Dive into Thai culture and the colorful world of Southeast Asia by living and studying for the summer in Chiang Mai, one of Thailand’s most charming and culturally rich cities. While studying your choice of Southeast Asian-related courses focusing on a range of topics including Buddhism, human rights and more, you’ll receive not only interesting coursework and instruction but a unique perspective and understanding of the region. Combine that with living with a local Thai student and relevant field trips that bring your courses to life and you’re sure to have one incredible summer abroad.


Summer Program


Late May - Mid July (7 weeks)
June (3-weeks)
Late June - Mid July (3-weeks)

3 - 9 credits

2.5 to apply


Traditional Campus
Urban Location

Off-Campus Student Apartments


Spend your summer in Chiang Mai, a city that blends a modernizing country with traditional Thai culture, and gain an understanding of Thailand’s past, present and future

Study on campus, surrounded by local students, while also experiencing course content brought to life through included program field excursions

Live off campus, in modern, two-bedroom apartments, with an English speaking local student, and glean an even deeper understanding of Thai culture

Learn more about the fascinating histories, belief systems, cultures and issues impacting Southeast Asia through a variety of available courses

Appreciate access to TEAN’s Chiang Mai Resident Director and other in-country staff for continued support throughout the semester

Thailand Southern Islands Optional TRIP

A stay in Thailand wouldn’t be complete without visiting the country’s stunning tropical islands. For students completing Module One, or both Modules, spend three-days staying in beautiful Krabi, and exploring the islands of the Andaman Sea. See details below.

Students Say
"I learned about Thai history and culture, had a Thai roommate, and made new friends across the United States and the world."
Monea Kerr, Western Washington University

Program Details


Be introduced to Chiang Mai upon arrival with an Orientation that combines useful informative sessions with intriguing introductory cultural experiences. Experience a sensory overload as you visit a local market, jumpstart your knowledge of Thai Buddhism with a visit to one of Chiang Mai’s glittering gold temples and sample an array of delicious Northern Thai cuisine.


Enjoy a unique living experience developed to help facilitate cultural immersion on a daily basis by living off-campus in a modern student apartment complex with a Thai roommate. Each participant has their own room and shares a small common living area with their roommate. All roommates are Chiang Mai University students who are on hand to assist program participants assimilate into the new culture. Just a five-minute walk to campus, each apartment has built-in furniture, a walk-in closet, refrigerator, air conditioner, TV, bathroom and Internet. Within the complex you will find a lobby, meeting room, study room, fitness center and male/female swimming pools. Washers and dryers are also located in each apartment building and on the apartment grounds students can take advantage of convenience stores, restaurants, bakeries, laundry and ATM machines. The housing is located in a vibrant university area, with cool student cafés, awesome street food and restaurants all a short walk from your front door.

TEAN Staff

Upon arrival in Southeast Asia, you will be met by our on-site Resident Director who will provide assistance throughout your time in Thailand. Through informal meals held together and excursions, our staff is readily available and able to assist you with any academic, social, or cultural questions or issues that you may face during your time abroad.


About the Academic Program

  • The program is based at Chiang Mai University, founded in 1964 as northern Thailand’s first institution of higher education and is now home to approximately 36,000 students. Chiang Mai University is ranked by Thailand as 3rd in the country for academics, 5th for research output, and is the number one university outside of Bangkok.
  • TEAN students are hosted by the Institute of Southeast Asian Affairs (ISEAA) at Chiang Mai University that offers courses on the history, culture and society of Thailand and Southeast Asia. The ISEAA courses are transcripted by Portland State University (PSU) in the U.S.
  • Nestled at the foot of Suthep Mountain, just minutes from Chiang Mai’s city center, the university is surrounded by an eclectic student-focused hub of affordable hip cafés, street food and night markets.
  • Spread over 725 acres, the university boasts verdant parks, countless student cafés, and a mixture of buildings. Many local students travel around campus by bicycle or scooter. Alternatively, students can travel from class to class on the free university shuttle.

summer 2017 Courses

This program can be taken as a three-week (3 credits) or seven-week (6 – 9 credits) experience. Students can take one course from each module. Students wishing to take Thai language in addition to their other courses must participate in two modules as the course is designed to stretch over six weeks of study. There is a one-week break between Modules 1 and 2 where students can take time to explore Southeast Asia beyond Chiang Mai.

Module One

3 credits. Duration: 3 weeks
This course introduces students to Thailand through a general survey of topics on Thai culture and society. The course combines classroom lecture and discussion with a variety of field experiences in Chiang Mai and Northern Thailand. It will focus on the changes and continuity of cultural practices and the major institutions of the country. Themes to be analyzed include history, politics, customs and identity. This course will also spend significant time examining ecological, social and economic transitions now underway in mainland Southeast Asia with emphasis on Northern Thailand. Class presentations and field studies will examine how semi-wild landscapes and traditional cultures are being affected by infrastructure development and increasing reliance on the market as a source of livelihood.

3 credits. Duration: 3 weeks
This course explores human mobility in the regional context of Southeast Asia. Challenges and issues of migration of all types currently face the collective of national states that compose the Association for South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). Indeed, ASEAN is something of a microcosm of human mobility issues in general for the globe. Some of the more salient challenges include topics such as freedom of international movement, labor migration, refugees, and trafficking in persons. Thus, along with the rich insights this course will provide on the Southeast Asian context, coming to an understanding of these issues will be transferable to other regions on the globe, as well as provide an additional vantage point to appreciate the complexities of parallel contemporary challenges of human mobility from the Middle East and Africa to Europe, from Latin America to North America, and from the Asia Pacific to the world over.

Module Two

3 credits. Duration: 3 weeks
This course will examine why human rights abuses are possible on such an enormous scale and with such terrible intensity in Southeast Asia and, in particular, Myanmar (Burma), either through direct mistreatment or criminal neglect of the population. Given the rise of Asian powers like China and India in what has been dubbed the “New Asian Hemisphere,” Southeast Asia, located between the two giants, is the perfect place to study the intersection of all that has gone amok in Asian politics.

3 credits. Duration: 3 weeks
The Thai government defines health as the state of physical, mental, social and spiritual wellbeing. This course explores what wellbeing means to the Thai people as well as the historical and cultural context from which that meaning is derived examining Thailand’s public health challenges and successes, including (but not limited to) topics such as HIV/AIDS, the 100% Condom Campaign among sex workers, LGBT health issues, Thailand’s model of universal health care, women’s rights to health, and the health situation of migrant workers and refugees on the Thai-Burma border.

3 credits. Duration: 3 weeks
In this introductory course, students will approach and expand their dance technique via interdisciplinary methods and experience Thai arts, culture and history through the principal techniques and styles of Thai dance. The class will focus on dances from different regions, including Central, Northern, Eastern and Southern Thailand.

Note: You do not need to have a background in dance to take this class.

3 credits. Duration: 3 weeks
Southeast Asia is one of the fastest growing areas in the world and, after completing this course, you will have the necessary knowledge and skills for conducting business in this booming region. This course also addresses the historical trajectories of each major country, their relations with each other and the wider world in socio-economic aspects. In preparation for a more critical discussion of contending development rationales, patterns of industrialization are explored in comparative perspective, using some examples from Southeast Asian business organizations’ experiences as an interpretive model.

3 credits. Duration: 3 weeks
There is no better place to study the effects of empire and colonialism than Southeast Asia. Likewise, one cannot understand Southeast Asia today—including Thailand—without knowing something about the long history of colonial rule and imperial ambition in the region. Southeast Asia has long been a crossroads of cultural exchange, global trade, and world religions. Week 1 begins with an introduction to the history of the region, the deep historical connections to neighboring India and China, and the pre-colonial states that developed in both mainland and maritime Southeast Asia. In Week 2 we examine the early contact between Southeast Asians and the West, and the tremendous rise in trade that gave rise to imperial wars and colonial rule in and among the islands of the region, leading to colonial expansion into the interior by the 19th century. Finally, in Week 3 we examine the high colonial era and the nationalist resistance it engendered. We conclude the course by exploring the legacies of empire in the region, in the 20th century and into the present.  Included in the course is a three-day excursion to Sukhothai, Thailand.

3 credits. Duration: 3 weeks
This course serves as an examination of the arts of mainland Southeast Asia, focusing largely on the countries of Cambodia, Thailand, and Myanmar. We will look at the arts of the Bronze Age, the impact of Indian religion and language on early kingdoms, and the long lasting influence of Theravada Buddhism in the region. In this course, students will learn the answers to such questions as: How did Khmer kings express their power? What role does merit play in our understanding of Buddhist art? Is there a difference between art produced for kings and that produced for the common people?

Module One & Two

3 credits. Duration: 6 weeks
This course provides an introduction to the Thai language with emphasis on spoken language competency as related to daily life in Thailand. The course is designed for students with no prior knowledge of the Thai language.



course related field trips

All courses include field trips – either day trips or multi-day trips. Those with multi-day field trips are indicated below.

Cultural Foundations of Thai Society (ModuleOne)
Those students enrolled in the Cultural Foundations course will travel to a rural village for a three-day homestay experience. While Thailand is modernizing at a rapid rate, at least 70% of the country’s population still lives in rural villages and a true introduction to Thailand could not be complete without experiencing and understanding Thai village life. Students travel to the village, along with ISEAA staff, and live with a local family for three days, two nights. During your stay, you will be involved in community life and experience Thai daily life. 

Business and Social Entrepreneurship in Southeast Asia (Module Two)
In the second week of classes student travel to Bangkok for three days meeting with the Stock Exchange of Thailand, multinational companies in Thailand and various “Chambers of Commerce” from different countries investing in Thailand.

Public Health in Southeast Asia (Module Two)
In the second week of classes student travel to Bangkok for three days meeting with Thai government departments, relevant NGOs and observing public health issues first hand in urban slum areas.

Human Rights in Southeast Asia (Module Two)
In the second week of classes students travel to Mae Sot on the Thai-Burma border to visit organizations to learn about Burmese and ethnic minorities living along the Thai-Burmese border, especially in terms of human rights violations and the exiled democracy movement.

A Laboratory for Empire: Colonial Southeast Asia (Module Two)
In the second week of classes students travel to Chiang Rai and the Golden Triangle for three days.

Southeast Asian Art (Module Two)
In the second week of classes students travel to Sukhothai, the birthplace of classical Thai culture.

The above are sample itineraries and exact visits/organizations can vary from year-to-year.


Elephant Nature Park
Spend the day at Chiang Mai’s most ethical elephant park – the Elephant Nature Park; a natural home and sanctuary for elephants and other rescued animals. Observe free roaming elephants that have been rescued from around Southeast Asia, feed them and even help with bath time. (This is included for all Thailand summer students.)

Doi Inthanon Day Trip
Head to the highest peak in Thailand, and spend the day hiking in the national park with a local guide – stopping at waterfalls, and visiting a Karen (hill tribe) village. (This activity is included for students who participate in two modules – the 7 week program.)

In addition, TEAN staff will arrange a ‘coffee break’ during each module. This is a chance to head out to one of Chiang Mai’s hip cafes – catch up with TEAN staff, and be treated to coffee and cake.

Thailand Southern Islands Excursion

Thailand Southern Islands Optional Trip

A stay in Thailand wouldn’t be complete without visiting the country’s stunning tropical islands. Utilise the break between study modules to spend time down south staying on the popular Railay West Beach, a lush oasis only accessible by boat. After a speedboat journey exploring the islands of Andaman Sea, known for its unbelievable turquoise waters and striking karst cliffs, fill the rest of your days relaxing on Railay Beach, kayaking to Phra Nang Beach, lounging by the pool and simply soaking up the island vibes. Students can then continue their one-week break with independent travel, extend their stay on the beaches, or return to Chiang Mai with the TEAN guide.

The trip includes flight from Chiang Mai to Krabi, transportation to Railay Bay, accommodation for three nights, islands speedboat excursion, special group meals and more. Get ready for your island getaway!



  • 2.5 GPA
  • Sophomore standing at a two-year or four-year degree-granting institution at the time of enrollment.

Program Dates

Summer 2017

Students taking the 7 week program – Modules 1 & 2
Arrival Day May 26
TEAN Orientation May 27
University Orientation May 28
Module One May 29 Jun 16
Travel Break Jun 17 Jun 25
Module Two Jun 26 Jul 14
Program Ends Jul 15
Students taking the 3-week Module 1 program only
Arrival Day May 26
TEAN Orientation May 27
University Orientation May 28
Module One May 29 June 16
Program Ends Jun 17
Students taking the 3-week Module 2 program only
Arrival Day Jun 24
TEAN & University Orientation Jun 25
Module Two Jun 26 Jul 14
Program Ends Jul 15

Fees & Inclusions

summer 2017

Summer 2017 fees will be finalised during Fall 2016. However they are not expected to change much from the 2016 fees below.

The Thailand Southern Islands excursion is an optional excursion. Approximate cost US$300.

Summer 2016

Fees for each module vary due to the included academic field trips.

Module 1

Course Title: Cultural Foundations of Thai Society (3 credits)
2016 Course Price: $2,550USD

Module 2

Course Title: Thai Dance
2016 Course Price: $2,400USD

Course Title: Business in Southeast Asia
2016 Course Price: $2,900USD

Course Title: Struggle for Human Rights
2016 Course Price: $2,600USD 

Course Title: Public Health in Southeast Asia
2016 Course Price: $2,900USD

Course Title: A Laboratory for Empire: Colonial Southeast Asia
2016 Program Fees: $2,550USD

Module 1 and 2

Course Title: Thai Language I (3 credits)
2016 Course Price: $500USD

What’s Included

  • Full tuition
  • Guaranteed pre-arranged, off-campus student housing
  • Overseas health insurance, plus evacuation and repatriation insurance
  • Services of local Resident Directors (available 24/7 for emergencies)
  • Orientation Program with meals, activities and transportation
  • Wireless internet access in housing
  • Cell phone (or local SIM card if student has unlocked cell phone already) provided upon arrival with initial credit
  • Field trips as specified for your selected courses
  • Elephant Nature Park one-day visit
  • Doi Inthanon trekking day trip (Module 1 and 2 participants only)
  • Meal plan (Stipend to cover 21 meals/week while class is in session)
  • Extensive pre-departure counseling and information
  • Chiang Mai University student ID card, with access to all university facilities
  • Readings for all courses (provided as pdfs to download)
  • Official academic transcript at conclusion of program
  • Credit approval and transfer assistance
  • Help with student visa preparation
  • Financial aid transfer planning
  • Airport pickup and transfer to accommodation in Chiang Mai and airport transfer at end of program
  • A truly one of a kind adventure!

What’s Not Included

  • Airfares (approx $1,800)
  • Electricity in housing (approx $50/module)
  • Meals during one week break between modules – if applicable (approx $50)
  • School uniform (approx $30)
  • Local transportation in Chiang Mai (approx $50)


TEAN Scholarships

In addition to the current financial aid you receive, you may want to consider one of our many scholarships. Each year we award thousands of scholarship dollars to qualified program participants, including a full ride scholarship for a Fall or Summer program. Refer to our Scholarships information for details.

We Love Chiang Mai


Pongsdhorn (Kai) Lertsukon

Resident Director - Thailand

Wat Phalad Hike

Wat Phalad is one of the first temples along the nature trail that ends at Doi Suthep. It’s an easy half hour hike with a gorgeous reward. From TEAN housing you can walk up Suthep toward the mountain and eventually you’ll see signs for the nature trail – from there it’s all green bliss and tranquility!

Lauren Gabell

Lauren Gabell

Marketing Director

Chiang Mai TIP
Chiang Mai Gate Street Food

Near the southwest corner of the old city, is a gate that turns into flavortown at dinnertime. Every night, there’s a massive group of food stalls that serve an array of food so filling and delicious, you won’t believe how little it costs. The different carts offer a number of tasty Thai dishes, smoothies, desserts and salads. Simply tell any red truck “Chiang Mai Gate” and you’ll get dropped off in the midst of the culinary beauty.

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