Immerse yourself in Thai culture with this study abroad program based in Chiang Mai focusing on Thailand- and Southeast Asia-related studies including Buddhism, international relations, political science, history and art. Known as Thailand’s cultural capital, Chiang Mai is a major hub for students who appreciate its awesome beauty and affordable cost of living. With Thai language courses, a homestay in a rural Thai village and the support of Thai student buddies, students fully integrate into the local university life and receive a deeply engaging experience unlike any other.


Take courses through the Institute of Southeast Asia Affairs, based at the top university in Chiang Mai, where you'll be surrounded by local students and benefit from mixing with the country’s academic elite and future leaders

Live 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

Feel the course content come to life with field trips planned throughout the program, including a multi-day excursion to the Golden Triangle

Participate in TEAN’s comprehensive Orientation Excursion Program upon arrival, including a day with Southeast Asia’s majestic elephants, cultural activities and informative sessions designed to help you feel adjusted and ready to jump into your semester in Southeast Asia

Experience how the majority of Thai people live with a five-day homestay experience in a rural village

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

Live off campus in modern student apartments surrounded by Thai students, a five-minute walk from campus

Spend a weekend in the tropical south soaking up the sun, boating and experiencing the exotic Thai islands everyone raves about

Program Details

Orientation excursion

Be introduced to this vibrant and engaging country with our extensive three-day Orientation Excursion in Thailand. Combining informative academic sessions with introductory cultural experiences, each activity helps students ease into their semester abroad. Over the three days, 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 your accommodation, where you will meet up with other TEAN students. Over the next three days, experience sensory overload as you visit a local market, enjoy your first tastes of Thailand’s culinary offerings, visit historic Buddhist temples 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!


Experience  living within an international community at a modern student apartment complex. Each TEAN student has their own bedroom and shares a small common living area with a roommate. Most participants room with other TEAN students however those interested can apply to live with a Thai student for an even deeper cultural connection. (All TEAN participants will have a chance to connect with their local Thai peers through casual hosted events and outings during the semester.)

Just a five-minute walk to campus, each apartment has built-in furniture, a walk-in closet, refrigerator, air conditioner, TV, bathroom and WiFi. 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.


All TEAN participants will have the opportunity to meet with local Thai students, or “buddies”, through fun events and and activities organized by TEAN at the beginning of the program. During the first few weeks of semester your Thai buddies will introduce you to the local area and Chiang Mai from a student perspective. These students are keen to spend time getting to know you and often become great friends as you learn to live in their country and culture.


About the Academic Program

  • 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.
  • Chiang Mai University was founded in 1964 as Northern Thailand’s first institution of higher education and is now home to approximately 36,000 students. The 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.
  • 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. Students can travel from the university entrance gates to class on the free university shuttle.



Compulsory Thai Language Course

  • Thai Language 1 (3 credits)

All students take a 3-credit Thai language course. While for most students this is the introductory ‘Thai Language 1’ course, students who have some proficiency will be placed in a course at the appropriate level . Thai Language 1 focuses on spoken and aural Thai language competency as it relates to daily life.

Elective Courses

In addition to the required language course, you will select from the below elective courses. While students can take up to 18 credits we recommend enrolling in no more than 12- 15 credits so that you have time to fully experience the local culture.

  • Buddhism in Thai Society (3 credits)
  • The Philosophy and Development of Empire, Imperialism and Colonialism in Southeast Asia (3 credits)
  • Thailand: Modern Art & Culture (3 credits)
  • International Relations of Mainland Southeast Asia (3 credits)
  • The Government and Politics of Thailand (3 credits)
  • Public Health in Southeast Asia (3 credits)
  • Introduction to Thai Dance (3 credits)
  • Rights and Activism in SE Asia: LGBTQ, Sex Workers and Trafficking (3 credits)
  • Thai Language 2 (3 credits)
    This course introduces students to the Thai language writing system and basic reading.

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

Field Trips

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.


The four-day Golden Triangle excursion takes in the Chiang Rai province, stopping at the famous White Temple, as well as the ever-changing and politically charged Golden Triangle area, where Burma, Laos and Thailand meet. The excursion includes visits to relevant historical and religious sites, as well as providing otherwise restricted access to NGOs working in the region. Past meetings have included discussions with organizations working on issues related to sex trafficking in the Golden Triangle and meeting with a group dedicated to hill tribe cultures. This excursion is not just a trip, it brings the content of your academic courses to life.

In addition to the above multi-day field trips students will also take half-day and full-day field trips throughout Chiang Mai for most classes.

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 the group meets up to explore Thai culture through the delicious cuisine. 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.

Chiang Mai FC Football Match

Attending a popular local sporting match provides great insight into a culture and Thailand is no different. We support the local football team by joining one of the cheer squads, dancing and chanting along to the beat of the drums!

Thailand Southern Islands Excursion


A stay in Thailand wouldn’t be complete without visiting the country’s stunning tropical islands. While studying in Chiang Mai, spend one weekend 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.

The weekend includes your flight to Krabi, accommodation, island excursions, special group meals and more. Get ready for your island getaway!



  • 2.5 GPA. Students with a 2.35-2.5 are encouraged to apply and may be admitted on a case-by-case basis.
  • Minimum sophomore standing at a two-year or four-year institution at the time of participation.

Program Dates

Application Deadlines

TEAN has a rolling admissions process. We recommend submitting your application anytime from June for Spring applications, and from January for Fall applications. Late applications may be considered. Contact TEAN if the application deadline has passed.

Spring Deadline Oct 15
Fall Deadline June 1

spring 2018

Application Deadline Oct 15
Arrive in Chiang Mai Jan 10
TEAN Orientation Jan 11 Jan 12
Elephant Nature Park Visit Jan 13
University Orientation Jan 14
Thai Village Homestay Jan 15 Jan 19
Classes Begin Jan 22
Doi Inthanon Day Trip* Feb 3
Golden Triangle Field Trip* Feb 21 Feb 24
TEAN Krabi / Southern Islands Excursion* March 2 March 4
Semester Break April 7 April 22
Thai Cooking Class (all day)* May 5
Classes End May 11
Exam Period May 14 May 18
Program Ends May 19

*Dates are tentative. These excursions are included. Accepted students will be notified of confirmed dates for field trips and excursions.

fall 2017

Application Deadline June 20
Arrive in Chiang Mai Aug 9
TEAN Orientation Aug 10 Aug 12
University Orientation Aug 13
Thai Village Homestay Aug 14 Aug 18
Classes Begin Aug 21
Golden Triangle Field Trip* Sept 13 Sept 16
Semester Break Oct 14 Oct 29
TEAN Krabi / Southern Islands Excursion* Oct 14 Oct 16
Classes End Dec 8
Exam Period Dec 11 Dec 15
Program Ends Dec 16

*Dates are tentative. Excursions are included. Accepted students will be notified of confirmed dates for field trips and excursions.

Fees & Inclusions

Spring 2018

  • Tuition & Services: $6,970
  • Housing: $985

Fall 2017

  • Tuition & Services: $6,970
  • Housing: $985

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 in Thailand
  • Three-day TEAN Orientation Program with meals, excursions and transportation
  • Cultural events and group meals scheduled throughout the semester
  • Thailand Southern Islands Weekend Excursion
  • Wireless internet access in housing
  • Local SIM card provided upon arrival with initial credit (student to bring an unlocked phone)
  • Five-day Thai village home stay
  • Golden Triangle multi-day academic excursion
  • All course readings provided as pdfs
  • 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 accommodation in Chiang Mai
  • Chiang Mai Farewell Dinner at conclusion of program
  • A truly one of a kind adventure!

What’s Not Included

  • International airfare ($1,000 – 1,800)
  • Student visa ($200)
  • Electricity in housing (estimated $200, but depends on usage)
  • Meals during the semester ($700)
  • Local transportation ($100)
  • School uniform ($30)
  • Transfer to airport at end of program ($7)

*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, including a full ride scholarship for a Fall or Summer program. Refer to our Scholarships information for details.


A stay in Thailand wouldn’t be complete without visiting the country’s stunning tropical islands. All semester students spend an included weekend staying in beautiful Krabi, and exploring the islands of the Andaman Sea.

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Students Say
"In my Buddhism class I was able to visit a number of temples, attempt meditation, and talk to various monks throughout Chiang Mai. It was such an amazing hands on experience."
Libby Maine, Xavier University

We Love Chiang Mai

Brynne Shannon

Assistant Program Manager

Chiang Mai Tip
Buak Hard Public Park

For those who are in search of greenery amongst the bustling city vibes, head to Buak Hard Public Park to get your fix. Located on the southwest corner of the Old City, the park is a perfect place to relax under a tree with a book or string up a hammock with some friends near the pond. There is a path that circles around its perimeter where exercise enthusiasts can be found breaking a sweat and lots of street food vendors for those looking for a delicious snack or two!


Where did you study abroad?
I studied abroad in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with TEAN. I wanted to go as far away as I could and experience something totally different than what I had grown up with. I had always been drawn to Asia, and after some research I decided that Thailand was the perfect place for me. I also lived in Lampang, Thailand upon graduating and I’ve traveled to Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia and Indonesia.

What inspired you to teach abroad?
I came back from my semester abroad feeling like my time in Thailand wasn’t finished. I knew I wanted to go back to Thailand after I graduated and the more I spoke to people who had taught English abroad the more I knew it was a good fit for me. I wanted to challenge myself and have an even more culturally immersive experience the second go around, and I also wanted to give something back to a country I fell in love with while studying abroad since it had given so much to me.

What makes Thailand a great place to study abroad?
Thailand is great because it forces students to step out of their comfort zone and learn more about the world and themselves as individuals. Not only are you experiencing a new culture, but you’re learning a new language, alphabet, cuisine, social norms, interactions, ways of life, etc. It seriously puts things into perspective. Thai people are some of the kindest and welcoming people you will ever meet – hands down. They make the experience so special and you can learn so much from them. Living in Thailand teaches you to slow down and enjoy what’s happening in the now and be thankful for what you have and who’s around you.

What should be on every student’s bucket list for a study abroad semester in Thailand?
A hike up to Wat Palad. This temple is on the way to the more famous Wat Doi Suthep, which sits on top of a mountain, but Wat Palad is tucked away in the forest surrounded by trees and a rushing waterfall during the rainy season. Students can hike up to the temple from their housing or hire a songteow to take them up the mountain. It is one of my favorite places in the world because of how quiet and serene it is. To me, it captures the essence of what Buddhism is all about. You can sit on the rocks and dip your toes in the waterfall while looking out at the spectacular view of the city that peeks out between the trees.

What is your favorite travel quote?
It’s not necessarily a travel quote, but one of my favorite Thai expressions I learned was “mai long, mai rue” which means “If you never try, you never know”. It inspired me to just say yes to everything and go for things even if I didn’t know what the outcome would be.

Zoe Shwidock

Resident Assistant - Chiang Mai

chiang mai tip
Warorot Market

Some markets have clothes, others have fresh produce and grilled meat on sticks. Warorot Market has it all. Located near the Ping River and in an area known as Chiang Mai’s Chinatown, this vast market is the perfect place to wander around, practice your bargaining skills and try fruits and snacks you may have never seen before!   


What inspired you to return to Thailand after graduation?
I studied abroad with TEAN in Chiang Mai. When I returned to the U.S. after my semester abroad, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had only scratched the surface of what this region had to offer. After talking with a few close friends from TEAN and constantly saying “we have to go back” (very “Lost”-esque), we decided that after graduation we would come back out here – with very little plan – and see what unfolded.

What advice would you give to recent graduates thinking about moving abroad?
Do it. Moving abroad is, hands down, the best decision I have ever made. One of the biggest takeaways I had from my semester abroad was meeting so many people who had opted to quit their 9-5s and forge their own life plan. Hearing these people’s stories and witnessing firsthand how happy they were, just to be creating a life based on what they truly wanted, was the core inspiration that sparked the idea that moving abroad after graduation could become more than just a fantasy.

What should be on every student’s bucket list for a semester in Chiang Mai?
Number one, eating as much as you can. Chiang Mai is a hub of delicious and cheap food, just waiting to be discovered down each soi. Trying new and different dishes is a perfect way to dip your foot in the culture. Challenge yourself to step outside of the American student bubble and make friends with Thai students, with Cambodian and Vietnamese and Filipino students. If you’ve only got one semester to experience a whole different culture, I strongly believe that the number one thing on your bucket list should be making an effort, every single day, to step outside your comfort zone.

Often at TEAN Orientation we explain to students “It’s not wrong, it’s just different” – can you think of a time you learned the meaning of this favorite TEAN saying while abroad?
I find myself repeating that mantra often. When I first got off the plane up until this moment, the Asia Pacific region has empowered me to question the way I choose to perceive the world around me. For example, out here, the pace of life is exponentially slower. So when I get frustrated that my food is taking a long time to make because there is only one lady, sweating over one wok to fill the orders of all the patrons in the restaurant, I have to take a step back and breathe. When I get in a songthaew (one of Chiang Mai’s forms of public transportation) and it ends up taking me 20 minutes longer than expected because the driver stopped to pick up fried chicken from his family’s stand (and even bought us some to try as well), all I can do is smile and be grateful. Being able to wholeheartedly adopt the phrase “it’s not wrong, it’s just different,” is essential for living abroad – no matter where you are. I don’t choose to live here because I want to impose what I was raised to believe is the ‘right way’ to live. I choose to live here because I want those views to be challenged in order for me to gain a better understanding of the world.

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