Global M.A. in I.R. Students Help with Flood Relief in Bangkok

Heather Leigh, Anna Feigum, and Becky Smith

Global M.A. in International Relations students are among a host of volunteers who have provided flood relief in Thailand.

Webster students help unload relief items.

Kim Dindial, Anna Feigum, Heather Leigh, Becky Smith, and Kutloano Tshabalala, who are studying in Bangkok as members of the program’s Cohort 2, spent Nov. 2 helping the Thai Red Cross Society load and unload trucks. The students also packed and tied bags of food.

On Nov. 16, Anna, Becky, and Heather traveled to Minburi, a Bangkok suburb, where they distributed food at a recreation center and a Buddhist temple. They sent their thoughts on volunteering to Hannah Verity, Assistant to the Dean, Global Programs, for the College of Arts & Sciences.

Wading through flood waters

“We were completely humbled by the generosity of the Thai people in the midst of this crisis. It was amazing to see how the community comes together to help one another, whether it is human assembly lines unloading food from trucks or helping an elderly woman carry her supplies home. Despite the language barriers, we felt accepted by all, even being able to join in with the high-spirits and laughter. Though we felt that our impact on the situation was minimal, they never the less responded to us with the utmost appreciation. We only hope to continue in the effort, doing anything that we can to help.”

Although floodwater is starting to recede in Bangkok, flooding is expected to continue into 2012 in parts of Thailand’s western districts. Webster’s Bangkok campus was closed for several days in October because of flooding.

A Red Cross truck makes its way through Bangkok's flooded streets.

One of three cohorts in the 2011-12 Global M.A. in I.R. program, Cohort 2 is studying at the Bangkok campus during the Fall 2 term; the students will spend Spring 1, 2012, at the Geneva campus.