Skip to content

Scholar Highlights Week Ending August 3, 2018

August 7, 2018

Tiana Richards

When I think back on this 2-month adventure in Khon Kaen, Thailand nostalgia starts to overwhelm me. I think of the market where I bought my pad Thai, fruits, lotus desserts and mango smoothies; where I laughed with the locals and practiced my minimal Thai language skills. I got to know the area and soon felt like a local. The nine other students and staff became my family, and Khon Kaen eventually started to feel like my home away from home. Thailand taught me to be more open-minded. I learned to relax more. I’m pretty type A — go, go, go. I learned to relax, enjoy, and absorb what’s going on around me. This study abroad trip in Thailand has been one filled with insight, exploration, and humbling experiences. As this trip comes to an end I have realized that this experience has had more of a profound impact on me than I was initially inclined to believe it would. I’ve changed because Thailand taught me to start questioning my beliefs. Here I was on my own. I no longer could rely on my parents’ beliefs, but to only use my own critical thinking skills to form my own opinions. I’ve gained a greater appreciation and respect for differences and others opinions. I have learned to think about issues with an impartial view. I am more aware of the importance of being/displaying cultural competence. This experience has forced me to realize that in order for me to grow as a student and become a more globally conscious citizen, I must choose to understand the world from a global perspective and not from a privileged standpoint. In order to truly immerse one’s self into a different culture, he/she must make the conscious decision to be culturally competent prior to travel.

Advertisements

Scholar Highlights Week Ending July 27, 2018

August 7, 2018

Tiana Richards

This weekend I had the opportunity to travel to Phuket, Thailand. Since arriving in Thailand I have been able to compare and contrast the culture in Chiang Mai and Khon Kaen and now Phuket. Phuket, a popular tourist destination, is located in the southern part of Thailand. Before arriving in Phuket, I expected it to be a tourist area but to also have a similar experience as I did in Chiang Mai. In comparison to Khon Kaen and Chiang Mai, Phuket lacks the Thai culture that I have come to observe and experience. I was surprised that there were more middle eastern people in Phuket. During my orientation week in Khon Kaen, I learned about colorism in Thailand. In Phuket, I noticed darker skinned It has been interesting to observe the differences in the three provinces of Thailand.

 

Scholar Highlights Week Ending July 20, 2018

August 7, 2018

Tiana Richards

This week we had our intervention for the LD students at the Ban Nong Sang School. My experience with implementing the intervention has allowed me to look at the culture of the school system and the scientific process from a different perspective. During the semester, I conduct evolutionary biology research and I believe that my experience with lab research influences how I think about the research process. From my experience with the intervention, community public health research is more flexible. There are many factors involved and even when you believe that it is all planned.

Scholar Highlights Week Ending July 13, 2018

August 7, 2018

Tiana Richards

This past weekend, I took a trip to Chiang Mai, Thailand. After only spending a couple days there, I was able to recognize the differences between Khon Kaen and Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai is a city and more of a tourist area. While there I didn’t feel as immersed in the Thai culture as I do while in Khon Kaen. For example, whenever I tried to practice my Thai language skills the person would always respond in English. It was almost as if there was a no language barrier. In Khon Kaen, knowing the Thai language is your best way to survive. In comparison to Khon Kaen, Chiang Mai is less traditional in their customs. The main traditional custom that was shared between both provinces were the rules at the temples. At the temples, you should be dressed modestly or you will be given a long cloth to borrow to cover up, shoes off when entering the temple and to be respectful of the monks. Although I have only been here for a month, I believe that I have experienced more of a cultural immersion in Khon Kaen than I did while in Chiang Mai. Going to Chiang Mai was extremely beneficial, especially in order to see the differences in Thai culture among the different provinces. It will be interesting to see the differences in the Thai culture when I travel to the southern part of Thailand in two weeks. The similarities and differences in the Thai culture reminded me of the United States. In the United States, the southern and northern part differ in culture and lifestyle.

 

Scholar Highlights Week Ending July 6, 2018

August 7, 2018

Tiana Richards

This week we had the chance to visit the Ubolratana Hospital. This hospital is unique to any hospital in the USA and Thailand because it is a self-sustaining hospital. It’s not a private hospital, nor funded by the government. It is strictly the “people’s hospital.” This hospital is deeply concerned with the community and works hard to provide for them. One of the most interesting aspects of this hospital is their work with the disabled people. They employ a certain amount of disabled people and create a job based on their abilities and passions.

 

Scholar Highlights Week Ending June 29, 2018

August 7, 2018

Tiana Richards

The topic for our cross-cultural session this week was focused on perception. We discussed our perception of Thai people before arriving in Thailand, our experiences with Thai people, and how Thai people could perceive Americans. Most Thai’s expect American’s to act the way they are portrayed in the media and as tourists. These stereotypes range from American’s like to party all the way to when visiting they aren’t respectful of the people and culture. By taking a step back I was fully able to comprehend and understand why they have this perception of Americans. There’s a fine line between stereotypes and generalizations and most times this line gets blurred. It is easier to stereotype a group of people, especially when you haven’t had previous interaction with them before.  Perception differs from person to person, but it’s always important to take a step back and try and look at things from a different perspective. This strategy has been extremely helpful during my trip.

Scholar Highlights Week Ending June 22, 2018

August 7, 2018

Tiana Richards

The community we will be conducting our public health intervention is called the Nam Phong village. Our cohort was divided into three groups and tasked to interview community members based on a specific subsystem. My group was tasked to interview community members that could provide more information on the socio-economic status and the politics of the village. During our community visit, we interviewed the Headman, the Vice Headman, the Head Monk, a teacher, and two mothers. Since there is a language barrier we had a translator with us to help us conduct the interviews.