Adventurous, empowering, and incredible Past Review

By (Michigan State University) - abroad from 05/26/2017 to 07/14/2017 with

The Education Abroad Network (TEAN): Thailand - Summer in Bangkok

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Being in Thailand taught me patience, and to not sweat the small stuff. The Thai's have a saying "mai pen rai" meaning "no worries". While I was abroad, I learned to go with the flow and to enjoy life without expectations. I also gained a new-found sense of self confidence. In Thailand, I learned to go out and do things on my own. I went for walks, explored cafes and temples, and found unique study spots in the city. It was really enlightening to learn to love being alone. By the end of the trip, I was not only more confident in being a solo traveler, but also in enjoying myself without needing confirmation from others.

Review Photos

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

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The courses that I took were challenging, engaging, and immersive. Everything I learned in my courses was solidified by the experiences that I had in the program, meaning that even when I wasn't in class, I was building on my learning through observations, experiences, and speaking with locals in the Thai language.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The TEAN administration were incredibly helpful in answering any and all questions regarding the program, both before and after my time abroad. They were quick with responding to emails, and with answering all of my questions over the phone. During the program, the on-site administration were incredible. P-Nooy introduced us to different foods and cultural norms, was helpful in arranging transportation within the country, planning tours within Thailand at a discounted price, and also in helping to plan other trips within Southeast Asia. Our Resident Assistant Noel, was personable, relatable, and helpful in adjusting to the Thai culture. All of my professors were excellent, and Lauren and Adam helped out with answering any program questions that I had while I was abroad.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My apartment in Chiang Mai was wonderful. Not only did it have 24-hour security, but it was a great location, had excellent wifi, and had a beautiful view of the mountains surrounding Chiang Mai. We each got our own bedroom, and shared a living space and bathroom with one roommate. It was perfect for the two months that I spent abroad.

* Food:

Chiang Mai has the best culinary scene. Every morning and evening, the streets fill with street food vendors set up to serve anything from fresh fruit to hot noodles and sushi. Along with that, the city is known for beautiful cafes, fresh vegetarian cuisine, and hip restaurants. During the week, I ate lunch in the school cafeteria, where I could practice my Thai by ordering soups, stir-fried veggies, crepes, smoothies, and more. I never spent more than two dollars on a meal at school, and I never went hungry.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

It is easy to feel integrated into Thai society. While Thai nationality makes it clear that Thai people and visitors are separate, Thai people are some of the most friendly and accommodating people I have ever met. You can call them "auntie" or "uncle" when asking for help, and people are almost always willing to strike up a conversation on the street.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The Education Abroad Network provided health insurance while we were abroad. I never experienced health issues while I was abroad; however, I did go to the hospital with my roommate. The program did assist with transportation to and from the hospital for people who did get sick during the program. P-Nooy would go to the hospital with any sick students, the hospital experience was fast, friendly, and inexpensive.

* Safety:

I felt very safe in Chiang Mai. I never felt uncomfortable walking around in the city. In fact, it felt safer than many cities in the U.S.

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

Every aspect of the program was perfect. From hiking Doi Inthanon (Thailand's tallest mountain), to feeding elephants, visiting temples, shopping in markets, and taking a cooking class, the experience was nothing short of incredible. If anything, I would choose the longer version of the program so that I could stay in Thailand for longer! 2


* 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 lived on about $100 per week; but it is definitely possible to spend less. Meals were generally $1-$3, and transportation was generally no more than a dollar.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $100


* 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

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 had never taken Thai language prior to departure
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 reading menus, have small conversations with your cab drivers, bargain prices in Thai, and order at restaurants.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* 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?
  • Excursions included in the program
  • Helpfullness of the TEAN staff
  • Opportunities to try new things
* What could be improved?
  • The length of time after classes end could be a bit longer
  • Making language courses required for everyone
  • Orientation on cultural concepts could be a bit longer
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Name-brand insect repellent can be tough to find and expensive to purchase. I wish I would have brought more bug spray! Other than that, I think I was pretty thoroughly prepared before the trip.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Southeast Asian Art

Course Department:
Instructor: Rebecca Hall
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The class was challenging in that it required understanding of many Buddhist stories and historical events. Understanding both the religious and historical aspects helped in noticing symbolic aspects of Southeast Asian architecture and art. The class was three hours long and was mostly discussion based, with a few excursions related to the material. Rebecca was funny, encouraging, and helpful. She welcomed questions and contributions, and focused on teaching us what we were interested in. Towards the end of the term, we visited Sukhothai, to see ancient Thai temples and artifacts. We were assessed based on our final projects, along with papers and quizzes throughout the 3-week period of the course.
Credit Transfer Issues: I did not have any issues transferring the credits.