I'd Do It Again! <3 September 25, 2014

By (Classics, University of Kentucky) - abroad from 05/31/2014 to 07/19/2014 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was worthwhile, I learned a lot about Thailand both from an outsider's point of view and a citizen's point of view. The entire experience was a whirlwind of self discovery and character development.

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 Chiang Mai Summer program was a great experience that I would gladly go through again. Not only were the teachers and TEAN staff extremely helpful and friendly, the group of students I was with were all wonderful people with whom I easily became friends with. The classes were fun, extremely informative, and intriguing. I felt like I learned a tremendous amount and there was never a moment where I was not interested in the material. There was a lot of reading, but it was not something a college student couldn't handle.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

We stayed in a dorm just behind the school gates, and it was located on a street that was safe and gave us access to various food vendors, general stores, and 7-11. Our dorm rooms had air conditioning, TV, and we also got our own private bedrooms separated from our Thai roommates. It was a really nice living arrangement in terms of amenities and cleanliness.

* Food:

Thai food is always amazing and will never let you down, I have absolutely no complaints here. For each module we were given 1,500 baht for our meal allowance, and it was more than enough to last us the three weeks as food is relatively cheap in Thailand.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The locals were always friendly towards us students and would try to teach us Thai phrases and words. Along with exposure to helpful locals and our own teachers who would always give us cultural tips, there was no problem getting integrated into Thai culture for the brief stay of which we were there.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Chiang Mai is an EXTREMELY safe city. I did not feel unsafe walking around the city at all during the day or even at night at three in the morning. Of course, always have a buddy with you if you can and try not to go places alone at night. But overall, the city is really, really safe, and people will always try to help you if you get lost.

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

Finances

* 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)

Thailand is not an expensive country in terms of food, entertainment, shopping (especially since you can haggle), and hotels. Things can get a little expensive if you try to do very touristy activities, but overall you can easily live on less than 1000 baht per week--which is about 31 dollars or so.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I probably spent around 300 or 400 baht per week on food and snacks.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Keep a budget sheet and always have a separate roll of cash for emergencies, just in case. You will get excited from how everything is inexpensive in terms of dollars, but you will run out of baht quick with that mentality.

Language

* 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

I already know Thai but I signed up anyway for the Thai 101 class because I wanted to see if I could learn anything new. The teacher is so enthusiastic and so funny, he really does his best at teaching the language and makes it fun for students. My peers in the class learned quickly!

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Fluent
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? I'm a native speaker.
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Communicate with the locals and your roommate. Your roommate is a great resource because they already have basic knowledge of English, so a language exchange would flow better versus speaking with other locals who usually will only know Thai. However, do try to use Thai when speaking with locals because even if it's frustrating, it will be a rewarding experience that forces you to learn.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • 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 classes
  • The teachers and my peers
  • The city
* What could be improved?
  • Everything is perfect!
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? It rains a lot in July. I already knew that, but I didn't expect it to rain as much as it did.

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!