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
Continue reading A Brief Overview of Health Care 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
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
Here are some miscellaneous important things to remember before departure:
- Our last orientation will be on Thursday, May 11. Please review the orientation material on this blog before coming to the meeting, and come with questions. I will not be reviewing everything on this blog, so it’s important that you review it on your own. We will cover the most important aspects, however.
- We will meet at Salt Lake City International Airport Terminal 1 (Alaska Airlines) at 4:45 AM on Sunday, May 14. Make sure you are there AT 4:45! We will meet on the first floor, by the check-in counter. We will check in and go through security as a group.
- Pack one back to check (less than 50 lbs., less than 62 inches combined height, length and width). You can also have one bag (and a personal item) to carry on. Make sure this is small (less than 15 lbs, and no bigger than 22″x14″x9″) China Air has been militant about the size of carry ons lately.
- I’ve created a checklist of things to bring. USE IT!!! You can also modify mine, but I highly recommend you literally check things off as you pack.
- When we go up to the second village, we won’t be able to bring our main bag with us, because we have to ride in the back of pickups, and we don’t have room. You’ll have to pack light using your carry on. Or you can share bags with someone else.
- Make sure you have identification on the bag. A sticker or some other mark can differentiate your bag from others for easy retrieval.
- I will have your airline tickets. Don’t worry about that. But make sure you don’t forget your passport!
- I have some suggestions on making the long flight a bit more comfortable here.
- Make sure you have your assignment completed before the deadline! Failure to complete it will result in a 0. Also make sure you’ve started the pre-trip portion of your journal before Sunday!
- Please go over the recent blog post for orientation details. In particular, read over the posts on baggage, personal items to bring, clothing, clothing 2, clothing for women, money, electronic items, other items to bring, additional items, paperwork, and a first aid kit. Again, I have a checklist to help you stay organized. Here are the highlights for each post:
- Bring about 7-9 days worth of clothes. Focus on versatile pieces. Make sure you have at least one outfit that you can “dress up” for more formal occasions.
- Call your credit/debit card companies, so that they know there will be legitimate charges/withdrawals in Thailand. Otherwise, they will mark it stolen, and you won’t be able to use it.
- The critical personal items to bring are sunscreen (high SPF), insect repellant, any prescription medications/eyeglass prescriptions, and anything else that you are particular about. Otherwise, you can get anything in Bangkok.
- Don’t bring cash. Bring an ATM card with a memorized PIN (and enough money in the account!) You should also bring a credit card for emergencies (preferably NOT an American Express), a driver’s license and your Westminster ID. Leave everything else at home.
- Make two copies of everything you bring (passport, IDs, etc.) Leave one copy with someone at home, and bring the other copy with you. Make sure you make copies of the back as well. It’s also a good idea to upload copies on a password-protected Cloud drive (like Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud Drive, etc.) Most are free, and it’s a good way to backup important documents.
- Make sure your family and friends have your Thai phone number, as well as the faculty’s. Also, make sure they have instructions on how to call you.
- Put your US phone on Airplane mode as soon as we take off from SF, and LEAVE IT ON AIRPLANE MODE FOR THE REST OF THE TRIP!
- Please bring a small first aid kit. I have a post about this here.
- Safety issues are covered here. Health issues are covered here. Notes on motion sickness are covered here.
- I will download photos onto my laptop and external drive, so don’t worry about not having enough memory cards for your camera.
- Make sure your assignments are completed before we leave.
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 Thursday and Sunday!
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.
Continue reading Course Assignments 2017
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 2017 Continue reading What to Bring – Checklist for Packing
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
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
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.
Continue reading Personal Safety While Traveling
Traveling to remote parts of the world, especially in Asia, may require Americans to rethink some fundamental aspects of their daily activities. We have found over the years that the squat toilet and the bucket shower can be problematic for some students. To help everyone prepare, we want to provide some information to consider.
Here is a link to a good site that explains the essentials of the squat toilet.
Here is a link to using a bucket shower
Might be a good idea to have a look at these before we go. When we stay in peoples homes, understanding these makes for better relations with the family and the village as a whole.