Lee News

Education Majors Teach in Thailand

By Merritt Jenkins

Thailand Trip 2019
Students are pictured here with the hill tribe children at the completion of English camp in Thailand.

Twenty-seven Lee University students recently returned from a 10-day summer study trip to Thailand, where they taught English vocabulary lessons and arts activities to help the Thai and hill tribe children improve their English.

Dr. JoAnn Higginbotham, professor of education, directed the trip, and Professor of Special Education Dr. Trish McClung and Dean of Students Alan McClung, helped lead the trip. They were joined by Bishop Somnuk Montreladrasme, Church of God Overseer of Thailand. A QEP (Quality Enhancement Plan) grant from Lee University helped support this endeavor.

“The hill tribes of Thailand are a disadvantaged and vulnerable group who depend largely on agriculture for income and employment,” said Higginbotham. “The purpose of the English camps provided by the Lee students was to show them Christ’s love and enhance their English capabilities.”

Students Teaching in Thailand
Lee students teach children in Rongrien Bang Pong.

The students visited five locations: Rongrien Wat Chang Kien in Chiang Mai, where they taught approximately 160 children; Rongrien Bang Pong in Chiang Mai (140 children); the YMCA English Camp in Chiang Mai (60 hill tribe children), and the House of Faith Orphanage in Chiang Dao, with about 40 children. The ages included elementary, middle grades, and secondary.

“Serving the children of Thailand through the English camps, in the Thai classrooms, and at the orphanage has been a life-changing experience,” said Anna Horne, education major. “This experience not only confirmed my calling as an educator, but also encouraged me in that God has equipped me with the ability to fulfill my calling.”

While there, the group also attended the Kantoke Culture Dinner Theater, visited the silk factory and umbrella factory, attended four lectures at Payap University, and visited a former leprosy colony rehabilitation center. They also toured an elephant camp, experienced a night safari, and visited the Karen hill tribe (also known as Long Neck).

“Through the Thailand Summer Study experience, Lee students were able to connect ethical action, redemptive service, and responsible citizenship with academic knowledge,” said Higginbotham. “This was the 11th Thailand trip, and I think it was the best yet.”

For more information about future trips to Thailand, contact Higginbotham at jhigginbotham@leeuniversity.edu.
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