My girlfriend Sarah is an international student on exchange from the University of San Diego studying at Thammasat University Tha Phra Chan campus in Bangkok.
Thammasat is the second oldest university in Thailand and has been involved in much of the countries recent history and politics. Beginning as “The University of Moral and Political Sciences” it has a history of liberalism, political activism and tragedy – with its original purpose being to teach its students to “love and cherish democracy”.
It is the site of both the 14 October 1973 Uprising and 6 October 1976 Massacre as well as the underground home to the Free Thai (Anti Japanese Resistance) movement during the Second World War (though it was also used as a camp for Allied civilian POWs, with those in the movement providing them protection from the Japanese).
Pridi Banomyong International College (PBIC Thammasat)
Pridi Banomyong International College (PBIC) is located on the bank of the Chao Phraya River at the Tha Phra Chan Campus of Thammasat University. It was founded in 2008 to teach programmes in the English language to both Thai and foreign students.
Many of the courses have overseas exchange students as well as a mixture of Thai and foreign lecturers. Typically exchange students come for one or two semesters, and study a range of programmes including language, international relations, history, culture, cuisine and dance. Students often will undertake an internship at a local NGO in Bangkok as part of their class credit.
They also occasionally host some rather interesting lectures to the public on important issues, which is one of the ways I’ve been able to attend and gain insight into various aspects of history and culture that shape Thailand and what is happening currently.
Walking around the University Campus allows you to see many monuments to important parts of recent Thai history that are often glossed over in the history books here, but help to give you a much greater understanding as to what is currently going on in Thailand.