Student Journeys

A unique journey unfolded over the subsequent weeks

Week 1 of the module “Democratic Engagement in an International Context” marked the initiation of a unique journey that unfolded over the subsequent weeks, culminating in a field trip to Thailand.

This academic process seamlessly integrated theoretical constructs, practical experiences, and cultural immersion, creating a comprehensive learning experience. The theoretical foundation laid in the initial weeks of the module coalesced during the extensive field trip to Thailand. The visit was not just an exploration of a new country, as it was the first time any of the students in the module had visited Thailand; it was a tangible application of the concepts, theories, and practices we had delved into within the classroom setting. Among the myriad experiences, the tours of Bangkok and Ayutthaya emerged as pivotal.

While exhaustive, these visits to museums and temples provided invaluable insights into Thai history and its enduring influence on contemporary culture. The integration of culture as a central theme in our module became palpable as we navigated through Thailand’s historical and cultural tapestry of Thailand. The Thai politics and economy lectures offered a unique perspective, especially for a politics student like me. Being physically present in the country allowed for a more nuanced understanding of the subjects as they unfolded in real-time through little details that one could observe, such as the omnipresence of the monarchy in the public sphere or the inclusion of Buddhist practices in variant aspects of Thai culture. However, beyond the academic sphere, the most significant aspects of the module were the personal connections forged during the field trip. The interactions with Thai students from Kasetsart University left an indelible mark. Their warmth and kindness were memorable and served as a reminder of the importance of cross-cultural and cross-national perspectives.

Reflecting on the entire experience, it is evident that the module and the field trip contributed substantially to my education. As I left Thailand, a profound sense of gratitude enveloped me. I am grateful for the educational insights gained, the diverse perspectives encountered, and the kindness extended by both my peers and the Thai staff, students and professors. The experience left an unforgettable impression, motivating me to reciprocate the warmth shown during the student conference in London and instilling a genuine desire to return and explore Thailand further.

Yasmine Diwany

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