Everyone always asks about the sights and the world famous landmarks that you should visit when you go abroad, and definitely enthusiastic about seeing all of the pictures, but sometimes the best experience is sitting down and enjoying some authentic foods of the region!
Before you break out the chopsticks and go to the most expensive restaurant you can find in Bangkok, here are a few things to know about where to eat, what to eat, and even how to eat in Thailand!
First things first…
Put down the chopsticks, because in Thailand most dishes are enjoyed with a fork and a spoon. Meals are generally cut into bite sizes, so knives are rarely necessary. Instead, the fork is held in the left hand, and the spoon in the right, with the fork being used to push food onto the spoon, and the spoon being used to actually eat the food. It is considered bad manners to eat with your left hand or to use your fork to eat.
Ice, ice, baby…
Ice should be safe to have in your drink in any restaurant in the city, so this shouldn’t be something you should worry about, but be wary when traveling outside of the city that you don’t get ice made from water that potentially could be polluted.
Contrary to most Western styles of dining, food is brought from the kitchen as soon as it is ready in Thailand, and most dishes are actually shared between everyone at the table – much like Tapas in Spain. This way, you can sample many Thai items in one sitting, and never have to worry about someone ordering a meal that looks better than yours! No disappointment for you.
Street vendors are very common in Thailand, and Bangkok is no exception and considered common place for locals to stop for lunch. It may even be some of the best food you try in Bangkok, not to mention the most representative of an authentic Thai meal.
With less than two weeks to go until Cohort 15 jets off to Thailand, we’ve put together some tips for our Executive MBA international travelers – especially those going abroad for the first time!
Especially with as many flights as it can take to get to Thailand, it is a good idea to see whether the airline(s) you are traveling with have an app that can give you updates on any flight changes, or a service that will text your flight information.
It is a good idea to call your provider and see whether they have an international data plan or a travel package deal that you could use while you are away. Be careful of data roaming by checking your phone settings as these fees can be exorbitant. Airplane mode can be a useful setting to use.
The Wonders of Wifi…
An alternative to getting an international data plan would be using free WiFi. (Your hotel, most airport, and business locations have this access). Look up, save, or screen shot as much information as you can while you have WiFi, such as directions on Google Maps, so that your phone has all the information you need when you finally make your way around Bangkok.
When using ATMs in Bangkok, be sure to continue without the conversion rate, as your bank will probably have far better rates than that of the ATM. It is also useful to go to a currency exchange while still in the States and take as much cash as you think you need.
In the last day or two of your trip, try to make the most of the cash you have left and spend the coins and small bills that will be of no use to you in the US.
Go local, not imported…
Get a real feel for Bangkok by eating and drinking what the locals love, rather than paying extra for imports that are food and drink you can get from home. When in Rome..!
The dreaded jet lag…
One trick to getting over jet lag is to set your watch to the time in Bangkok as soon as you get to the airport in Orlando. Do your best to sleep when it is night time in Bangkok, and eat when it is lunch and dinner time in Bangkok also. Staying hydrated and stretching your legs during your travels is also important.
Back up your documents…
Take photo copies and scans of your passport, driver’s license, health insurance card, and anything you bring with you that you might (but hopefully do not) lose or have stolen. Keep these copies in your suitcase.
Great additions to your day bag…
Little things to add into the bag that you may bring with you for the day are:
An umbrella (with the heat and humidity, Bangkok weather is going to remind you of Florida!)
Bottled water (this should be easy to buy, but it is hot and you don’t want to be outside of the city and only have water available that may not be very cleanly)
Hand sanitizer and tissues
A scarf or shawl (you could dampen a scarf and wear it if you become too hot, cover your shoulders and arms to prevent sunburn, or use it to cover up when entering temples out of respect)
Waterproof pouches (great for being able to have your phone or other devices out while you’re in the rain)
Activated charcoal or any medication (e.g., Poepto Bismol) that may help with stomach upset due to the food (whether you are simply not used to the ingredients, or you’ve over indulged).
Cohort 15 took to the proverbial stage in their International Business and Finance course as they presented on products from varying continents to introduce to the international market.
Cohort 15 member Nicole O’Reilly thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and was proud of her team and her cohort on their unique and innovative ideas.
Nicole found all of the presentations to be “fantastic”. She explained the setup of the assignment as groups being required to brainstorm, organize, and present on a product or service that they could potentially bring to an international market.
With literally the whole world at our fingertips, I was pleasantly surprised that all four groups happened to pick vastly different products on four different continents
“The countries chosen were Australia, Brazil, Canda, and China”.
Nicole appreciated the opportunity to provide “open and honest feedback” with her cohort members and receive it from them also, not only during the 5 minute pitch regarding the service or product, but also in the final presentation at the conclusion of the course. There were new ideas introduced, new angles and scenarios the groups could consider, and a great sense of comradery that Nicole believes to be “one of the many benefits of having a Cohort/SqUadron”.
Any of these products/services could be a wonderful new business venture.
Cohort 15 member Jessica Bundy gave us an insight into her group’s presentation.
Their group focused their pitch and presentation on the business venture of “Ritz Carlton potentially entering the Brazilian market. What made this a really interesting topic was the juxtaposition of representing an aspirational, highly elite brand and trying to introduce it to a volatile market and country with wide income disparity”: Jessica reflected on the wealth of information and knowledge that could be gathered from the consumer research and the “variety of analyses” they put together to further inform them on the opportunity.
The project tied into the multiple course concepts for us, especially the intricacies of dealing with other cultures, and the complexity of operating internationally.
The group ultimately concluded that the venture was a sound and positive decision, and even went as far as identifying the perfect location in Fortaleza!
Cohort 15 counts down the fifteen days until they set off on their international trip to the Land of Smiles. Bangkok, Thailand!
The official name of the city of Bangkok in Thai is the longest name of a city in the world: Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit. However, a little easier to remember and pronounce, it is locally called ‘Krungthep’ –
‘City of Angels’.
Bangkok is a city bustling with over 8.281 million residents, which Mastercard claims is the most visited city in the world.
Bangkok is a bustling and vibrant city, known for its love of all things color. It is a thriving city for innovation and technological advancement. It isn’t the concrete jungle that you may have heard it to be.
Bangkok’s most famous landmarks are the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun.
The Grand Palace is where His Majesty of Thailand lived until the 20th Century, and is where important rituals still take place, such as the changing of the robes for the monks which is carried out by the King. It also houses the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, which is the most sacred temple in all of Thailand. The Emerald Buddha dates back to the 14th Century.
Wat Pho is the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. One hundred and eight is a significant number, as it is the number of positive actions and symbols that aided Buddha in reaching enlightenment, hence the number is a recurring theme in the temple. If you want some good luck, buy a bowl of coins at the entrance that can be dropped into the one hundred and eight bowls that line the walls. The money supports the monks and the upkeep of the temple. Also, remember to take off your shoes as you enter the temple out of respect!
Wat Arun is the Temple of Dawn – though it is just as beautiful at sunset as it is at dawn. The Spire on the bank of Chao Phraya River is a world-famous landmark. You can climb the narrow stairway of the central prang in order to get a breathtaking view of Bangkok and the surrounding area. This temple was envisioned by King Taksin in 1768, and was home to the Emerald Buddha before it was moved to the Grand Palace.
Another one of its famous and unmissable attractions is the world’s largest weekend market, called Chatuchak.
Bangkok is clearly as diverse and unique as it is colorful, with a rich culture that permeates through every street, canal, and building block. It is a business hub, on par with those in the Western world, yet still has a small town feel in areas, and a charm that is unmistakable.
We can’t wait for our Executive MBA Cohort 15 students to experience this magical place in a few short weeks.
As a final presentation, members of Cohort 15 worked in groups of four or five to develop a marketing plan for an organization in the community. Their plan was to include a summary of the research and analysis of the organization’s current situation, including the markets and consumers, and development and documentation of the organization’s marketing objectives, strategies, and programs.
This semester, the selected organization was Lighthouse Works! out of Orlando, Florida. “Lighthouse Works! is a social enterprise non-profit company whose businesses exist to forward and fund their mission of living, learning, and earning with vision loss. The goal of Lighthouse Works! is to be the number one provider of call center sourcing solution and fulfillment services for both for-profit companies and publicly funded agencies (http://www.lighthouseworks.org/WhoWeAre). ”
Each of the groups presented their marketing idea s to a guest panel. Dr. Tod Cox and Dr. Ram Subramanian of Stetson University were joined by Kyle Johnson (VP, Chief Sustainability Officer), Kaleb Stunkard (VP, Chief Information and Operations Officer), and Ramzy Spencer (Call Center and Technology Services Manager) of Lighthouse Works!.
Group 1 consisted of Cohort 15 members: Jessica Bundy, Nic Gonzalez, Sophia Huger Baldwin, Lilian Kaares, and Greg Lucas. This group’s marketing plan targeted universities and increasing customer relations. Their ideas consisted of attending web designing conferences, partnering with eye-drive, creating a socialmedia video, and distributing surveys about satisfaction.
Group 2 consisted of Cohort 15 members: Nicole Amero, Eddie Molina, Elena Outlan, and Kris Sahadeo. This group’s marketing plan targeted government involvement with an objective of driving urgency and pursing compliance. Their ideas consisted of attending monthly meetings forpress, and using Lighthouse Works! current employees as the face of the campaign and as speakers at city council meetings.
Group 3 consisted of Cohort 15 members: Natalie Ferrer, Kate Kroll, Aziz Ndiaye, and Laurie Warfield. This group’s marketing plan was aimed at web developers. Their main idea was to target companies where there are many lawsuits (on behalf of someone who is visually impaired). Their end goal was to turn this idea into a national movement toward accessibility and inclusion.
Group 4 consisted of Cohort 15 members: Ryan Gorman, Kristie Jones, Nicole O’Reilly, Brian Vann, and Juan Yang. This groups marketing plan focused on visibility through a subscription service. Their main idea was to offer three different product packages as a way to gain access to auditors. They also stressed the importance of making the Lighthouse Works! website more searchable through re-designing so that it could be found more frequently through web searches.
All of the groups did a terrific job! The guests from Lighthouse Works! were thoroughly impressed with everyone’s marketing ideas, as were we!
Congrats to Cohort 15 on completing another course and being one step closer toward the end of the program!
For more information about Lighthouse Works! please visit www.lighthouseworks.org.
One of the culminating efforts for Cohort 14’s, 18-month experience was to research and identify an innovative product or service (or redesign an existing product or service) for the bottom of the pyramid. As a team, they were to select the product or service and be prepared to present the target market, service concept, operations strategy and service delivery for your offering. Below is an overview of each groups presentation.
Good turn was created by Cohort 14 members Matt Wierenga, Dave Pickens, Desi Warner, and Adam Swiatek.
Their concept was to create a network of skilled individuals who have the opportunity to pay it forward with an act of kindness. Professionals fill out a survey identifying their skill set which then are added to a broader network list. These services would be beneficial to those in need or who may not be able to afford to pay for these services otherwise.
This company runs off of a give and take concept; looking at our community alone, there are 350,000 people who are in need, and 3.17 million with the skills to help.
These services would be accessed through a phone application or through the internet, and would work on a token system. Some of these e-tokens would be donated to charity, others sold to businesses that would gain promotion and online marketing from the experience. The e-tokens would then be distributed to those in need, who could exchange an e-token for a service they are in need of in the community.
The Kin~nected Hearts Foundation Empowering Families
This company was created by Cohort 14 members Julie Billy, Hakim Lucas, Lyndsey Denton, and Christy Reynolds.
Their concept was a company with a social enterprise focus and directed at those at the bottom of the World Pyramid, focusing specifically on single mothers of young children in Central Florida. A significant 68% of single parent households are living below the poverty line. Meanwhile, 85% of brain growth occurs in the first 3 years of life, yet 45% of center-based child care facilities do not offer infant and toddler care.
A social enterprise is an organization that has a mission that benefits the public or community; they utilize trade, of which a substantial portion of income comes from; and reinvest the majority of their profit into their mission.
Their mission statement is:
To serve the single mothers of young children in Central Florida by providing education, job placement, and support services, while providing high quality, on-site child care in a nurturing environment.
The company would offer support services, with a mentorship program, child care, job training, and job placement. This is an extremely unique offering as all of these services are provided in one location vs. what traditionally these single mothers face and that is having to go to individual agencies one by one to get their issues resolved.
Ms. Keeter Beater
This company was created by Cohort 14 members Jason Mejeras, Rachael Faircloth, Zineb Sands, and Janice Trew.
The goal of this company is to reduce the spread of diseases in the rural, southeast Asia region. Preventing illness and death from diseases is done through affordable sanitation and proper protection. They target families with school-age children 5-17, school teachers, healthcare providers, and those at the ‘bottom of the pyramid.’
A hygiene product combined with a bug protectant is used to reduce illness. It is made up of liquid citronella soap dried on paper which dissolves when water it is applied. This is then sold in small, local marketplaces. This is a unique offering as it is a solution that provides hygienic car
e plus insect repellant all in one. Also, they address sustainability as there is no waste of any kind or footprint left behind. The box the product initially comes in, is returned to the distributors for reuse, and the soap dried paper dissolves and disappears.
All three teams presented their very different products with passion, knowledge, and enthusiasm; however, our guest Alumni panel selected Ms. Keeter Beater as the company with the overall Most Innovative Product or Service. A huge congrats to their company for their creative and well-thought out plan which we all agreed could be implemented and solve a looming problem in this region!
We are so fortunate to have watched our students transform professionally and personally over the past 18 months. We can’t wait to see what the future has in store for all of them!
Stetson’s EMBA Test drive allows potential EMBA students to experience our innovative curriculum and immersive learning environment designed to accelerate your career and broaden your business acumen. Cohort 15 members Laurie Warfield and Nicole Amero reflect on how last year’s Test Drive positively impacted their experience with the program, and even played a key role in their decision to attend our EMBA program.
Laurie Warfield had been “contemplating going back to school for a Master’s Degree for several years.” Laurie needed a program that was in-person and fit around her work schedule. After exploring the programs in Central Florida, she found Stetson’s EMBA program and thought that it looked “like a great fit”. After talking with Wendy, the director of EMBA program admissions, Laurie decided to attend an EMBA Test Drive event.
The Test Drive event solidified my decision to enroll in Stetson. It was a personalized, in-depth and engaging session that allowed us to meet alumni and prospective students alike. It was energizing to be in a room with so many successful professionals from a variety of career fields!
A particular positive of the Test Drive experience for Laurie was the chance to hear stories from the program alumni; “they expressed how much the program not only changed their career but their life.”
Laurie also found that the program had an enticing diversity of experiences; Laurie has an undergraduate degree in Biology and was delighted in finding that other members of the program also have extensive backgrounds – because of this, Laurie felt that her cohort could be more like a family.
Together, our strengths and differences would allow us to be successful throughout the 18 – month program. After attending the Test Drive, and learning how personalized and interactive the degree program was, I knew that pursuing an EMBA at Stetson University was perfect for me personally and professionally.
Nicole Amero had already submitted her application to the program by the time she attended our Test Drive, but was still awaiting her acceptance letter.
The Test Drive definitely was a validation for me that I had made the correct choice in applying to the program.
Nicole particularly appreciated the opportunity of experiencing a classroom setting. She also took the opportunity during lunch meet and greet with members of Cohort 14. Nicole asked the alumni as many questions about the program as she could, and still keeps in touch with Alicia Matheson, whom she discussed the program with at the Test Drive.
Nicole also noted that the Test Drive displayed to her that Stetson is also “focused on the mental health and well-being of each of their students, in addition to their success.” She discovered that there was a “tight-knit” family feel to the current and past programs members, as well as staff and faculty. I could also tell how much of a tight-knit family it is between current students, staff, and alumni.
Nicole also felt more at ease on her first day of classes as she was familiar with the building, as well as the class setting from the Test Drive, and could also recognize faces from both Cohort 14 and Cohort 15.
I think it was the perfect amount of time to get a glimpse into the lifestyle of a Cohort at Stetson in the EMBA program. The free lunch and swag is always cool, too!
Andrew Wertheim, a recent Stetson EMBA graduate from Cohort 13, “found the Test Drive sessions to be a valuable resource for prospective students to get a “real world” feel for how a typical EMBA class is run.” Andrew explains that the Test Drives have a “good mix of Alumni who collaboratively participate in case simulations and discussions in much the same way [that they] would do in a class.”
He states that he has “found … students benefit not only from these interactive activities by working closely with [alumni], but it [also] helps to take away some of the “unknown” and break down any apprehensions students might have in terms of their ability to navigate the program successfully.”
Andrew also reflects on the added bonus of the lunch as it “is scheduled along with the current Cohort. This offers potential candidates a chance to open up and really ask questions they’d like to hear firsthand from current students.”
Overall, the Test Drive is a great “mini-sampling” of what the EMBA program will be like. I recommend it to anyone interested in possibly pursing an EMBA at Stetson.
Adam Swiatek is a current EMBA student in Cohort 14, and enjoys sharing “the EMBA experience with prospective students. There’s no better way to experience the EMBA than by spending the day with [current students] during the Test Drive.”
At the Test Drive, you’ll meet “students of the current cohorts enrolled in the program today. The cohort is an important component in creating an open and supportive learning environment. You’ll learn more about how group work, classroom activities and the international trip can bring your fellow students together. By creating those closer bonds, you’ll build each other up and help each other out in ways that you might have never expected.
As you’ll see during the Test Drive, the learning and deeper interactions among cohort members continues outside of the classroom. During lunch, breaks and after-class happy hours, the cohort continues to help each other navigate their own educational journey. Your richer education is important – but, so is applying that experience to your home and work life. Through these more social interactions, you’ll uncover just how your cohort members can help you think differently and possibly solve your own personal challenges.”
I hope to meet you during the Stetson EMBA Test Drive!
On Friday September 22nd, Cohort 15 participated in a number of stations, one of which focused on leadership and teamwork. This particular station involved groups of five completing a web-based simulation of a team climbing Mount Everest! Our graduate assistants Jenny and Lauren share their and their teammates’ experiences of working together in an attempt to reach the summit.
Last weekend we had the pleasure of spending roughly two hours with a few of our members from Cohort 15 in a simulation that focused on problem-solving and decision-making challenges. Each person in the group was assigned an individual position (either: leader, marathoner, environmentalist, physician, or photographer). However, they had one group goal in mind: make it up the summit of Mount Everest together. The group faced obstacles along the way that forced them to make decisions as a team in a way that would not only benefit an individual, but would also benefit the group as a whole and thus increase their chances of making it to the top together.
Jenny’s Group –
Jenny’s team took some time to explore the program together and read aloud the goals for the climb. It was quickly noted that individual goals would contrast with each other, and there were going to have to be decisions made along the climb in the interest of the group and not the individual. With each stage, the group discussed pros and cons, always only proceeding with everyone in agreement.
There were sacrifices made for the group, which all members were more than willing to make. Individual goals and points were forgotten, and the overall climb and health of each member quickly became the main concern. The interesting aspect of a struggle with oxygen was that everyone had pieces of information with regards to calculations, but it was only by putting the information together that the answer could actually be found. Though the team did not make it to the summit – as two individuals had to be rescued – it was considered an overall success for coming so far and working so well as a team.
Jenny enjoyed the time to bond with the group and work together to reach their goals, and liked how team members were becoming more and more concerned for each other’s health as time went on, even though it was just a simulation. Abdoul said that though he felt exhausted after the experience, he felt that with a lack of information, mistakes were inevitable, but that it was a good lesson that making mistakes is a big part of leadership and teamwork. Sophia felt that the team became more confident in each other and were going with gut feelings, which is also a big part of teamwork and leadership. Kristie very much enjoyed that the efforts and concerns for the group as a whole took preference over individual goals. She also appreciated that though there was an assigned leader, everyone had equal input into the decisions that were made. Nicole noted that the survey during the simulation asked questions regarding to disagreements and contrasting opinions during discussions, but she found that in each decision we made, we were all unanimous and united as a group.
Lauren’s Group –
On day four, Lauren’s group had successfully made it to camp three. However, they were all starting to have critical health conditions both physically and mentally, with some team members also having frostbite and breathing issues. They were faced with the decision of whether to remain at camp three and let everyone rest for the day or move forward to camp four before resting, which was recommended by experts as well as earned them more ‘team points.’ Lauren’s group decided to try and make it to camp four despite everyone being in critical health conditions. Unfortunately, this was not the best choice for them, and both their photographer and physician had to be rescued and brought back to base camp. The next day, the three remaining members made the trudge up the summit, but unfortunately two members ran out of oxygen and had to be rescued and returned to base camp. Because of this, the leader was the only one to make it to the top of the summit successfully.
After the stimulation, everyone in Lauren’s group agreed that they had worked really well together despite not making to the top of the summit together. Everyone in her group had decided to disclose any health related issues they had, which they could have kept to themselves. The group felt that this benefited them as they were all aware of each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
One of the students in Lauren’s group described this experience in her own words: “This stimulation was a lot like life: it throws random obstacles at you and you just have to learn and adapt to the curve balls.” The group also agreed that again, like life, it is important to take risks, but it is also important to be conservative sometimes. They took a risk going to camp four to earn more team points, but perhaps they should have been a little more conservative with this decision considering the critical condition of all the team members. Everyone in Lauren’s group had a blast doing this stimulation! They all agreed that it was a great way to get to know their cohort members more through a team building process which took them out of their comfort zone and forced them to make decisions as a group rather than individually.
On August 18th, Cohort 14 welcomed Cohort 15 to Stetson’s Executive MBA Program. Adam Swiatek from Cohort 14 shares some great highlights from Orientation weekend. Our new students are eager and enthusiastic to begin classes and we are excited to have them!
Each year, the Stetson EMBA admits a tight-knit group of students to the program. The group takes classes together, travels abroad, creates group projects and socializes together. Through the structure and the experience that the EMBA provides, students are able to take relationships to the next level – creating bonds that are unparalleled and unmatched.
Since the program is selective, there is extra special attention given to each student and the relationships that form as a result of the program. Cohort 14 (affectionately called the “Legion”) welcomed Cohort 15 last weekend. These are the new eager students who will be sharing the Center at Celebration with the “Legion” – and more importantly, the snack room! They are the next generation and the next wave of EMBA learners coming through the program prepared to receive a transformational experience.
Cohort 14 paved the way for strong relationships and close bonds. Over this past summer, those relationships were strengthened as the cohort traveled to Hong Kong and Bangkok as part of their International Field Experience course. Through in the moment scenarios, that could only come up when traveling, the cohort bonded and learned more about each other. They were already close – but, the trip experience really solidified the deal.
When they returned back to the Center, they were excited to keep the memories of their time together going with the new wall décor in Celebration featuring their travels and experiences of our Cohort 14 students on the walls for all to enjoy!
Cohort 15 was welcomed to the EMBA program by Cohort 14 students with open arms. Returning students could not wait to meet the new students for breakfast. And, the meeting of new friends continued at lunch at Happy Hour after class. Returning students interspersed with new students during meals – as they told the tales and shared their personal experiences of the journey the next 18 months ahead.
Following the first weekend of class, some Cohort 15 students already started using the study rooms and taking advantage of the resources that Stetson provides. This won’t be the only opportunity that they have to use the study rooms. There will be 18 more months of coursework and small group work ahead. While some of it will be relatively easy, some of it will really take the mental power and support of the whole cohort. They will discover their strengths – some strengths that they might not even know they had – and band together to make the educational experience truly amazing.
Cohort 14 undoubtedly will continue to be great mentors and supporters of our new executive students as they learn to balance professional and personal priorities with being a student in a progressive master’s program. As these two cohorts collaborate, naturally skills will be transferred and networks will be broadened heightening each individual’s experience. Later this fall, Alumni will be added to the mix with our Tailgate Mixer at the Stetson vs. Brown football game in DeLand and then in the spring at our annual Alumni event. Pairing emerging leaders in Central Florida has been a highlight for all involved.
After a long day sightseeing at the Thai Grand palace taking in the lavish and ornate architecture, we enjoyed a riverfront lunch with a spectacular view of Wat Arun, a Buddhist temple built in 1656. We then ventured over to Wat Pho, the largest reclining Buddha in Thailand. This magnificent gold plated marvel did not disappoint, so much so that we ended up staying longer than anticipated, leaving us to battle the grueling Bangkok traffic at rush hour. With our bus at a standstill in Bangkok traffic and motorbikes weaving in and out, we began to adjust plans for our upcoming business trip. We would have a total of 25 minutes to get ready in order to arrive in time. We arrived at our hotel and we were off to the races! Our cohort of 12 quickly changed out of our tourist elephant pants and prepared for our business meeting with the Thailand Kidzania C.E.O.
At Kidzania we were able to learn about a remarkable new learning amusement park concept first created in Mexico. More locations continue popping up around the globe, with two United States locations slated for next year. The Kidzania concept offers an immersive educational experience for children ages 8-14, all starting off in a kid sized airport. At Kidzania, children walk through an Air Asia sponsored terminal and clear a make believe customs. They begin with 50 Kidzos, which is the Kidzania currency, and from there they are able walk the Kidzania city. The attraction is filled with its own fire and police department, news room, university, manufacturing plants, and court room. Throughout this experience, children are able to interactively learn trades and act as adults. Children may become firefighters and ride around the Kidzania fire truck while earning Kidzos to be used throughout the park. They can take courses at the Kidzo university to help increase their wages throughout the park or even store their Kidzos in the bank earning 1% interest monthly.
The concept has corporate sponsored locations, all geared towards educational play for children. There is a milk factory sponsored by a Thai dairy company, Meiji, allowing kids to learn how to bottle milk. It is remarkable how much is packed into the location – a Honda dealership, McDonald’s, Sushi restaurant, Hospital, Coca Cola plant, and peanut factory just to name a few. At Kidzania, children are able to enjoy themselves while gaining valuable life lessons. Our Cohort had a chance to be reporters and create a Kidzania news cast with a green screen, sound crew, and camera operators. This was a phenomenal experience to see how globalization is at work, spreading positive ideas and businesses, allowing for education, fun, and profitability.