Thailand is a Buddhist country ruled by a monarchy system that has had five major periods throughout its 800-year history: (i) Nanchao Period (650-1250 A.D.), (ii) Sukhothai Period (1238-1378 A.D.), (iii) Ayutthaya Period (1350-1767 A.D.), (iv) Thon Buri Period (1767-1772 A.D.), and (v) Rattanakosin Period (1782-the Present). Under the leadership of the kings and the guidance from Buddhist principles, the country not only has been open to the rest of the world while maintaining its independence, but also has transformed itself from a purely agriculture economy to an economy that is a mixture of agriculture, manufacturing, and service.
The mini-term in Thailand focuses on the influence of the monarchy system and Buddhism on economic development and culture in Thailand. Students will trace the history of Thailand during the Sukhothai, Ayutthaya and Rattanakosin periods. They will also visit several Royal Development Projects to learn how the royal family helps Thai people as well as hill tribes to improve their standard of living while preserving national treasures and the environment. In essence, students will learn about Thai culture and how Thailand is changing from a predominantly agricultural economy to a mixed agricultural and industrial economy
The study tour will cover the area from the northern region to the central region of Thailand. Specifically, we will spend times in Chiang Rai (the northern border of Thailand), Chiang Mai and Lampang (the northern region), Sukhothai (the border between central and northern regions of Thailand), Ayutthaya (Central Region outside Bangkok), Bangkok (the capital city in the central region) and other provinces.