IWM offers the elective module Community, livelihoods, development & water, which involves a ten-day home-stay and field studies experience in a remote village in Northeast Thailand near the Mekong River.
Students spend time at a village cooperative learning about community organising and environmental campaigning. They learn firsthand about water resources development, environmental change and social conflict, and discuss these issues with community members, NGO workers and government officers.
Students live with local families and participate in everyday activities such as harvesting rice, cooking, fishing or making fish nets. Students experience the realities of water in village life, learning about how it is bound up with culture, livelihoods and health.
The first overseas field trip for IWC’s Masters of Integrated Water Management students was held in Thailand in late 2011.
Masters student Abdulhamid Adamu of Nigeria said he found the Thailand field trip insightful and beneficial. “Staying with host families in the village, allowed locals to share with us the impact of water on their lives and livelihoods,” Mr Adamu said.
“I learnt so many things during the field trip particularly how the women of the village were leading local movements to address big issues such as the effects of dam structures on their livelihoods.” Mr Adamu is one of Nigeria’s Federal Ministry’s water project managers in charge of small-town water projects in two Nigerian states.
- Read more: 'Community, livelihoods, development and water' module (PDF)
- News from the field: 2015 Thailand field trip article
Field trip costs
The costs of this field trip – airfares, visas, local travel costs in Thailand and local accommodation costs – are the responsibility of students. While students are accommodated in village households, food, accommodation and minibus hire will cost approximately AU$ 35 per day. Domestic airfares from Bangkok to Ubon Ratchathani airport cost about AU$ 100 return. Students also need to include overnight accommodation in Bangkok, to and from Ubon as well as a visa to enter Thailand (depending on their citizenship).
Overall, the field trip total cost is estimated at AU$ 1,700 per student, including return airfares from Australia. Students can access a portion of their IWC Professional Development Grant (up to AU$500) to help cover these costs.