The US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok recently funded a Fulbright ETA English camp in Chiang Mai. This is the first ever international collaboration between Fulbright English Teaching Assistants (ETA) in Malaysia and Thailand – International English Camp in Chiang Mai, Thailand on 24-26 July, 2015.
This joint program was co-organized by Fulbright ETA Malaysia, Shannon Gedo and Fulbright ETA Thailand, Flor Castellanos representing SMK RPM Tengku Fauziah and Maerim Wittayakhom respectively.
The twenty Malaysian students selected to join the camp organized by Ms Gedo attend SMK RPM Tengku Fauziah, a secondary school tucked in Kaki Bukit, a small town to the north of Perlis. For many of them, it was the first time flying on a plane. Most have not been outside of Perlis before the program.
Upon arrival they were greeted with Classical Thai dance at the Maerim Wittayakhom school in Chiang Mai. The US Consul General of Chiang Mai, Michael Heath, Executive Director of TUSEF, Ms Benjawan Ubonsri and Program Coordinator at MACEE, Raymond Chew were present to officiate the event. Other officials present were Mike Hock and Gao Linprasad of EducationUSA Chiang Mai; US Embassy Bangkok representative, Emily Paxson; MACEE Assistant Coordinators, Sara Townsend and Aisha Hadlock; and TUSEF US Program Officer, Siripon Tantsetthi.
The Malaysian students were joined by 20 Thai students from the Maerim Wittayakhom school. In conjunction with the theme of “Strengthening ASEAN Communication”, the activities focused on promoting the use of English for cultural exchange in an environment where the language is often unused outside of their schools.
Activities during the program include learning how to prepare local desserts from each other; Thai mango sticky Rice & pisang goreng, describing what it means to be a Malaysian and Thai, sharing aspirations and the culture and traditions of both communities with dance showcase such as the MalaysianJong jong Inai & the classical Northern Thai dance.
“This is the first time we have this international camp and we are very happy with it! The (Thai) students get to learn English with the visiting Malaysia students and this would not have been possible without being part of the Fulbright program. I am very thankful,” quoted Ms Srinuan Boontham, the host teacher at Maerim Wittayakhom.
This program was supported by the Malaysian-American Commission on Educational Exchange (MACEE) and Thailand-United States Education Foundation (TUSEF).
Watch the reel of the camp here.