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


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

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

Study on campus in both locations, surrounded by local students, and feel the course content come to life with field trips planned throughout the program, including excursions to the Golden Triangle where Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet, and the Mekong Delta in Vietnam.

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

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

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

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

Program Details


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!

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


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 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.

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

Thailand’s 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 all flights, transportation, accommodation, island excursions, special group meals and more. Get ready for your island getaway!

TEAN Staff

Upon arrival in both Thailand and Vietnam, you will be met by our on-site Resident Directors who will provide assistance throughout your time in the countries. Through informal meals held together and excursions, our staff is readily available and able to assist you with any academic, social, or cultural questions or issues that you may face during your time abroad.

Thai Buddies

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 Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in this Southeast Asia Studies Comparative Semester (SEACS) program.
  • In Thailand the program is based at Chiang Mai University, founded in 1964 as Northern Thailand’s first institution of higher education and is now home to approximately 36,000 students
  • TEAN students are hosted by the Institute of Southeast Asian Affairs (ISEAA) at Chiang Mai University that offers courses on the history, culture and society of Thailand and Southeast Asia. The ISEAA courses are transcripted by Portland State University (PSU) in the U.S.
  • Nestled at the foot of Suthep Mountain, just minutes from Chiang Mai’s city center, 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 Hoa Sen University, students continue their studies through ISEAA- based instruction on the Ho Chi Minh City campus of Hoa Sen University.
  • Hoa Sen University is a private university founded in 1991 and is based in the busy city center of Ho Chi Minh City.
  • While the local universities (Chiang Mai University and Hoa Sen University in Ho Chi Minh City) provide an integrated academic environment allowing you to become part of university life in these cities, the academic program is taught by the Institute of Southeast Asian Affairs (ISEAA) in both locations. 



Required Courses
All students take a 3-credit Thai language course and a 3-credit Vietnamese language course. While for most students these will be 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, with additional skills in elementary reading and writing.
Taught in the first half of the semester while in Thailand.

Vietnamese Language 1 (3-credits)
Taught in the second half of the semester while in Vietnam.

Gender and Development  in Vietnam (3-credits)
Taught in the second half of the semester while in Vietnam.

Elective Courses
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)
Instructor: Dr. Alan Lopez

International Relations of Mainland Southeast Asia (3 credits)
Instructor: Dr. Paul Chambers

Sex Work, Trafficking and Rescue in Southeast Asia (1 credit)
Instructor: Adam Dedman

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

Program Excursions

Village Homestay

After your initial orientations with TEAN and ISEAA, you will be transported to a rural village for a five-day homestay experience. While Thailand is modernizing at a rapid rate, at least 70% of the country’s population still lives in rural villages and a true introduction to Thailand could not be complete without experiencing and understanding Thai village life. Students travel to the village, along with ISEAA staff, and 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.

Mekong Delta Excursion

A visit to Vietnam wouldn’t be complete without diving deep into the Mekong Delta, the country’s watery world of centuries-old waterways, floating homes and markets, lush landscapes and rural villages. Spend three days discovering the delta’s delights including a cruise to the famous floating market of Cai Be passing traditional houses and stopping to learn about local cottage industries, such as pounding rice paper, along the way. At night, rest easy in a homestay gleaning more details about local life and, of course, getting full on fresh Vietnamese cuisine.

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

TEAN Events

Activities / Immersion

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

Thai Cooking Class

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



  • 2.5 GPA
  • Minimum sophomore standing at a two-year or four-year institution at the time of participation.

Program Dates


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

Fall 2017

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 Vietnam Oct 29
Classes Begin in Vietnam Oct 30
Mekong Delta 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.

Spring 2018

Application Deadline Oct 1
Arrive in Chiang Mai Jan 10
TEAN Orientation Jan 11 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* Mar 2 Mar 4
Thai Cooking Class (all day)* Mar 10
Travel to Vietnam Mar 18
Classes Begin in Vietnam Mar 19
Semester Break Apr 7 Apr 22
Mekong Delta field trip* TBA
Program Ends May 19

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

Fees & Inclusions

Fall 2017

  • Tuition & Services: $7,380
  • Housing: $1,320

Spring 2017

  • Tuition & Services: $7,380
  • Housing: $1,320

What’s Included

  • Full Tuition
  • Guaranteed pre-arranged, off-campus student housing in Chiang Mai
  • Guaranteed pre-arranged housing in a Guesthouse in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  • Overseas health insurance, plus evacuation and repatriation insurance
  • Services of local Resident Directors
  • Three-day TEAN Orientation Program with all meals, excursions and transportation in Chiang Mai
  • Thailand’s Southern Islands Excursion
  • One-day Orientation with meals, excursions and transportation in Ho Chi Minh City
  • Cultural events and group meals scheduled throughout the semester
  • Wireless internet access in housing
  • Local SIM card provided upon arrival with initial credit (student to bring an unlocked phone)
  • Five-day Thai village homestay
  • Two multi-day academic excursions
  • All course readings provided as pdfs
  • Flight from Bangkok, Thailand to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  • Extensive pre-departure counseling and information packets
  • Official academic transcripts at conclusion of program
  • Credit approval and transfer assistance
  • Help with student visa preparation
  • Financial aid transfer planning
  • Airport pickup and transfer to orientation hotel in Chiang Mai, airport transfer mid semester for flight to Vietnam, airport pick up in Vietnam
  • Farewell Dinner at conclusion of program
  • A truly one of a kind adventure!

What’s Not Included

  • International airfare ($1,200-1,800)
  • Student visa ($150)
  • Electricity in Thailand housing ($100, but depends on usage)
  • Meals during the semester ($700)
  • Local transportation ($100)
  • School uniform for Thailand ($30)

*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.

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