Weirdest part was coming back to the university after the hotel stay. I felt like i was going through culture shock, even though it was just a songtaew ride away. It was strange to go from all tourists to no tourists, hotel smells to Thai smells, all English speakers to no English speakers, etc. All in all, a great, and very much needed weekend break!!
Tomorrow we start Unit 3, where we are writing human rights reports. Our group is split into two reports - one on an illegal forest village, and one on a gold mine north of Khon Kaen. I am in the gold mining group, and Amnesty International has shown interest in using our report to further their research, which is pretty cool. I am leaving for a homestay in the gold mine on Thursday, which will be really interesting. Apparently the community has been trying to get CIEE students there for months to do this report, because they feel that their rights are being violated and ignored. They are hoping that this report will publicize their situation. Specificcally, I am writing profiles for the report. Some people are doing research, some are writing a feature, some are taking pictures, and I am in the group doing profiles. I will interview different people in the community and then write profiles depicting their lives and work with some sort of angle or focus.
This is just one more example of the power of experiential education. It is so cool that we get to write these reports completely on our own, and are completely in charge over the direction we want to take with them. Basically, we learn what we choose to learn. We have been doing this for the past units as well, but this is sweet because we have a tangible report to show for it. It will look like a book kind of - a cover with a picture, and then different components inside. Anyways, I'm pretty excited!!