College of Design exhibits memories from Thailand

Student work from “Embedded Memories of the Thailand Education Abroad Trip” exhibit on Wednesday, March 28, 2018. Photo by Jordan Prather | Staff

Hayley Burris

Over winter break, some students in the College of Design were able to escape the cold and travel to Thailand and Cambodia for a school trip.

Students from the College of Design went into Thailand with a project. They had to create photojournalist posters, each with a different memory from the trip. The categories for the posters were tactile, food, people, landscape and culture. On top of getting pictures from the trip, they also had to take the silk they got from Thailand and create a product with it. Students made products like lamps, tapestries, pillows and many other things.

The students made their exhibition a compilation of their favorite things from Thailand and Cambodia. They also made it to show people the authentic Thailand and Cambodia, without all the touristic attractions. They met about two months before the trip and then spent two weeks in Thailand together.

“Just putting this exhibition together has brought a lot of memories back to them,” said College of Design professor Chris Birkentall. “The problem is with some of these trips is that you don’t do anything after that and that you don’t memorialize it and this is the memorial of it.”

The students that went on the trip did many different activities like visiting a silk farm, riding elephants, taking river tours, hiking and biking and visiting many different temples. They went to the Jim Thompson silk farm to watch how silk was made and took some silk pendants home.

“I love Thailand,” said junior Briana Wulfeck. “We also went to Cambodia and Cambodia was probably my favorite part. We did a hike and bike. We biked for four miles and hiked for two. That was a lot of fun because they took us through the royal areas of Cambodia and we got to see where the houses were and poverty that people are actually living in instead of the tourism part of Thailand so that was my favorite part.”

When the students went to Thailand and Cambodia, some said it was a culture shock because of the differences. They said the designs made by locals are also simple and focused on emphasizing the beauty of Thailand. Everyone there works, including kids. Birkentall said that there were kids on the street begging for money to bring home to their parents. Things there are a lot cheaper with one U.S. dollar being about the same as 30 baht.

“It’s completely different,” said junior Megan Rigby. “The language barrier is one thing, but they are a lot more respectful, and Buddhism is just a whole different culture. The way that they are super respectful at the temples and things. We’re just not like that at all.”

The Thailand trip takes place every two years for the College of Design. Students can use the trip and their experiences to help them in their future careers and in their everyday life.