Japanese and Thai students visited Northern Thailand together from October 27th to November 4th.
This is a project to learn about the local economy and interact with universities in each city and the people who live there.
A tour of the Northern Thailand region was conducted with the support of OCA. A total of 21 students and faculty members from both universities visited Chiang Mai University and Mae Fah Luang University (MFU) in two cities in northern Thailand to interact with each other.
Northern Thailand is located along the border of the Mekong Delta economic zone, and border trade is drawing attention as it progresses despite the problem of poverty. It was a project to learn the actual situation of the border economy in this region, which is different from the polarized economy and society to the capital Bangkok. After visiting the Faculty of Economics of the universities, we visited and received special lectures and interacted with local students. In addition, we visited two facilities to protect underprivileged children in the area. At each facility, there were lively exchanges between the students and the children at the facilities.
Mae Fah Luang University (MFU) in Chiang Rai is a wonderful university with beautiful facilities on a vast campus, founded 20 years ago, with a distinctive educational curriculum located in the border city.
We visited “Mae Kok Foundation”, an orphanage in the suburbs, with MFU students.
This is a facility for orphans whose parents had died from drug addiction. We heard from Mr. Tobe, one of the people involved in the establishment of this facility, about the history and life conditions of ethnic minorities in northern Thailand.
We raised “Komroi” to the night sky with the children, and the exchange continued until late at night.
In this area, we visited Mae Sai District, a border town adjacent to Myanmar.
We walked across the border bridge and entered Myanmar. We visited the border town on the Myanmar side, returned to Thailand, visited the markets used by people living in the area, and then visited the “Drug Museum” to learn about the history of drugs and their eradication activities.
We headed to the “Golden Triangle”, a triangular area where Thailand, Myanmar and Laos meet.
We stayed at a resort hotel “Imperial Hotel” at that night.
It took five and a half hours to travel by bus to the next destination, Chiang Mai.At the “Chiang Mai University” we received a lecture on “The Concentration of the Thai Economy and the Way of the Northern Region Economy” by Professor Charuk of the Faculty of Economics.
After the seminar, we and Chiang Mai University students visited “Ban Rom Sai”, a facility where orphans infected with HIV and children whose parents had died. Today, a library of this facility is also visited and used by local children.
Accommodation is in the adjacent “Hosihana village” surrounded by nature, many lodges lined up.
The exchange with Chiang Mai university students was continued until late at night.
The Chulalongkorn University and Chuo University “Northern Thailand Tour” team returned to Bangkok on November 3rd and had a “Farewell Party”. That night, the songs and dances of the students from both universities continued for good.
We will spare no effort to cooperate with Thai university students from the side, but we hope that OCA will continue to support the exchange. I hope that the students from both countries who participated in this tour will continue to understand the importance of connecting people across national borders even after graduation. (Toshiaki Hasegawa)