Week 11: Farewell, Chiang Mai

This week was pretty laid back as far as just staying in Chiang Mai and finishing up with classes. We had our final, but now that it’s done classes here are pretty much over!

We also got the results back from our pilot survey and started analyzing them. This first set of surveys was sent to about 1,000 people who were randomly selected from a few of the northern provinces. The main purpose of our pilot survey is to check to see if there are any errors in our survey that surface once people start taking it as well as to see if the primes that we included were able to influence the respondents’ answers.

In the fall we will be sending out our main survey to about 5,000 people all throughout Thailand, so after I return back to America there will still be quite a bit of work making sure that the final product is ready to be sent out to everyone. And then after the final survey data comes back, we will be able to really dive into more of the analysis and the writing of our papers.

For a couple of days, we met with our groups and ran some simple commands to look at trends in the data and to get a general feel for how people responded and the effect that the primes had. In our group where we had primes that were looking at how teachings of Buddhism would be able to affect peoples’ view of the role of women in government. Running some preliminary commands, we didn’t see that they had any significant effect. This means that we’ll probably do some reworking of our primes to see if we can make them stronger and possibly more direct.

Remember that Burmese refugee shelter and school that we helped clean up and paint a few weeks ago? This week they invited us back and put on this whole performance for us to thank us for the service that we gave them. There were all of these adorable little girls and boys in their uniforms at an assembly put on where they danced and did some other traditional performances. I felt like I really hadn’t done all that much to help them, but it was still a very kind gesture that was much appreciated.

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To end the week, we had a free day on Saturday that I spent walking around the city of Chiang Mai for one of the last times. After all of the time that we have spent here this summer, even between all of the travelling around, this place really has started to feel like home. It’s weird to think back to my first day, still tired and fighting off the jet lag, and how what once seemed so foreign has now become so familiar. The opportunity that I have had to take classes on Thailand and all of the different excursions have helped me to view this place as more of a resident rather than a tourist. It’s a cool feeling to look around at all of the temples and buildings that amazed me when I first looked at and to understand more of their history and significance.

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