Southeast Asia is one of the most diverse regions in the world so, for those who want to explore it more fully, the South East Asia Comparative Studies Semester allows the opportunity to experience two countries in one program. From the laidback lifestyle of Northern Thailand to the busy streets of Ho Chi Minh City, this traveling program spends time in both destinations allowing students to study at Chiang Mai University in Thailand and Hoa Sen University in Vietnam. Participants learn Thai and Vietnamese, along with other Southeast Asian-related subjects, while interacting closely with local students and discovering what makes this booming region so fascinating historically, culturally and economically.


Comparative Semester Program


Mid August - Mid December
Mid January - Mid May

2.5 to apply


Chiang Mai University, Thailand
Hoa Sen University, Vietnam

Off-Campus Student Apartments Guesthouse in Vietnam

12 - 15 credits


Gain a unique perspective on the region by living and studying for two months in Thailand and two months in Vietnam through a partnership between the Institute of Southeast Asian Affairs (ISEAA) at Chiang Mai University and Hoa Sen University

Compare the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, with the more relaxed lifestyle and green hills of Chiang Mai, Thailand

Study on campus in both locations, surrounded by local students, and feel the course content come to life with field trips planned throughout the program, including excursions to the Golden Triangle and Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital, and Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Participate in TEAN’s comprehensive four-day Orientation Program upon arrival in Chiang Mai, including a day with Southeast Asia’s majestic elephants, other cultural activities and informative sessions designed to help you feel adjusted and ready to jump into your semester in Southeast Asia. You’ll also receive an additional Orientation upon arriving in Vietnam.

Benefit from TEAN’s Thailand- and Vietnam-based staff who meet with you regularly for meals and further cultural activities

Study at the top regional university in Thailand and the English-speaking campus of Hoa Sen University in Vietnam benefiting from mixing with the country’s academic elite and future leaders

Program Details


Be introduced to this vibrant and engaging country with our extensive four-day Orientation in Thailand. Combining informative academic sessions with introductory cultural experiences, each activity helps students ease into their semester abroad. Before we move you into your housing, we provide helpful information to prepare you for the semester, including tips on cultural customs, how to seek medical support and other matters to ensure you have a successful semester.

Providing a soft landing into Southeast Asia, upon arrival into Chiang Mai you will be transported to a comfortable hotel, where you will meet up with other TEAN students. Over the next four days, experience sensory overload as you visit a local market, enjoy your first tastes of Thailand’s culinary offerings, revive your travel-weary muscles with a traditional Thai massage and spend a day with Southeast Asia’s magnificent elephants. For these first few days in the country you won’t need to think about meals or transport, as we have it all sorted for you!

Upon arrival in Ho Chi Minh City, ISEAA and TEAN staff will provide an Orientation to the city and university, introducing you to ISEAA Vietnam alumni to help jumpstart your in-country network.


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.

Accommodation in Ho Chi Minh City is in guesthouses or apartments close to campus. Since Hoa Sen University is an urban campus, it provides a great opportunity to really experience everything the city has to offer.

TEAN Staff

Upon arrival in both Thailand and Vietnam, you will be met by our on-site Resident Directors who will provide assistance throughout your time in the countries. 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.
  • In Ho Chi Minh City, Hoa Sen University, a private university founded in 1991, is based in the busy city center.


In Chiang Mai, students take two courses on Southeast Asian History, Politics, Business, Development, or Sociology.

In Ho Chi Minh City, students take the course ‘Gender and Development in Vietnam’.

Additionally, in Thailand students are enrolled in a Thai language course and, while in Vietnam, students learn the Vietnamese language.

For detailed information on the courses refer to Step 2 – Get Schooled – of our 6 easy steps to studying abroad under Already Applied.

Program Excursions

Village Homestay

After your initial orientations with TEAN and ISEAA, you will be transported to a rural village for a five-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 some of your Thai roommates, and live with a local family for five days. During your stay, you will begin your Thai language studies while also becoming involved in community life by working on a service project within the village.

Academic Excursions

Each semester students take two multi-day excursions to various parts of the region. In Thailand students typically travel to the Golden Triangle to stop at relevant historical and religious sites, and visit NGOs in the region to learn more about their work often related to sex trafficking or supporting Burmese refugees.

In Vietnam, students travel to charming and colorful Hanoi, the country’s capital, as well as Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is a breathtaking vision of limestone islands rising from the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin.

These excursions are not just trips, they bring the content of your academic courses to life.



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

TEAN Events

Activities / Immersion

Our local staff arrange various activities during the semester designed to help immerse you in the local culture. In addition, at least once a month in Thailand the group meets up to explore Thai culture through the delicious cuisine with TEAN dinners. In Ho Chi Minh City, you meet regularly with the TEAN Resident Director for group meals and cultural activities. These events are included in your semester program. Below are examples of previous cultural activities arranged for students. Note that activities may change each semester.

Thai Cooking Class

We can’t send you home without first making sure you have learned how to make all those delicious meals you’ve been ordering from your favorite street food vendors. Spend a fun day with your fellow TEAN students cooking up a storm at a local cooking class. Don’t forget the  included recipe book so you can recreate a Thai feast for family and friends once you return home.

Program Dates

Fall 2016

Arrive in Chiang Mai Aug 9
TEAN Orientation Aug 10 Aug 13
Housing Move-In Aug 13
University Orientation Aug 14
Thai Village Homestay Aug 15 Aug 19
Classes Begin Aug 22
Semester Break Oct 8 Oct 23
Travel to Vietnam Oct 23
Classes Begin in Vietnam Oct 24
Last day of exams Dec 16
Program Ends Dec 17

Spring 2016

Arrive in Chiang Mai Jan 12
TEAN Orientation Jan 13 Jan 16
Housing Move-In Jan 16
University Orientation Jan 17
Thai Village Homestay Jan 18 Jan 22
Classes Begin Jan 25
Travel to Vietnam Mar 20
Classes Begin in Vietnam Mar 21
Semester Break Apr 9 Apr 24
Classes End May 20
Program Ends May 21

Fees & Inclusions

Fall 2016

  • Tuition & Services: $10,625
  • Housing: $2,275

Spring 2016

  • Tuition & Services: $10,625
  • Housing: $2,275

What’s Included

  • Full Tuition
  • Guaranteed pre-arranged, off-campus student housing in Chiang Mai
  • Guaranteed pre-arranged housing in a Guesthouse in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  • Overseas health insurance, plus evacuation and repatriation insurance
  • Services of local Resident Directors
  • Four-day TEAN Orientation Program with all meals, excursions, accommodations and transportation in Chiang Mai
  • One-day Orientation with meals, excursions and transportation in Ho Chi Minh City
  • Cultural events and group meals scheduled throughout the semester
  • Wireless internet access in housing
  • Cell phone provided upon arrival with initial credit
  • Five-day Thai village homestay
  • Two multi-day academic excursions
  • Partial meal plan (Stipend to cover 10 meals/week while class in in session)
  • Text books and reading packets
  • Flight from Chiang Mai, Thailand to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  • Extensive pre-departure counseling and information packets
  • Official academic transcripts at conclusion of program
  • Credit approval and transfer assistance
  • Help with student visa preparation
  • Financial aid transfer planning
  • Airport pickup and transfer to orientation hotel in Chiang Mai, airport transfer mid semester for flight to Vietnam, airport pick up in Vietnam
  • Farewell Dinner at conclusion of program
  • A truly one of a kind adventure!

What’s Not Included

  • International airfare ($1,800)
  • Student visa ($150)
  • Electricity in Thailand housing ($100, but depends on usage)
  • Additional meals during the semester ($300)

*Numbers are estimated based on previous student experience and budget. Actual amounts will vary depending on student.


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. Refer to our Scholarships information for details.

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