Here we present the final piece in our three part series on Global Health Office Summer Programs. An interesting cultural and clinical perspective from our fabulous students!
Photo essay submitted by Hyehyun Paek – Dalhousie School of Medicine
The city of Bangkok on the street where our language lessons were held. It shows the tall buildings in the financial district and the large number of cars and traffic.
This is a money tree in the Psychiatric ward. The colourful bank notes depict images of King Rama IV and the current King. When I asked the staff what its purpose was, they told me that they collect money on the tree and then donate it to a charity. I guess money does grow on trees after all.
In the Paediatrics unit, this is a shrine/memorial of the Buddha. The 2 main religions in Thailand are Buddhism and Islam, with the overwhelming majority of people being Buddhists. Buddha images and tributes are present everywhere in Thailand from hospitals to taxis to people’s homes.
This is the nursing station in the Pediatrics department of KKU. At the station, there are 3 nurses and one medical student. In the back room, there are 3 medical students discussing cases. Hanging on the wall, you can see a picture of the king and queen of Thailand. Pictures of the king were present all over the hospital and the rest of Thailand. At the time of our elective, the king was ill and staying at the Sirirat Public Hospital in Bangkok.
This is the medical dormitory 3, where Jocelyn Stairs, Carolyn Reardon and I stayed during the month of our elective. In Thai, it is pronounced “huh pet saam” . The dormitory is co-ed but male and female medical students are divided by buildings. (A is for boys, B and C are for girls: more female medical students than male in all of KKU). We stayed in B. Every evening, the students gathered on the court to play basketball. You can also see the many motorcycles parked in the front of the building. This is the main mode of transportation for most medical students at KKU although, some had four-wheeled vehicles instead as their parents did not approve of the more dangerous motorcycles. From our dormitory, the KKU hospital was about 10 minutes on foot and 3 minutes by car.
These are the medical students at KKU that showed us around Khon Kaen. They are all in the 5th year of medicine out of 6 years. In Thailand, students enter directly into medical school from high school and the medical program is 6 years long. The students names’ are (from left to right): Ping, Bo and Judy. This picture was taken during our paddle-boat ride in Khon Kaen. In the background, you can see the temple grounds.
Wat Si Chum (Temple of bodhi Tree) in Sukhothai, Thailand. Sukhothai was the capital of Thailand during the 13th and the 14th centuries. It is about 6 hours away from Khon Kaen by bus. We visited Sukhothai on one of our weekends during the elective. The entire Sukhothai historical park was stunning but the most breathtaking sight was this giant buddha. During our visit, we met a Thai lady who came to pay tributes to the Buddha and she told us of a tradition of praying to the Buddha. She said that we can kneel in front of him, introduce ourselves to him and ask for one wish. Then, we were to promise that we would come back to thank him if this wish comes true. As we left, she told us not to look back at the Buddha. It was a very wonderful experience to take part in this piece of Thai culture.
This is a traditional Thai dance performed by Thai medical students at KKU. On our last day of elective, the International office put on an International fair which we all attended. We enjoyed Thai dance and food and also sang the Canadian national anthem for the Thai staff and students.
Carolyn Reardon and Jocelyn Stairs, two of my fellow Med 1 students who did the elective in Thailand. This was at the lookout point on Koh Phi Phi on our last night together in Thailand before returning to Canada. We finished our trip with a few weeks of traveling after the elective in Vietnam and Southern Thailand. As evident in this picture, Thailand has beautiful scenery and beaches, but also beautiful culture and people.