Akire Hoots

International Experience Country:
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

University of Pittsburgh | Bradford

Heinz Programming Area:
Arts and Culture
Study Abroad Country: Cohort Year:  Home Institution:  Programming Area: 
International Experience Summary:

Akiré spent 7 weeks in Thailand studying at Chiang Mai University's Faculty of Law. Her areas of focus including cultural customs and the political system of Southeast Asia. She took courses in Migration and Refugees in Southeast Asia as well as Human Rights in Southeast Asia. While she traveled as north as Chiang Rai and south as Surat Thani she learned that Thailand has become a melting pot of Southeast Asian culture, evidenced by the range of different languages and dress of ethnic minorities. One of the highlights of Akiré's time in Thailand was when she had the opportunity to interview two students of BEAM, a migrant learning center. During her interview she got knowledge of how the revolution in Burma affected the Shaan state ethnic minorities--forcing them to flee their villages and travel by foot to seek refuge in Thailand. She took academic excursions to visit Chiang Mai's Red Light District to further understand sex work's relation to migration and also to a safe haven for rescued exploited children, ZOE International. Aside from her academic excursions she took time to challenge herself by hiking to Doi Suthep, island hopping to Koh Tao, Krabi and Phuket, visiting art galleries and making friends at the jazz co-op.  

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title: Through a Broken Lens: Exploring Stereotypes

Our CEE, Through a Broken Lens: Exploring Stereotypes discussed our study abroad experiences in Tanzania, Thailand, and Denmark in junction with how the effect of stereotypes influence the way others live. We addressed stereotypes in different aspects—one being in a more general form, trying to understand why we have stereotypes. There was a basic overview of what it actually means to have a stereotype and how it is impractical to expect ourselves not to. Understanding that learning about people and how the different parts of their identity all interact to make them one is vital. Culturally, we addressed how our understandings of community within our host countries differ based on ethnic backgrounds. Economically, the influences of tourist culture and sex work impacts policies and thus that effects people’s livelihoods. The legality of such work makes it difficult for those who are working legally or illegally in countries and the risk of exploitation increases due to education and even citizenship. We took all of these concepts and decided to not only present them to the campus and local community but made it interactive by asking people what misconceptions they may have, how to be aware of them and ways in which they can expand their own horizons.