Students Travel to Thailand

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JCU students are embarking on a class trip to Thailand despite the political unrest present in the country.

By Judith Aisthorpe

The recent political climate in Thailand has not deterred JCU students from traveling to the country to undertake their archaeological and social science studies.

Thailand is currently under martial law after the military took power on May 22nd.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs currently lists Thailand as a place to, “exercise a high degree of caution.”

Warning: The Australian Foreign Affairs and Trade have listed Thailand as a place to visit with caution.

Warning: The Australian Foreign Affairs and Trade have listed Thailand as a place to visit with caution.

Lecturer of archaeology Dr Nigel Chang spends a lot of time in Thailand for archaeological digs and says he is not worried about the martial law affecting the trip.

“There’s a history of coups and this sort of thing in Thailand,” Dr Chang says.

“Generally in my experience it doesn’t really affect the kind of work I do.

“With any luck there won’t be any major problems.

“We’ll just have to wait and see how it develops over the next few weeks.”

Dr Chang says the trip includes a stay in Bangkok but it depends on the political climate when they get there as to how long they will stay in the capital.

“They will be spending time probably in Bangkok although with the current government issues we might decide not to spend so much time in Bangkok.”

The three-week trip begins at the end of June with the program taking students to both metropolitan and rural regions.

16 second year students studying social work, archaeology and other degrees are undertaking the subject abroad.

“This is the first year we have had this as a subject,” Dr Chang says.

“So all the students have a whole lot of things they have to complete before they go over and while they’re there.”

Second year Archeology major student Helen Ball is taking part in the program.

Experience: A 2012 student on the verandah of her home stay house, with her host.

Experience: A 2012 student on the verandah of her home stay house, with her host. Photo by: Nigel Chang.

Helen says she is not worried about travelling over to Thailand.

“I’m quite confident it will be fine,” Helen says.

“Thailand’s issues usually stay within Thailand with that at all.”

Helen says that the lack of itinerary while in the capital will mean they can stay or leave depending on the political climate.

The Australian Government Asia Bound program is funding the student trip.

Two grants were awarded to the class totalling $50 000 dollars which includes money for language classes, translators, flight and accommodation.