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Global Connections talk takes us to Thailand

Interested in hearing a local’s take on the Phuket beaches, ancient Ayutthaya Kingdom and traditional Thai culture?

White temple with red roof, with ancient carvings on the outside.
The Wat Chalong is one of the largest temples in Phuket. It was built in the early 19th century and is still used today by tourists who come to pay respects to the several revered monks who founded this temple. (Courtesy photo)
Clouds over the ocean from the beach.
View from the Phuket beaches in Phuket, Thailand. (Courtesy photo)
Pond with flowers and plants growing on top.
Scenery at the Asian Institute of Technology, where Tran attended for four years of school. (Courtesy photo)

Son Tran, a professor of computer science at New Mexico State University will discuss his time spent in Thailand this summer during the first talk of the College of Arts and Sciences’ “Global Connections” series at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14th at the College of Health and Social Services annex building.

Originally from Vietnam, Tran moved to Thailand to attend the Asian Institute of Technology. Though he only spent four years during college there, Thailand feels like home to Tran. This “homecoming” was long overdue after a 20-year hiatus in the United States. Tran visited his alma mater, Asian Institute of Technology, for a conference during the summer.

“It was an emotional experience,” said Tran. “Much of the school has changed over the years and a lot of damage has been done by the historical flood in 2011, but it was still comforting to be back.”

Something he did not have a lot of time for as a student was sightseeing and taking time to learn about the country. Though he was only in Thailand for a few days this summer, he visited as many cultural sites as possible.

“I went mainly to attend the conference, but I arrived there a couple days earlier. I knew I wanted to spend that time experiencing the culture in a way I had never done before,” he said.

Being able to explore and travel throughout the country was a large highlight of Tran’s trip. “As a student, I was constantly focused on learning and my school work,” he said. “I never made it a priority to actually see the beauty of the country I was living in.”

The purpose of the NMSU College of Arts and Sciences’ “Global Connections” series is for the NMSU community to have the opportunity to engage with NMSU professors about global experiences they may not encounter first-hand.

Tran said he wants others to understand that Thailand has a lot to offer travelers.

“I’d like to share a bit of my experience there,” he said, “as well as the history I’ve learned over the years. Thailand has a richer history than many people realize.”

All “Global Connections” talks are free and open to the public. Upcoming speakers include Roger Mellen, Daniel Dugas, Sandra Way, Glenn Fetzer and Carol Campbell.

For more information on the College of Arts and Sciences “Global Connections” series, visit http://artsci.nmsu.edu/