Conversations with Strangers Over Elaborate Buffets

I’m a pacer. When I talk on the phone with friends and family I can’t help but pace up and down. (I also have an extremely loud phone-talking voice, but that’s beside the point.) Last spring, I remember pacing around my house: up and down the stairs, making circles in the living room, and stepping on the same triangle designs with each pass around the carpet. As I paced around my Hillside home in Cambridge, I pondered and discerned where I should go upon graduation. I’m thankful to be here at Payap University. Here’s an update:


I am teaching two giant general education courses in the International College. The first is Truth and Service, which is also the motto of Payap University. This course serves as an introduction to concepts such as worldview, epistemology, human development, culture, ethics, religion, and Payap University. The second is called The Path to Wisdom – a basic critical thinking course developed to build communicative competence across a range of issues.

I was made to teach these courses. I try to set up my discussions, assignments, and content in a way that promotes the holistic development of my students. I have 66 and 58 students in the two classes, however, which requires creativity in classroom management. Regardless of our numbers, the courses have been a rich mutual learning experience for my students and me. Here are some taking their midterm. This is not our normal classroom or set up, thankfully.


The UNESCO conference where I presented my paper in November has come and gone. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience: listening to creative ideas, asking thoughtful questions, and having great conversations with strangers over elaborate buffets. I was encouraged by several people after my presentation and feel confident in my growing ability to perform in academic contexts.

Oliver Crocco UNESCO

Oliver CroccoHere I am with the Director of UNESCO Bangkok, Gwang Jo Kim, a graduate of Harvard University Graduate School of Education.

Ozzie Crocco

At Payap, one of the international students living in the dorm organized and carried out a great Community Art Project. I helped her get organized and the mural turned out really cool. Jessica made a video of the whole endeavor, which includes my answer to her question about community at 02:33. “Community is about one thing: relationships. It’s about people coming together sharing gifts, sharing passions, sharing their hearts, sharing their time with one another in a way that creates this synergistic explosion of joy.” Oh spontaneity…

Payap Community Art Project

Other things going on at Payap include events like the study abroad exhibition where students checked out all the great study abroad options at Payap.

Ozzie Crocco Payap UniversityAnd of course, International Day 10, which was a huge success. About 1000 people enjoyed 19 different performances and 50 food/activity stalls from people from 14 different countries. It also ended perfectly at 8:00 PM, which impressed the many visiting administrators. I was tuckered out afterwards but proud and thankful.

Payap University International Day 10There’s lots more to report but that’ll do for now. Bless you all.


This entry was posted in Community, Education, Everyday Life, Leadership, Student Development, Thailand. Bookmark the permalink.

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