Chiang Mai- everything I could have hoped for Past Review

By (International/Global Studies., University of Kentucky) - abroad from 08/06/2014 to 12/18/2014 with

The Education Abroad Network (TEAN): Thailand - Semester in Chiang Mai

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I wouldn't trade my experience for the world. I discovered that outside my comfort zone was where actual comfort and happiness was, that people have an amazing capacity for compassion even for strangers, and that doing anything other than what makes me happy is a waste of time.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The classes definitely gave a very in depth look into the history and culture of Thailand. At times, things seemed a bit unorganized as professors gave us all of our work at the very end of the midterm/semester but they were all incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about their work which really helped me retain so much.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

TEAN's on site staff were amazing! Our guide who was native to and had always lived in Thailand was like our awesome Thai uncle and our program director was always available to help us out even when she was over seas for a while she was still accessible. However, ISEAA (the program that organized our classes and some excursions) was not quite as fabulous as TEAN... They were a bit disorganized and a little bit harder to work with but, hey I was still supplied with great classes and teachers.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

We lived in off campus student housing that was about a 25 minute walk to class, I adored living in Uniloft. It was kinda a mix between an apartment and a dorm; my roommate and I each had separate bedrooms but shared a bathroom and common area with a tv and fridge. Everything was updated and new, there was a gym right downstairs as well as two pools. TEAN also gives you an immersive experience that you sometimes can't even find with a direct exchange by having us stay with Thai roommates. I learned so much more Thai and got to see and experience Chiang Mai in a way I never could have without her. I was so blessed to have been matched so well with my roommate, she is honestly one of my best friends and I can't wait to go back and see her again!

* Food:

Eat EVERYTHING. It's amazing and so cheap. Watch out for those chilis though!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Getting to live with local students, spending a week with a host family in a rural village, getting to volunteer at a military base-- I felt that I was really getting to experience real Thailand. I wish they had more opportunities to get even more integrated, but since it is an emerging study abroad destination I totally understand that not as many organized opportunities could have been presented to us.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I never once felt unsafe. whether I was walking to class, catching a taxi, or walking home at midnight. Chiang Mai is very safe which gave me so much independence

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)

I came with less than 2,000 in spending money and got by absolutely fine. I even visited 4 countries during my fall break. Food is cheap, clothes are cheap, everything is cheap. You also receive a $60 meal stipend from the program each month. Thailand is a broke college kid's heaven. (Well, after you pay for that plane ticket)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $20
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? check out student universe for discounted flights


* 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

It was definitely encouraged and our Thai class was fun but the way it was taught made it hard to retain. I learned a ton from my roommate and friends

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? Beginner
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? I got a lonely planet guide book for Thai. That thing was a lifesaver

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
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?
  • Local roommates
  • the city
  • the immersion
* What could be improved?
  • more class choices
  • class organization
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That I was going to fall in love with everything. If I could go back and change one thing, I would have stayed for an academic year.

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'