CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR DECISION TO STUDY ABROAD IN thailand!

We have outlined here TEAN’s six easy steps to studying abroad. Your TEAN Program Manager guides you through the entire process, reminding you when and what we need from you as you traverse along the journey to studying abroad. These six steps also include all the vital information you need to know as you prepare for your time abroad. If you can’t find the answers to your questions here, then don’t hesitate to call or email us.

Get Started

Overview

Snapshot

Congratulations! You have applied to a TEAN Thailand semester or summer program, so you are already one step towards the best experience of your college life! This section walks you through how to complete your application; paying your deposit; how to obtain a passport and check that yours will be valid for the duration you need; the best ways to contact TEAN; and all those important dates to mark down on your calendar now. As usual, if your questions are not answered here, then don’t hesitate to contact us!

TEAN Application

COMPLETE YOUR TEAN APPLICATION

1. If you haven’t already started your application with TEAN, you will need to visit the apply now page to start the process. You will be asked to pay a $100 application deposit that is counted toward your total program fees.

2. Once you’ve submitted your application and paid the application deposit, our team will review your application.

3. After your application has been approved by TEAN you will receive an email from us with information on how to login to your account and access your application.

4. Now you can start to work on the checklist items listed for your application. You will see a list of things that need worked on including the following:

  • TEAN Applicant Profile
  • Personal Statement
  • Send the TEAN Statement from University electronically to your advisor at your home institution for completion
  • Emergency Contact Info 
  • Medical Information
  • Upload your photo. The photo should be like a passport photo (but you can smile) – head shot, front on, with a white background. This will become your student ID card photo.
  • Upload your passport copy – see the step by step instructions below (let us know if you’re renewing).
  • Answer 2 of the 4 Intercultural Understanding Questions and upload your answers on your profile.

Thailand Summer Internship applicants: You will have additional requirements that will be outlined by email upon application.  As we move through the application process more forms and items will be added to your checklist by your Program Manager. So continue to check back for updates.

5. Submit your most recent transcripts

In order for us to fully accept you into the program, we will need to review your official transcripts.  For students studying in the Spring semester, we will need transcripts including grades from the previous Spring semester. For Fall students, we require transcripts including grades from the previous Fall semester.

Please request an official copy of your transcripts, from all universities attended, be sent to our offices at:

The EDUCATION ABROAD Network
505 N. LaSalle Street,  Suite 200
Chicago, IL 60654

Program Deposit

Pay your Program Deposit

  • Upon acceptance into the program you will be issued with a $500 program deposit invoice. TEAN cannot make any accommodations or on-site reservations on behalf of a student until the $500 program deposit is received.
  • The program deposit is applied to the total program cost and is not an additional fee.
  • You may submit online credit card payments for your $500 program deposit via our online credit card link.
Withdrawing from the program

If you withdraw from the program the $100 application deposit is non-refundable. If you withdraw before the withdrawal deadline, the $500 program deposit is refundable. However, after the deadline (typically 3-4 months before departure) this deposit is non-refundable. Please refer to the program deposit invoice for the specific refund date for your program.

Passport

Apply/Renew your Passport

Obtaining a passport for international travel may take a considerable period of time as the State Department can often have a backlog of applications to work through.  Therefore, it is crucial that you apply for your passport as early as possible to avoid any last minute complications.  You can apply for your passport at your local U.S. Post Office, for more information see: https://www.usps.com/international/passports.htm

Obtain necessary information regarding passports from the U.S. Department of State: Passport Services Department.  Download passport applications, nationwide list of passport agencies, etc. at: http://www.travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1738.html

Expedited Services

You can also check out an alternative passport express service:
www.passportsandvisas.com


Verify Validity of your Passport

As a condition of your student visa, your passport must be valid a minimum of six months post your anticipated return home. If your current passport is set to expire before then, you will need to apply for a renewal.


Inform TEAN of your passport details

  1. Scan a copy of your passport page with your photo and information on it.
  2. Upload the scanned image to your TEAN application where it states, “Please upload a copy/photo of your passport (signature and picture page only).” Alternatively, email the scanned copy of your passport to your TEAN Program Manager.
  3. Enter your passport information under the section titled, “TEAN Applicant Profile.”

Contacting TEAN

Contacting TEAN

Email is the primary form of communication during the application and enrollment period. Please provide us with an email address you use regularly, as important program announcements and instructions will be sent via email. Also, please check your email on a regular basis and make sure to update your online application if you change your email address.  Please also periodically check your Junk mail to ensure that messages from The Education Abroad Network are not begin filtered into “spam”.

In addition, please be sure to include your full name on all correspondence (including emails). We work with many students so providing your name will ensure timely responses to questions and inquiries.

Physical Address

The Education Abroad Network
505 N. LaSalle, Suite 200
Chicago, IL 60654-7093

Telephone and Fax

Toll Free: 1-800-585-9658 (from within U.S.)
Local Number: 1-312-239-3710 (from outside of U.S.)
Fax: 1-312-239-3713

Office Hours

The Education Abroad Network is open Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Standard Time and observes all major holidays.  If these hours are not convenient, you may schedule a time outside of our normal business hours to speak with us. If you are currently international, it is possible to set up a Skype time to chat and get to know your program managers.

Important Dates

Important Dates

We finalize our program calendar several months before each semester abroad.  During that time, we work with our overseas partner universities in order to determine our orientation schedule.  We will provide updated information pertaining to orientation, key semester dates, flights, and excursions once our program calendar has been finalized.  We will send you an email notification once the updated calendar information has been posted on the website so you can plan accordingly.

Once the program calendar has been finalized, we will post this information on our website and you’ll be notified by your Program Manager. Once the calendar has been released, all dates are still subject to change.  While we do not anticipate any date changes once the calendar has been finalized, we reserve the right to make changes, particularly if one of our partner universities institutes their own date modification.  All program participants will be contacted in the event of a date change.

Program Start Dates

The program officially begins at the start of our Orientation Program in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Students arriving in advance of our orientation will be responsible for their own transportation from the airport and any necessary accommodations prior to the orientation start date.

Dates by Program

Select your program from the list below to see your program dates.

Get Schooled

Overview

Snapshot

Congratulations again! If you’ve gotten this far you are well and truly on your way to an incredible semester or summer in Southeast Asia! This section contains information on selecting your courses, and ensure you get credit for them; financial aid and how to navigate the system to ensure your aid transfers; details of the TEAN and other scholarships you may want to apply for.

Semester Courses & Credit

Courses and Credit

Students take courses taught by Institute of Southeast Asian Affairs (ISEAA), hosted at Chiang Mai University. While students are registered as CMU students to obtain a student ID to access the facilities including the library, all courses are transcripted by Portland State University. A grade report is also provided by ISEAA/CMU, however this is not an official transcript.

The Portland State transcript is only available  with a letter grade. There is no option to receive Pass/Fail only on the PSU transcript.

Language Component

Students are required to undertake local language study while in Southeast Asia.  Classes are available at Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced Levels.  Students will be placed in the appropriate level in accordance to previous language study (if any) and whichever level best suits their needs.  Students who are able to speak the local language beyond beginner level already will be assessed on arrival either through oral or written examination, in order to determine each student’s level of language. For students who already have some local language abilities, please notify your TEAN Program Manager by email.

Electives

In addition to the Language Component, students will then select additional elective courses.  Students may choose from a variety of courses ranging from Economics, Fine Arts, Religion, History, Sociology, Anthropology, etc.  Students accepted into the program are able to take any of the courses listed – there are no prerequisites. There are also no schedule clashes. Final selection of courses will take place in Chiang Mai. Students will also have a two-week drop/add period from the first day of classes. For the most up to date course list see blow.

Contact Hours

All students are required to undertake a minimum of 12 credits per semester.  Most courses are 3-credits. Each 3-credit course meets for three hours per week.  As the semester is 15 weeks in length, courses are thus typically 45 contact hours total for the term.  Final credit allotment is at the discretion of each student’s home university, and is typically based off of the total number of contact hours for each course. In addition, there may be some one-credit courses offered, with a total of 15 contact hours.


Course Listings

Your Program Manager will notify you when the course list is available, usually approximately four months prior to the start of classes. In the meantime you can review the Spring 2018 courses.  Note that course offerings don’t change much between semesters.

Summer Courses & Credit

COURSES AND CREDIT

Students take courses taught by Institute of Southeast Asian Affairs (ISEAA), hosted at Chiang Mai University. While students are registered as CMU students to obtain a student ID to access the facilities including the library, all courses are transcripted by Portland State University. A grade report is also provided by ISEAA/CMU, however this is not an official transcript. You will not receive an official transcript from Chiang Mai University.

The Portland State transcript is only available  with a letter grade. There is no option to receive Pass/Fail only on the PSU transcript.

Course Listings

All available Summer courses are listed on the Thailand Summer Program page. Students that meet the GPA entry requirement for the program are eligible to take any of the listed courses. There are no prerequisites. Thailand Summer internship students will complete Module One only: Cultural Foundations of Thai Society and have the option to take the Thai language course.

Contact Hours

Each course is 3 credits. Each course meets for 15 hours per week.  As each summer module is three weeks in length, courses are thus typically 45 contact hours total for the term.  Final credit allotment is at the discretion of each student’s home university, and is typically based off of the total number of contact hours for each course.

Course Approvals

Schedule Meeting with Academic Advisor

It is highly recommended that you have your academic advisor approve your classes before leaving if you wish to ensure you receive transfer credit. If you do not wish to receive any credit when you return home you may be able to forego the approval process.  Some students negotiate the credit transfer issues when they return from their program, but at the very minimum you should meet with your academic advisor/dean before departure so they are fully aware you will be studying abroad. They will be able to help you select courses that will count towards your major and that will be easily transferable for credit when you return.


Schedule Meeting with Study Abroad Office

Contact your study abroad office at your home university to discuss study abroad credit approval and other specific procedures to be completed for your program overseas.  This is an important step as it may reveal crucial steps towards avoiding complications and making your transition abroad seamless. In addition, your study abroad advisor will need to sign our “Statement from University” form. You can send this to them from your online application.

Financial Aid

Schedule Meeting with Financial Aid Advisor

While we strive to keep our programs affordable, we recognize that many students need financial help.  The good news is that most financial aid you are currently receiving is applicable toward study abroad.  Generally, you can transfer federal financial aid, such as Pell Grants and Stafford Loans, that do not need to be repaid until after graduation.

See the Higher Education Act of 1965 (Public Law 102-325, 106 Stat.448):  The act was re-authorized in the summer of 1992 to include a number of provisions to facilitate the use of federal financial aid for study abroad.  (NAFSA:  Association of International Educators Newsletter, Volume 44, No 3/Dec-Jan 1993).

The U.S. Department of Education advised that the Perkins Loans, SSIG Grant Program, Pell Grants, FSEOG Grants, Stafford Loans, SLS loans, PLUS Loans and Consolidation loans can now be used for study abroad.  Your study abroad experience does not have to be compulsory for your degree program in order to apply your aid.  Please contact your home institution financial aid office to discuss your financial aid options for study abroad.


Consortium Agreements

If you are currently receiving financial aid (federal loans, grants, scholarships, etc.) from your home institution please follow these steps.  The financial aid you currently receive may not be processed in the same manner and the same amounts may not be awarded to you.

Step 1:  Visit your home university’s financial aid office and inform them you will be studying abroad through The Education Abroad Network. Ask them how much of your current aid will transfer for a study abroad experience. You will also need to check if there is additional paperwork specific to your home university.

Step 2:  Ask your financial aid office if they have a “consortium agreement” (do not worry if this is a foreign term to you, they will know what it is!) which essentially means they will complete all paperwork regarding your existing financial aid while you are studying abroad. This is the ideal arrangement as it makes the whole process easier for everyone. You will also need to have a TEAN Financial Aid Agreement form filled out that will be provided to you by your Program Manager.

Step 3:  If they have a consortium agreement, most likely they will have an existing agreement that is university specific. TEAN will likely have to sign this for you and send it back to them. It will not go to your overseas institution. The TEAN Financial Aid Agreement form should then be faxed or emailed to us.

Unfortunately, not all universities will sign a consortium agreement.  If this applies to your school please consult us immediately for further guidance.

Please note: The financial aid process is very complex and adequate planning is necessary. You should contact your home institution’s financial aid office if you will, or think you may need to, apply loans or aid to your study abroad program. TEAN is not a lending institution so unfortunately, all financial aid and loan discussions will need to be made within your home university’s financial aid office.

Scholarships

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.  Awards range from $500 – $2,500, and we have  categories including need-based and merit-based. In addition, there are scholarship opportunities available through several host universities and external organisations.  Review details of the available scholarships.

Get a Room

Housing Details

Thailand Housing Details

TEAN provides students with a unique living experience to aid in cultural immersion on a daily basis. You will live in off-campus student apartments called UniLoft where each participant has their own bedroom and shares a small common living area with their roommate. Most participants share their suite with another TEAN student, however when you complete your housing form, you will also be able to request a Thai student as your suitemate for an even more integrated experience.

Uniloft is a five-minute walk to campus and is a modern, upscale student housing complex. From the campus entrance you can take a free university shuttle or walk 15 – 20 minutes to the building where your classes are held. Each suite has built-in furniture, a walk-in closet, refrigerator, air conditioner, TV and bathroom.

Within the complex, you will find a lobby, meeting room, study room, fitness center and male/female pools. Washers and dryers are also located in the complex.

As preferred by Thai families and societal norms, UniLoft has male- and female- only buildings. TEAN students will not be able to visit their friends of opposite gender in their rooms, but typically most Thai people do not socialize in their homes instead opting to go out and take advantage of the abundant street food, cafes, markets and other offerings around town. There are also no kitchens but, again, in the cities it’s more common to go out than stay in – plus eating at Thai restaurants and food stalls is cheaper than cooking at home!

In the UniLoft Hub, students can take advantage of convenience stores, restaurants, laundry facilities and ATMs. The housing is located in a vibrant university area, with cool student cafes, awesome street food and restaurants all just a short walk from your front door.

Thai roommates: Students who would like to live with a Thai suitemate will be able to apply to room with a Thai student. Thailand has a very different culture and you will inevitably find many differences between yourself and your Thai roommate but also experience a unique opportunity to get to know the country, culture and people more. TEAN participants who do not live with a Thai student will still interact with these students. Note that most TEAN students will live with another TEAN student in their suite. The academic program also has students from other Southeast Asian nations. You will be able to indicate your preference to live in your suite with a Thai student, a student from another Southeast Asian country or with another TEAN student on your housing form.

Thailand Housing
These photos are of display apartments at Uniloft. Keep in mind that accessories shown in these photos are not provided – your apartment will have a coffee table, but not a ukulele!

Utilities: You will be responsible for sharing the costs of utilities with your roommate (electricity and water), which will be billed to you and your roommate each month. TEAN recommends that you allow for 1,500 Thai Baht per month per person for utilities. This is equivalent to approximately US$50/month. This estimate should be more than enough money for students to cover your monthly utility expenses.

Housing Security Deposit:  Your final program invoice will include a housing deposit. This deposit is refundable, less reasonable cleaning costs, at the end of the semester provided the unit is left in satisfactory condition and all furniture items are accounted for and intact.  Generally, you will receive the deposit 4-8 weeks after the conclusion of the semester, provided you have completed the Refund Request Form via the TEAN website.

Cleaning: You are responsible for the cleaning of your suite. Alternatively, you can have UniLoft clean your suite for 200THB per time. This can be requested at the UniLoft front desk. You are also responsible for laundering your own sheets and towels. There are laundry facilities within the accommodations offering students cheap coin operated washing machines. Most students dry their clothes on a drying rack on their room’s balcony.

LinensA linen pack is included in the total program fees by TEAN. The linen pack includes a fitted sheet, comforter, pillow and pillowcase. Note that it does not include a top sheet as most Thai people do not use top sheets. It is advised if you want a top sheet to bring it from home, as they are relatively expensive in Thailand.

Internet: WiFi is included in the UniLoft accommodations.


Other Southeast Asia Location Accommodations

Students participating in split-semester programs (Cambodia, Vietnam, etc) will learn more about their housing options upon arrival in Southeast Asia. In past semesters, the program has utilized local guesthouses, apartments, and has also offered an optional homestay experiences. Homestay options are dependent on the availability of local families to host TEAN students.


Complete Housing Questionnaire

The housing at Uniloft is arranged by ISEAA. In order to match you with a suitemate, you will be asked to complete a housing questionnaire. Your Program Manager will provide you with these details.

Get Booked

Overview

Snapshot

It’s time to book your flights! It’s really happening – get excited! This section details information regarding booking flights for Thailand, excursions, and field trips.

Flights

Flights

The best route (and airfare) for flights to Chiang Mai will depend on your departure point in the USA. Please read the below Steps for Booking Flights, Important Flight Booking Notes and FAQs in full before booking your flights.

Important: Do not book your flights until you have received instructions to do so by email from TEAN and you have completed all steps in the TEAN application portal.


Steps for Booking Your Flight

Step 1: Do not book your flights until you receive instructions from TEAN by email.

Step 2: Read all the information on this page carefully and be sure to contact us with any questions, so as to ensure you understand the airfare booking procedures.

Step 3: Review the arrival date and end of program date. Students should book flights departing on or after the program end date. Note that if you depart after the program end date you may not be able to stay in TEAN housing beyond the end date. TEAN staff will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your accommodation at these times on the arrival date: 12PM, 2PM, 6PM and 11PM.

Thailand Summer Study Abroad
There are three date options. Make sure you read over the dates information carefully.
Thailand Summer Internship
Thailand Semester
Thailand & Cambodia Semester
Note the departing city at the end of the program is Phnom Penh. However it may work out most cost effective to return to Chiang Mai or Bangkok for your flight home. You do not need to book your flight from Bangkok to Phnom Penh. This flight is included in the program fees, and will be purchased for you.
Thailand & Vietnam Semester
Note that the departing city at the end of the program is Ho Chi Minh City. However it may work out most cost effective to return to Chiang Mai or Bangkok for your flight home. You do not need to book your flight from Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh City. This flight is included in the program fees, and will purchased for you.

Step 4: Decide if you are intending to travel independently prior to or after the program dates as this will impact your travel dates to/from the US.

Step 5: Research travel itineraries and costs. To assist with your search, ensure you read the below “Important Booking Notes”.

Before students purchase tickets, please feel free to contact us or send us your tentative itinerary so that we may ensure it is correct and/or the best routing for your situation.

Step 6: Book your international travel and submit your entire travel itinerary to your TEAN Program Manager.


Important Flight Booking Notes

  • TEAN recommends shopping around to find the best routing and airfare from your departing location.
  • Students must arrive in Chiang Mai on or prior to the recommended arrival date.  Please ensure that you have the correct arrival date when researching airfare options. Most flights arriving on the arrival date will have departed on the day before, however this is not always the case, as sometimes a departure of two days prior will be required!
  • Provided you arrive on the official arrival date, TEAN will coordinate your airport pick up and transfer to your accommodation. The TEAN airport transfer times on the arrival day are 12PM, 2PM, 6PM and 11PM. These times correspond to arrival times of most flights students have taken previously.  Further details regarding your airport transfer will be sent to you prior to your departure.
  • Accommodation will be provided for students arriving on the arrival date, but accommodation will not be available prior to this date.
  • Be careful when looking at arrival dates/times. For example, a flight may arrive at 12:05 AM on the arrival date, however, technically, this is the evening of the previous night. If you book a flight like this, you are going to need an extra night of accommodation.
  • Keep in mind that you need to allow at least a 3 hour window of time in between domestic and international connections.
  • If you need to re-check your bags in any domestic U.S. airport you should allow 4 to 6 hours between flights. This may seem like a very long time but with any potential flight delays it is better to be waiting at the airport for your international flight versus missing your flight overseas.
  • Airfare costs can vary greatly from one departure city to another.  In the event that you live relatively close to more than one potential departure city, we encourage you to research flight options through each applicable departure location.  Students may find that by driving to a slightly farther departure city/airport, they may save several hundred dollars in airfare costs.
  • While we recommend booking flights that fly to Chiang Mai from an international hub, and not via Bangkok, if you are flying through Bangkok, please note that are there two airports.  One is, Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK), where most international flights go in and out of and the second is, Don Mueang International Airport (DMK), used for mostly budget airlines.  There is a free bus shuttle in-between the airports, but the transfer can take a few hours if traffic is heavy.
  • In order to complete your application for your Thai visa, you must provide a copy of your air ticket or an air itinerary with proof that it has been paid in full. Instructions for applying for your student visa will be sent separately.
  • Pay attention to the taxes & fuel surcharges that will be added to the total fare. Sometimes these can be very high and surprisingly they can vary considerably between the different airlines.
  • Pay attention to any cancellation policies and ticketing fees. Many great deals are non-refundable and have quite a few rules and regulations for use.
  • We recommend booking any domestic flights from your home city on the same ticket as your international flight in order to get international baggage allowances as well as to ensure that you will be booked on the next available flight in the event that a connection is missed.
  • You may want to check out our partner travel agency Corporate Traveler.  The key benefit to using a travel agent like Corporate Traveler is the personalized service, particularly useful if flights are delayed or connections are missed, and you need further assistance with your bookings. You can email a representative at Corporate Traveler. Always check withCorporate Traveler on what the terms and conditions are for the airline and the ticket you are booking. You’ll want to ask about things like fees for date changes, cancellation policies and baggage allowance.
  • We strongly encourage you to do your research on various websites before finalizing your flight booking to ensure you’re getting the best value. Keep in mind that sometimes sites like Expedia, Kayak, Orbitz, Hotwire, Priceline, etc. do not provide the best customer service in times of need (missed flights, getting rebooked, changing your itinerary, and so on.) We recommend booking with Corporate Traveler or with the airline directly.

Flight FAQs

How much should I expect the airfare to be?

The estimated cost for all international flights varies from approximately $1,200 – $2,000.  This is due in large part to the departure locations from within the US (for example: New York, NY versus Omaha, NE), as well as the return travel dates.

I have found a cheap flight to Bangkok. Can I then book a separate ticket to Chiang Mai?

Yes. However if you book two separate tickets, please be aware that there will be different luggage allowances and you will need to be aware of any “excess baggage” charges. Make sure to allow ample time to clear customs in Bangkok as you will need to check-in again with your new carrier and re-check your bags. Also note as mentioned above that there are two airports in Bangkok.

What airlines have students used previously?

It depends where you are flying from. Past students have used the following airtlines:
Boston – Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airlines, Emirates, Cathay Pacific
Chicago – Cathay Pacific, Korean Air, Singapore Air, Turkish Air, China Eastern, Thai Airways, Qatar Airlines
Denver – Korean Air
Detroit – China Southern
Los Angeles – Qatar Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Air China, Delta, Singapore Air, China Southern, Eva Airways, China Eastern
New York – Cathay Pacific, Etihad, Korean Air, China Southern, Qatar Airlines
Philadelphia – Qatar Airlines
San Francisco – China Southern, Korean Air, Cathay Pacific
Seattle – China Southern

These are just good places to start. You may find something better in your research. Shop around!

Why doesn’t TEAN offer a group flight for Southeast Asia programs?

Airfares for individual flights to this region are cheaper than group flights, and for this reason we provide advise on booking your flights individually.

What if I want to arrive prior to the recommended arrival date?

That’s fine. You will need to book your own accommodation until the official program arrival date. Your TEAN Program Manager will be able to provide you with details of the TEAN accommodation and a time of when to meet up with the group on the arrival day. Note that airport pick up is only available if you arrive on the official program arrival date.

Excursions

Note: The below information is for the semester program. For more information on Thailand Summer Program and Thailand Internship excursions refer to those program pages.

ISEAA Excursions

ISEAA includes two multi day excursions during the semester.

All students participate in the Thai Village Homestay at the start of the semester.

In addition during the semester all students participate in the Golden Triangle excursion.

Students on the Thailand & Cambodia program typically travel to Angkor Wat for a third excursion.

Students on the Thailand & Vietnam program have travelled to Hanoi in northern Vietnam for a third excursion.


Coursework Excursions

In past semesters, most course offerings include some day trip or half-day excursions to locations in and around Chiang Mai.


TEAN Excursions

During the semester TEAN provides opportunities to meet up with lcoal TEAN staff for group meals and coffee breaks. Prior to the end of semester students have the opportunity to participate in a Thai cooking class.


Thai BUDDY Excursions

During the first few weeks of semester your Thai buddies will organise excursions within Chiang Mai to introduce you to the city from the student perspective. They are provided a budget for this, but occasionally TEAN students may be asked to contribute a small amount of money to cover the cost of the excursions.

Get Documents

Overview

Snapshot

This section is very important. It also tends to be a little boring, so please stick with us. Before you jet off for the time of your life, there are contracts you need to sign, forms you need to complete; a Thai student visa you may need; and a final payment you need to make. Please read this section carefully, and when the time comes, your Program Manager will guide you through it all – step by step.

Contracts

Program Contracts

Sign Contracts with TEAN

You will receive several contracts (TEAN program contract, housing contract, and privacy consent release) from TEAN that will cover important notices and policies for you to keep in mind during your time abroad.  The Privacy Consent Release will also allow us to introduce you to other participants prior to departure.  Both you and a parent/guardian will need to electronically sign the documents to confirm your understanding of the terms & conditions of your program.

Student Visa

Student Visa

All students studying abroad in Chiang Mai, Thailand are required to apply for a student visa (Non-Immigrant Visa Category “ED”).  This is all Semester Program, Summer Internship and Summer program students. Your Program Manager will supply you with specific, step-by-step instructions when you are eligible to apply, but it is important to understand the process and what you can expect.

Letter of Acceptance

To apply for a Visa “ED”, you will be required to submit with your visa application with an official Letter of Acceptance. This letter and very specific instructions will be provided approximately two months prior to departure.

Passport Reminder

You should apply for your passport as soon as possible once you apply for your study abroad experience in Thailand, as this process can take approximately 4 – 8 weeks and will be required for your student visa application as well.

Your passport should be valid for at least six months after the conclusion of your semester to satisfy Thailand’s entry requirements.  All countries have different requirements for passport validity so be sure to check details for any other countries you plan to visit before your final return home.

Your passport should be valid for at least six months after the conclusion of your semester to satisfy Thailand’s entry requirements.  All countries have different requirements for passport validity so be sure to check details for any other countries you plan to visit before your final return home.

Cost of Student Visa

The Thailand student visa costs approximately $80USD (Summer, Summer Internship, Thailand/Cambodia Semester and Thailand/Vietnam Semester) or $200USD (Thailand Semester) + shipping costs. The cost for obtaining a student visa is not included in the final program fee.

Processing Time

Thailand applications are mailed into a US consulate office and most students receive their visas in approximately two weeks.

Payments

Final Payment

Receive final invoice

Final invoices will be sent out approximately 60 days prior to your departure.  Financial Aid Agreements must be submitted by this time as well to account for any delay in payment.  If you are relying heavily on Financial Aid funds, please note that we will require a minimum of $4000 to be applied to your account prior to your departure.

Payments

Program Deposit

A $500 program deposit is due upon acceptence into your proram. It will be credited to the student’s overall program fee.  The deposit is refundable, should the student withdraw 3 – 4 months prior to the start of the program.  After this date, the deposit is non-refundable. The $100 application deposit is not refundable. Please refer to the welcome letter and deposit invoice for the specific refund date.

Check or Money Order

You can make checks payable to The Education Abroad Network and mail to us at:

505 N. LaSalle St., Suite 200
Chicago, IL 60654

Credit Cards

For your convenience we accept credit card payments for the $500 program deposit and excursion deposits.  We are unable to accept credit card payments on final program balances due to the high cost of credit card processing fees incurred on those transactions.

Refunds

Refunds Prior to Semester Commencement

If a student withdraws from the program prior to arrival overseas, we can only reimburse the portion of the program fee that has not already been allocated to some aspect of the students program (ex: housing, deposits, etc).  Generally this will be less the $500 deposit (see above), but is subject to our program contract, though students are usually eligible to receive close to full refund amount. See your program contract for the withdrawal date for your program. Any withdrawals after this date will incur a $2,350 cancellation fee plus any additional costs that can’t be recovered.

Refunds During the Program

In these situations, refunds are only available for the amount of the program fee that is recoverable at the time the student returns home.  The amount recoverable relates to tuition and housing fees only and is dictated by the refund policy of each host university.  Our official refund policy is outlined in the program contract provided to each participant.

Past Due accounts

All past-due amounts will accrue simple interest at 12% per annum.

Get Going

Overview

Snapshot

It’s almost time! Now you just need to review some last minute pre-departure information including the below quick tips; insurance while abroad; our packing tips; planning how you will manage your money while abroad;reviewing cell phone arrangements; and reading up on details regarding your arrival and Orientation in Chiang Mai. Our Thailand-based staff are looking forward to meeting you when you get off that plane in Chiang Mai!

Pre-Departure Tips

Pre-Departure Quick Tips

Photocopy all important documents – leave one set of photocopies with your parent/guardian and keep one set with you (on your person) as you travel.  Important documents to copy include, but are not limited to: Passport, Airline Tickets, Medical Insurance details, Inoculation details.

Bring copies of important Numbers/Contact Details – details include, but are not limited to: Emergency Contact Details (ie: Parents/Guardians), The Education Abroad Network Contact Details (to be provided), Arrival Details (to be provided).

Exchange money in advance of your arrival into Thailand – if possible, it is advisable to exchange some funds prior to your arrival into Thailand.  Most international airports have currency exchange kiosks where you can exchange funds for a small fee.  Rates are competitive with local banks, and will be much more convenient than attempting to exchange funds after your arrival in Thailand following a long and exhausting journey.  It is recommended that students have enough funds to get them from the airport to the accommodations (if necessary) and cover any initial expenses while in Thailand ($50 is ample and you can use excess funds to get you through the first couple of weeks!).  For Thailand/Cambodia students – You will be fine when you arrive in Cambodia if you have some smaller US dollars, so don’t worry about exchanging currency before your arrival to Phnom Penh.

Arrival Instructions – be sure to carry all airport arrival instructions as provided by TEAN.  This will be extremely helpful in the event you are unable to locate your guide at the airport.

Bug Spray – this is highly recommended for your stay in Southeast Asia; however rather than bring along, it is advisable to wait to purchase it until after you have arrived in Thailand.  Doing so will allow for more space and less weight.

Clothing – please refer to the Packing Tips in regards to appropriate dress, especially in consideration of school uniforms.  Please also note that beyond these campus requirements, it is still important to practice “conservative dressing” while in Southeast Asia.  Be careful not to expose too much of the shoulders or arms (tank tops are ok for daily wear, but can’t be worn for temple visits); clothing exposing the torso, or with low-cut necklines, should not be worn.  Shorter skirts and shorts are generally okay outside of temples and rurl areas.  In regards to exposure of the shoulders – when in doubt, throw a thin lightweight shawl or scarf over your shoulders.

Gifts – Students should bring 4 – 5 gifts that are representative of where you are from or your home university. These should be handed out to any other local friends you make and also to your host family in the village during your homestay.  Gift giving is an important part of most Asian cultures and would be a good gesture towards your roommate and local friends.  An appropriate gift would ideally consist of something that is representative of where you are from, your home state, country, school or something similar. If you will be staying overnight with Thai hosts (homestay) you should consider gifts for the family.  They do not need to  be expensive – kids love stickers, for example.

Thai language phrasebooks – We recommend purchasing a Thai phrasebook to bring with you. Past students have found these phrasebooks helpful:
Mini Thai Dictionary
Instant Thai Phrase Book

Flexibility – students are encouraged to be flexible at all times and to expect changes in the schedule as this is part of the “spice of life” in Southeast Asia! Try to accept the differences between American schedules and Thailand schedules as much as possible and you will have an amazing time!

Bring a positive attitude and a willingness to experience new people and surroundings!

Insurance, Health & Safety

Health Insurance

The Education Abroad Network requires that all international students possess health insurance coverage through Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) for the duration of their studies in Thailand.  The cost of this insurance will be included in your program fee and enrollment is automatic.

Your medical insurance policy includes the following:

  • Prescription medications
  • Medical Evaluation
  • Hospitalization
  • X-rays
  • Emergency Medical Assistance
  • Medical transportation and evacuation
  • Return of mortal remains

There are some limitations to this medical insurance, including dental and optical services.  If you have any existing health concerns, contact your current insurance provider before you leave for Thailand.  Medical insurance for higher levels of need is your own responsibility.


Personal Articles Insurance

We recommend students put anything of value i.e., digital camera, iPods, jewelry, musical instruments, cell phone, laptops, etc. on a Personal Articles Policy (many homeowners already have this policy so students most likely can add their items onto their parents’ Personal Article Policy).  This insurance often covers the full value of the items world-wide, with no deductible.  Typically, items valued up to $3000 can be covered for an approximately $30 premium.  We encourage students to take pictures of item(s) and note their model, make and serial number, as well as saving receipts when possible.   Purchase of this insurance is left to the discretion of the student and his/her parents.


Travel Insurance

Trip Insurance is optional and is not included in TEAN program fees. We recommend considering supplemental trip insurance to protect against unexpected mishaps (i.e. lost luggage) that can occur while traveling. Plans range from $100 to $350 and can be purchased through various insurance carriers. If you would like to discuss plans with TEAN’s recommended travel liaison please contact  Corporate Traveler at 312-924-1258.


Health and Safety

The Education Abroad Network is committed to the health and safety of every participant. It is very important that students make informed decisions about their study and travel destinations. The Education Abroad Network continually monitors the safety and security of our study abroad program locations as well as popular student travel destinations. We continue to advise students of the safety and health risks associated with studying and traveling abroad based on the information from the U.S. Department of State travel warnings, local law enforcement, the Southeast Asian governments, NAFSA: Association of International Educators, and the World Health Organization.

The Education Abroad Network has created an Emergency Response Plan for our study abroad locations that will be implemented by both our staff in Southeast Asia/the South Pacific, and our US-based staff in Chicago. The Education Abroad Network staff will work with students, parents, and study abroad staff at both the student’s home and host institution to provide the most up-to-date information regarding situations that may arise while studying abroad.

Tips for Personal Safety

Emergency Contacts:  Be sure to designate a parent or guardian as your Emergency Contact.  This way, information regarding an emergency situation will automatically be passed on to your parents.  Also make sure to provide The Education Abroad Network your Emergency Contact’s most up-to-date contact information.

Communication Information:  Provide The Education Abroad Network with accurate and up-to-date contact information regarding your telephone, mobile phone, address, and email address.  Be sure to notify your parents and Resident Director in case of an emergency.

Keep Others Informed:  Tell others (your roommates, your parents, your Resident Director) your travel plans.  Keeping others informed will make it easier to locate you in case of an emergency.

Stay Informed:  Research the political, cultural, and social climate of your study and travel abroad destination before heading overseas.  While abroad, whenever possible, read local newspapers and watch local news broadcasts for developments that may affect your health and safety.  If you have questions, please contact a The Education Abroad Network staff member either in the US or abroad.

What about anti-foreign sentiment?  Although individuals are generally well liked abroad, host nationals will often question the activities of foreign governments and may hold anti-foreign views.  This has occurred for some time, in periods of both peace and crisis.  Participants in the past have found these tips useful:  use common sense, keep a low profile, dress to blend in, speak softly, avoid overt displays of home country patriotism, and stay away from known established locations frequented by foreigners.  The Education Abroad Network also advises that students avoid all public demonstrations.

Vaccinations

There is no need to have malaria shots or take malaria pills. Malaria is not prevalent in the areas where you will be studying. It is always common sense to have general vaccinations up-to-date, including tetanus, Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B, etc., but no immunizations are mandatory to participate on the program.

If you have any health conditions that may cause issues, please make sure to consult a doctor before departing.

Safety Notes Regarding Food & Water

The Education Abroad Network urges students to be extremely cautious about food and water while studying in Southeast Asia.  Diseases from food and water are the leading cause of illness in travelers.  Follow these tips for safe eating and drinking:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially before eating.  If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand gel (with at least 60% alcohol).
  • Water that is provided at restaurants is safe to drink (no one drinks tap water)
  • Drink only bottled or boiled water, or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles.
  • Make sure food is fully cooked.
  • Avoid dairy products, unless you know they have been pasteurized.

Diseases from food and water often cause vomiting and diarrhea.  Make sure to bring diarrhea medicine with you so that you can treat mild cases yourself. Keep in mind that even if you do follow all tips, it is common to find yourself unwell  with food poisoning at some time during your stay in SE Asia. Usually you can obtain medicine from a local pharmacy a short walk from Uniloft, and your TEAN Resident Director is just a quick phone call away to take you to see a doctor if needed.

Relevant Travel and Safety Links

Packing

School Uniforms in Thailand

All undergraduate students at Chiang Mai University (and all other Thai universities) are required to wear student uniforms.  Please review the details below and prepare your attire accordingly.

First time wearing a uniform? Check out our youtube video of former students describing their experience in Thailand!

Males

The typical uniform for male students consists of black slacks and a white collared-shirt.  Students should ensure that their short sleeve uniform shirts are collared and have buttons down the front (similar to a standard “dress shirt” in the US).  Students would be wise to purchase several dress shirts as the weather is quite warm and shirts may need to be laundered frequently.  Please also bring black close-toed shoes to wear with your uniform. It can be difficult to find shoes larger than size 10 in Thailand.

Females

The typical uniform for female students consists of black skirts and a white button-up shirt.  Students should ensure that their short sleeve uniform shirts are collared and have buttons down the front (similar to a standard “dress shirt” in the US) and that shoulders are not exposed.  No jeans, miniskirts, sleeveless shirts, sandals or sports shoes are acceptable. Students would be wise to purchase several dress shirts as the weather is quite warm and shirts may need to be laundered frequently.  Please also bring black close-toed shoes to wear with your uniform. It can be difficult to find clothing sizes larger than a size 8 and shoes larger than a size 9 in Thailand.

Additional Uniform Notes
  • Uniform apparel may also be purchased on the CMU campus, or at the uniform shops across from the front entrance to campus. The Thai student assistants will be able to assist with purchasing a uniform prior to the start of classes. Most students bring one set of clothes for the uniform with them, and purchase more inexpensively upon arrival.
  • Chiang Mai University also requires a Chiang Mai University belt buckle. You can purchase this inexpensively upon arrival in the bookstore.
School Attire in Cambodia and Vietnam (Thailand/Cambodia and Thailand/Vietnam students)

You will not be required to wear a uniform while you are in Cambodia or Vietnam.  However, wearing conservative clothing is highly recommended.  While wearing shorts is technically allowed, it could result in stares and general discomfort.  Wearing jeans, pants, or for women longer skirts is encouraged.


 Computers & School Supplies

TEAN’s university partners in SE Asia have wireless internet access throughout the campuses, although please be aware that the internet speeds in Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia are slower than that of the US. Students are encouraged to bring a laptop. Having a laptop will make typing papers easier. Universities have computer labs, but they do operate on limited opening hours (i.e. will not be available late at night).

Internet is also available in the UniLoft apartments in Chiang Mai. There is wireless in the common areas and you will have internet access in your room. There are a few computers located in a communal room that you are able to use.

Local cafés are great places to go to find a strong Wi-Fi connection.

Most course materials have been included with the program’s total program fee. Course readings will be made available to you electronically via Dropbox. If you don’t like to read from a screen there are print shops on campus and near Uniloft where you can inexpensively have the articles/readings printed.  Any students taking the Thai art course should expect budget around $30-$50 USD to buy art supplies that you will need to use during the semester.


Suggested Packing List

PLEASE NOTE:  The packing list provided is a suggested list. Triple-check to ensure you have everything necessary!  The Education Abroad Network is not responsible for forgotten items.

Essentials to Pack
  • Passport/Visa
  • Arrival Instructions (to be supplied under separate cover)
  • Driver’s License (alternate form of ID)
  • Airline tickets and/or electronic confirmation numbers
  • Money (cash, debit/credit cards, etc.)
  • Photocopies of important documents
General Clothing Items
  • Basic clothing such as jeans/khakis/lightweight trousers, long skirts, pajamas, underwear, socks, shorts, and t-shirts. Flowy cotton clothing is recommended for optimum comfort in the heat. However there may be times where you will want to wear jeans.
  • Jacket/warm top for nights outside of Chiang Mai / Light layers for cooler nights in Chiang Mai
  • Lightweight scarf or shawl (good for nights and good for covering up at temples)
  • Hat (to protect from sun – these are also inexpensive and readily available in-country)
  • Bathing suit (two-piece for girls is okay in the islands, but it’s recommended to get a one-piece if you plan to use the pool at uniloft)
Shoes
  • Comfortable walking shoes:  tennis shoes, shoes for hiking (lace-up shoes), etc.
  • Close-toed black shoes for school (flats, TOMS, etc. – no sneakers)
  • 1-2 pairs of sturdy sandals that are comfortable for walking
  • Flip-flops
Clothes for temple visits and when travelling outside of the city

Loose fitting pants or skirts that cover the knees, and tops that cover your shoulders. Note that leggings are not suitable attire for the rural Thailand and temples.

Clothes for volunteering/interning (if relevant)

Skirts/dresses below the knee, neck lines should be high (no sheer material), shirts, blouses, tops that have a collar, full length smart pants for men and women, closed shoes for men and women

Toiletries/Cosmetics
  • Sun screen  and bug spray (may also be purchased after arrival)
  • Feminine hygiene products (tampons with applicators are not easy to find)
  • Shampoo, conditioner, hair products, etc. can be purchased after arrival and will save you space in your suitcase. Thailand carries popular Western brands such as Pantene, Dove, Herbal Essences, etc. and also have Western supermarkets where you can purchase Salon-brand items if you really need them.
  • Contact lenses (extended wear if possible) and solution
  • Glasses:  prescription (if necessary) and sunglasses
  • Prescription medicine (bring note/proof from doctor)
Accessories / Electronics
  • Towel (towels can be purchased upon arrival if you want to save space in luggage)
  • Smaller backpack for books/site travel
  • Reusable water bottle (The cheapest way to get drinking water is to refill bottles at the water machines in the Uniloft buidlings.)
  • Camera and memory card (or film) + battery charger or extra batteries
  • iPod or MP3 player
  • Compact travel alarm clock
Miscellaneous
  • Fax, phone numbers, email addresses of people with whom you wish to keep in contact
  • Extra passport photos (often needed for travel to other SE Asian countries)
  • You are provided with a fitted sheet, comforter, pillow and pillow case. But Thai people don’t really use a top sheet. If that’s important then bring one from home as they are surprisingly expensive in Thailand.
If studying abroad during the rainy season (mostly summer and fall students)
  • Raincoat with a hood or waterproof Gore-tex jacket OR just buy a poncho for around a $1 at any convenience store in Chiang Mai
  • Rain resistant shoes (if owned)
  • Umbrella
Thailand/Cambodia students
  • A few extra pairs of pants or long skirts for class in Cambodia is recommended.
  • US dollars (small bills are useful in Cambodia and used quite frequently. ATMs in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap will dispense funds in US dollars)
Thailand/Vietnam students
  • A few extra pairs of pants or long skirts for class in Vietnam is recommended.
  • US dollars (small bills can be useful at times) but you will typically use Vietnamese Dong.
Former Participant Recommendations
  • Asian sizes run smaller, so bring comfortable, lounge-type clothes and clothes to go out at night in.
  • If you have any favorite foods that you can’t live without, bring a small supply. Again, more room for souvenirs!
  • Although books, movies, CDs are readily available, you may want a book or two for your arrival.
  • Gifts for locals that you encounter on excursions – postcards, jelly beans, little chocolates, key chains, shirts (small size)
  • Medications – Ibuprofen, stomach medications, cold medications, and if you are prone to iron deficiency, perhaps consider bringing some supplements for your iron supply.
  • Bring a back up credit or debit card that can be left in your dorm.  Just incase your main card is lost/stolen you will still have easy access to your funds.
Notes
  • Medications : most medications you would use at home are readily available over the counter at pharmacies in Thailand. You can purchase ibuprofen, tylenol, nausea medicine, cold medicine, and even antibiotics without a prescription from a licensed pharmacist.
  • Clothing : please keep in mind that Thailand is more conservative than the United States. It is important to dress appropriate to the culture as well as the climate. We recommend loose, flowy clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. You can wear shorts and tank tops (so long as they are modest) out and about in Chiang Mai, but not at temples and not during the village homestay or academic excursions. Observe the behavior of those around you and you will pick up on what’s appropriate and what’s not appropriate to wear in certain settings. You will also be able to purchase inexpensive lightweight, loose-fitting comfortable clothing at  markets all throughout Thailand (think: flowy elephant pants)
  • Adaptors/converters : electric outlets in Thailand are the same as those used in the US, so no need to bring adaptors. If you plan to travel to other countries in SE Asia, it’s advised that you research whether or not you’ll need an adaptor there. These can be purchased while you’re in Thailand. Converters are recommended for larger electronics such as hair dryers or computer chargers.

Baggage Restrictions

International Flight to Thailand: Most airlines allow all passengers two checked items, one carry-on and one personal item.  Please contact your air carrier for their current baggage restrictions (including dimensions and weight) and fees for additional checked items.  If you will exceed your air carrier’s baggage restrictions, it is generally more economical, safer and easier to pay the airlines for additional checked baggage versus shipping items to Thailand.

Internal Flights within Thailand: If you booked your flight to Chiang Mai separately from your international flight to Bangkok, you will have to follow domestic baggage allowances and pay for additional weight/bags. Please check with your carrier so you can have the right amount of funds available for this extra fee. And to help alleviate the extra charges, pack light!!!

Carry On

While there is little chance of this happening, if you plan on the airline losing your baggage for at least 24 – 48 hours you will be prepared and avoid extra inconvenience.  Pack travel sized toiletries (no more than 3 bottles 3oz or less in a clear bag), medication and change of clothes in your carry-on.  This will more than likely not happen, but if it does you will be ready. 

Thailand/Cambodia and Thailand/Vietnam Students:

Transfer to Cambodia or Vietnam: When flights are booked, students will likely have a limit of 20kg of baggage. It will be necessary for students to pay airline overage charges upon check-in at the airport. Just like travel within North America, these charges can be considerable so pack wisely!

Culture Tips

Culture Tips

You will find the people of Southeast Asia to be some of the most accommodating and friendly in the world. To reciprocate their kindness, make sure to follow these basic cultural tips!

Thailand

  • The Thai greeting is a wai. Gently bow your head and bring your hands together in a prayer like gesture.  Always wai an elder or someone in position of respect.
  • The feet are considered dirty and should not be pointed directly at people or raised and shoes are never worn inside. The bottom of the feet should not be shown and one should not tap feet or fidget with legs.
  • Raise your hand to get someone’s attention, never point with a finger.
  • Avoid public displays of affection and never show anger or emotions.
  • The head is sanctified, so avoid touching others on the head.
  • Thai people appreciate clean and neatly presented visitors, especially in formal or public places.
  • Your head is high and your feet are low, it is polite to gently crouch down when passing someone who is seated and never step over someone in your path.
  • Please never shout or raise your voice.
  • Before you take a photo of someone ask if it is okay.
  • Please do not distribute gifts to children as it encourages begging, but give to an established organization or village elders instead.
  • Respect the monarchy at all times – never ever joke about the King (a Swedish tourist was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in jail after making remarks about the king a few years ago, and was actually incarcerated, and may still be incarcerated).
  • Females especially should be certain to cover their shoulders when visiting temples or similar.
  • Monks are prohibited to touch females. As a precaution when walking by a monk it is best to give a wide berth, to avoid accidentally touching.

Visiting a Temple

Since Thailand is a very relaxed country, many tourists seem surprised when they visit a temple and realize there are strict rules. Please respect the Thai buddhist culture and follow these etiquette tips.

  • Dress appropriately – For men that means no short shorts or tank tops. Shorts to the knees are mostly fine. Women should wear a skirt or loose fitting pants longer than the knees. Shirts must also have sleeves, no tank tops.
  • Keep the noise down
  • Remove shoes when entering temple buildings – You will see a shoe rack and other shoes to indicate where you need to take off your shoes.
  • Sit with feet pointing away from the Buddha statues and never point at Buddha images or monks.
  • Most parts of a temple are open to the public but sometimes women aren’t allowed in certain shrine buildings. There will be a sign outside of the building saying so.

Cambodia

  • The traditional way of greeting locals is called satu. Bow your head and bring your hands together at chest level as if you were praying.
  • Dress Appropriately – while shorts and sleeveless shirts may be acceptable for urban centers and the beach, the majority of Cambodians do not leave the house with their legs and shoulders uncovered. Cover up when you visit temples, schools, and rural communities. It is a good idea to always carry a sleeved top just in case you need to cover your shoulders.
  • Be discreet when showing affection to loved ones, especially with members of the opposite sex. Public displays of affection are often seen as embarrassing and can make some Cambodians uncomfortable. While it is not uncommon to see Khmer men with their arms around each other or young women walking hand in hand, it is extremely rare to see males and females showing these same affections in public.
  • Remain calm and polite if you encounter a communication barrier with local people, especially people in uniform. Raising your voice or getting angry is never helpful.
  • Resist the temptation to pat children on the head and never touch an adult there—the head is considered the most sacred part of the body.
  • Don’t point or touch anything with your feet, as this is considered quite rude. Similarly, do not cross your legs in the presence of monks or elderly people. Place your legs beneath your body or on the side.
  • Take off your shoes before entering a temple or a private house, and even some guest houses.
  • When you give a gift, use both hands and don’t be offended if they don’t open it right away. Gifts are to be opened in private.
  • Don’t touch monks or the robes of monks. This is especially true for females as it is strictly taboo.
  • Treat Buddha statues with respect and dress properly when entering a wat (temple). Cover shoulders with a t-shirt or a sarong. Avoid shorts and short skirts.
  • Always ask before taking someone’s photo.
  • Respect images of the King of Cambodia

Vietnam

  • Respecting elders is an important part of Vietnamese society. Elderly people have the right of way and are afforded privileges to show respect.
  • Always take your shoes off when entering a Vietnamese home.
  • Public affection is not widely accepted. When meeting someone of the opposite sex in Vietnam, a handshake is the standard greeting.
  • If invited to a Vietnamese home, bring a small gift wrapped in colorful paper (incense, fruit, flowers, or candy). Do not bring anything black, handkerchiefs, yellow flowers or chrysanthemums, as these are associated with death.
  • At dinner, the eldest member of the family should begin eating before you do. You may find that your hosts will put food into your rice bowl as an act of hospitality. Try to finish the food that is served to you.
  • Pass items (including business cards) with both hands.
  • As in Thailand, the head is considered sacred and should not be touched.
  • When you give a gift, use both hands and don’t be offended if they don’t open it right away. Gifts are to be opened in private.
  • Try to avoid standing with your hands on your hips or arms crossed over your chest as this can be interpreted as anger or a threat. Similarly, indirect eye contact is common in Vietnam as looking someone straight in the eye can be seen as aggressive behavior.

Arrival

Thailand Arrival

Arrival in Chiang Mai

For students entering on a student visa, when you arrive in Thailand, make sure that the Immigration officer in Chiang Mai sees your non-immigrant visa and stamps 90 days in your passport and not 30 days. It sometimes happens if the Immigration Officer overlooks your student visa.

Airport pick-up

Specific arrival details will be provided prior to your departure.

Contact Information

Prior to your departure your Program Manager will provide you with contact details for all key TEAN personnel, including your Resident Director, as well as information on your local embassy and emergency contacts.

Orientation

SUMMER PROGRAM ORIENTATION

Upon arrival you will be transported to your accommodation for the summer. You will be introduced to Chiang Mai with a one-day Orientation program where you will meet TEAN’s local support staff who are available 24/7, and ISEAA staff who will provide your academic orientation.


Semester program Orientation

Upon arrival in Thailand, you will be introduced to this vibrant and engaging culture through our three-day in-country Chiang Mai-based Orientation Program. Under the expert guidance of our Thai staff, you will experience a sensory overload as you visit a local market, try your first tastes of Thailand’s diverse culinary offerings, and spend a day with Thailand majestic elephants.

Your university orientation is held the day after the TEAN Orientation ends. This orientation is mandatory. Topics discussed may include cultural tips, security, and academic enrollment/expectations.  Although there may be some overlap, your university orientation will touch on specific details related to the program.

Communicating While Abroad

Cell Phones

Students are required to bring an unlocked cell phone with them to Thailand. Please verify with your U.S. cell phone provider that your phone is unlocked at least two weeks prior to your departure. If you are unable to unlock your current cell phone, please bring an old phone that is unlocked.

Included with the TEAN program fee for Southeast Asia participants is a SIM card with initial credits. Students are then responsible for topping up their phone credit during the semester once initial credits are used. The cell phone plans in Southeast Asia are typically less expensive than what we are used to paying in the U.S. We need to be able to contact all students in an emergency situation so it is very important that you bring the unlocked cell phone with you or you will be required to purchase a working phone after you arrive in Thailand, which can be quite expensive.

Skype

  • Computer to Computer- Skype is a software program that is free to download and use. It allows users anywhere in the world to call each other for free, provided both parties have downloaded the software. TEAN currently uses Skype to communicate with staff around the globe. Visit the Skype website.
  • To Mobile Devices- For a small fee, the same program can be used to call mobile devices and regular landline phones. For more information on packages visit their website.

Internet Services

  • Internet service is provided within Uniloft – your accommodation in Chiang Mai.
  • Upon arrival, it may take same time to set up personal computers to wireless networks, patience is requested.
  • Internet in Southeast Asia is slower than that of the United States. Please be patient!

Finances While Abroad

Finances Abroad

Bringing US Currency to Thailand

We do not recommend bringing large amounts of cash with you for security and safety reasons.  However, you may wish to bring a small amount of foreign currency for any initial personal expense needs.  Most major banks in large U.S. cities have foreign currency in stock, but smaller, regional banks may be able to order Southeast Asian currencies.  Therefore, do not wait until the last minute to place your order.  Alternatively, you can exchange money at airport before you depart for the overseas flight.  This is slightly more expensive than using a local bank (1%-2% higher fees), but much more convenient.

Money Access in Thailand

Opening a Thai Bank Account:

Unfortunately as of 2016 it is not possible to open a bank account in Thailand as a foreigner unless you have a 12-month visa. For this reason we recommend opening a Charles Schwab bank account before departing the U.S. if you are staying in Thailand for longer than a one-month program. See below for more details.

Using a U.S. Bank Account:

You can avoid paying ATM fees by opening a Charles Schwab account because they refund all ATM domestic and foreign transaction fees worldwide and it is free to open an account.  They never charge a fee but if the foreign bank does then Charles Schwab refunds the cost at the end of each month.  Accounts can be opened online.  It is always good to check your local bank’s policy as well.

It usually takes 7-10 days for Charles Schwab to mail the actual ATM card (so don’t wait until the last minute to open an account). All transactions can be done online (including funding the account from another bank account you have in the US).

If you plan to withdraw money from an ATM using your regular U.S. card, ensure you notify your bank that you will be accessing money in Thailand before you leave the U.S. ATMs can be found absolutely everywhere, however note that most Thai bank ATMs charge 200-220THB per withdrawal. When you consider that a local Thai meal costs around 50THB, then that’s four meals in a bank charge. This is why you’ll see most popular American travel bloggers recommend using a Charles Schwab bank account for travel to avoid these fees.

U.S. Credit card:

We recommend that you have a credit card for your time in Southeast Asia and not just a debit card. Even if you just bring it for emergencies.

Thailand/Cambodia or Thailand/Vietnam Students:

As there are no Southeast Asian banks that have branches easily accessible in both Thailand and Cambodia or Thailand and Vietnam, we believe your best approach is to open a free account with Charles Schwab bank. This would make it convenient for you to withdraw cash in Thailand and Cambodia without being charged both local and US bank surcharges on using ATMs overseas.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Southeast Asia is considerably lower than that of the United States and thus day-to-day expenses will be less for most students. However, as students are in one of the best regions in the world to travel, participants may find themselves booking regional airfares and optional excursions at additional expense.