My Time Abroad was a Life-Chanaging Experience Past Review

By (High Point University) - abroad from 08/08/2018 to 12/15/2018 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
TEAN's courses expanded on topics rarely discussed in the United States and utilized the country around it for hands-on lesson, making going to class enjoyable and exciting. Not only am I more aware of different cultures and lifestyles, but more accepting and willing to try new ideas. I am now able to reflect on so many wonderful memories of my time in Thailand.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Prior to going abroad, TEAN provided us a list of courses to choose from, thus giving each student the ability to select classes that were interesting to them and that would allow them to get credit at their home university. Not only were our classes interesting and realistic, but allowed us to learn extensively about Thailand and Southeast Asia in many aspects.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The staff at TEAN is more than accommodating and their goal truly is for you to have the best experience abroad. Not only did we have contact with TEAN staff located in America, but once we landed in Thailand, we were greeted by TEAN staff members who helped us get adjusted to our new life. TEAN's resident coordinator made herself available at all hours so we could contact her for whatever reason. Not only was TEAN staff concerned about our success in the introduction into Thai society and academically, but also about our mental health, wellbeing, and any personal issues we may have had.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

While in Thailand, I lived in traditional Thai student housing like many of those in the program. I specifically picked Uniloft because of the roommate element, and, lucky for me, due to TEAN's roommate survey and coordinators, my roommate and I became very close friends. By living just down the hall from one another, us students in TEAN became very friendly and would hang out all the time. In addition, we were able to interact with Thai students on a daily basis, being able to practice our Thai and make new friends!

* Food:

Food in Thailand is not only extremely cheap, but delicious! Due to the fact that we did not have a kitchen in the traditional Thai student dorms, we were forced to go out and explore Thai cuisine. Coffee shops and restaurants are around every turn, along with an abundant amount of street food, where you are able to find astounding food and drinks.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I can say, without a doubt, Chiang Mai is one of my favorite cities in the world. Not only do the locals make your time so much more enjoyable through their friendly, helpful attitudes, but share magnificent, hidden spots not typically known to tourists. In order to enhance our experience abroad, TEAN requires all students take a Thai language course. Through learning how to speak Thai, us students were able to communicate with the locals with ease, making us feel as though we were no longer simply guests in Chiang Mai, but local students, too.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Traveling to Thailand is very safe, but TEAN requires each student be up-to-date on all vaccines. I did not experience any health issues while abroad, but one of my friends broke her food and needed surgery while we were in Thailand. TEAN was more than helpful, as the staff was in contact with her constantly, making sure she had everything she needed and helping her keep up with the course work. Our resident coordinator went with her to every hospital visit, not only to translate, but for moral support. Although I think we all wish she had not had a health issue, TEAN was more than accommodating and made this horrible situation bearable. I also would like to note that healthcare in Thailand is easily accessible and very inexpensive compared to healthcare in America.

* Safety:

Chiang Mai is an amazing place to visit. When we first arrived in Thailand, TEAN staff held an orientation for us, telling us the do's and don't's in Thai culture. One of the first things they noted was Thailand's safety and honest people. I quickly found, through walking around the city and to class everyday, that this was very true. I have never felt safer in a big city; I never felt the need to clutch my bag for fear that someone would steal it or look over my shoulder for fear that someone was following me. In my five months in Chiang Mai, I did not have an issue with safety; however, TEAN staff informed us that if we ever did have a safety issue, they would be available to us 24/7.

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

TEAN created an atmosphere that was unlike any other I have experienced. Studying abroad had always been a dream of mine; however, when it came time to finally leave America for Thailand, I was more than terrified. As soon as I arrived, I was greeted by extremely friendly, helpful staff and enthusiastic students just like me. TEAN helped me quickly adjust to Thai culture and introduced me to new concepts, through classes, field trips, and excursions. TEAN also introduced me to an amazing group of friends, who I am lucky I was able to share such an amazing experience with. I now feel as if a piece of my heart was left in a place I once called home, and that is all thanks to TEAN.


* 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 United States Dollar is very strong compared to the Thai Baht, making living on a student budget very easy in Thailand. My average meal would cost around $2, although sometimes I would spend less than that in a day. Transportation is also very cheap; your average taxi ride could range anywhere from 25 cents to $4. Living in a country for five months on a student budget may seem intimidating, but it is very doable in Thailand.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $40
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? One easy way to save money in Thailand is to eat street food! Street food consists of a wide variety of food which is very tasty and extremely cheap.


* 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

TEAN requires all students take the Thai language course in order to help students better assimilate and communicate with Thai locals. TEAN's language professor is an amazing man who is very good at his job. You learn the language very quickly while having fun learning it.

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? Prior to going to Thailand, I had taken Italian for 8 years.
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 would definitely recommend speaking to the locals in their language! Most of them, if not all of them, love to see you try and will help you improve your Thai. If you are at a restaurant, try ordering your meal in Thai or in a taxi, try and strike up a conversation with the Thai you know. This will greatly improve your vocabulary and pronunciation.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* 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?
  • The Golden Triangle field-trip
  • The Elephant Nature Park
  • The Thai Village Homestay
* What could be improved?
  • n/a
  • n/a
  • n/a
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew how easy it would be for me to get adjusted to Thai society and culture. Prior to arriving in Thailand, I spent so much time and energy worrying about how difficult a task this would be. TEAN staff, along with Thai locals, are very helpful in making you feel at home.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.