I want to move to Chiang Mai because of my TEAN experience Past Review

By (Eugene Lang College - The New School for Liberal Arts) - 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?
I learned so much about myself, Thailand, and SE Asia throughout my experience abroad. I have never established such deep connections with friends so quickly. It was very easy to find home in Chiang Mai. Everyone is so friendly and welcoming and it completely opened my eyes to a different way of life and was such a positive change of pace from my life in NYC. This program really challenged me to slow down and appreciate small things in life and truly live in the moment. My four months in Thailand flew by so quickly and I wish I could've spent an entire year studying there.

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.

My time studying at Chiang Mai University was one of the best academic experiences to date. We studied with a combination of local and expat professors which helped us gain different perspectives on SE Asian history and culture. One of my favorite things about the program was that I was able to study about a place like the Golden Triangle in class and then visit it during our group trip to Chiang Rai. When the classroom comes to life it allows you to contextualize and experience what you have just learned about in an enriching way. All of my professors were incredibly passionate about the courses they taught and were doing active research in their fields.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

We were in constant contact with the TEAN administration throughout the program. Nala, our resident coordinator, was always available at her office hours at school to chat with and made regular visits to see us at our dorms. Lauren, our program director, was also very helpful in answering any questions or concerns we had. We had group activities like visiting Wat Doi Suthep or going for dinner so we could all catch up which was really nice.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I really enjoyed living in the dorm, Uniloft, while in Chiang Mai. It was a short walk away from the campus and all of my peers lived in the same building close together. It was easier to make friends this way and hangout with each other when we lived in such close proximity. We each had a shared dorm which had 2 closets, shared bathroom and living room area. Each person had their own room and there was a small balcony to hang dry clothes with a beautiful view of the mountains! There are also the amenities of 2 swimming pools and laundry in each building. It was nice to live among my fellow TEAN peers but also among the greater CMU community in the dorms.

* Food:

Chiang Mai has some of the best food I have eaten in my entire life. If you are visiting the northern region you must try Khao Soi (noodles, coconut milk, and curry soup). Our program director, Lauren, was super helpful in taking us to some of the tastiest and most affordable local restaurants in our first week. Even as a vegan, there are plenty of options to choose from and it is quite easy to have things substituted or omitted based on your dietary needs. Another perk of studying in Thailand is that food is much more affordable and fresh than elsewhere (especially in comparison to my home in NYC). I was able to get a full meal for $3USD!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

We were incredibly immersed in local culture and went on a homestay trip during our first week in the program. We stayed in a local village (Phrao district) where rice farming was prevalent and we participated in planting rice there. We learned traditional Thai Lanna dance from our home stay moms and performed it for the village at the local Buddhist temple. Our moms dressed us up in Thai clothing and did our hair to show us how local Thai people would dress for the occasion. It was important for us to experience how most people in the northern region live in a more rural setting. We also learned how to make thai desserts like kanom tom and took visits to the local market to practice our Thai. On an everyday basis we were encouraged to practice Thai when buying street food or bargaining at the art market. Many of us spent our free time exploring waterfalls, hiking, and temple hopping to gain a better understanding and appreciation for Thai culture. In addition, we got to experience the Yi Peng and Loi Krathong festivals which were unbelievably beautiful.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not have any specific experiences with local hospitals but others in the program did and were well taken care of by local doctors and given proper medicine to help treat their issues. The local pharmacies are pretty easy to navigate if you need any over the counter medicine. No specific vaccines were required for the program other than being up to date with routine vaccinations like Tetanus.

* Safety:

I felt very safe in Chiang Mai during my entire stay. Everyone who I came in contact with was very pleasant and I always felt comfortable walking around the city during the day and night. The dorms are incredibly safe too there are security guards at different posts and everyone needs a key to enter the dorm building and pass the guard. We are not allowed to rent motorbikes for good reason, being that a lot of people get into accidents on them - so you just have to be alert when crossing the street (as you should be in any other city).

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

I could not have imagined experiencing Thailand with any other program. It was SO well coordinated and had a good balance of cultural immersion and awareness that I was looking for. TEAN made us aware of cultural customs that I feel many other programs would not go to the same extent to educate us about. By the end of program, we had a gained a good awareness of many different political, religious, social, and cultural situations throughout Thailand.


* 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)

It is very affordable to live in Chiang Mai. You can get all your meals for under $3USD if you dine at local restaurants and cafes or eat street food (which is a big part of Thai culture). In addition, the local markets have a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables to choose from if you wish to cook your own meals. Even the snacks at places like 7/11 (which are all over Thailand) are very affordable to grab a snack in between classes and there are fresh fruit stands all over where you can get a bag of pineapple or mango for less than 1USD.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you wan't to save money eat at the smaller, local Thai restaurants! Here you will find better deals and make friends with the owners who are likely to treat you like their own kids and slip you an extra dessert.


* 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

We were encouraged from day one of our orientation session to try out Thai. Locals appreciate that you are trying to learn their language and are patient to help understand what you are trying to communicate. I think it was really helpful for us to learn Thai because it gives you a greater appreciation for the culture and the people and allows you to form connections with locals on a different level. It shows that you are invested in the culture and willing to learn more to understand. Our Thai language teacher, was the sweetest and most encouraging language professor I have ever had! Everyone in the program adored him and he was very patient and entertaining when teaching us 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? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? N/A
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? Be patient with yourself, learning a new language is always a bit challenging in the beginning. Don't be afraid to make mistakes it will make for good laughs and memories. Try to incorporate the language into your day as much as possible even when you are talking to your predominantly English speaking peers in TEAN. You will be surprised at how much Thai you have picked up by the end of the trip!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • Host Family
* 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?
  • Northern Thai Culture
  • Food
  • Historical/religious sites
* What could be improved?
  • N/A
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How hard it was going to be to say goodbye to friends and a city that you are incredibly attached to.

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!