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Postcard from the Field: Alfre Wimberley ’17 in Thailand

June 27, 2017
Institute for the Environment

What is your name: Alfre Wimberley
Major: B.S. Environmental Science, Minor Chemistry
Expected graduation date: August 2017

Why did you want to go to the Thailand?
I wanted to go to Thailand to explore a developing country also trying to manage environmental impact, economic development and urban expansion. Personally, I wanted to experience a culture vastly different from my own.

What specifically are you doing in Thailand?
I am taking classes in Environmental Technology and Management and most notably developing skills in Life Cycle Assessment and Industrial System Optimization. Also, for my research capstone, my group is investigating the viability of offshore wind developments in the Gulf of Thailand. This includes consideration for grid connections, protected areas, maintenance and erection cost and, finally, dismantling.

What has been the most impactful experience you’ve had while in Thailand?
My most impactful experiences in Thailand have been outside of the classroom. The experience of Thai students is so different from our own that I have enjoyed socializing with Thai students. I also have learned a new level of patience with the often high language barrier affecting every aspect of daily life.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve taken away from your experience in Thailand?
The biggest lesson I have taken from Thailand is flexibility. We spend a lot of time working in teams, managing new and unexpected obstacles, and an extremely new environment with drastically different cultural and societal expectations. Be prepared for orders to come differently than expected and often needing the help of a Thai friend to get more complicated items around Bangkok.

Do you have any advice for other students who are considering going to the Thailand?
I would say, if you come to Thailand, prepare yourself for how long of a commitment this program is. Be ready to have good time management from the beginning and ask for data often and early. The last months of this program after May quickly slip by as well! Also, remember to responsibly travel while respecting how much work your classes and capstones will take. I often spent days in the library and cafes, but it was worth it to take a weekend off to travel now and again to explore the part of the world you are living in.

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