A Brief Overview of Health Care in Thailand

By Madeline Gere, Megan Poling, and Lyons Wells

During a primary orientation meeting for the May Term Thailand Course, a question regarding the quality of Thai health care was asked. Han Kim replied, “Oh yeah, the Thai health care system is great. In fact, some people travel there for health care. Medical tourism, ever heard of it?” By many measures medical practice in Thailand is laudable. With a rich history of Thai medical care and progressive advancements, Thai health care has emerged as a leader in medicine.

History of Thai Health Care

Medical care has deep roots in the history of Thailand. Dating back to the early 11th century, there is evidence of intentional efforts to provide healing services to the people. Tools to produce medicines and written instructions for a royal medicinal garden suggest that many empires studied and manipulated the healing properties of their natural environments (Hays, 2008). During the 14th to 18th century, health care continued to grow. Some major advancements included royal drug dispensaries, drug stores and royal documents detailing the effects and directions for using specific medicines (Hays, 2008). The study and expansion of medicine was an integral part of many historical eras in Thailand.

Western medicine was slowly incorporated into Thai health care. The French and Portuguese were responsible for introducing international methods of medicine and Western hospitals to the Thai (Hays, 2008). When King Phet Racha banned foreigners from the

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Tourism in Thailand

By Eli Clarke and Tanner Peacock

Thailand is a small, but amazing country. There are a couple things that Thailand is well-known for. First is the fact that Thailand is the only country in Southeast Asia to never been colonized by Europeans. The people within this country take great pride in this aspect of their lives. Since this country has never been colonized, this means there is a very unique culture that you cannot experience anywhere else in the world.

However, due to this unique culture, Thailand has become a huge tourist destination. Bangkok, with 12.2 million expected visitors in 2017 alone, is the third most visited city in the world (behind London and Paris). With the high amount of visitors, tourism has shaped the country in more ways than one is able to think about. Now, Thailand is seen more as a getaway vacation destination than as a country in most visitors’ eyes. The influence of tourism has been divided up into four main sections: economic, social, environmental, and technological. Continue reading Tourism in Thailand

Contemporary Thai Political Issues

By Noor Hamouda, Sophia Moreno, and Kiera Stukey

Death of the King

Over the last year the political climate in Thailand has experienced a new turn that it has not witnessed in over seventy years. On October 13th, 2016, former and beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej also known as King Rama IX passed away.

King Rama IX became the monarch shortly after world war II and was only 18 years old when he gained power. He was born in the United States, in Cambridge, where his father was attending Harvard. He spent a significant amount of his own educational career in Switzerland, but once he returned home to Thailand he stayed. Continue reading Contemporary Thai Political Issues

Thai Traditional Medicine

By Adanna Foley, Mingyu Hu, and Aubrey Louder

Traditional Thai medicine is a practice that has been used for generations. Contrary to Western medicine, traditional Thai medicine makes use of mostly local remedies and local healers. Massage and herb-based healing is an important part of tying the body and soul together. There are three ways of classifying herbal remedies; those takes orally, those applied to the body, and those inhaled (Hays, 2013). Homage is payed to different guardian spirits to ensure that health follows after a healing. These guardians include Shivaga Komarpaj, the Ayurvedic practitioner who treated the Lord Buddha and is considered the father of Thai traditional medicine, Shivago and the unbroken lineage of masters who have kept the tradition alive, and Phra Mae Thorani, or “Mother Earth,” (Hays, 2013). Those who partake in traditional Thai medicine make prayers and offerings, and chant as they collect plants to use in rituals. Small altars are made to honor the guardian spirits.

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Education in Thailand vs. The United States

By Mia Angelis and Carolina Magana

The educational system in the United States varies when compared to other countries around the world. In the U.S. Students attend primary and secondary school for a combined total of 12 years. Students begin elementary school at the age of six, before that, some students are put in a preschool. Going to preschool is not obligated, even though it is highly encouraged. Once students finish elementary school, they move onto middle school which now becomes part of secondary schooling. Students attend middle school for three to four years and then attend high school. In high school, they receive a certificate if they are able to graduate with the credits necessary. Students will then attend college if they wish to do so once they receive their diploma. Continue reading Education in Thailand vs. The United States

Buddhism

By Meghan Garrecht-Connelly , Katie Saad, and Haley Schiek

History and Influences of Thai Buddhism:

There are varying theories about when Buddhism reached Thailand. Some say that Buddhism was introduced to Thailand during Asoka’s (a great Indian leader) reign. He sent Buddhist missionaries to many parts of the world. Others believe that Buddhism was introduced much later. Based on archeological and historical evidence, Buddhism first reached Thailand when it was inhabited by a racial stock of people known as the Mon-Khmer who had their capital city situated about 50 kilometers from where Bangkok is now.

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Course Assignments 2017

Here is a summary of the assignments that you will need to get credit for the course:

PRIOR TO LEAVING:

Pre-trip Personal Reflection

All students will submit a 2-3 page pre-trip reflection where students will reflect on their traits as a global citizen; how they learn about and respect other cultures,beliefs, values, etc; ways in which they address global issues; and a self reflection on one’s own beliefs, culture, language, religion, and more. Please submit this to Canvas on May 11.

Short Research Assignment

This is a 3-5 page research report on a topic relevant to the trip. This will be done in groups of 2 to 4, 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 and cited correctly. Since this is a blog post, please include illustrations and hyperlinks to other sites whenever appropriate. This is an informational post, so keep it general. As for the audience, this should be for those looking to travel to Thailand to learn and experience a different culture, rather than just to frolic on the beach. It should be informational, and in-depth enough for college students who want to know something about the culture, history, cuisine, language, economy, politics, and other aspects of a country so that they can truly have an educated travel experience. Have fun with this one! If you need guidance, please ask Han, or check out the posts done by students from previous trips.

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How to Survive the (Gulp!) 24+ Hour Flight to Thailand

It’s a long flight to Bangkok, there’s no way around it. It is almost on the opposite side of the globe. It’s not quite as long as a flight to Africa, or India, or Australia, but it’s close. It’s a 1 hour 59 minute flight from SLC to SFO, a 9 hour 14 minute layover in SFO, a 13 hour 20 minute flight from SFO to TPE, a 55 minute layover in TPE, and a 3 hour 30 minute flight from TPE to BKK. It’s a long long day! And during this “day”, we pass through 13 time zones and the international date line. We miraculously land 2 days after we leave. You will have no sense of time or place; your body will be completely out of whack.

But there are ways to make this flight, if not completely enjoyable, at least tolerable. You have to do three things: bring the right things for the flight, wear the right things during the flight, and do the right thing during the flight. Continue reading How to Survive the (Gulp!) 24+ Hour Flight to Thailand

Miscellaneous Items to Bring

Here are some more unusual items to pack that will be VERY useful on this trip:

Zip Lock bags, various sizes – These are incredibly useful, and take up almost no room. They can be used to pack up wet or dirty clothing, used to store liquids when going through airport security, waterproof important documents or electronics, pack potentially leaking toiletries, etc. This site has some other wonderful ideas for these incredibly useful items.

Garbage bags – For the same reasons as above, but for bigger and bulkier, or more, things. And they make a handy emergency poncho.

Duct tape – This is obvious. You can repair your bag, use it as a label, repair clothing….its uses are only limited by your imagination. Here are some more ideas. You can bring an entire roll, or roll some around your water bottle or other cylindrical object. And yes, in a pinch, you can create an evening gown out of duct tape.

Zip Ties – These are great impromptu luggage locks, but they also work great for repairs. Bring a bunch of miscellaneous sizes. Continue reading Miscellaneous Items to Bring

Personal Safety While Traveling

A fear many have about traveling outside of the United States is personal safety. Much of this is ingrained in the fear of the unknown, and not on any firm data. While there are dangerous regions in the world today (Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Nicaragua, Yemen, Pakistan), there are many parts of the world that are considerably safer than regions of the US. Thailand in particular is a very safe destination for travel. By many measures of crime and safety rates, Thailand is safer than Canada, New Zealand, Australia, China, Belgium, and far safer than France, Italy, Ireland, and even the United States. And within the United States, places like New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Detroit are far more dangerous than many developing countries.

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