THE LAND OF A THOUSAND SMILES
In March 2018, Annenberg International Programs launched its first alternative spring break program in Thailand. In partnership with CISabroad, the program took nine undergraduate and five graduate Annenberg students with diverse academic and professional interests which included: public diplomacy, communication management, non-profit advocacy, social enterprise, journalism and public relations to two of the country’s most iconic cities: Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Over the course of the week, students met with various public and private sector organizations to evaluate the areas of communication advocacy, community development, corporate social responsibility, and sustainability within the context of Southeast Asia.
From learning about the US Government's development strategies in the region at USAID to walking through rice farms in a small village where Gulf Group, a Thai energy company, cultivates community support and development, students were able to analyze and observe the importance of communication, journalism and public relations through a variety of lenses.
Upon visiting a local non-profit dedicated to the support and advocacy of Thailand's aging population in Chiang Mai, students were able to fully conceptualize how certain issues transcend borders, cultures, and nationalities. They were impressed by how a relatively small non-profit was able to utilize innovative communication strategies and campaigns.
The Annenberg Thailand program allowed students to widen their own career aspirations and global perspectives in a very short but impactful span of nine days.