An experience of a lifetime Past Review

By (Elementary Education, Michigan State University) - abroad from 01/14/2015 to 05/22/2015 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
There is so much beauty in this world that is so unknown to people. We all rush through school to get to the real world of working at some fancy place where we hopefully make a lot of money, but is that really living? Traveling is about learning about yourself, stepping out of your comfort zone, making the best of friends, and discovering beautiful places. I wouldn't trade my 5 months in Thailand for anything in the world; it changed me in ways I can't explain-- and I'm already planning my trip back. The only way to experience such a thing is to go yourself.

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 classes were so applicable to everyday life in Thailand. Don't be fooled, they're not going to be blow off classes-- you learn so much from the classes and they will really stick with you forever. You'll start noticing and learning more around you (like the culture of gender stereotypes, Buddhism culture, the Thai language etc.)

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Everybody who was part of TEAN was so so helpful once you finally got to Thailand. They're always only a phone call away if you ever need them! They speak very good English, and you can learn a lot from them about Thailand.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

You are placed with a Thai roommate in an apartment once you arrive there. Yet there are many other Americans in the apartment complex with you. It was amazing living with another Thai because you got to learn so much from them, and they show you all the awesome hidden places in Chiang Mai. Living with a Thai totally enhanced my time there.

* Food:

Hands down the most amazing food I've ever had... AND the cheapest. You can get an entire meal for $1! Or if you want to get something a bit more elaborate, $3! The street food was my favorite, it was always the freshest and there were so many options to choose from. Just a 5 minute walk from Uniloft, the apartment complex you are placed, there is a street market every night! But, for those a little bit timid about trying new foods, there are Western food options everywhere as well, although more expensive. (Although I strongly recommend stepping outside of your comfort zone and eating Thai food!)

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

After befriending many of the Thais and learning about Thais culture in class, I felt very integrated in the local culture. Although it is very different, it's not so different that it's uncomfortable. You will learn very quickly that Thais are some of the nicest people you'll ever meet.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Whenever there is an issue, the TEAN staff located in Chiang Mai are very quick to help. Never hesitate to give them a call!

* Safety:

Chiang Mai is probably one of the safest cities I've ever visited. There is not one instance where I ever felt unsafe. Although many people recommend bringing a money belt, that didn't seem necessary at all in my 5 months I stayed there. That being said, you of course still want to use common sense.

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)

Don't expect to spend the same amount of money in Thailand as you do in America! Living in SE Asia is very very easy to do on a budget.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? About $50-$60-- but it's definitely possible to do on less.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Make yourself a budget! I wrote down in an excel worksheet my money spent every day so I could see how much I was spending every week, and it helped me budget myself.


* 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

Our Thai professor encouraged us a lot to use Thai as much as possible!

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? I was pretty fluent in Japanese before attending the program in Thailand.
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? Practice with those around you as much as possible!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
* 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?
  • Thai roommates
  • Excursion trips!!!
  • Orientation
* What could be improved?
  • Nothing!
  • TEAN is amazing!
  • Study with TEAN!
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Although you can live in Thailand on a very small budget, bring more money than you think you'll use. Better to be safe than sorry! There are so many other surrounding countries that you must visit, so much food you'll want to eat, and so many trinkets you'll want to buy!

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.