Student Journeys

Democratic Engagement

Democratic Engagement

I found the Democratic Engagement module to be very enlightening. The course brought together students from various degrees, allowing us to interact with people we wouldn’t have met otherwise. This has resulted in some interesting academic and social collaborations.

Throughout the module, we discussed culture and explored the similarities and differences between different cultures. Given the diverse nationalities and religious backgrounds of the students, it was relatively easy for us to examine the differences between cultures, such as British culture versus Brazilian culture or Hungarian culture versus Afghani culture.

As we were going to Thailand, we wanted to be respectful and knowledgeable about the culture ahead of time so that we could connect with the Thai students and teachers. We examined and compared different concepts throughout our discovery of different cultures. In weeks 3 and 4, we focused on education in a global context and shared our experiences of education in our own cultures. We also had talks by several different lecturers, who introduced us to theories such as the deschooling theory. This theory provided an outlook on how some children may not be compatible with the traditional schooling system, and how other cultures value life experience over academic schooling.

In week two, we learned about CRISPR technology, which was a topic that wasn’t related to my degree in politics and international relations but was relevant to some of the other students who were taking bio-med or neuroscience. The lecture was very informative and interesting, as we explored how different countries and cultures react to medical innovation and discovery. We considered how social practices and norms can affect how populations embrace or reject medical advancements.

Visiting Thailand was an intense experience. It was an intimate environment, as there was a relatively small group of us who travelled. With three boys and two male teachers, it was a very female-dominated group. It was fascinating to see how welcoming and hospitable our Thai hosts were. They made us feel welcome throughout the trip and even spent time showing us the authentic side of Bangkok. I found it to be a positive experience to have travelled that far and experienced a culture that is different from mine – to encounter the food, language, traditions and hospitality.

Interestingly, when you enter inner Bangkok, there are splashes of other countries in the form of restaurants or clothing, or even in speaking English. Although, it’s a lot harder when you’re vegetarian! 🙂 It was also a pleasure and enlightening to get to know Farhang and Alan better!

Mistee Barrett 

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