HWS Announces Program in Thailand – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

HWS Announces Program in Thailand

The Center for Global Education recently announced a new January-term (J-term) program in Thailand, which will give students the opportunity to work hands-on with elephants at Chiang Mai Elephant Nature Park, an elephant sanctuary. The program will run for three weeks from Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012 to Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013.

Proposed and developed by Professor of Women’s Studies Betty Bayer, the course, “The Revolutionary Power of a Love-In with Elephants: Environmentalism, Peace and Healing in Thailand,” will be co-led by Bayer and Professor of History Maureen Flynn.

“The program came out of my travels and teaching in my peace and ecofeminism courses,” says Bayer, who adds that the program was also researched by enter for Global Education. Bayer was aided in planning through the help of two students – Katy Wolfe ’11 (who had taken the peace course) and Mathew Chin ’11 – who helped with research. 

The course will explore the power of grassroots initiatives that ripple out to have a national and global effect through the hands-on experience of the rescue and care of elephants. Students will also learn about the Karen people, an indigenous tribe in Thailand, by participating in a week-long Journey to Freedom project where they will live with a local family on their day-to-day projects.

In preparation for the trip, students will be provided with some basic Thai language instruction and are required to take a Readers College with Bayer and Flynn during the fall 2012 semester.

The itinerary for the trip includes two nights in Bangkok, where students will go on a city tour and visit a massage school. The group will then fly to Chiang Mai for two nights, where they will participate in the week-long Elephant Volunteer program and the week-long Journey to Freedom project. After both projects are finished, the group will spend three nights in Chiang Dao, where they will visit the Chiang Dao caves and healing village, as well as the Chiang Dao market, before flying to Bangkok for the flight home.

Upon return to Geneva, Bayer and Flynn with continue to meet with students at regular intervals to review course writing and to prepare for a campus “teach-in,” in which the students will discuss their experiences, show photographs and/or documentaries. The idea behind the “teach-in” is to give students an opportunity to connect the principles, philosophy and practices of the Elephant Park to local Finger Lakes concerns such as water, landfills and the work of the farm animal sanctuary in Watkins Glen.

Program fees will be approximately $2,500 for the 3-week program, which will cover tuition, accommodation, full board for two of the three weeks, all entrance fees, roundtrip flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and all other transport while in Thailand. Additional costs will apply, including transportation costs to New York City, roundtrip airfare from New York city to Bangkok, additional meals, books, medical insurance and an administrative fee. A limited pool of HWS funding is available for students who are accepted to the program.

Open to all HWS students, including graduating seniors, the course will count toward majors and minors in Asian studies, environmental studies, history, peace studies and women’s studies.

If you have questions about this program, please contact Sharon Walsh in the Center for Global Education at 315-781-3663 or walsh@ hws.edu or Betty Bayer at bayer@hws.edu.