A year in Thailand Past Review

By (Business Administration and Asian Studies, California State University - Chico) - abroad from 08/24/2012 to 05/17/2013 with

USAC Thailand: Chiang Mai - Southeast Asia Culture, Politics, and Business

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
The opportunity made me grow as a person as I stepped out of my comfort zone and left the place I called home to meet new people and explore something completely new. I was able to immerse myself into a country that will now forever hold a special place in my heart as I learned not only more about a different part of the world, but about myself. Studying abroad has been the best decision I have yet to make. I had the most amazing adventures, met wonderful people, learned a beautiful new culture, and made lifelong friends and memories. My study abroad experience through USAC was definitely worthwhile and I miss it everyday.

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The class sizes were small, which was something I found to be beneficial as I had the opportunity to develop great relationships with the professors. We had many field trips, giving me the chance to gain more hands on experiences.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The on-site staff was amazing! They became like family and were always there for us students. Since I have returned home I have continued to keep in contact with my Resident Director and some of my professors.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The program housing options were sensible options and provided all amenities needed. After a bit of time in the program housing, I moved to independent housing to gain a different experience.

* Food:

I love Thai food! It is delicious and the perfect combination of sweet and spicy. I certainly built up a greater tolerance for spicy foods. Khao Soi, the dish of northern Thailand became a favorite food of mine and I'm looking to find it at a restaurant back home. The iced Thai tea (Cha yen) was great sweet treat.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

After living and studying abroad in Thailand for the academic year I feel as though I have become a more understanding person. I found so much beauty in the Thai culture; the traditions, way of dance, festivals and more. I took a Thai Society and Culture class which helped ease into gaining a greater understanding in the history and culture of Thailand.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I definitely felt safe. I felt completely comfortable walking around the city on my own.

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


* 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 a very affordable country. I saved money in my living and food expenses.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Save money before you go! There will be things you will want to buy and places you will want to travel. Saving before you go is completely worth every memory you will make in your experience abroad.


* 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

The language component is not required, it is simply an optional course to take if you desire to do so. In the classroom, you practice with role plays and interactive activities.

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? I had no experience in Thai prior to my departure.
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Practicing your language skills is super important! No matter where you study abroad, you will gain a richer experience if you fully immerse yourself in the ways of the country you are in, that include attempting to adapt to the language they speak.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International 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?
  • the support provided
  • traveling
  • field trips
* What could be improved?
  • more activities planned with our "Thai buddies"
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Pack less! I realized I did not need to pack as much as I thought I would and definitely wished I had more room to bring souvenirs back with me.