Monday, November 7, 2016

Culture & Tradition 101

The University of Michigan School of Nursing has returned to Korat and Suranaree University of Technology (SUT) for another global clinical immersion.  Our first days have been filled with opportunities to experience culture and tradition. While the students were learning about Thailand and Thai history in the community, the faculty had the opportunity to participate in graduation ceremonies on campus.

Discussing Michigan and B1G football with SUT Rector and Dean of Nursing

SUT graduated over 2500 students from several different programs.  This year the students received their certificates from the Crown Princess who was present on behalf of King Bhumibol.  As a cultural outsider, it was amazing to be able to witness the respect, tradition, and honor that was palpable across campus.  Similar to a graduation in US, the faculty and students wore gowns that represented their levels of education and programs, they marched into the auditorium, and students were presented with diplomas and awards. In contrast, the families were seated outside of the building during the ceremony and there was no clapping at any time (out of respect for King Bhumibol).

Despite there being thousands of students who's names were read, the ceremony was quiet and respectful. As the students moved across the stage to receive their certificates, it was like watching a performance where students bowed and stepped as if they innately knew a graceful dance of tradition.

Tribute to King Bhumibol
It was such an honor to be included in the graduation.  We love our time at SUT and our Thai colleagues and students.  The last few days have provided a glimpse into Thai culture and tradition and is a reminder that students gain so much more than patient contact hours.  Intangibles such as tradition, honor, respect, and value have the potential to impact our students not only in the short term during the clinical immersion, but can also carry over into clinical practice far after graduation.

We are our culture and tradition; if there is no culture or tradition we are no one. 
--Tamerlan Kuzgov

1 comment:

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