One thing I realized while living in Thailand was how important it is to take … Read more
Thailand / Cambodia Semester
For students who wish to experience more of Southeast Asia, the South East Asia Comparative Semester (SEACS) doesn’t disappoint. From the green hills of Northern Thailand, to the bustling streets of Cambodia’s Phnom Penh, to the majestic ruins of Angkor outside of Siem Reap, this study abroad program splits time amongst both fascinating countries. After gaining a better understanding of the region during two months in Chiang Mai, Thailand, the program continues to Cambodia where coursework emphasizes the recent history of the country, while also bringing students face-to-face with dynamic Khmer civilization.
Obtain a unique perspective on the region, including its history, traditions and prospects for the future, by living and studying for two months in Thailand and two months in Cambodia through a partnership between the Institute of Southeast Asian Affairs (ISEAA) at Chiang Mai University and Pañña-sa-stra University of Cambodia (PUC)
Study on a local university campus in both locations surrounded by local students, yet feel the course content really come to life with field trips planned throughout the program, including an excursion to the majestic Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world
Participate in TEAN’s comprehensive three-day Orientation upon arrival in Chiang Mai, 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. An additional Orientation will be held in Cambodia by program staff
Benefit from TEAN’s Thailand and Cambodia-based staff who meet with you regularly for meals and further cultural activities
Study at the top regional university in Thailand and the English-speaking campus of Pañña-sa-stra University of Cambodia (PUC) meeting with the country’s academic elite and future leaders
Spend a weekend in the tropical south soaking up the sun, boating and experiencing the exotic Thai islands everyone raves about
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!
Additionally, upon arrival in Phnom Penh, ISEAA and TEAN staff will provide an Orientation to the city and university introducing you to ISEAA Cambodia alumni to jumpstart your in-country network.
In Chiang Mai you’ll 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 or Cambodian 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.
In Phnom Penh you have the option of an immersion experience by living with a homestay family, or more independent guesthouse living with other TEAN students.
Upon arrival in both Thailand and Cambodia, you will be met by our on-site Resident Directors who will provide assistance throughout your time in the countries. Through informal meals held together and excursions, our staff is readily available and able to assist you with any academic, social, or cultural questions or issues that you may face during your time abroad.
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
- Students split their time between Chiang Mai, Thailand and Phnom Penh, Cambodia in this Southeast Asia Studies Comparative Semester (SEACS) program.
- In Thailand, 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
- Nestled at the foot of Suthep Mountain, just minutes from Chiang Mai’s city center, Chiang Mai University is surrounded by an eclectic student-focused hub of affordable hip cafés, street food and night markets.
- Through a partnership between ISEAA and Pañña-sa-stra University of Cambodia (PUC), students continue their studies through ISEAA- based instruction on the Phnom Penh campus of Pañña-sa-stra University.
- PUC is based in the busy city center of this quickly developing capital just a few minutes walk from the Independence Monument, considered the heart of the city.
All students take a 3-credit Thai language course and a 3-credit Khmer language course. While for most students these will be the introductory language courses, students who have some proficiency will be placed in a course at the appropriate level .
Thai Language 1 (3-credits)
This course focuses on spoken and aural Thai language competency as it relates to daily life.
Taught in the first half of the semester while in Thailand.
Khmer Language 1 (3-credits)
Taught in the second half of the semester while in Cambodia.
Cambodia: History, Politics and Development (3-credits)
Taught in the second half of the semester while in Cambodia.
Students must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 credits. In addition to the above three courses, students must select a minimum of another three credits from the below list.
Buddhism in Thai Society (3 credits)
International Relations of Mainland Southeast Asia (3 credits)
Rights and Activism in SE Asia: LGBTQ, Sex Workers and Trafficking (3 credits)
For detailed course information refer to Step 2 – Get Schooled – of our 6 easy steps to studying abroad under Already Applied.
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 Chiang Mai University staff, 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.
Siem Reap / Angkor Wat, Cambodia
In Cambodia, students travel to Siem Reap and its famous Buddhist temple complex, Angkor Wat – the largest religious monument in the world and one of the most important archaeological sites of Southeast Asia.
These excursions are not just trips, they bring the content of your academic courses to life.
Activities / Immersion
Our local staff arrange various activities during the semester designed to help immerse you in the local culture. In addition, at least once a month in Thailand the group meets up to explore Thai culture through the delicious cuisine with TEAN dinners. In Phnom Penh, you meet weekly for a dinner with the TEAN Resident Director. 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.
Cambodian Traditional performance
Experience a traditional Cambodian performance one evening at Cambodian Living Arts. This organization is focused on reviving Cambodia’s arts and culture that was wiped out by the Khmer Rouge.
Thailand Southern Islands Excursion
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 from Chiang Mai 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.
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 1|
|Fall Deadline||May 15|
|Application Deadline||Oct 1|
|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|
|TEAN Krabi/Southern Islands Excursion*||Mar 2||Mar 4|
|Thai Cooking Class (all day)*||Mar 10|
|Travel to Cambodia||Mar 18|
|Classes Begin in Cambodia||Mar 19|
|Semester Break||Apr 7||Apr 22|
|Siem Reap / Angkor Wat field trip*||TBA|
|Program Ends||May 19|
All above excursions/trips are included in the program fee.
*Dates are tentative. Accepted students will be notified of confirmed dates for field trips and excursions.
|Application Deadline||May 15|
|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|
|Travel to Cambodia||Oct 29|
|Classes Begin in Cambodia||Oct 30|
|Siem Reap / Angkor Wat field trip*||Dec 9||Dec 11|
|Program Ends||Dec 16|
*Dates are tentative. Enrolled students will be notified of confirmed dates for field trips and excursions.
Fees & Inclusions
- Tuition & Services: $7,380
- Housing: $1,320
- Tuition & Services: $7,380
- Housing: $1,320
- Full Tuition
- Guaranteed pre-arranged, off-campus student housing in Chiang Mai
- Guaranteed pre-arranged housing in a guesthouse or home-stay in Phnom Penh
- Overseas health insurance, plus evacuation and repatriation insurance
- Services of local Resident Directors in Thailand and Cambodia
- Three-day TEAN Orientation Program with all meals, excursions, accommodations and transportation in Chiang Mai
- Thailand’s Southern Islands Excursion
- One-day Orientation with meals, excursions and transportation in Phnom Penh
- Cultural events and group meals scheduled throughout the semester
- Wireless internet access in housing
- Local SIM card provided upon arrival in Thailand and Cambodia with initial credit (student to bring an unlocked phone)
- Five-day Thai village home stay
- Siem Reap / Angkor Wat multi-day academic excursion
- All course readings provided as pdfs
- Flight from Bangkok, Thailand to Phnom Penh, Cambodia
- 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 and in Phnom Penh
- Farewell Dinner at conclusion of program
- A truly one of a kind adventure!
What’s Not Included
- International airfare ($1,200 – 1,800)
- Student visa ($150)
- Electricity for housing when in Thailand ($100, but depends on usage)
- Meals during the semester ($700)
- Local transportation ($100)
- School uniform for Thailand ($30)
- Transfers to airports at the end of program in each country ($20 total)
*Numbers are estimated based on previous student experience and budget. Actual amounts will vary depending on student.
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.
"Studying abroad in Thailand and Cambodia has definitely shaped my undergraduate career."
"TEAN gave me the perfect amount of support and freedom to learn, explore, and experience Southeast Asia. "
We Love Southeast Asia
Resident Director - Cambodia
Phnom Penh Tip
The Russian market has some great shopping, but also some delicious food. Try the Banh Xeo (“ban chow”)- a savory crepe filled with fried pork and veggies, or the Lort Cha- short fat noodles fried with meat (or no meat) and topped with a fried egg.
Phnom Penh Tip
Best Study Spot
Brown cafe has great coffee and is popular with Cambodians, expats, and tourists. There’s a new branch located right by the university. It’s a bit noisy though so if you like somewhere a little more quiet, check out Artillery, located in a quaint little alleyway near the Royal Palace.
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.
Phnom Penh Tip
If you only have a day, go for a bike ride on Silk Island, it’s only 30 minutes away from town. If you have a weekend, take a van to Kampot, a beautiful riverside town where you can kayak, bicycle, and just hang out by the water.
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.