September 26, 2016

Thailand study-abroad student yearns for higher-quality education

Contributed by Macy Salama A monkey perches on Macy Salama’s shoulder. Food sold by a local encourages the monkeys to get close.

Contributed by Macy Salama A monkey perches on Macy Salama’s shoulder. Food sold by a local encourages the monkeys to get close.

Although I wish I could stay in Thailand longer to appreciate more of its unique beauty, the time for me to return home is calling — my education is begging for it.

Despite the classes available at this campus, there is little knowledge to gain and opportunity is minimal, especially compared to the resources the Webster Groves home campus provides.

My appreciation for the home campus did not hit me until I experienced the classroom setting of another campus. The feel of the Webster campus in Thailand is similar to a high school. Students do the bare minimum, constantly preoccupied on their phones; passing is easy and learning is solely up to the individual. The classes are three hours long, once a week, but often get out about an hour early.

The atmosphere, like the educational opportunity, is drastically different than the Webster home campus. Back home there are passionate teachers, multiple classes designed directly for specific majors, equipment to learn with and a spectrum of on-campus opportunity to learn from and participate in. The students are eager to learn. Considering my personal experiences, the professors and students at the St. Louis campus motivate me to work harder.

Since being in Thailand, the experiences I have been through have made me a wiser individual. However, the knowledge I have received at the campus is trivial. The knowledge gained toward my major does not exceed what I have taught myself since being in Thailand.

As much as I’ll miss the beauty of Thailand, the kind-hearted locals and the exotic animals, its time for reality to set in again. It’s time for me to work toward my passions and advance my education. I’m ready to put my red slippers on because, as cheesy as it may be, there really is no place like home.

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  • June Marie Luna

    As someone who has spent time at Webster Thailand I must disagree. Your education is put Into your hands, and the classes are a tool to expand your knowledge. Why is it up to educators to force feed knowledge down your throat? If anything, Webster Thailand teaches you that in order to excel, you must put in the effort and you should care about your education. Many of the professors went out of their way to make my classes educational; I met many a diplomat in my international relations degree, I conversed with many scholars in religion and politics. Why? Because I asked. And when a student cares, the professors will give you all their knowledge and more, but why must they force rules on some students who aren’t there for the right reasons? Those students are everywhere, even your beloved home campus, but very much unlike high school, the professors in Thailand arent going to treat you like a child. At the end of the day, you get out what you put into your education.

  • ET

    I get the distinct feeling you’ve taken the opportunity you were given for granted. Not everyone gets to study abroad in a country like Thailand. There’s a lot to be learned outside of the classroom.

  • Webster Student

    As someone who is currently at Webster, I wholeheartedly agree with this article, Unfortunately your article barely scratches the surface of the root causes of the subpar learning experience you have witnessed. This is merely the tip of the iceberg you could say. You should utilize the rest of your time here and find the TRUE story of Webster Thailand, start talking to students, you’ll be surprised and possibly shocked at the things you may uncover.

  • Webster Student

    I’m am currently a student at the Thailand campus, and I whole heartedly agree with June Marie Luna. Force feeding education is a flawed practice. The brighter side of of what you say WUTC lacks is that you get to see what the real world is like. You must put in what you want out of it.

  • Sam

    Must bring the academic issues to the attention of faculty members and heads of departments. Always a good idea to wait till the end of the term.

    Webster Thailand has excellent faculty and possibly one of the most rigorous amongst Thai institutions. Faculty evaluations and class evaluations consistently rank at the level of excellence.

    The Huahin facility need more to be done but in the last 3 years noticeable improvements were carried out.

  • Sam

    Did you try to talk to the academic adviser or HOD of the program about the class issues? Internet is jammed in classrooms, so the phone issue is strange. The faculty at WUT are of the highest standards. They consistently get very high reviews. The Huahin facility saw some improvements in the last 3 yrs and there is scope for more. Bangkok is getting an all new campus later this month. The article is very shocking. Please give details of your experience to the heads of department. The input will be very useful in understanding the details.

  • Webster Graduate

    Macy,
    It’s sad to read that your experience at Webster Thailand was not a pleasant one. My experience was quite in contrary to yours. I will solely mention about the academic part as it was my primary reason for joining the university. I believe that the teaching faculty played a pivotal role in enhancing my skills in my desired field of study. Yes, there were a few challenges with the infrastructure and even with the administration to a certain extent but the calibre of the faculty was never in question.
    Be as it may, my experience does not necessarily mean that your stay in Webster Thailand had to be a pleasant one. I agree with Sam. Please write a report to the authorities about your experience in detail. I am sure they will look into it at the earliest.

  • Staff Member Thailand Campus

    Webster classes are very diverse. This may be unacceptable to you as you mostly deal with US-based students. Most of your classmates have possibly seen the world more and handled much more complex matters, given this is your first study abroad experience.

    If you really thought the standard was below par and students were no match with your levels then you must be headed for the top score in all your courses. If what you are talking about are about a few classes or faculty members or students then it is another thing. Please do not generalize and destroy the reputation of the campus, the faculty and student community there.

    You are in a way making a statement in an open forum that the graduates of Webster University Thailand are getting degrees that are high school standard. You are destroying their future if these allegations are not campus-wide. Potential employers reading this forum will get the wrong message.

    • Webster Student

      What exactly is the wrong message that potential employers will get? The message that the Thailand campus might be a glorified diploma factory? That the university doesn’t prepare students for the real world? That the University can barely manage to hire qualified faculty, let alone retain faculty? Please, enlighten us all. As a prior study abroad student, I’m very interested to hear your version of reality.

      • Wake up St. Louis

        Exactly, the message is that Ratish and his team needs to go.

        Damage control is in order so students degrees are not further devalued.

        They are simply not meeting the standards, they have scammed the students, community, parents and employer stakeholder groups.

  • Wake up St. Louis

    What a scam. Rife with Indian style nepotism, rector is a despot, an unproductive waste of resources. They scammed St. Louis on the Grenoble doctorates fiasco. I cannot for the life of me understand why St. Louis allows this charade to continue. Students and faculty have spoken out so many times, yet nothing is done to replace the cronies who are the problem. The Business Program should be reported to ACBSP and Webster placed on probation for allowing the apathy to continue. Please bring in a person of academic integrity and vision to right this ship.

  • John Jacob

    Why is it that 2 of the more highly qualified professors (with PhDs, MAs and JDs degrees from respectable institutions like Yale, Stanford) to have taught at Webster Thailand in the last few years have either resigned or been fired and are now initiating lawsuits against WUT? Why is it that it seems that every year a former professor brings forth lawsuits against WUT?

    Why is it that St Louis administration stays silent on the deceptive marketing practices of WUT, stays silent on the fact that there are ZERO internship resources available, there are NO career services, and it costs over $300, THREE HUNDRED US DOLLARS to graduate and attend the ceremony?

    We students do not come from rich backgrounds, we cannot afford the high costs associated with European and American counterparts, so why is it that St Louis graduation fee is $75 yet ours is $300?

    Why is it that “General Fees” has skyrocketed to $760? What does this even pay for? No one knows.

    When someone asks, they’re threatened, slandered and bullied into silence.

    A lot of questions, with ZERO answers.

    No wonder the student council resigned in protest, I’m surprised they even lasted this long.