Exploring Thailand: Community-Based Learning Initiative and My Discovery of Chachoengsao!

Exploring Thailand: Community-Based Learning Initiative and My Discovery of Chachoengsao!

Author: Makara Mut BA Student Cohort 8

Stepping into the Thakam community in Chachoengsao, I felt like I had gone back home to Cambodia. The environment there was reminiscent of where I grew up. In June 2022, Cohort 8 had to complete its Community-Based Learning Initiative 1 Summer Program (CBLI1) in various provinces in Thailand. Some students chose to go to Khon Kaen and Udon Thani, and 8 of us, including me, decided to venture to Chachoengsao. This was the first time Chachoengsao province was offered as a field immersion experience for the students. 
At first, when I knew that I had to complete a field immersion and community study in another province, I felt nervous and excited because I had to go to a completely different new place and have to spend 21 days living with the villagers. This field immersion aims to understand some of the problems the villagers face in their communities and observe the livelihoods of the people there. We also need to learn to adapt to the environment as well as the way of living of the people there.

Upon arriving in Chachoengsao, I was overcome with shock and excitement. I felt like I was in a familiar environment, which made me less anxious and more eager to enjoy my time there. As it was the first GSSE student trip to this area, there weren’t many activities for us to do. Unfortunately, the villagers had stopped raising fish for a livelihood, so we had to find other ways to learn and engage with the community. We cooked Thai dishes like “Pad See Ew Moo” and learned to make detergents and biofertilizers. Making detergents was a completely new experience for me, and I was impressed by the idea of biofertilizers reducing food waste. What I admired most about this community was how they all came together to discuss solutions when they saw a problem. Everyone was passionate and determined to make the community a cleaner, better place. 
During our 3-week visit to Chachoengsao and Chonburi, we had the opportunity to visit many places such as Wat Sothon Wararam Worawihan, Bang Saen Beach, Chachoengsao electricity power plant, and Ninja Night Market. It was a really enjoyable and memorable experience for me as an introvert, having rarely gone to places other than my home and school. Through this trip, I could experience and understand the culture, lifestyle, and living conditions of the people there and form stronger friendships with my classmates. I was also able to learn a lot from the area. 

We concluded our journey with a presentation to the villagers and SGS lecturers and staff, based and observations. I learned invaluable life skills through learning, observing, and interviewing locals. Adaptability and flexibility were two of the most important I acquired, as coming to a new place took some time to get used to. Communication was another skill I honed, as I learned some local languages, despite not speaking it fluently. Problem-solving and critical thinking became even more important when I noticed the villagers had an issue with flooding and dirty water from the nearby Bang Pakong River. With this knowledge, we could create a solution to present to the village headman during our stay.

I am incredibly grateful to the SGS lecturers and staff for organizing this amazing three-week trip to Chachoengsao. I am especially thankful to the headman and the community members for caring forus. I would also like to thank my group mates for their companionship and for making the trip so enjoyable.



Shopping Basket