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1) How long have you been studying in WUT?

What is your major and year of
study?
I transferred to WUT as sophomore in the fall of 2008, so this is my 5th
semester on the campus. I am a senior and an international relations major.
2) Are you a native of Thailand?
No, not Thai, though I do speak Thai. I am from Seattle Washington USA.
3) What made you decide to go to Webster-Thailand?
During fall 2006-summer 2007 I was a Rotary exchange student in
Thailand and had an amazing time. I went back to the states and studied for
a year in Mills College, Oakland CA, but I wasn’t happy. I missed the sun, I
missed spicy sour sweet Thai food, my friends in Thailand, speaking Thai,
and I just missed Thailand. A friend of mine who was on exchange in the
same district but is from the east coast of the US told me about WUT. The
biggest reason I chose to study here instead of an international program in
BKK was because it was advertised as an American University in Thailand.
Webster University, of course, has a good reputation and the promotional
information for its international campuses is that every campus provides the
same quality of education. Thus I thought I could have my cake, live in
Thailand, and eat it too, get an American degree. I can honestly say I didn’t
come for WUT, WUT was a means to an end, I came to be in Thailand.
4) Where your expectations of the Webster-Thailand campus met? If yes or
not, explain.
Unfortunately I would say overall they have not been met. I have had
some great teachers, and I feel lucky to be a in major that has not suffered
from constant turn around but instead has had some dedicated qualified
professors teaching the subjects. But overall my experience here has been
distinctly lacking. The level of the education I do not think is up to the same
standard as Webster St. Louis, I know it is not up to the standard of the
school I transferred from, and many classes I have found to be lacking in any
real substance or suffer from a unqualified teacher. Then sometimes it feels
like the teacher just doesn’t care and is only teaching to fill time while they
are in Thailand. That is the worst I think, the feeling that a teacher doesn’t
care because even for some of the professors who were teaching subjects
they aren’t qualified to teach, you know they care about student learning
and the subject.
Then the general lack of interaction with Thailand has been
disappointing because most of the time due our isolation and very small Thai
student population we feel like an island of otherness. From this island we
go home to a town that is a tourist town and I always feel like it prevents us

from having a more “authentic” (for lack of a better word) experience in
Thailand. I might be more sensitive to this because I lived for a year in Thai
host families and went to Thai schools in another part of Thailand, so I see
the real difference between tourist town Thailand and non tourist town.
5) What complaints do you have of the campus, instructors, staff, technology
etc.? (Please give specific examples)
**I am going to attach the student suggestions document we gave to St.
Louis and WUT administration because that has a large detailed list of
problems.
The WUT campus is located about 40 minutes away from the town that
students are housed in, which means for almost 2 hours a day I am riding
the bus back and forth. This long commute discourages me from ever
coming on campus if I don’t have a class to attend or at least two hours
worth of work to complete. The campus its self is very isolated and has not
been very well taken care of, by this I mean many things from endless
broken items like AC units (very important in Thailand) or
computers/projectors/chairs/tables, mold in some of the classrooms, and lack
of recreational space other than the library. The internet is barely adequate
for the basic needs of checking email and during common free time, like
lunch, it is unusable because of how slow it is.
As mentioned above the faculty does have some good professors but
overall there is a lack of quality professors. The classrooms we use are not
conducive to a university-learning environment because of several factors.
The first being the “desks,” which are plastic chairs with the attached
“table” that comes down from the right side, which is probably a 14’x12”
space. This past Friday I actually sat on the floor during a final because I
could not type my final on my laptop, reference the subject’s book, and look
at my sheet of questions at the same time. Another problem is the rooms
have terrible acoustics, which results in such a large amount of echo that
there have been times I can’t understand what is being said, by the
professor or fellow students. The technology within the classrooms is
ancient. One of my classes this semester it routinely took 30 minutes to get
the computer to work, or for the professor, or student (student presentation
were common place) to give up and then have to attach a personal laptop or
borrow a laptop from someone so that they may present. This adds up to a
lot of time being wasted in the classroom that is unnecessary, and detracts
from our learning.
I think the biggest problem of this is that because due to our location
we have to tolerate it. For example the internet is very slow, if the campus
were located in town, as a student we could elect to go to an internet shop
or wifi hot spot and use that internet instead but at WUT we can’t. If you
have a class at 9am, which ends at 10:20 and then a class at 1:30pm you
can’t leave to go back to your dorm or housing, you have to stay on campus.
Even if the break in your classes is 4 or 5 hours to go home and back would

mean that in one day you would have to spend almost 4 hours in transit.
Thus you have to be on campus and campus is not a nice place to be.
6) What are some good highlights of the Webster-Thailand campus?
For me my major specific teachers have been good 90% of the time
and I have felt like I have learned a lot from them. There is a very diverse
student body, which does provide for an interesting mix of views on topics
and issues. I think having studied abroad really pushes students to grow,
learn, and think more globally about world around them. This is helped a lot
by our diverse student body as well because you get several worldviews and
have to think critically about your own.
I think this campus has a lot of potential with the right investments
and with good recruitment of faculty and students. We are in the middle of
Southeast Asia, which could provide a great platform for the creation of
more human rights courses here based on the current issues of human rights
in Southeast Asia, cultural anthropology courses, religion courses, even
natural sciences courses. It needs to be prioritized though, and right now I,
personally, am unsure of what the priorities of this campus are.
7) How would you rate your overall experience at the WUT campus?
For the cost of attendance here at WUT and what I received in return I
would rate on a scale of 1-10, I would rate it a 4. I will add though I chose to
stay because I wanted to be in Thailand and that 4 was enough for me to
tough it and stay.
8) When, why and how did you become involved in the Student Council?
Could you explain what the organization does and a description of your job?
I originally became involved with the re-incarnation of student council
in the fall of 2009 because I was asked to take part. The year 2009-2010 I
was a member but not a very active one because I was also working on
trying to establish another club on campus. I also was unsure of the
objectives and goals of the leaders at that point and that left me feeling
unwilling to really commit to the group. I ran for president of the student
council because I felt like the student body here needs to start having an
organization that represents them and their interests on campus. Even at
this point there was not a general trust of the administration on the Thailand
campus and I hoped to be able to create an avenue by which we could
advocate for students.
The student council on WUT is a very new organization and we are still
working on our systems, procedures, and finding our niche on the campus.
What we have been doing is helping organize student events, we are
currently setting up the procedures for club registration to try get more

organized clubs and groups on campus, and (as you have heard in St. Louis)
giving voice to student concerns.
I feel like a lot of my job is facilitation. By this I mean getting students
together, providing structure, adding in ideas, and direction that allows for
the day to day running of student council to happen. I try to encourage
students to take the lead in different activities because I want this
organization to grow and evolve after I leave thus I don’t want my
involvement to be the cornerstone of it. The other part of my job is
leadership. This means having a vision and objectives to help give the group
purpose.
9) What steps has the Student Council taken to solve some of the issues at
WUT?
One of the most important things I think student council has done is
gone to the student body to find out what the problems are and then laid
them out for the administration to see and given possible solutions. This
was an important step because for the entire time that I have been here
there have been problems, some minor, some major, but there has never
been an attempt to clearly state all of these problems in writing so that they
maybe addressed. The document produced from the input at a open forum
and student surveys was then submitted to administration here (and in St.
Louis) so that there can be a next step to try and address the problems.
10) What administrators have you or the Student Council met with to discuss
those issues? What was their response?
There have been meetings with Director of this Campus Ratish Thakur,
Head of Arts and Sciences Dr. Len Vergara, Dean of Arts and Sciences David
Wilson, and Associate VP Academic Affairs and Director International
Programs Grant Chapman.
In the beginning there was less than positive response from the
administration of WUT and I know that I felt apprehensive about what the
response would be to the efforts of the students involved. You must
understand that WUT is a small campus and it doesn’t take a large stone to
create big waves. First Jennifer Armit’s technology petition happened (which
was the catalyst for everything that happened after), the open student
forum, student surveys, and then the scheduled meetings with St. Louis
administrators. We effectively dropped a boulder into the small pond that is
WUT. I think it call caught this Administration completely off guard because
they didn’t expect it at all. In first set of meetings that happened, I felt the
administrators tried to discourage our efforts. This feeling of
discouragement increased as the date of the St. Louis officials drew nearer,
which only seemed to validate concerns expressed by students.

The meetings with St. Louis officials seemed to go well, they listened
to what we had to say and took copious amounts of notes. I honestly do not
yet know what is going to come of those meetings because there has not yet
been an announcement of decisions made regarding matters discussed. In
the anticipation of the decisions of St. Louis regarding WUT, students at WUT
and St. Louis are probably equal.
Most recently the Director of WUT Mr. Thakur has said that he would
like to implement most of the suggestions student council submitted by
having the student council create a committee that would work with
administration to enact solutions. It is a good idea. I hope that it happens.
It would create a mechanism for student council to help enact solutions to
student problems.
11) Do you feel students coming from the St. Louis campus are treated
differently from those that are full time? why do you feel this? specific
examples?
Students who come as study abroads, regardless of home campus, I
would say they are treated differently than full time students. In my
personal experience part of this is due to priorities of study abroad students
vs. those of full time students. Study abroad students come and are only
here for about 5 months so they want to travel and sight see as much as
possible, it is one of the reasons they come to Thailand. Full times are going
to be here for several years so many have either already seen most of the
places that study abroad students are going to, or are going to wait until one
of our term breaks to travel.
There is also a certain apathy that full times form towards study
abroad students in general because WUT get so many study abroad
students. For full time students these study abroad students can start to
feel like small blips on their radar because so many come and then in five
months they are gone. I know in my 5 semesters here I have seen over well
over 200 study abroad students come and go. Some I have been friends
with but most I did not know very well and that is mostly due to me knowing
they are going to leave at the end of the semester. Personally speaking it is
hard to have had made friends with a group of people and then in 5 months
have them leave and then have another completely new group come the
next semester. It is even harder because due to the small full time student
population, you feel the loss of those friends more as their absence is very
apparent.
I think we feel it more acutely than other campuses, such as St. Louis,
because our full time population is very small, roughly 100 students for my
first two years, and now about 120. During my first two years at WUT each
semester we typically received about 50 study abroad students a semester.
This means for the semester these students are here they make up about a
third of our student body, some get involved, some don’t, but they become
part of the life here, and then they are gone. It’s a constant level of

instability because even when the students get involved, which is great,
there is little longevity to activity because the majority of the students
may/will leave at the end of the semester. Thus this means that the group
must form anew again the following semester and there will be little
continuity.
I hope that as our full time population increases and activities or clubs
form with a strong sustainable number of full time students, so the activity
or the club maintains through the semester fluxes of study abroad students,
that this will provide a better venue for interaction between the two groups
because then there will be more options and opportunities for students to
interact with one another.
12) What message do you send to students and administrators here in St.
Louis? How can we help?
First I want to thank St. Louis students, administrators, and faculty
because there are have been some there that have played a pivotal role this
semester. For students that have been on the Thailand campus I think it is
important that you go and talk honestly about your experience to Sarita
Cargas or put it into writing and send it to the St. Louis administration. They
need to hear as many student experiences as possible. We need the help of
the students on the St. Louis campus to do what we on WUT can’t. To be the
ones knocking on the doors of administration offices reminding them that
there are decisions to be made and we, the students of both WUT and St.
Louis, are waiting to hear these decisions, to know what action is going to
taken. This solidarity and the show of support for fellow Webster students,
regardless of campus, is powerful message that this issue is not going to go
away. I know for me that it has been amazing to realize how many people
back on the St. Louis campus, a place I have never been, are supporting us
here. Knowing that we have support is helps.