Friday Full of Kindness: A Unique Exchange Student Experience in Chiang Mai

On Friday, October 20 2023, exchange students from Maejo University, Chiang Mai, Thailand, experienced a special experience when attending Friday prayers at the Peachbuilding Foundation, an Islamic Center located near their campus.

Previously, a group of students, including Acha Fis, carried out a survey of nearby places of worship for Friday activities. This was done in response to the difficulties of those who come from Indonesia and want to carry out worship regularly. Luck came when they met Wan Idrid, head of the Peachbuilding Foundation.

During a meeting on the Maejo campus, exchange students discussed with campus administrators and proposed that every Friday, they could be picked up and taken home by Wan Idrid to perform Friday prayers at the Peachbuilding Foundation. This request was well received, and Wan Idrid himself was happy to receive them in a friendly manner.

Friday events at the Peachbuilding Foundation took place as usual with sermons and Friday prayers. What’s interesting, after the service, they are served with typical Chiang Mai food, Khao Soi, and hot Thai Tea, served directly on the spot. Wan Idrid also gave free avocados to take home.

Awaliyah Igov, one of the participants, shared her experience, noting that Wan Idrid was very friendly and embraced them wholeheartedly. The language barrier is a challenge, especially in communicating with the mothers and children there.

The taste of the food, according to Igov, has strong spices but is not as salty as Indonesian food. Next, students were invited to visit the Peachbuilding Foundation office, where Wan Idrid explained further about the objectives and activities of the Islamic Center.

Wan Idrid, who comes from Malaysia and has a graduate background in international relations, explained that the Peachbuilding Foundation focuses on embracing minority Muslims in Chiang Mai, including local residents and students like them. This foundation also provides mosque places of worship and various religious activities, such as routine studies which are open to the public.

This experience not only increases cultural diversity among exchange students, but also opens their minds to the diverse religious practices in the city of Chiang Mai.

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