Kal Brown spent six weeks aboard in Chiang Mai, Thailand studying diplomacy in Southeast Asia, environmental sustainability, and Buddhism. The course work Kal took during the summer expanded his knowledge of international relations, political structures within Asian nations, and the spread and development of Buddhism throughout the regions. Additionally, Kal learned about how the Lanna Kingdom, and the Kingdom of Siam avoided colonization by the British and French Empires. Most importantly during his course work, Kal was able to learn about how Buddhist philosophy influenced the culture of Thailand and how older religious practices of the Lanna Kingdom were preserved. The most important course that Kal took while in Thailand was the Hill Tribe Study, in which he visited villages in northern Thailand of the Hmong people, the Palaung people, and the Karen people. During these visits, Kal learned about their languages, cultural practices, and history with the government of Thailand.
Kal also traveled around the city of Chiang Mai, Chiang Dao, and other regions in Northern Thailand to learn the history of the Lanna Kingdom and the spread and influence of Buddhism in the Kingdom. Kal visited several museums and historical sites and participated in cycling tours, and trekking tours to learn as much about the region as possible. During these tours, Kal got to see the effectiveness of the Royal Project, a program started by King Rama IX to help preserve the forests of northern Thailand and to provide income for the people in the northern hill tribes. In addition to his time spent in Northern Thailand, Kal visited regions in southern Thailand to learn better learn about the national park system in Thailand and the efforts that the government has put in place to preserve the forests, beaches, and coral reefs that provide not only the natural beauty of the nation but provide an abundance of food that the country has. These experiences further expanded Kal’s knowledge of effective environmental policy and diplomacy.
CEE Title: “Adaptation in The Modern World: A Look at Cultural Perspectives in Underrepresented Countries”
The Temple 2022-2023 VIH CEE was intended to explore the overarching theme of cultural adaptation across underrepresented nations in not only the realm of American education but also the greater American understanding. A major goal of the CEE was to expose the curious minds of the Temple community to different cultures and historical contexts. Each member discussed a crucial element of adaptation or need for adaptation in their respective destinations aboard. Topics included Thailand vs. colonization; how the Kingdom of Siam prevented the colonial powers of the French and the British from conquering their nation. Medial Modernization in Botswana; the African response to modern medicine and continued use of the holistic remedy. The Czech Republic’s perspectives on the transition from communism to capitalism. And The development of the Korean language and foreign influence on words. Lastly, a presentation on culture shock, mental health, and living aboard was provided to close out the presentation segment of the CEE. Each topic was delivered in a 10-to-15-minute presentation to an audience who can then contribute to the Q&A section of the event. During the Q&A session, participants were able to enjoy snacks from each of our respective destinations aboard and talk with each of the panelists individually. Additionally, the CEE provided a space for people to ask questions about how to improve their knowledge of the international community and how to travel aboard.