Reflections on an Incredible Trip to Peru with WCA
By Sucharat Rimkeeratikul, PhD
This trip to South America was an incredible experience for me… It made me recall how I first came to know WCA… It actually came by the introduction of Carmenciata Delvillar from the Philippines when I attended the PACA Conference in 2009 at Putrajaya, Malaysia. It was there that I first met Caroline Hatcher, who was the President of WCA at that time. At Putrajaya, I was impressed by the friendliness and warmth she provided me. I met her again in Ireland in 2010. She always encouraged me to join the conferences offered by both PACA and WCA.
With the encouragement of Caroline Hatcher, I joined the WCA conference in Maynooth, Ireland. After the conference ended, there was a group meeting. The president, Caroline Hatcher, asked members in the meeting to voice where they thought the next WCA Conference should be held; many people said they would like go to Korea. I was the only one who responded to the question by suggesting South America.
At the beginning of 2011, I learned that the WCA Conference would be in Lima, Peru; however, my research at the time was far from complete. I had been distracted by the daily teaching schedule. Finally, the deadline for paper submission for WCA 2011 was at hand, and I got an email encouraging– not forcing me– to join WCA 2011 in Peru. I then made a phone call and asked my colleague in the Faculty of Journalism, Wanida Tannapai, who had worked with me in conducting a research study on “Journalism Students’ Levels of Communication Apprehension and Decisions Made in Choosing Major Subjects, “ whether she would like to go to Peru and give a presentation with me. She said that she could not make it. And so I had to go alone…again. However, whenever I attend WCA, I feel very secure and always find more friends. All the participants are very nice. I once heard someone say teasingly, “Oh, we are nice here…probably nicer than when we are at home.”
So at last I registered for a presentation in Lima, Peru. Three of my colleagues at Thammasat University came to me and said that I must take the post conference tour to Machu Picchu because it is a very difficult destination to reach ordinarily, and I would almost be there when I was in Lima. One of my colleagues who used to be a lecturer at Silpakorn University, which is renowned for Archeology, said that there had been many archeologists over there at Silpakorn who would liked to have seen Machu Picchu, but they never had gotten the chance, so I must take this opportunity to see one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
The round-trip flight from Bangkok to Peru was the longest one I had ever taken. Lima, Peru is located 11,840 miles or 19,053 kilometers from Bangkok, Thailand. This can be compared to New York, USA, which is 8,651miles from Bangkok. Or to London, England, which is only 5,925 miles or 9,533 kilometers far away from Bangkok, Thailand.
It took me about twelve hours from Bangkok to Amsterdam Airport, The Netherlands, and another twelve hours from Amsterdam to Peru. For me, the flight from Amsterdam to Peru was so exciting, or in other words, very scary. I flew in the plane over the Atlantic Ocean for more than twelve hours. But the long hours were manageable, because I had already gone through this route twice, flying to Peru and flying back to Bangkok. Moreover, good memories and inspiration have remained with me after this longest trip of mine. WCA conferences are always exciting and leave me eager do more and more research in the field of human communication.
In conclusion, I would like take this opportunity to note that whenever I attend a WCA conference, I always feel that I will never be left alone. I learn about new research findings of other participants in the conference, and I also learn how to live with others who come from various parts of the world. Thank you, World Communication Association (WCA), for opening my world view in terms of academic and interpersonal relationships. The pictures below are parts of my memories about WCA and the good times I shared with well-known scholars and friends who are the members of WCA.