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USAC THAILAND: Chiang Mai-Southeast Asian Economic Studies
University Studies Abroad Consortium participants University Studies Abroad Consortium participants

USAC THAILAND: Chiang Mai-Southeast Asian Economic Studies

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Incredible opportunity to immerse yourself in Thai culture!

I only did one semester at Chiangmai University, but I certainly will never forget it. Between the incredible administration, faculty, the amazing field trips, and the Thai buddy's (Thai English majors at CMU) their is no other way to truly immerse yourself into Thai culture. I became such close friends with young Thai students who really showed me all of the ins and outs of Thai life and the beautiful city of Chaing mai, I feel like Thailand is truly my home after my semester at CMU. I highly recommend a semester (or two) in Thailand, I promise it will be an experience you will never forget.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    7

The Thai-me Is now!!

Take the leap! My study abroad experience with USAC in Thailand was incredible. I do not mean it lightly when I say my time abroad changed my life. I was exposed to students from all over the US and made lasting relationships with the students in my program. While I was abroad during the summer term, I took two classes, World Economic Issues and Buddhism in Thailand. My classes were worthwhile and interesting without consuming too much time. While the classes are important, my favorite and most memorable moments took place outside the classroom. USAC does a great job of providing cultural experiences that you can participate in. I chose to go on the weekend trekking tour, a trip to Chiang Dao and volunteered a school for the blind. USAC staff was always available to be a resource of information and support. I would highly recommend this program to anyone looking to study abroad in Thailand.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    10

Unbeatable experience! Immersive, fun, life-changing

There isn't a day that goes by that I don't miss Chiang Mai, and I know I wouldn't have had the incredible experience that I did if I'd gone by myself, and not with USAC. From the minute we arrived, USAC was quick to provide us with Thai 'buddies'- English majors our age at Chiang Mai University, who hung out with us, explained things to us, and took us around their favorite parts of the city. We went to cultural festivals, stayed in Hill Tribe Villages, went on a trekking tour, and experienced things with Thai people that the average tourist wouldn't even know existed.

Chiang Mai is a beautiful little city with so much personality. The night market, old city, and Chiang Mai University are all totally unique. Unlike most US cities, the cost of living is negligible - we ate out for dinner every single night and it usually cost around $1.50 per person, if that. The dorm where we lived was modern, clean, safe, and spacious. You pay for utilities, but I honestly spent so little time in my room that it wasn't much.

Thai people are so friendly- it was the biggest culture shock to my east-coast self. People want to practice their English, so we got to know tons of different people, from the owner of the coffee shop on our street, to vendors who sold fruit at the nearby market. I literally can't recommend this program enough. The price you pay for what you get is frankly outrageous.

If you're looking to study abroad, experience something special. Everybody's been to Rome. Travel to Chiang Mai, and go through USAC. I ended up actually staying for another week and a half after the program ended, and fell in love with Thailand so much that I'm planning to return to teach English once I graduate.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    9

Same same but different

Before heading to Chiang Mai, I was unsure of what to expect; but after no time at all I began to feel at home. The food was amazing, temples everywhere, and always a new thing to do or place to explore. The classes I took were engaging but not stressful, with very little homework outside of class; meaning more time to experience the country I was in. I was introduced to several volunteer opportunities, engaged in many social enterprises, and even met officials like the US consulate general in Chiang Mai. The life there was slow paced but adventures and opportunities were around every corner. People ask me how it was adjusting to living somewhere so far away; and I just respond "It was the same in many ways, but different in all the best ways".

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    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 & Safety

    N/A

  • Community

    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

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    10

The land of smiles

I have travelled quite a bit in my life to various countries but Thailand has a piece of my heart. With it's giving, loving culture, beautiful architecture, delicious foods, and inspiring people, Thailand is a must see. I was studying abroad up in Northern Thailand in Chiang Mai. The city's surrounded by mountainsides with gold radiant temples and indigenous villages. Down in the city, there are areas with old architecture and history along with new developing areas. While walking along the streets, you will be filled with smells from street food and always be surprised at how cheap it is. I was there from January to May and was able to travel around other parts of the country. Bangkok is an experience and a fast-pace city but filled with noise, fun, and people. One aspect of Thai culture which grew on me was how prominent Buddhism is in the country and just how society is shaped around the ideas and lifestyle Buddhism has to offer. This was culturally different from where I come from and it was so nice to be immersed in and be a part of. If you want a beach vacation, cultural stimulation, or just a place to go explore, Thailand has it all and is a wonderful place.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Not enough good things to say

USAC, Chiang Mai, was a dream. If you're looking for a program that gives you independence while giving you a honest and reliable support system while abroad look no further!
They provide field trips,on-site staff support and cultural immersion! You are able to build a bond with your professors because of the size of the classroom & get to create a community with the fellow students in your program.

I absolutely adored this program. I was looking for something that gave me support through accommodation courses and traveling advice. However I have to mention if you have a lot of traveling experience or looking for a lot of independence this program might not be the Program for you.

They hold your hand through a lot of things and you would be living in dorms with all of the other students. However I found this all a part of the experience .

All in all I loved it!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    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 & Safety

    N/A

  • Community

    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 & Safety

    N/A

  • Community

    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

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    9

An Adventurous Year in Chiang Mai!

I studied abroad on this program for a full academic year. Almost all courses offered were engaging, interesting, and informative. This program focuses on field trips, so there are several awesome ones offered with both the courses that you take and the program. The attendance policy in the classes is not necessarily strict, so many people end up taking a week or two off from classes and adding that to fall or spring break so that they can travel. It's also very easy to make a schedule in which you have three or four day weekends. Almost everyone traveled to the Thai island in the south, or to surrounding countries like Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and the Philippines. Other people jetted off to countries like Japan, South Korea, China, Australia, India, Sri Lanka, etc. I ended up traveling to 27 countries across 5 continents in the span of 9 months, although that's a little atypical! As for housing and community, you all get to live in a very nice dorm building with a 7/11, laundromat, restaurants, gym, pools, and cafés on site. Just down the street are several barbershops, restaurants, shops, and the infamous Suthep road where you can get to-die-for street food all day & night long. In the Fall, Chiang Mai is pretty rainy, whereas the spring brings cold temperatures in January, and then extremely hot temperatures the rest of the term. The staff on program are very, very helpful, particularly the program assistants. The program director (Jum) can be challenging to work with, but she's great at her job and really cares about you. Overall, Thailand can be hard to adjust to. A lot of people experienced food-illnesses, motorbike accidents, general illnesses, fatigue, and homesickness. The redtruck drivers (a popular mode of transportation in Chiang Mai) knew us as "Chiang Mai Ram" group (the hospital we went to all the time). Visiting friends at the hospital became normal, and fun in a way. In this regard, Thailand is challenging, but don't let that scare you. It's infinitely more rewarding to come out of this experience a stronger person than if you had gone to somewhere in Europe and didn't feel so challenged. I love Thailand and really wish I could be there again!

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    5

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    5

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    8

Life changing

Studying abroad in Chiang Mai, Thailand was one of the most amazing experiences in my college career, let alone life. The people were so friendly and welcoming, the culture was unique and vibrant, and the country was beautiful. I forgot to mention that I am still having withdrawals from the food. I loved how far my money went while I was in South East Asia, because cost of living is so affordable. I wish I could go back, but one day I will!

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    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.