Leveraging Foreign Higher Education Institutional Affiliation to Support Preservation of Local Knowledge and Fight Displacement in Thailand


  • Lauren Collins University of Colorado at Boulder




study abroad, global education, indigenous knowledge, displacement, power


Study abroad host families and communities in the Global South frequently provide learning experiences to study abroad programs in search of ‘intercultural experiences’ and ‘global competency’ to students from the Global North. This paper shares findings from a multi-sited ethnographic research project exploring cultural and economic impacts on host communities in Thailand who hosted U.S. study abroad programs and students. The study found that rather than participating solely for economic gain, host families participated in the global study abroad economy to preserve local knowledge, learn about cultural others, and leverage this knowledge and affiliations in negotiations with local government over land use and the right of communities remain in place. It also found that creation of systems of distributive benefit (systems that ensured transparency and equal sharing of economic benefits received from hosting students) by local government helped to mitigate unwanted impacts from outside visitors while allowing host communities opportunities to engage with the global study abroad economy.


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Author Biography

Lauren Collins, University of Colorado at Boulder

Lauren Collins explores the relationship between the United States’ global power status and the practice of global education, especially economic and socio-cultural impacts of global education programs on local communities. Her research looks U.S. student presence in host communities in the Global South, specifically Southeast and East Asia. She is particularly interested in how communities build global education program infrastructure in response to desires of U.S. study abroad programs to place students in “non-traditional” experiences.


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How to Cite

Collins, L. (2022). Leveraging Foreign Higher Education Institutional Affiliation to Support Preservation of Local Knowledge and Fight Displacement in Thailand. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 34(3), 123–140. https://doi.org/10.36366/frontiers.v34i3.668