Marion Short undergraduate intern carrying out commercial growth trials in Tilapia in Thailand

Mixed sex vs. mono sex Tilapia   Growth Trials  Thailand  blog


Hi, I’m Marion Short and I am a second year chemistry undergraduate student at Edinburgh University. This summer I have been getting work experience with Stirling University by helping out with one of their research projects.  Stirling MSc Thesis student Dorcas Mensah from Ghana   under the supervision of Professor Dave Little have designed an experiment which aims to compare the economics of raising mixed sex against mono sex Nile tilapia. The experiment is being conducted at a commercial fish farm in Thailand, Nam Sai Farm, which is where I have been working for the past two weeks.

My role is to act as a bridge between Stirling University and Nam Sai Farm. I help the farm workers with the day to day running of the experiment (feeding the fish and testing the water quality etc) and then report back to Dorcas and Dave in order to discuss the progress of the experiment and to keep them up to date with new data. Although the actual work that I do on the farm is not difficult, the communication with the Thai farm workers has proven to be quite challenging at times. I don’t speak any Thai and the workers here speak very little English, and so we type into our phones on google translate in order to talk to each other, thank god for smart phones!

On Monday 5th June the farm workers and I took measurements from a sample of fish, which gave us the first set of results from the experiment. The farm workers were originally only going to perform a bulk sampling of the fish; however I had to inform them that we needed data from individual fish. I also had to negotiate with them about whether I could freeze some fish to be analyzed at a later date. In the end, I managed to perform the individual sampling of the fish (along with the help from two other farm workers) and was able to freeze 100 fish for later analysis. But you can imagine that this was difficult to discuss through google translate!

So far this work experience has helped me to improve my communication skills. I have learned to communicate with the Thai workers in a clear and concise manner so that my intentions are understood. My confidence has also increased since the beginning of the work experience. At first the thought of spending seven weeks in a country that I was unfamiliar with, and where I do not speak the native language, was very daunting. But now, I have settled in and feel comfortable in my surroundings, and I look forward to another five weeks in Thailand!