During my recent travels in South East Asia, I was amazed at how many coffee shops there were in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The fact that it is a popular tourist spot surely contributes to the demand, but could not possibly be responsible for so many of these establishments.
Whilst strolling around an area called Nimmanhaemin, I was amazed to see how many students of university and school age were in these coffee shops. On closer investigation I noticed that they have formed small groups and were busy collaborating on solving problems. They were discussing their work and collaborating on finding solutions to problems. Most of them appeared to be working on Maths and Science problems, but others were busy with English and other subjects as well.
Entrepreneurs have clearly spotted a gap in the market and designed their coffee shops in such a way that students can actually sit and work. Most have designated areas for the students who then don’t disturb other customers.
I was so impressed with these Thai and other foreign students and the way in which they have organised themselves into groups to collaborate and learn from each other. Free wifi in the coffee shops also enables the students to access the net for any additional information they may require, and I am sure in many cases to upload and submit assignments.