All posts by Kia Lee

Blog Post #2 | Kia Lee

Being in Thailand has been an amazing experience so far. I’ve learned so much about the Thai people and their culture. One of the important topics that I have been learning about since our arrival is the youth who are at risk.

At the Child Safe workshop, I learned about the problems that youth at risk face– trafficking, drug addiction, abusive homes, poverty– and the programs that the organization, Child Safe, implement to help the youth. Child Safe has programs that are sustainable and serve to better the future of the youth that they work with more than anything else, such as vocational training and training families to manage their own shop.

Although I as a tourist may not be able to directly help a child from being at risk, I can be careful and smart about what I do. I should be aware of how I use my privileges as a tourist and know that my actions, even with the best intentions, may do more harm than good.

When we visited the Suksasongkroh Chiang Dao School, a school for youth at risk for grades primary through high school, I learned about the students’ academic schedule. The school is free for the students’ and their families, the students sleep in dormitories, they get free meals, and they must follow strict rules. There is only a 5% graduate rate because many students may choose to drop out or pursue other obligations. Most of the students are minorities from other ethnic groups and many of their parents are farmers. It was a humbling opportunity to play with the students and learn about their studies.

Learning about the youth in Thailand emphasizes how important it is to work with youth and care for them. These young people have a bright future but not many opportunities are open for them to succeed.

Blog Post #1 | Kia Lee

Hello, all!

My name is Kia Lee. I am a third-year studying Graphic Design. I come from a family of eight: my parents, grandma, four siblings, and me. I am the middle child out of my siblings. A few of my interests and hobbies are fashion, design (duh), traveling, and event planning.

One of the things that I do outside of school and homework (I’m always working on tons of graphic design projects) is intern at the University YMCA (no, it’s not a gym). The University YMCA is a YMCA branch at the U of M that has many programs and opportunities focused on leadership development for college students and youth development. I have created several pieces of work for the UY, such as a 2017 calendar and a few fliers.

I am also involved in a cultural student group, the Hmong Minnesota Student Association (HMSA). HMSA is the first community on campus that I got involved with and I cherish it deeply. I was on board as the Co-Activities chair during my second-year of school and am excited to serve as the Co-Education chair next year!

Visiting Thailand will be my second time traveling abroad and my first time in Asia. I am excited to learn about the Thailand culture and customs. I cannot wait to visit the temples, night markets, and schools. Another part of this trip that I am excited about is seeing the differences and commonalities between the Hmong-Thai and Hmong-American cultures.