It has been a long time since FRIENDS project partners have had the chance to meet and collaborate in person. The pandemic outbreak in early March 2020 has changed everyone’s plans dramatically thus preventing the project consortium members to take part in the fourth project meeting originally scheduled for spring 2020. Indeed, a lot has happened in FRIENDS since consortium’s last face-to-face meeting that took place at Svay Rieng University in Cambodia in October 2019, including piloting and exploitation of the Intercultural Passport virtual module, the establishment of the FRIENDS Teahouses as well as the begin of making friends beyond FRIENDS. The latter refers to the processes of streamlined project results’ exploitation by external stakeholders and secondary target groups, including students of other Asian universities outside the FRIENDS consortium, higher education practitioners and policy makers in Bhutan, Cambodia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand, employers, members of local ethnic and cultural minority groups.
Now that international travel has finally resumed in spring 2022, project partners will meet in Chiang Mai, Thailand during the week commencing 18 April 2022. In the framework of four consecutive days, they will join the so called Home Away From Home Retreat to be hosted by Payap University. Project partners will work on various project aspects of the FRIENDS Teahouses operation linked to the development of local and international students’ global skills, the enhancement of international students’ social integration and the improvement of their wellbeing and student experience abroad. The meeting will be followed via zoom by all those project partner not able to join in person. Detailed agenda of the hybrid project event could be downloaded here.