Are you hoping to work in some capacity that will benefit society and the environment? Are you thinking about joining the Peace Corps or another community-based volunteer program upon graduation? The fall semester program in Thailand is designed for students wishing to learn about a broad range of issues–effects of dams, urban slums, persons living with HIV/AIDS, organic farming, pollution, social movements, human rights, NGOs–primarily from a grassroots perspective within the social and political context of a developing country. The spring semester program is designed for students wanting to learn about globalization from both an academic and a grassroots community level and its overall effects on a developing nation.
Based at Khon Kaen University since 1991, the program’s focus on development was established in 1994, and the focus on globalization was implemented in 2002. Past participants come from a variety of academic disciplines including development, environmental studies, anthropology, sociology, or economic development and may have an interest in becoming development volunteers in such organizations as the Peace Corps. Details about courses available on this program can be found by clicking here.
Fall Semester The fall semester program aims to expose participants to a broad range of development and environmental issues by providing a unique opportunity to meet with the local community in its own environment. Participants study problems and solutions with people directly involved, such as grassroots political leaders on the community level and broad based people’s coalitions, representatives from nongovernmental and governmental organizations, farmer’s groups and cooperatives, socially engaged monks, scholars and social critics, authors and journalists, political advocates and human rights activists, and people living with HIV/AIDS. Participants realize that Thailand’s problems have a global impact and correspondingly, everyone may have responsibility for resolving them.
In addition to a required Thai language course, students take the core course, “The Human Perspective on Development and the Environment”, that brings them into direct contact with people who are directly engaged in socio-political movements in Thailand. Visits are made to development projects, and students are asked to assess the effectiveness of small-scale environmental and development projects as well as develop project proposals for implementation.
As a supplement to classroom language instruction, program participants are paired with tutors for about one hour per week; but more hours are available if needed.
Students must also take one elective course. In most cases, students take Thai Politics and Society through Literature or Buddhism and Thai Society. However, students wishing to study more of the language may take a Thai language elective. In special cases, students may arrange a Directed Independent Study, but most independent projects can be accommodated within the framework of the core course. Students that are already proficient in Thai may consider an internship option, but must receive prior consent from the Resident Director. All of these courses are taught in English except for the advanced language course.
Spring Semester Spring semester courses, though similar to fall semester courses, focus on globalization and its impact on local communities. During the spring semester, students take a core sequence of three courses: Introduction to Globalization: Theories and Debates, Globalization and Development: The Case of Thailand, and Comparative Local Communities in Globalization. Students complete a series of clusters such as Food, the Farmer, and You, Energy, Dams, and the World Bank, or Environment, Industry, and Community Rights which all include community stays, ranging from two to five days. The combined study of globalization on a macro-level and communities on a micro-level, helps students better understand major global trends and their impact on local communities, culture, and life.
In addition to the core courses students take two language courses at the appropriate level for a total of 90 hours of language training. Typically, most students take the Beginning Thai I course for their first 45 hours of language training and Beginning Thai II for their second 45 hours.
In order to earn credit at UConn for courses completed on this program, individual courses must be approved by a designated UConn course evaluator and assigned a UConn course number. Complete instructions for this process can be found under Academics.
Thailand has been called the “land of enchantment”, “land of smiles”, and the “jewel of the orient”. An almost entirely Buddhist country with rich cultural traditions reaching back to the 13th century, Thailand lives up to all these accolades and engages interested students in a complex set of contemporary social and political issues associated with development. Thai people are known for their warmth, hospitality, and laid back approach to life, and visitors cannot help sensing the charm of their gracious hosts.
Located in the center of the Northeast province of Isaan, Khon Kaen is Thailand`s fourth largest city with a population of over 150,000. About 300 miles north of Bangkok, it is the educational and government center of the Northeast as well as the headquarters for most development organizations working in the region. Compared to other parts of Thailand, the Northeast has retained many traditional Thai customs as well as Lao and Khmer influences.
Click here for information on applying to a CIEE program.
Please note that certain fees associated with this program will appear on your UConn fee bill. These fees are required in addition to the costs billed to you directly by the third party program provider. For exact information on these additional costs, please visit this program’s budget sheet by clicking the link below.
This program charges program fees and not tuition. This affects the types of financial aid that can be applied to defray the cost. Contact the UConn Office of Financial Aid Services for information regarding your individual financial aid package.
You may apply the following types of financial aid to the cost of this program: CT Aid for Public College Students Grant, Federal Title IV Funds including Pell Grant, SEOG, Stafford Loans, Perkins Loans, Parent Loans, and private scholarships.
You may not apply the following types of financial aid to the cost of this program: Federal Work Study, Tuition Remission Grant, University Grant, Tuition Waiver, and academic scholarships (such as Day of Pride, Nutmeg, Presidential, Leadership and Academic Excellence Scholarship).Budget Sheets: Fall, Spring
- Location: Khon Kaen, Thailand
- Terms: Fall, Spring
- Homepage: Click to visit
Dates / Deadlines:
|Term||Year||App Deadline||Decision Date||Start Date||End Date|
|Class status:||2nd Year, 3rd Year, 4th+ Year||Academic area:||Social Sciences, Humanities|
|Language of instruction:||English||Prior language study required:||None|
|Open to non-UConn students:||No||Required GPA:||2.5|