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USAC THAILAND: Chiang Mai-Southeast Asian Economic Studies

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Try the Durian

I had an amazing experience in Chiang Mai, and now I am getting my MA in Southeast Asian Studies at the UWisconsin. The program was to fill extra electives and it ended up creating the avenue I wanted to take to graduate school. The Thai people, the outdoor recreation, Thai food, nightlife, and easy access to vacations in other countries made it hard for me to leave after the program ended, but luckily I still keep in touch with my Thai friends and get to continue my studies in Thailand.

I would highly recommend Chiang Mai to anyone who does not want to do the "normal" European programs and wants to have some adventure.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    6

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

Studying Abroad in Thailand for One Amazing Year

Studying abroad was one of the best decisions I've yet to make. If you are thinking about studying abroad, you must do it! It is one of the greatest decisions you could make in terms of personal development. I wanted to experience a completely new culture and living and studying in Chiang Mai, Thailand through USAC made that possible. I was originally signed up to study abroad for the fall semester and after a few short weeks I realized I wouldn't be ready to leave the beautiful country of Thailand so soon, and I extended my stay for the academic year! I was able to experience and become familiar with a new language, new cultural customs, new foods and so much more.

The people of Thailand were some of the friendliest people I have ever met; they were always smiling and truly appreciative when I "attempted" to speak to them in Thai. There were times when I stumbled on a word or pronounced it wrong and I would receive guidance in practicing the language. I would sit in a song taew (red truck taxi) and make friends by the end of my ride. I had countless laughs and amazing conversations with all sorts of people, from a friend I made on campus to the many market vendors I would talk to. Strolling through the markets and eating delicious street food became one of my favorite things to do. I loved having the opportunity to explore South East Asia and in doing so I shared unforgettable experiences with people who I made lasting bonds with.

The classroom experience was awesome because I was able to take advantage of the small class sizes and really develop relationships with my professors. Since I have returned home I have continued to keep in contact with some of my professors! The connections I made even bettered my experience. The professors planned a lot of field trips where I was able to get out of the classroom and have more hands on experiences. I went on a Hill Tribe Tour and Field Study trip where I was surrounded by the beauty of nature as I trekked breathtaking mountains and visited remote Hill Tribe villages. I rode an elephant around a village, assisted in making a raft out of bamboo to float down the river, and even bathed an elephant in the river! The tour reminded me of the greatness found in simple things. The feeling of relaxation and euphoria took over as we shared many laughs around the bonfire, told stories, danced with the children of the village and made remarkable memories.

Studying abroad was truly life changing for me. 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 am thankful for the adventures I've had, the people I've met, the cultures I was exposed to, and the lifelong memories I've made. My study abroad experience will forever hold a special place in my heart. I went to South East Asia with an open mind and left with a full heart and so much more.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

An Unforgettable Semester

The Chiang Mai program was simply amazing. We had such a great group of people to study abroad with, and we all were open to do a lot of fun things to experience what Southeast Asia had to offer. The USAC staff in Chiang Mai was really helpful, and cared a lot about our happiness and safety.

The field trips were definitely a hilight, we were able to do so many incredible things while on homestays with the hill tribes in the mountains - we bamboo rafted, rode elephants, learned about agriculture, ate AMAZING food, trekked through the jungle, and got to know our very friendly tour guides. These memories are some that will always trickle back into my daydreams, no matter how long ago the experience was.

The fact that it was cheaper for me to spend a semester in Thailand than at my home university was what sold me at first on the program. The fact that Thailand is a crazy beautiful country was a bonus.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

Education in paradise!

USAC Chiang Mai is a great program. Every class has multiple field trips to various areas of Northern Thailand. Also, they offer weekend trip to camping spots nestled in the forest and other cool towns. The city itself has so much to do that one person would need a year to see it all! The city is also cheap, you can live very comfortably here. Almost everyone in my program wished they could live here for longer. It is worth the small amount of money to come here! I mean who doesn't want to ride elephants for a field trip?!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

Education in paradise!

USAC Chiang Mai is a great program. Every class has multiple field trips to various areas of Northern Thailand. Also, they offer weekend trip to camping spots nestled in the forest and other cool towns. The city itself has so much to do that one person would need a year to see it all! The city is also cheap, you can live very comfortably here. Almost everyone in my program wished they could live here for longer. It is worth the small amount of money to come here! I mean who doesn't want to ride elephants for a field trip?!

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    8

A great location and well organized program

I am currently in the middle of my study abroad semester with USAC in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The best part by far of this program is the location. Chiang Mai is beautiful, and because it isn't the tourist trap of the south, the people here are amazing and it really is the land of smiles. As well, you live in the university part of town, not the tourist part of town which is really good for becoming apart of local life rather than a visitor's life. There are loads of things to do inside and just outside the city, and several hours away too, every weekend I've got something different going on. If you are worried about Thailand being too bizarre for you, don't worry. Thailand is very advanced and in comparison to the rest of SE Asia (except Singapore) is very developed, and I have yet to come across anything cultural or living standard differences that weren't easy to overcome.
The biggest downside is that you live and study with only other Americans. There are certainly opportunities to become friends with the 'Thai buddies' that are apart of the program and to make friends at clubs and such, but at the end of the day, I always find myself hanging out with others from the States, and not from Thailand, something I know I'll look back and really regret.
For me, the course offerings weren't very varied, but if you are a social studies or even business major, this program is good for you. I, and many of my classmates, were able to arrange their schedules so that we have a 4 day weekend, great for traveling!
Before the program, I spent 75 days backpacking, so I had a million questions for the program assistant, and she was always prompt and willing to help! And the organization here is good (especially for Thai culture!)
Overall, I'd definitely recommend this program!

  • University Studies Abroad Consortium responded to this review October 19, 2016 at 4:07 PM

    We’re so happy to hear your study abroad experience is off to a great start! We always appreciate hearing how our programs can be improved. If you have any ideas on things that would enhance your program experience even more, please email me at: daniellelongley@unr.edu.