Course Assignments 2017

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


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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Thai Traditional Medicine

By: Sarah Pierson and Leah Jeglum

Thai traditional medicine is defined as “the medical processes dealing with the examination, diagnosis, therapy, treatment, or prevention of diseases, or promotion and rehabilitation of the health of humans or animals, midwifery, Thai massage, as well as the preparation, production of Thai traditional medicines and the making of devices and instruments for medical purposes. All of these are based on the knowledge or textbooks that were passed on and developed from generation to generation”.  (Chokevivat,2005) Thai traditional medicine began during the Sukhothai period (1238-1377) and continued to the early 20th century.  It then was dismissed and replaced with western medicine became integrated back into the Thai culture in the 1970s.

There are four elements of the body involved in Thai traditional medicine: earth, water, wind and fire.  If there is an imbalance of these then it can cause illness.  Illness can also be caused by: supernatural powers, power of nature, power of the universe and kimijati. Health can also be influenced by: the elements, the seasons, age, geography, time and inappropriate behaviors.

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Commercial Sex Workers in Southeast Asia

By: Sarah Troester

Commercial sex has become a major business in Asia, it has acquired many characteristics of an industry. It is highly organized, wages for work, factory-like atmosphere, anonymity and a complete alienation at the workplace.  According to reports from International Labor Organization, in spite of Asia’s economic crisis, the sex industry wont be slowing down because of the economic and social forces.  This industry wont even be affected in regions with high unemployment levels.

Generally, sex work is usually better paid than most of the option available to young, often uneducated women, despite the stigma and dangers with the work.  For many women, sex work is the only viable choice when experiencing poverty, unemployment, failed marriages or have family obligations.  Commercial sex works tend to be less time consuming than factory or unskilled labor.  For single mothers with children, the hours are more flexible than factory work.  Women also get paid better than they would for unskilled labor. Average monthly earnings in the middle range were estimated at around US$600 monthly and US$100 at the low end (“Sex Industry assuming massive proportions in Southeast Asia”, 2).  Commercial sex workers are not usually found in small towns or villages where they grew up. The young women leave the town or village for the city, to find their first-time job in the urban areas. The foundation for Women in Bangkok said that official policies promoting tourism and migration for employment, particular among women, encourage the growth of prostitution (“Prostitution a Major Industry in Southeast Asia”, 2).

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Education System in Thailand

By: YiQi Xin

Education plays an important role in the development of a country. The understanding of education system will give us a glimpse of the overall picture of Thailand. In my following paper, I am going to introduce the history of Thai education system and the basic structure of school level in Thailand. The status quo of Thai education system will also be discussed with focuses of English education in Thailand, standard tests in Thailand, school uniforms, and government school holidays.

Education in Thailand began in 13th century, when Ramkamhaeng the Great created Thai alphabet. In the early period of Thai education, members of the royal family and nobilities received education from Royal Institution of Instruction (Rajabundit), while commoners received education from Buddhist monks in the temples. In Thai’s traditional education system, village temples were places where most young boys received basic education. Such village temples received boys from the age of eight to serve in the temple as dek wat (which means “the children of temple”). The dek wat helped to do some housekeeping works in exchange for instructions in reading and writing. Scriptural texts were used as textbooks for educating commoners in traditional Thai education system. The traditional education system prevailed until the 18th century (Ministry of Education [MOE], 1998).

A Thai 100-baht banknote with a background theme of education system

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The Health Care System in Thailand

By: Joey Garzarelli and Tawni Johnston

Thailand’s health care system needs many improvements.  There are several areas that could be enhanced.  There are problems with this system in the urban areas, but they are even worse in the rural areas.  In the urban areas, they have problems with the types of doctors and the accessibility of the doctors.  On the other hand, the rural areas have problems with the amount of time the doctors are there, and also the means of transportation to the clinics.  Many villagers cannot get to the hospitals because they are too far away. The clinics in the rural areas are also very small, but service a large amount of villages, some even 14 km away from the hospital.  The Thais have started to improve their health care system by making it more universal.  The majority of the population is covered under the Universal Coverage Gold Card, but there are still problems with this system.



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History of Buddhism in Thailand

By: Jane Dahle and Rob Caesar

The development of Buddhism in Thailand has a long history. In order to go into detail about its history, it is necessary to divide it into three different key periods of time, all which have greatly influenced this religion and the spiritual founder Siddhartha Gautama. These three time periods that we will look at include: Theravada, from the Asoka period; the Mahayana period; and finally, the Theravada from Sri Lanka. Siddhartha Gautama’s life accounted for his life discoveries, monastic rules practiced, and path to enlightenment, which is followed by current Buddhists.

First, we will look into the period were Buddhism first started in Thailand during the Theravada from Asoka’s period. Buddhism was introduced and established by King Asoka in Patalilbutta City during the 3rd century B.C. King Asoka sent monks out of the country to follow and learn about Buddha’s teachings. While other monks were learning the ways of Buddha, two monks stayed behind in Thailand to teach people there. During this period, the first signs of Buddhism were seen in Thailand and became very prevalent.

Since the introduction of Buddhism in Thailand, it became noticeable that these beliefs also started to spread to other areas of Asia during the Mahayana period. King Kanitsaka the Great had the intention of spreading Buddha’s teachings farther than just his kingdoms. He began to send groups of monks throughout Central Asia in order to help spread the word. Once Mahayana’s Buddhism expanded into Thailand, it became widely accepted by the people.  Mahayana’s Buddhism spread from the southern regions, to the north via the central areas of the country. This created a large multicultural society, with different dialects that still, today, inhabit the Thai language. The spread of the beliefs of Buddhism had officially begun in Thailand.

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The History of the Sukhothai and Ayutthaya Kingdoms

By: Victoria Valencia and Elinor Coleman

Thai history is said to have began in 1238, when the Sukhothai kingdom was established. The Sukhothai kingdom, which contributed major architectural structures, was a loosely organized state in which Buddhism and the government were intertwined. However, the kingdom was short-lived. It fell apart after the death of its most famous ruler, king Ramakhamphaeng. After its fall, the cities of Lopburi and Suphanburi united, creating the Ayutthaya kingdom. This kingdom, which flourished in international trade and diplomatic relations, lasted for over four centuries. Its success can be attributed to the great organizational skills of its leaders as well as the benefits of its geographical location. Unfortunately, these alliances with foreign nations led to conflict within Ayutthaya and an eventual revolt. Less than a century later, Burmese forces invaded and overthrew Ayutthaya’s government, thereby ending the great reign of the Ayutthaya kingdom.

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An Escape Along the Thai Border: Burmese Refugees

By: Siri Wieringa and Kaylene Moulton

Burma is home to one of the longest running secret civil wars in the world. Lasting over 50 years, the country has been run by a succession of military governments (Bowles, 11). The violence that has been tearing Burma apart has caused citizens to flee the country. “Nearly one million people have fled Burma for relative safety of Thailand over the last two decades” (Lang, 369). Many go to refugee camps along the border of Burma in Thailand. “At the beginning of 1994, 72,000 refugees lived in 30 camps, of which the largest housed 8,000 people; by mid 1998, 110,000 refugees lived in 19 camps, with the largest housing over 30,000 people” (Bowles, 11). Refugee camps along the Burmese and Thailand border have become more and more prevent as the years have gone on. “About 142, 000 Burmese refugees reside as a ‘temporarily displaced people’ in one of the nine official refugee camps, while an estimated two million live and work outside the camp, either legally registered as migrant workers or more likely illegally”(284).

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