal Items

Of course you’re going to need personal stuff…toothbrush, deodorant, medication, sunscreen, etc.  Luckily, most items are readily available in Thailand, as long as you’re not too picky about brands.  So don’t worry about bringing a month’s supply of shampoo or soap, unless you HAVE to have a particular brand.  Just bring a few days worth, and buy what you need when you get there.

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Checklist for Packing

Here is a checklist that I like to use to pack for a long trip. This one is specifically for Thailand. You can add and subtract certain items, but I would be really careful about dropping “critical” items. I have a packing list you can print out here in .pdf format. I would literally check off items as you pack them, to make sure you bring those critical items.
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Flight Itinerary for May Term Thailand 2014

We will again be taking China Air from SLC to BKK via SFO and TPE, and via TPE and LAX on the way home. It will be approximately 24 hours in the air and at the airports. We will be in coach, and the flights are usually full. But the 747s are big and comfortable, with free meals, food, drinks, blankets, headphones, slippers, and personal video players.

Here are the details of our flight itinerary for the trip:

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Staying Healthy in Thailand – Vaccinations

One of the nice things about travelling to Thailand is that you don’t need too many special vaccinations other than the ones that you SHOULD have already (MMR, Td, Hep A, Hep B, Varicella if you haven’t had chicken pox, and possibly meningococcus, especially if you live in  dorms).  Pay particular attention to make sure your tetanus-diptheria is up to date, as well as the Hep A and B series.  If you need the Hep A and Hep B, get started NOW as Hep B is a 4-6 month regimen.  Here is the CDC’s recommendations: Continue reading

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Course Assignments 2014

Here is a summary of the assignments that you will need to get credit for the course (and remember, it is a course!):

PRIOR TO LEAVING:

Short Research Assignment

This is a 2-3 page research report on a topic relevant to the trip. This will be done in groups of 2, on a topic of your choice (as long as it isn’t a topic someone else is doing). This report will be posted directly on this blog. Make sure that the report is referenced. Since this is a blog post, please include illustrations and hyperlinks to other sites whenever appropriate. Have fun with this one! If you need guidance, please ask Peter or Han, or check out the posts done by students from previous trips. Continue reading

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Money, Money, Money

You’ll need money in Thailand. In Thailand, the currency is the baht, and 32 baht is roughly equivalent to US $1. If you want to check the current exchange rates, a good site is xe.com. Dollars are not very widely accepted here in Thailand, so you will have to get some baht when you’re here.

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What Not To Wear…..

On the ferry on the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok

Thailand is hot and humid, especially in May and June.  The monsoon season is just beginning, and the air feels saturated with moisture.  It may not be quite as hot as August in Salt Lake City, but the humidity leaves you soaking after just walking a city block.  It’s tempting to wear a t-shirt and shorts all the time. And if we were in the US, we would. But we’re not in the US.

In most of Asia, academics is considered the highest level of achievement (even if it doesn’t pay like it).  Becoming a professor is highly respected, and there is a lot of status in being a university student.  Undergraduate students are expected to wear uniforms. Luckily, we will be doing service work, so we won’t need to dress up as much. But be aware that appearances are important in Asia, and as Americans we really do dress casually (dare I say slovenly) compared to the rest of the world. American tourists in particular seem to go out of their way to dress like….well…like tourists. There’s no other description. You can always tell who the American tourists are, and usually from a distance. We seem to insist on extreme casualness when on vacation. Maybe we want to escape the workplace so much, that we dress in completely opposite fashion. Granted, you will never completely pass as a native African or Asian (well, I can), regardless of your clothing, but you can show respect and courtesy towards your host culture by dressing as they do, and putting as much emphasis to appearances as they do. Continue reading

Westminster College's Thailand May Term Blog

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