Most.Amazing.Semester.Yet Past Review

By (Wheaton College, IL) - abroad from 01/09/2015 to 05/14/2015 with

ISDSI: Sustainable Development Studies: Thailand

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained an understanding of Thai culture/ language/ history/ problems, that I did not have before. As well as the ability to function in an unfamiliar culture. Also a bunch of new friends.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The academic material, though not overwhelming, went into a great deal of depth. Reading materials were sometimes intense, and academically it was not easy, but it was not impossible to get good grades. There was plenty of time to just experience Thailand.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Great group of staff.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The apartments were sufficient, beds a little hard. But since we only spent a total of about 4 weeks in them, it was not such a big problem.

* Food:

Thai food is amazing. Just be careful where you eat.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Home stays really got us fully integrated. Or at least as much as possible as a foreign exchange student.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I spent some time in hospital, and the quality of health care was just as high as I have received in the US.

* Safety:

Chaing Mai is a relatively safe city, though a lot of it depends on personal decisions.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

The stipend was sufficient.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Probably a total of about 25 dollars a week.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Cheap food doesn't mean worse/more likely to get sick.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 200
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Use host family opportunities at the beginning of the semester. That is a key time.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Host Family
  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Experiential Learning (being outdoors a lot)
  • The actual academic material was interesting and relevant
  • The students, and staff
* What could be improved?
  • Field courses could have more academic lectures for more direction
  • Restructured leadership training
  • ...... it was amazing i don't know
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? About how the block system works. If you are coming from the semester system it can be a little jarring at first.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.