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Vol. XIII No.15 - Sunday July 27, 2014 - Saturday August 9, 2014


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Education
 

Diversity: From America to Thailand

The author learned to embrace diversity during her studies in the U.S. and looks forward to a time when Thai people do the same.

By Tawanchai Nakbanlung,
Chiang Mai Mail intern
Some kids know from a young age what they want to be when they grow up. For me, I just knew that I wanted to study abroad. From eyeing with admiration a fellow passenger who carries an English newspaper on a plane to binge watching MTV after school to becoming a total fangirl of Avril Lavigne at the age of 11, I developed a passion for English language that soon became my best subject in school. My quiet aspiration and dream to become a “dek nok” came true in 2008 when I was accepted as a participant in the AFS Intercultural Programs to the United States. It was a tremendous learning experience that was challenging, fun, and exciting at the same time. After the program ended, I decided to continue my education in the U.S.
Over the years that I spent living and studying in the U.S. one thing that struck me the most about America is its diversity. Almost every ethnicity from every corner of the world is represented there. Coming from a rather ethnically, religiously, and culturally homogenous country, I was first amazed, then later impressed by the harmony in which different cultures live together. Although it is true that bias towards certain races exists, as well as the argument that the U.S. is more like an ‘alphabet soup’ than a ‘melting pot,’ however, in general, Americans are more used to encountering people of different races and cultures and most have a positive attitude towards diversity.
One of my favorite activities to do in America was to attend an “International Festival.” It is also known by other names such as World Night or Multicultural Day, depending on the host. Each year, almost every high school and university will host this event to celebrate diversity represented in their institutions. Flag parades, fashion shows, cultural performances, and ethnic food are common features of these events. From my observance, it is usually one of the most popular and well-attended events of the year. Some universities may also host an International Bazaar, held on a separate day, in which students representing each country will set up tables to educate fellow students on the uniqueness of their home country, as well as giving out numerous ethnic paraphernalias as a kick-off to the main International Festival event. Attending these events and experiencing diversity in the U.S. made me become a more open-minded, accepting and understanding person as I realized that diversity could be used as a tool to unite and strengthen a country if it is employed correctly.
As for Thailand, the need for strength in diversity emerges as we gear up for the opening of ASEAN Economic Community or AEC next year. Compared to the U.S,. Thailand has a lot less experience with diversity, a challenge that needs to be considered for the country to best prepare and fully benefit from the opening of AEC. Apirak Kosayodhin, former Governor of Bangkok, spoke in the seminar of Asian Leadership Academy titled “Are Thai Children Ready for Leadership Role in ASEAN Arena?” in 2012 that although Thailand does not have a caste system like that of India, we have our own “caste system” that socially differentiates people on the basis of wealth, occupation, and ethnicity. Many times when we speak about a certain country, we immediately have a presumption of that country coming to mind without any pre-knowledge of it. We often think that we are better than or inferior to some countries. This could possibly hinder our development of human resources in the future. For instance, if the plan to approve syllabi of all ASEAN countries were to go on action, it means that people whose occupations are doctor, nurse, engineer, or architect will be able to work in all ASEAN countries. In the future, when we go to hospital, we might meet a Burmese or Cambodian doctor.
This is an important issue to keep in mind as we integrate to be a part of the AEC. How can we become stronger as a single entity and move forward as a region to compete with the world if we still have negative attitudes towards our neighbor countries? Americans themselves went through a lot of troubles with racism and had improved their situations tremendously. Still, there is work to be done. Thailand needs to prepare ourselves economically for AEC, but also the right attitude towards our fellow ASEAN citizens needs to be developed for us to transform gracefully into “global citizens.” Who knows, we might see “ASEAN Night” becomes a popular event in campuses across the country in near future.
 


Australian universities woo Thai students

Students interested in attending schools in Australia attended the Study Australia IDP Thailand fair at Maya Lifestyle Mall on Thursday, July 10, 2014.

Shana Kongmun
Representatives of Australian universities were on hand at Maya Lifestyle Mall on Thursday, July 10, 2014 to meet with interested parents and students. Study Australia by IDP Thailand hosted the event that saw representatives from institutes as varied as the Australian branch of Le Cordon Bleu Paris for budding chefs, to hospitality management schools and universities such as La Trobe, Bond, Queensland University of Technology, and University of Western Sydney and more.
Australia’s safe environment with little political unrest and a low crime rate along with strict gun control laws make it an attractive alternative along with lower annual tuition fees, high educational standards and multicultural communities put Australia as one of the top three destinations for Thai students thinking of studying abroad alongside the United States and the United Kingdom. Thai students can also work on their student visa in Australia
Pathunyu “Guy” Yimsomruay spoke to the Chiang Mai Mail and noted that most of the people who attend the fair have already chosen Australia as their preferred country and attend the expo to learn more about the different universities and courses that are available. He noted that the counselors work hard to advise students on the options open to them but many prefer to apply to the highest ranked schools “just in case”.
IDP Thailand has offices in Chiang Mai for further information, at Mailin Plaza on Huay Kaew Road. www. thailand.idp.com


Payap Admissions Fair welcomes interested students

Payap University, in cooperation with Central Festival Chiang Mai, organized an Admissions Fair on July 18 and 19 at the 1st floor Central Festival for students interested in attending the University for a Bachelor’s degree in both the Thai Language program and the International program. The two-day event included academic work exhibitions, aptitude tests, and activities for visitors to join. Apart from the gurus from each faculty standing by for answering questions, there were also alumni and celebrities such as well-known MC and Producer of Nine Entertain Thitiporn Jutimanon (Boy), Ch7 news reporter Pinpinat Thakulaweeranan (Biu), Miss Chiang Mai 2011 Kedtawa Wisaktawatana (Jaa).


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story] :

Diversity: From America to Thailand

Australian universities woo Thai students

Payap Admissions Fair welcomes interested students

 


 



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