Category Archives: Pre-trip Student Assignments

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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Modern Thai History, 1932-2014

By: Raymond Bertheaud & Charles Saad

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In 1932, Thailand experienced a major and peaceful coup that caused a dramatic shift in its power structure, from monarchy to “a constitutional monarchy. King Prajadhipok initially accepted this charge but later surrendered his kingship to his 10 year-old nephew” (Zebioli 4). Subsequently, a world war erupts. Thais were historically described as an axis power during WW2 because in 1941 they invaded French Indochina to start the French Thai War. The Japanese served to mediate the conflict and brokered a deal a few months later which forced France to relinquish its claims on disputed territories. Thailand signed an agreement to support Japan provided that they return the territories lost to the British and the French. For these reasons Thailand is often branded as an axis power, although its motivations could be seen as being motivated more by anti-colonialism than aggression towards the allies.

There are a few historical events that have resulted from this period in Thailand which served to shape the outcome of the latter half of the 20th century.  Continue reading Modern Thai History, 1932-2014

HIV/AIDS In Thailand

By: Savanna Brown & Abby Sebastian

Brief Pathophysiology of HIV and Aids:

 How it’s spread:

  • HIV is a retrovirus spread through bodily fluids (blood, semen, vaginal and rectal fluids, breast milk) not through casual contact
  • Sexual contact is the most frequent mode of transmission
  • Once in the body, HIV body attacks T cells (which are key component of the immune system), incorporating its DNA into the cell’s DNA, which then enables the cells to reproduce large amounts of HIV into the blood

 Course of infection

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Mechai Bamboo School

By: Tori Stanley & Theresa Dominguez

The Mechai Bamboo School founded in 1974 is a unique learning environment open to the entire community and striving to “Create a generation of honest leaders who will improve rural Thailand.” The aim in creating the school was to help enhance life for all people living in rural Thailand. The school was founded to run around the rice planting and harvesting schedule so that children could help in the fields without missing any school. The school also runs from Thursday to Monday with their “weekend” falling on Tuesday and Wednesday so that people could come and visit the school and learn more about how this unique school set up runs. Students in this school take a very active role in making decisions not only in the school but in their wider communities as well. The teachers act as facilitators of the child’s education and help them come up with and implement projects rather than explicitly teaching. Students are allowed to pick things that interest them and are encouraged to use their creativity and make it into a project and learn from a much more hands on medium of learning. The upper grade students also get to select the incoming students that they feel will do well at this school. This panel of students goes through an interview and selection process for students and take on much of the responsibility of running the school. The students are taught to work collaboratively and value teamwork. Students find a project interesting to them and in groups they use books and the internet to find answers and solutions to problems. The core values of the school are, environmental protection, education, poverty eradication, philanthropy, integrity, and democracy & gender equality. Students learn about all these things and come away with high regards to these and many otherworldly values. Continue reading Mechai Bamboo School

Ecotourism in Thailand

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By Matt Lancaster & Suzi Ayers

Travel and tourism is a rapidly growing industry, especially in developing countries such as Thailand. In fact, travel and tourism now accounts for more than 9.5% of the world GDP and generates $7 trillion a year (WTTC, 2014). Tourism is a trickle down economy, meaning it affects many other industries that tourists contribute to when they visit Thailand. Visitors will come to see conservation sights or ride an elephant, but the indirect dollar revenue is where the economy prospers. Visitors spread their money out across the economy purchasing food, lodging, transportation, and vendor goods in marketplaces. An economy that relies on tourism for its growth is highly aware of the services they need to provide to keep the tourists coming. A popular industry to maintain is ecotourism. Continue reading Ecotourism in Thailand