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CHANG MAI, THAILAND
From April to August, a select group of Brigham Young University students traveled to Thailand with Dr. Ralph Brown of the Sociology Department. While in Thailand, students had the opportunity to teach English to local children, work in an orphanage, or work on an organic mango farm. Students also aided Dr. Brown on research projects studying cultural issues in South East Asia.
In addition to work opportunities, the group also spent two weeks traveling in South East Asia, visiting historical sites and landmarks.
According to Dr. Brown, "The whole purpose of this experience is to recognize what you have, appreciate it, and realize that you don't have everything."
For Jake Cluff, a Sociology major, summers in Thailand have contributed more to his education than classroom learning alone. "The program has helped dispel several false pretenses and egoisms regarding the world."
Sociology student volunteers make an annual service trip to Mexico. The project organizer, Dr. Tim Heaton, first prepares students for the trip in the classroom and accompany them to Mexico for a three-week visit.
While in Mexico, the group distributes education kits and provides volunteer service for improvement of school playgrounds, shelters, and other facilities.
For students, traveling to Mexico enhances the learning experience. The ability to observe settings, physical conditions and human interactions provides insights that cannot be obtained through texts, lectures or videos.
"To me, the real advantage of the Mexico trip is that they have the opportunity to combine an intellectual experience with the hands-on encounter with people of a different culture and at the same time, to provide genuine service to improve the lives of the poor in Mexico," England said.