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


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

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

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

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

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

Explore Thailand's stunning beaches and islands with an optional three-day excursion

Thailand Southern Islands Optional TRIP

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

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

Program Details


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


Experience  living within an international community at a modern student apartment complex. Each TEAN student has their own room 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 at the beginning of 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.


About the Academic Program

  • The program is based on the Chiang Mai University (CMU) campus. CMU 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.
  • TEAN students are hosted by the Institute of Southeast Asian Affairs (ISEAA) that is based at Chiang Mai University. ISEAA offers courses on the history, culture and society of Thailand and Southeast Asia. For students that require a U.S. college transcript, the ISEAA courses can be transcripted by Portland State University (PSU). All students will receive a grade report from the Institute of Southeast Asian Affairs.
  • 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 around campus on the free university shuttle.


summer 2017 Courses

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

To request syllabi for any of the below courses, complete this form and indicate the classes you need the syllabus for.

Module One

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

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

Module Two

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

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

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

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

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

3 credits. Duration: 3 weeks
A unique and historically connected form of Buddhism exists in mainland Southeast Asia. Called Theravada Buddhism, it has been a significant force in the culture and lifeways of Southeast Asian peoples. This course will first give a broad overview of the main beliefs and practices of Theravada Buddhism along with its establishment and development. The second part of the course will look in detail at the history and contemporary developments of Buddhism in each of the Southeast Asian countries where it is the religious majority: Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar. Along with Theravada Buddhism, this course will cover significant periods of history within these four countries and Southeast Asia in general. We will consider contemporary issues within these four countries relationship with Buddhism including social engagement, roles for women, and meditation practice.

D 195 THAI DANCE (Not available for 2017)
3 credits. Duration: 3 weeks
In this introductory course, students will approach and expand their dance technique via interdisciplinary methods and experience Thai arts, culture and history through the principal techniques and styles of Thai dance. The class will focus on dances from different regions, including Central, Northern, Eastern and Southern Thailand.

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

Module One & Two

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


Program Excursions

course related field trips

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Thailand Southern Islands Excursion

Thailand Southern Islands Optional Trip

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

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

Note that to participate in this excursion students must be enrolled in a Module One course.



  • 2.5 GPA
  • Students with lower GPAs may be accepted. Contact us for more information.

Program Dates


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

Summer 2017 dates

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

Fees & Inclusions

summer 2017

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

Module 1

Cultural Foundations of Thai Society
Course Price: $2,450

Migration and Refugees in Southeast Asia
Course Price: $2,300

Module 2

Thai Dance
Course Price: $2,300

Business in Southeast Asia
Course Price: $2,800

Human Rights in Southeast Asia
Course Price: $2,300 

Public Health in Southeast Asia
Course Price: $2,800

A Laboratory for Empire: Colonial Southeast Asia
Course Price: $2,450

Southeast Asian Art: Power, Merit and Religion
Course Price: $2,300

Buddhism in Southeast Asia
Course Price: $2,300

Module 1 and 2

Thai Language (Taken in addition to another Module 1 & 2 course)
Course Price: $650

What’s Included

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

What’s Not Included

  • Airfares (approx $1,200 – 1,800)
  • Electricity in housing (approx $40/module)
  • Meals (approx $100/module)
  • School uniform (approx $30)
  • Local transportation in Chiang Mai (approx $15/module)
  • The ISEAA grade report is included. If you need a U.S. college transcript, one can be provided through Portland State University for $150.
  • The Thailand Southern Islands excursion is an optional excursion. Approximate cost US$390.


TEAN Scholarships

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

We Love Chiang Mai

Pongsdhorn (Kai) Lertsukon

Resident Director - Thailand

Wat Phalad Hike

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

Lauren Gabell

Marketing Director

Chiang Mai TIP
Chiang Mai Gate Street Food

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


What is your role? Tell us a little about what you do at TEAN?
My role at TEAN is a mix of marketing and in-country responsibilities since I am based in the Asia Pacific region. I oversee and help implement TEAN’s marketing strategy – everything from social media to print brochures – and since I am currently based in Chiang Mai, Thailand, I oversee our Thailand program welcoming students while they’re here. I also help with our programs in other countries in the region as needed.

Tell us about your experience traveling and living in Asia Pacific?
I was born and raised in Australia, studied abroad in the U.S. and now live in Thailand. I have spent time working and travelling in New Zealand, China and throughout Southeast Asia including Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar and Singapore. Australia is an easygoing country to live where people work hard, but also play hard, with an active outdoorsy lifestyle year round. The natural beauty of New Zealand astounds me with every visit. But it’s the beautiful culture of northern Thailand that has kept me in Chiang Mai since 2012.

What has been some of the highlights to date during your time living in Chiang Mai?
Being a naturally inquisitive person with a career in international education, I developed a restlessness to live somewhere with a culture that was different to my own. Northern Thai culture is completely different. Even after living here for a number of years, I experience or see something that challenges me and/or satiates my sense of curiosity every day. I feel I have learned more life lessons in my few years in Chiang Mai than I did in my previous 30-something years in Australia and am grateful to live in a place that continues to inspire and challenge me – instead of being stuck in a predictable routine – every day is still an adventure!

What should every student not leave Chiang Mai without doing?
Most people will work through a bucket list of experiences that goes with exploring a new place (and you can find some of these in my 10 Free Things to Do in Chiang Mai blog post). But the best experiences that everyone looks back on are rarely the items you’ve checked off your list. It’s the everyday interactions with your favorite fruit smoothie vendor and the surprising conversations you have with your new Thai friends, when you realize that fundamentally we are much more similar than we are different, that will stand out in your memory.

What resources are available at TEAN to students who are unsure of where they want to study abroad?
TEAN staff have a lot of experience living throughout Asia Pacific and will take the time to answer your questions. We all want students to make decisions they are comfortable and satisfied with so you won’t find anyone at TEAN giving you a hard sell. We want happy students on our programs who made the right decision for them! In addition to staff, TEAN’s Global Ambassadors are TEAN alumni willing to answer your questions. You can also get a very visual idea of the experience abroad by looking at TEAN’s Instagram account featuring student photos from all our locations.

From the Blog