My Time in Thailand July 20, 2022

By (Berea College) - abroad from 05/24/2022 to 06/30/2022 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I made several friends who I was able to practice Chinese with (some who are fluent and some who are learning) and will keep in contact with. The Chinese course itself was also engaging and provided great practice with writing in addition to speaking and reading. Outside of the education component, Chiang Mai was a wonderful city to explore and have fun experiences (especially since it is cheaper than many other places). It was definitely worthwhile and I wish I could have stayed the entire summer.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The courses were very engaging and helpful in my studies. One of the classes was too difficult so I had to switch to a lower level which was more manageable. The other courses were fairly easy and had lighter workloads than Berea.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The hosts were so sweet and kind, they really cared about every participant and sought to give us the best experiences possible.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The rooms were huge, they were basically hotel rooms. My only complaint was that we were nowhere near the dorms that the students attending CMU stayed in, so we were pretty separated,

* Food:

Eat as much local food as possible, it's cheaper and it's amazing.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt more integrated when I had the chance to hang out with the Thai students, but there weren't as many opportunities during Session I because their school year did not start until June 20th, and all of the on-campus activities we could participate in started in July.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

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

I chose this program for the Chinese language component, and the program was successful in that regard because of the opportunities I had to practice despite it not being the main language spoken there.


* 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)

Around $150/week

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Around $150/week
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Some places try to scam foreigners so make sure the price your paying is comparable to other places in the area. Also learn how to bargain at markets.


* 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 learned a few phrases in Thai while there, but I was primarily studying Mandarin Chinese. I did not take the Thai language course, but I'll answer the following questions based on Thai since that is what is primarily spoken there besides English. (I probably spent 10-15 minutes per day with it for greetings and the like).

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? None
How many hours per day did you use the language? 0
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? If you practice Thai in advance, some people might be impressed but make sure you are learning the tones correctly. Otherwise, you'll learn from day one phrases needed to get around, and you can learn a lot more in the Thai language course if you're able to take that. Most people are fluent or near-fluent in English.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • 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?
  • Chinese practice
  • cooking course
  • friends/travel
* What could be improved?
  • more on-campus involvement
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Most of the on-campus activities would be in Session II, although Session I was the ideal time for travel outside of Chiang Mai (weather-wise).