Indiana State University Newsroom

Thai doctoral students learn about U.S. culture, education at Indiana State

June 4, 2013

Doctoral students from Thailand expanded their lessons through learning about the U.S. during a recent trip to Indiana State University.

Fourteen students from Roi Et Rajabhat University visited the U.S. this spring, which included a two-week stop at Indiana State. While on campus, the students learned about the education system in the U.S., and how faculty members at Indiana State work with students. They also learned about utilizing different resources for research. Faculty members at Indiana State also provided workshops on topics ranging from research-based leadership to utilizing technology in schools, said Will Barratt, professor of educational leadership who organized the group's visit.

"It was absolutely fascinating, because we were experiencing cultural issues in communication," Barratt said. "It was a cultural experience for anyone who presented to them, and a cultural experience for them to see how things are here."

The Roi Et Rajabhat students visited with classes to learn more about how college students at Indiana State, as well as the U.S., learn in the classroom, and how it compares to classes in Thailand.

"I think it's good, because teacher and student have interactive, two-way communication and students have their own style for learning...," said Thanyaporn Papolngam, a professor at Roi Et Rajabhat who taught the doctoral students visiting Indiana State. "I think it's a good model and good experience for me to adapt and apply with my work, too."

A number of differences exist between the education systems in the U.S. and Thailand, as they are based in different cultures, Barratt and Papolngam said. The doctoral students also learned about the research using resources available in Cunningham Memorial Library on campus, including the hours of operation and that students could eat at a café located near the library's entrance.

"We can have success with everything in the library," said Tuang Untachai, a student from Roi Et Rajabhat.

Indiana State faculty members also introduced the Roi Et Rajabhat students to different resources for research.

"I think they have a book mentality, and we tried to (introduce) them to an electronic search and journal mentality," Barratt said. "We spent a lot of time helping them learn how to do online literature searches. We're emphasizing those resources which are low cost."

Barratt worked closely with the group, organizing some of the group's visits around the Wabash Valley and leading some of the lessons to introduce the students to various sources for them to do research.

"Dr. Barratt has developed an outstanding program," said Chris McGrew, director of Indiana State's Center for Global Engagement, which has supported multiple projects as part of the partnership between Indiana State and Roi Et Rajabhat. "Through his leadership and the model he has provided, the Bayh College of Education and the university as a whole has a great opportunity to develop exchange opportunities in many other areas."

The group was diverse, with participants ranging from young adults to a 72-year-old man. While most students had a job in education, one participant was a national senator in Thailand who is pursuing his doctorate in educational leadership, Barratt said.

The group visited classes in a local Vigo County school, in addition to learning from the Indiana State professors.

"I think that the teachers here and the professors here are really good teachers, because they're sensitive to students' needs," said Winai Saemanee, a student from Roi Et Rajabhat. The students will take the lessons that they learned from their visit to help them as they write their dissertations, Barratt said. This was the second cohort of Roi Et Rajabhat students to visit Indiana State as part of their doctoral coursework; the visit also is part of an ongoing partnership between Indiana State and Roi Et Rajabhat.

"The doctoral students from Roi Et Rajabhat University provide our faculty and staff a great opportunity to share their knowledge and experience on a global level," McGrew said. "Roi Et Rajabhat has also furnished members of the Indiana State community with chances to learn about cultures and experiences around the world. This has been a terrific partnership."

Photo: (Submitted photo)The group of doctoral students Roi Et Rajabhat University pose with Indiana State University professor Will Barratt (sitting, third from left).

Photo: Barratt

Contact: Will Barratt, associate professor of educational leadership, Bayh College of Education, 812-237-2869 or

Writer: Austin Arceo, assistant director of media relations, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or

Story Highlights

Fourteen students from Roi Et Rajabhat University visited the U.S. this spring, which included a two-week stop at Indiana State. While at ISU, they learned about the U.S. education system and culture, as well as different research methodologies.

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