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Surfing for Living and Learning in the Place where East meets West

Patareeya Wisaijorn

Ubon Rajathanee University


Fulbright Visiting Scholar 2005-2006

University of Hawaii at Manoa


I am a “double Fulbrighter” – University of Kansas in 1979-80 and University of Hawaii (UH) in 2006. The times are different and the places are different, but there are similarities. Both are in the middle of something – the former, the US mainland, the latter, the Pacific Ocean. Also, my experiences at both were professionally rewarding, allowing me to work with people from different parts of the world, exchanging ideas and sharing experiences. I consider myself fortunate that the Fulbright program has given me these opportunities.


UH was a stimulating place to work. Its courses delivered by experienced academics were demanding but were designed in such a way that students could interact comfortably and receive support from peers and staff. Students were encouraged to share knowledge and ideas, and be prepared to adapt their new skills to their local situations. The facilities were of a high standard, the library being of exceptional quality. There was always something of academic interest happening, such as presentations by guest speakers, formal lectures and discussion groups. I feel very fortunate to have experienced what UH had to offer.


I found Hawaii to be a fascinating mix of people of different cultural backgrounds using a range of languages. It was a wonderful experience for me to witness people from different corners of the world working and living cooperatively, despite their many differences. The one binding feature was the use of English as a medium of communication – a real experience of English as an international language!! English was a means for students to overcome barriers and learn about themselves and others.


Throughout the world, Hawaii is known for its beaches and leisure activities. How can one possibly go to Hawaii to study? Friends and colleagues asked me about my surfing and snorkelling – there were few enquiries about my research! Yes, it is a place of beaches and leisure activities – for living: but it’s also a place for study and research – for learning.


I did not learn to surf during my time in Hawaii. But, for me, the Hawaiian experience was one of surfing for living and learning – I experienced a fascinating place, acquired new knowledge and skills, and interacted with people from a variety of national and cultural backgrounds.


ข้อเขียนทั้งภาษาไทยและภาษาอังกฤษทุกเรื่องที่นำเสนอโดยมูลนิธิการศึกษาไทย-อเมริกัน (ฟุลไบรท์) ผู้สนใจสามารถจะนำไปใช้ประโยชน์ต่อการเรียนการสอนและกิจกรรมทางการศึกษาที่เกี่ยวข้องได้โดยขอความกรุณาอ้างอิงถึงแหล่งที่มาให้ชัดเจนด้วย


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