Not to be cliche but it was life changing Past Review

By (University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh) - 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?
One big thing I learned was about the effects of US involvement. Many decisions our country has made have great implications on the rest of the world. I never truly comprehended that until seeing things for myself.

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.

I learned a ton in the classroom. I loved learning about politics from a non-American perspective. What surprised me the most was our field trips. While traveling somewhere new, we learned about southeast Asian history and current events, and how they affect the particular location.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I am extremely grateful for Nala, a Thai member of the staff, who helped us plan trips and events, and made Thailand feel like home.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I opted a Thai roommate, which worked out very well for me! Having separate bedrooms and a common area allowed us to spend as much time together as we wanted. I can't wait to visit her again!

* Food:

I knew I loved Thai food before going to Thailand. I'm not picky in what I eat, but if you are, it's a touristy country that has western food on every block.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

TEAN did an amazing job getting us oriented into a new culture from day one. We learned about how to be ethical tourists. The philosophy of "it's not wrong, just different," resonated with me all semester. I appreciated TEAN even more after talking to local people, who pointed out how our group seemed very respectful of the country.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I've never been hospitalized in America, so I don't have much to compare it to. I stayed at Chiang Mai Ram hospital when I was hospitalized, which is private and a little more accommodating to tourists. I feel like my care was as good as I would imagine it would be in America. I received a few extra vaccinations before traveling, but mostly came down with random viral or bacterial infections. Dengue fever is common in Chiang Mai. Hospitals are cautious of fevers, especially foreigners, so they are more likely to keep you overnight. Wear mosquito repellent and go to the hospital if you aren't feeling well. I suggest you order the french toast :)

* Safety:

I never felt unsafe among people in Thailand. Thailand is developing still, and is not dummy proofed in the same way the USA is. Sidewalks are bumpy, because they may be built over tree roots, rather than having the whole tree removed. I grew to love those little differences and question why the US does it the way we do.

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

ABSOLUTELY! I learned so much about the world and my country, while having the time of my life. I appreciate how TEAN taught us how to be ethical visitors. I was weary about signing up for a program that had expensive trips built in when I knew I could do it cheaper. Reflecting back on it, I realized they gave us the most ethical options, despite the cost. The built in trips allowed us to spend time with other people from the program, and not worry about the costs.


* 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)

If you eat like a local, you can live very cheaply. Eating out and riding to the city for more fine dining adds to the cost, but it still much cheaper than doing so at home.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Between phone bills, electric bills, food, and travel, I spent a little less than $100 a week.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? You could do it cheaper, but my philosophy was it's cheaper to travel within the area while already there, than it is to fly back from the states and do it again. Live without regrets. If you're on a tight budget, join local clubs, yoga studios and meet more local people. Sticking around the city is very cheap, especially if you learn to do so like a local.


* 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 learned very practical phrases first. I was able to order food and negotiate with people early on. In class, we always shared phrases we learned outside of class with out teacher 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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 2 years of German
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? Speak with Thai people! Be confident and laugh off your mistakes.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local 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?
  • Cultural experience
  • Program size
  • City
* What could be improved?
  • More interactions with local people
  • more optional events on the first few weekends
  • I liked that we didn't have Friday classes, but wish there weren't mandatory events on random Fridays/ Weekend
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Feminine hygiene products are not always available. Keep a menstrual cup on you or get birth control that makes periods lighten up.

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.