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More Details on Registration for May Term Thailand XI

Here are a few more details on registration for May Term Thailand XI for May 2019:

  • Registration for all students begins on Tuesday, October 30th at 7:30 AM. Registration will be online only.
  • IMPORTANT! If you have a registration hold for any reason (student accounts, library, etc.), you may not be able to register for any May Term trips! Please check your Self-Service account and make sure you don’t have a registration hold. If you do, please clear it and confirm that it’s clear prior to October 30th so you can register!
  • If the trip is full by the time you register,  you will automatically be placed on a wait list. I know it’s disappointing that you aren’t on the list, but there are always cancellations, so please put your name on the wait list.
  • To register successfully and reserve a spot on the trip, you MUST place a $300 deposit at the time of registration. This must be done online when you register for the trip. All major credit and debit cards are accepted. This deposit is nonrefundable (unless the trip is officially cancelled by the College due to lack of enrollment or other unforeseeable reasons). Please be ready with your credit card or debit card when you register on the 30th.
  • The registration deadline for all May Term trips is January 31, 2019.
  • The total trip cost for May Term Thailand XI is $4,400. This includes round trip airfare from SLC to Bangkok, all lodging, meals in Thailand, fees for guides, transportation within country, trip and event fees, travel insurance, and cell phones (or SIM cards) to use within Thailand along with initial amount of minutes. It does not include passport or visa costs (no visa is required, unless you plan on traveling after the official trip), vaccinations, meals at airports during transit, or optional outings. Spending money varies wildly depending on your spending habits and what you decide to buy, but around $200-300 is typical. You will want money to buy gifts and souvenirs, for optional outings in Chiang Mai and Ko Samet, snacks and food, and evening activities on your own (but not for dinner, which is included in the trip fee).
  • Final payment is due February 1, 2019. Your account at that point must be at $4,400.
  • Please note the dates for REQUIRED pretrip orientation sessions.
  • More details on registration, tuition, fees, and deadlines can be found on the Westminster College May Term Study Experience page.

Please note that this trip has traditionally filled very quickly. Last year, it filled VERY quickly. If you are planning on going, I strongly suggest you register as early as possible. If you cannot register for May Term Thailand XI, and you have one or more years left before graduation, May Term Thailand XII for May 2020 has already been approved, and we will for certain be going again!

May Term Thailand FAQs

DSCF0191Family and friends of May Term Thailand participants have asked us many questions about this trip. Questions such as what we’re going to do, how we’re going to stay safe and healthy, and why we’re going to Thailand are some of what is asked of me. These are very important questions for friends and family, knowing that we’re going so far away to a country that is so different. So to answer some of these questions, I have compiled a little FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) post here. If you have any further questions, please feel free to comment on this post, and I can answer those questions as well.

What is the purpose of this course? Why do we do this?

Continue reading May Term Thailand FAQs

Registration for May Term Thailand XI

May Term Thailand XI will be from May 12, 2019 to June 9, 2019. These dates are still tentative, and may chance by +/- 1 day.

Registration will begin the morning of Tuesday, October 30th, at 7:30 am. The registration process will be slightly different this year. The link for registration will come online at 7:30 Tuesday morning (not before), and the link will be:

It will be an online registration, first come, first served. The $300 deposit MUST be entered using a credit card WHEN you register. The deposit is what will save your spot on the trip, so make sure you are prepared to enter the credit card number when you register. The remainder of the trip fee will be due on February 1, 2019. Last year, the trip filled very quickly, so if you want to go, please make sure you register as soon as you can! Further details can be found on the Westminster College May Term Study Experience page.

The trip fee this year will be $4,400, and this includes roundtrip airfare from Salt Lake City to Bangkok, Thailand, all in-country travel, all lodging, all meals while in Thailand (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), and all admissions and trip fees. It does not include spending money for souvenirs or snacks, cost of immunizations, passport fees, visa fees (if you are staying afterwards), food at airports during the flight to and from Salt Lake City, or fees for optional activities.

Fun at the Ban Toong Ting School

5/30 and 31/2018 – Ban Toong Ting School

On our third day at the school we got to teach an English lesson to the children. The little guys learned the colors of the rainbow, numbers 1-15, played games (Duck Duck Goose, Red Light Green Light, and Rock Paper Scissors), and sang English songs (Down by the Banks and Head Shoulders Knees and Toes). We split up into different grades and each classroom had 4-6 Westminster students teaching the lesson. Now, May, and Am, our Thai guides, floated from class to class to help translate our wordier instructions to the kiddos. Even with their help, there was some confusion and frustration, but nothing that charades and affirmative gestures couldn’t fix. Playing with the kids was a good ice breaker, as they seemed to be very weary of us up to that point. That afternoon, we walked the kids home from the school to the nearby village. It was a 1.5 mile walk, with bumpy, unpaved roads, lots of hills, and flip-flop-stealing mud. The kids do this trek every day, regardless of weather. Walking with the kids and seeing their homes offered us insight into their daily lives. These children live in conditions that a lot of Westerners looking in may consider insufficient as they are not consistent with our Western standards and expectations of housing. Still, the laughter of kids coming home from school could be heard and whole families were out on their porches together.

The last day at the school was spent having a field day with different outside games. The games we played ranged from modified basketball to more unique local games involving produce. There were relay races, an eating competition, a water balloon toss, and team sports. This was a great way to spend our last full day with the kids and teachers. Later that night, the students and teachers had put together a farewell dinner that included two dances and a short video that the school had made to show the changes Westminster students had made to the campus in the last five years we have been visiting. It was a very powerful video, moving some to tears. Four of the older girls that board at the school during the week did a traditional Lanna dance in beautiful garb. The younger kids dressed in traditional Karen outfits and preformed a less traditional, but still very fun, dance. After the performances the students went to bed and then it was karaoke time for the Westminster students and Bong Toong Ting teachers. The first few songs were American classics, but after a few the Thai teachers were coaxed on stage where they sang a well-known Thai song that our van drivers demonstrated the dance for.

Leaving on Friday morning was not easy, as many Westminster students had become very close with the children. There were some tears and a lot of heavy hearts. It was a difficult time for the Westminster teachers too, as they have been coming here for the last five years but it is time to move on to a new village. They do plan to stop for a shorter visit next year to visit with the school they have made such an impact on next year.

Time Spent with the Students and Teachers of Bong Toong Ting School

5/31/2018 Bong Toong Ting School, Chiang Mai

By Tara Ryan and Emma Zeumer

On our third day at the school we got to teach an English lesson to the children. The little guys learned the colors of the rainbow, numbers 1-15, played games (Duck Duck Goose, Red Light Green Light, and Rock Paper Scissors), and sang English songs (Down by the Banks and Head Shoulders Knees and Toes). We split up into different grades and each classroom had 4-6 Westminster students teaching the lesson. Now, May, and Am, our Thai guides, floated from class to class to help translate our wordier instructions to the kiddos. Even with their help, there was some confusion and frustration, but nothing that charades and affirmative gestures couldn’t fix. Playing with the kids was a good ice breaker, as they seemed to be very weary of us up to that point. That afternoon, we walked the kids home from the school to the nearby village. It was a 1.5 mile walk, with bumpy, unpaved roads, lots of hills, and flip-flop-stealing mud. The kids do this trek every day, regardless of weather. Walking with the kids and seeing their homes offered us insight into their daily lives. These children live in conditions that a lot of Westerners looking in may consider insufficient as they are not consistent with our Western standards and expectations of housing. Still, the laughter of kids coming home from school could be heard and whole families were out on their porches together.

 

The last day at the school was spent having a field day with different outside games. The games we played ranged from modified basketball to more unique local games involving produce. There were relay races, an eating competition, a water balloon toss, and team sports. This was a great way to spend our last full day with the kids and teachers. Later that night, the students and teachers had put together a farewell dinner that included two dances and a short video that the school had made to show the changes Westminster students had made to the campus in the last five years we have been visiting. It was a very powerful video, moving some to tears. Four of the older girls that board at the school during the week did a traditional Lanna dance in beautiful garb. The younger kids dressed in traditional Karen outfits and preformed a less traditional, but still very fun, dance. After the performances the students went to bed and then it was karaoke time for the Westminster students and Bong Toong Ting teachers. The first few songs were American classics, but after a few the Thai teachers were coaxed on stage where they sang a well-known Thai song that our van drivers demonstrated the dance for.

Leaving on Friday morning was not easy, as many Westminster students had become very close with the children. There were some tears and a lot of heavy hearts. It was a difficult time for the Westminster teachers too, as they have been coming here for the last five years but it is time to move on to a new village. They do plan to stop for a shorter visit next year to visit with the school they have made such an impact on next year.

Important Things to Remember Before Departure – 2018

Here are some miscellaneous important things to remember before departure:

I think that’s it for now. If you have any questions or comments, please call me, email me, or stop by my office. See you on Monday!

What to Bring – Checklist for Packing

I like to use a checklist of things to pack and do for a long trip to make sure I don’t forget anything. 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.

Packing List 2018 Continue reading What to Bring – Checklist for Packing

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 54 minute flight from SLC to SFO, a 6 hour layover in SFO, a 13 hour 10 minute flight from SFO to TPE, a 5 hour 10 minute layover in TPE, and a 3 hour 40 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, or really ANY international 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

What Not To Wear – Tips for Women

This is a special edition of “What Not To Wear”, specifically for women, courtesy of Jen Simonds, one of the faculty leaders of May Term Thailand 2015.

Ideas for Enhancements to the Packing List for Women

Have clothes for approximately 9-10 days at a time.  My experience is that we had laundry less frequently than we expected.

Overall Clothing Strategies

Good Guideline #1:  Look for moisture-wicking fabrics.  Travel fabrics are worth the extra $.  Activewear sections with dri-weave performance fabric clothes are a great source of moisture-wicking clothes and these can be found inexpensively at Target, Walmart, etc.

Good Guideline #2:  Lightweight fabrics.  This allows you to do quick rinse/wash in a hotel sink and get it dry by morning.

Types of Outfits for Different Occasions (Individual items are listed below)

Continue reading What Not To Wear – Tips for Women