In July and August 2016, Professor Nick Kontogeorgopoulos and 13 Puget Sound students traveled to Chiang Mai, Thailand, to participate in a three-week field school, an extension of the spring 2016 course Political Economy of Southeast Asia.
The program was facilitated by a partner organization in Chiang Mai, the International Sustainable Development Studies Institute (ISDSI), which provided field instructors—one Thai, one Karen, and one American—for the program, facilitating three distinct learning and living experiences:
Throughout the field school program, students wrote reflection essays, completed field guides every day, and gathered information for their final presentations, which were based on research paper questions they first addressed during the field school course on campus in the spring. These presentations will be refined and delivered during the Southeast Asia Symposium Oct. 28–29, 2016.
Aside from the hands-on, experiential components of the field school, cultural immersion was the key feature and strength of this field school experience. Students participated in a Buddhist blessing ceremony, learned to weave with Karen villagers, cooked with host families, and even played soccer (a.k.a., "football") with local residents, but some of the most memorable—and most rewarding—experiences involved simply hanging out with host families and trying to communicate.
See many of the experiences students shared through social media posts and photos on our Thailand Field School photo album page.