Internships Abroad in Chiang Mai

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A Guide to Internships in Chiang Mai

In Thailand, the land of smiles, this northern city of Chiang Mai steals the heart of all visitors. Chiang Mai is a natural masterpiece, holding some of Buddhism’s most sacred locations and some of the country's most significant historical landmarks. Known for its lush countryside and its peaceful atmosphere, it is the perfect medium for those wanting serenity and city energy while completing an internship in Thailand. There are many areas of need that provide opportunities for passionate individuals of all backgrounds to intern in Chiang Mai. The tropical weather, delectable food, and hospitable native people await those who choose internships in Chiang Mai.

Internships in Chiang Mai

Education placements are one of the most desired types of internships in Chiang Mai. Teaching placements are available working with nearly all populations, both within the city and in the nearby villages. 

One of the most dynamic teaching internships in Chiang Mai involves working with novice monks. As Thailand is a predominately Buddhist nation, there are a large number of monks, mainly males, that reside in and around the city. While a male serves as a monk they are offered education through a temple or Buddhist University. By teaching monks, interns will be able to experience their life and routine first hand. Monks view every opportunity as a learning experience and greatly enjoy working with interns from all backgrounds, no matter what their religious background. This type of internship program in Chiang Mai is especially wonderful for those looking to learn more about world religions and work in a peaceful environment.

Medical/Health. The medical field is highly competitive worldwide, so completing a medical internship program in Chiang Mai is a great way to set yourself apart from your competitors. Throughout Asia, Thailand is known for its expert staff and state-of-the-art medical equipment, so interning in Chiang Mai is a great option for those interested in medical internships in Asia. Medical interns most often work directly with a Thai doctor full time, and learn from them through their daily routine. Medical students from all backgrounds are invited to join, including but not limited to those in the following subfields optometry, dental, surgery, nursing, pediatrics, and emergency care. Interning at a hospital in Chiang Mai will surely do more than build an intern’s resume.

Elephant Camps. Elephants are known around the world for their size, beauty, and remarkable intelligence. As beloved as they are, they are not always treated fairly. Interns who chose to spend their internship program in Chiang Mai at an elephant camp will have a wide range of responsibilities, and a one of a kind internship experience. Each day will start bathing and feeding the elephants in the local river, in most placements. Next interns will likely prepare the elephants for a full day of being loved by tourists from all over the world. Elephant camps are usually located directly in local villages and run by the local people.

There is also a large need for skill training and language learning for staff of elephant camps, so while the elephants are on duty, interns might be able to provide basic English lessons to staff. Interning in Chiang Mai at an elephant camp will allow interns to not only allows develop a relationship with these gentle giants, they will also be able to develop lasting relationships with the kind hearted villagers. Elephant camp internships are ideal for those with a background in environmental studies, veterinary science, and animal welfare. 

Salary & Costs

Most internships abroad in Chiang Mai do not include a salary. However, most internship programs in Chiang Mai do include meals or a very small stipend. Incoming interns should plan to bring additional funds to allow for flexibility and travel throughout the country though. Based on the remarkably low cost of living in Thailand, interns will be able to thoroughly enjoy their time in Chiang Mai without a large sum of money saved up ahead of time. 

Those who intern in Chiang Mai will be awestruck by the affordable cost of living. Without compromise meals can be purchased for $1 to 3 a plate. Those looking for a foreign bite should prepare to pay around $5 per plate. Public transportation is as low as $.50 per trip. With the average souvenir coming in at nearly $5 and a movie ticket at $8, entertainment prices are considerably lower than in many Western countries. While interns most likely won't be earning a salary, they won't have any trouble experiencing Chiang Mai to the fullest regardless of their budget.

Accommodation & Visas

Housing is not commonly included in internship programs in Chiang Mai, but it is not something to lose sleep over. Many internships in Chiang May pride themselves in assisting their interns in the process of finding convenient, safe, and affordable housing options. Chiang Mai also happens to be home to a wide variety of cheap accommodations.

Guest houses and hostels are common throughout the site and range in pricing and style, and serve as an ideal option for those who wish to have cleaning and maintenance provided for them during a longer internship program. A guest house can be arranged for as little as $10 per week in a location close to your internship in Chiang Mai.

Apartments are another appealing option for interns in Chiang Mai, especially those staying for a period of a few months, with locations everywhere from the mountains to the heart of the city. A standard apartment is about $200 per month with basic amenities. On rare occasions internships in Chiang Mai may offer the option for interns to live in dormitory style accommodation, provided on the organization's premises.

To intern in Thailand, your passport must be valid for at least six months after entry. For most internships in Chiang Mai, a work permit will be required, in addition to other legal documents. Work permits are processed upon arrival, with the help of your internship program provider. Once a work permit is processed and received, it is critical that each intern carry it with them throughout the course of their internship in Chiang Mai to avoid immigration issues. Most internship opportunities in Chiang Mai do not cover the costs of this process, so interns should budget accordingly.

GoAbroad Insider Tips

Safety. Compared to many other surrounding cities, Chiang Mai’s crime rate is remarkably low. Foreigners are highly admired, and therefore protected to great lengths. As long as interns are aware of their surroundings and take basic safety precautions, there isn't a great need for too much concern. Most crime occurs in situations surrounding nightlife. Interns are highly advised to be aware and use discretion when exploring at night. 

Language. Thai natives place a high value on learning English. The younger generation is more commonly fluent and largely available to interact with interns without incident. While language can be seen as a barrier, locals are ready and willing to help you catch a cab or order you an adventurous new Thai dish at a local market. 

Culture & Religion. In order for an intern in Chiang Mai to develop relationships and be truly effective in their internship program, understanding cultural norms is crucial. Asian nations hold value in areas of life that are foreign to those coming from a Western perspective. These cultural norms to consider include but are not limited to the worship and deep admiration of rice, trees, and rivers. Respect is the foundation of all interactions, so in order to develop relationships, interns must understand and practice the appropriate levels of respect. The best way to learn is typically via observation.

Dress. The cultural value on respect goes far beyond greetings, it also includes expectations surrounding dress. Displaying too much skin can directly correlate with stigmas and loss of respect amongst the locals. Airing on the side of modesty is better, especially within your internship program in Chiang Mai and when around colleagues.

Read our comprehensive guide on interning abroad in Thailand.

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