On-site Research Project
On-site Research Project - Thai Project
One essential part of learning about Policy Science is to go out and investigate actual sites where problems are occurring. We call this “fieldwork.” Students in the College of Policy Science not only study academic theories and systems in the classroom, but also participate in community surveys, interviews with stakeholders, and other opportunities for hands-on learning. On this page, we introduce Thai Project as one example: group of students that undertook fieldwork in Thailand.
This project aims to provide students with experience needed for policy formulation from understanding backgrounds and identifying problems to policy recommendation in Thailand. Although Thailand has attained rapid economic growth compared to other ASEAN countries, its economic disparity remains. Themes of the project are poverty related issues ranging from improving environments of low-income settlements (ex. slums) to solving education problems.
In summer breaks, students visiting Thailand receive lectures by university teachers and practitioners and conduct field surveys at such places as public agencies, NGOs and slums, and get hands-on experience on their study issues and fields. These activities are made possible in cooperation with Chulalongkorn University in Thailand. Besides conducting surveys, the Thai Project students enhance friendship with Thai students.
The Thai Project in 2022 was an incredible and unforgettable experience for me. Starting from discussing the content of our research, and designing survey questions with the help of professors and students at Chulalongkorn University, to studying lectures given by professors about the living conditions of low-income settlements and walking into those communities. We put a lot of effort into working on the project and tried our best to overcome the difficulties we met, by collaborating with Thai students. I am sincerely grateful for having such an opportunity to conduct our research in Bangkok together with our professors and our group members.
During 9 days in Bangkok, we had a memorable trip not only to our research field but also to some other low-income communities and their supporting institutions. We walked around in these places which were considered dangerous, houses may not be big enough or safe enough for a whole family to live in, the environment was contaminated by garbage, and we even saw houses damaged by the fire. But it was really surprising to find that under this circumstance, people actually have available appliances for daily life and resources in their homes, which is actually beyond our expectations before visiting. However, we still sincerely hope that the future can be better for those friendly residents living there. In addition to communities, we had interviews with Duang Prateep Foundation (which provided great support for Khlong Toei communities), with Community Organizations Development Institute (CODI), and had small group discussions at Ban Krua Community Center. It was so impressive to know how people fought for their rights, how they helped each other, and how their community networks worked during the pandemic.
During our research, we were divided into 2 groups, respectively in charge of the survey in Ban Krua Communities and Khlong Toei Communities with the support from Thai students. We gained many useful first-hand data, getting to understand the real consideration from residents on their welfare and the support they acquired from institutions. We hope that these valuable answers can be heard by the public, and more and more attention can be paid to constructing a more equal society.
In general, The Thai Project provided valuable experience for us to learn from real society other than from our daily courses. It is a necessary and important event for students to develop their knowledge of policy formulation and improve their research skills, enabling them to identify problems and make policy recommendations in accordance.
In the end, I would like to thank the professors and students at Chulalongkorn University for all the help they have provided for us, and sincerely hope that the cooperation between our universities becomes better and better. And hopefully, every student who will join the Thai Project in the future can be active and can enjoy this process.