Service Learning in Thailand

Most Affordable
OPEN Fall 2023
OPEN Summer 2023

Community-based work in the Land of Smiles

Gain meaningful and culturally immersive experience in Chiang Mai, Thailand by combining a service project with academic instruction and reflective thinking. This engaging service learning program will place you in a mutually-beneficial service project. Work alongside locals, helping to address a need in the local community while deepening your understanding about the community, the country, yourself, and ultimately your place in the world. You’ll also have plenty of time to explore Chiang Mai through various trips, tours, and cultural activities provided by our exceptional on-site staff.


What to Expect:

  • Language: English and Thai
  • Average Courseload: 3-4 US Credits (100-140 service hours)
  • GPA Requirement: 2.5

Highlights:

  • Collaborative projects available in public health, education, community development and NGOs
  • Located in a welcoming mid-size Thai city, full of charm and adventure
  • Homestay experience to deepen immersion into Thai culture
  • Spend a day caring for elephants in an elephant sanctuary
  • Service learning course credit offered through online modules

Program Details

Plymouth State University

A respected New Hampshire university, Plymouth State University is CIS Abroad’s accrediting partner for internship and service learning programs. Plymouth State University is a NEASC-accredited institution with over 20 years of experience awarding internship credit both domestically and internationally. Plymouth State University has been nationally recognized for its commitment to the environment and for innovative programs that are making an impact, both regionally and globally.

Why Life in Chiang Mai

Known to Thais as the “Rose of the North,” Chiang Mai is a breathtaking city surrounded by mountains and bisected by the Ping River. Visitors flock to experience the cosmopolitan atmosphere and delicious food unique to the region, and to venture out into the imposing mountains. The city resides on an elevated plateau approximately 1,000 feet above sea level.

Recently voted the world’s second-best city, Chiang Mai has a rich history and culture. Chiang Mai is home to 150,000 people, with a greater metropolitan population of around one million. This city has 700 years of ancient history and was a prominent place as the heart of Lanna culture. The fortressed Old City center was the former capital of the Lanna kingdom. This is one of the few cities in the world that still features an intact moat, which encircles the Old City. You’ll notice that the common mode of transport is to ride a songtaew (pronounced “song- tau”), or red truck-taxi. You’ll feel like a local as you zip around the streets. 

From Chiang Mai, you can explore the mountains and visit hilltribe villages, learn to cook Thai food, visit elephants, or go bamboo rafting. Other popular activities include hiking in Doi Inthanon National Park (home of Thailand’s tallest mountain), savoring tasty street food, enjoying the nightlife, and witnessing the city’s many festivals and cultural celebrations.

 

Live The Local Life

  • Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep

    Chiang Mai’s most holy temple, constructed on the side of the mountain after an elephant carrying a relic of the Buddha died there. This beautiful temple is a must visit for Thai and foreigners alike.

  • Sunday Walking Street Market

    Chiang Mai’s biggest attraction, people from all over the region converge on the old city to sell homemade and unique northern style clothes, jewelry, art and other amazing souvenirs.

  • Elephant Programs

    Spend some time with these amazing animals and learn about efforts to look after them.

  • Trekking

    Chiang Mai is known for the surrounding mountains and their hilltribes that you can visit in a sensitive and responsible way for a truly unique and insightful experience.

  • Thai Cooking Class

    Enjoy a lesson about Thai herbs and vegetables, take a visit to a market to learn the names ,and then make several delicious dishes of your choosing.

Homestay in Chiang Mai

Location

Students will live with a warm and welcoming Thai family in a private room.

Interns staying in Homestays can return to Chiang Mai every weekend and stay in a guesthouse. This enables to meet the other interns, participate in excursions and better explore the city. 

 

Meals

Homestays include two meals per day

Inclusions and Amenities

  • CommutePublic Transportation
  • MealsHomestay
  • Private Room

Shared Guesthouse in Chiang Mai

Location

Depending on the location of the internship, a small number of placements require interns to live in guest houses with other interns. Interns will have access to a full kitchen and shared lounge areas.

Check out the photo gallery to get a sense of what the shared guest houses are like.

Meals

This option does not include meals. Instead, cook for yourself in the guesthouse kitchen!

Inclusions and Amenities

  • SharedBathroom
  • CommutePublic Transportation
  • Double Room
  • Kitchen Equipment
  • Study Areas

What's Included

Inclusions

Program fees are in US dollars and include the following:

  • Service Learning course fee – Plymouth State University
  • Service learning placement and supervision
  • Housing
  • Medical and accident insurance
  • Pre-departure and onsite orientation
  • One excursion
  • Financial aid counseling
  • Assistance with travel arrangements
  • Airport pickup service
  • On-site support
  • The Local Life cultural program

Program Excursions

While participating on a CIS Abroad program, you'll be able to take part in built-in day trips at no additional cost. These trips are subject to change from term to term; listed below are excursions that have run in the past.
Elephant Sanctuary

Elephant Sanctuary

Enjoy a day of friendly appreciation of elephants at one of Thailand’s most respected elephant sanctuaries. You’ll learn about the sanctuary’s role in the protection of these great creatures, and maybe even get to take a swim with them!

Trekking

Trekking

A shorter day trip to visit the amazing mountains and national parks surrounding Chiang Mai, not only will you see some beautiful natural scenary, this is also a great opportunity to visit hilltribe villages in person and in a respectful and sustainable way.

Thai Cooking Class

Thai Cooking Class

During this excursion you will learn all about Thai fruits, vegetable, and herbs, visit the market and learn about the different ingredients and then make a few dishes of your own from scratch.

Site Director

Travel Tip:

Looking for a cool and exciting way to explore Bangkok? The whole city used to be based around canals, so jumping on a boat gives you a way to get out of the traffic and experience the real Bangkok.

Travel Tip:

Looking for a cool and exciting way to explore Bangkok? The whole city used to be based around canals, so jumping on a boat gives you a way to get out of the traffic and experience the real Bangkok.

About:

David was born in the UK and moved to the US when he was 16 and completed high school and University in Colorado. As an avid traveler, his first thought on graduation was to travel to Asia. He volunteered and lived with a family in Kathmandu for 2 months before traveling to Thailand. He quickly fell in love with the country and for the last 12 years has worked as a teacher, as a development officer in NGOs, and has worked with volunteers and study abroad programs for the last seven years. He has an MA in Asia Pacific Studies and is fluent in Thai. He loves his work because it allows him to share his love of Thailand and its people with participants and at the same time support the great things that people all over Thailand are doing every day.

Your Support Staff

Amanda Murphy
Travel Tip:

Don’t overplan. Have a place to stay, pick a few major things you want to do, and then just get lost in the beauty of it all. If you plan too many activities, you miss out on stumbling into the most wonderful things that you’ll never forget.

Advising and Enrollment
Travel Tip:

You’ll be supported every step of the way!

Advising

Our advising team can help match you with a program that fits your academic and personal objectives. It’s not always an easy choice, but you can’t go wrong! Once you’ve decided, we’ll guide to you submit an online application.

Enrollment

Once you’ve submitted your initial application and the fee, you’ll be assigned a Program Enrollment Coordinator. We’ll work closely together to guide you through the enrollment process and prepare you for a life-changing experience!

COVID-19 Plan

We believe that study abroad is still possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, but certain policies and procedures will need to be in place to ensure every student can be safe and healthy during their semester abroad.

Learn more about CIS Abroad’s Risk Management Team’s three step process for operating  our programs around the world and important program refund policies.

Read more below for information related to this program:

On-Site Program Modifications

We want your time abroad to be an experience of a lifetime. We also know that it is a unique time to be going abroad. Below is some helpful information to you so you can make the best decision for your finances, academic career, and personal health and safety.

Our Financial Commitment

CIS Abroad is working with international partners to create refund and withdrawal policies that limit the financial impact on students and families should COVID-19 change a student’s plan to travel. See our refund policy page for more information.
To insure yourself from additional loss, such as the loss of airfare, or any other non-recoverable loss after your program begins, we recommend purchasing trip protection insurance, aka CFAR/IFAR insurance.

Our Academic Commitment

CIS Abroad has carefully selected programs where there is minimal to no academic risk.*

If a student must quarantine or miss classes due to sickness, remote academics are guaranteed. These may be synchronous or asynchronous, i.e, live or recorded.

If a city or country goes on lockdown due to sickness, remote academics are guaranteed. These may be synchronous or asynchronous, i.e. live or recorded.

* If a student cannot travel to their destination due to COVID-19 restrictions, remote academics are guaranteed on select programs and in certain courses. If accessing remote academics from the US are important to you, please contact our advising team to learn more about which program locations or courses are right for you.

Our Health & Safety Commitment

CIS Abroad has developed a site-specific risk management plan for every location so that health and safety protocols are monitored, managed and communicated throughout the semester. We have developed a COVID Care Package included in our program fee to make traveling and living in a host country easier on students, especially those first few weeks on-site:

  • COVID compliant airport pick-up and transfer to housing (except for Barcelona’s programs).
  • Access to quarantine housing upon entry, if quarantine is required when entering the country; this housing may incur additional charges.
  • Information and assistance on meal delivery, if quarantine is required when entering the country.
  • COVID-safe classrooms and campus facilities as well as access to masks, hand sanitizer, and cleaning supplies according to country and location specific standards.
  • Vaccine requirements for all participants to ensure COVID-safe program excursions and guaranteed housing with vaccinated students.
  • Access to accommodation if isolation is necessary due to positive COVID test or exposure; this housing may incur additional charges.
  • Access to COVID testing; this testing may be an additional charge.
  • Medical and accident insurance that covers COVID-related illness (except for on programs operating in the USA).
  • Cultural activities and reflection that emphasize safe, local exploration geared to the specific context of being abroad at this special time.

*if quarantine is required upon entry, we will let you know 60 days before a program starts, or as soon as the information is known to CIS Abroad. Your program coordinator will keep you updated as to any changes in dates, arrival, local restrictions and costs. If it is required, this may entail an earlier departure date and an additional housing and meal cost.

We recognize not every student, family, or university will allow travel this year, despite the risk mitigation outlined above. Should students apply for 2022 programs, and then choose to defer to a future program, we would be happy to move that student’s application to a program with a later start date. We are committed to providing our innovative virtual programs to meet your internationalization goals.

Excursions

We plan to show you the best of what your location has to offer this term; great culture, great food, and interesting people. On the Excursions tab, you can see the day or overnight trips we usually offer. It is too soon to know if we can offer those same experiences or if we’ll stay a little closer to our program base. Just know that great experiences await you.

Add-Ons

Add to your program for no extra fee!

As an intern, you have the opportunity to earn a micro-credential from CIS Abroad! Having a highly visible addition to your resume or LinkedIn profile can help you stand out from other job seekers. It’s a fast-track way to identify demonstrated skills that make YOU a more valuable contributor to an organization.

Learn more about the Working Across Cultures micro-credential.

HOW TO SIGN UP
If you’re interested in earning this micro-credential, please message your instructor by the beginning of the second week of your internship.

Dates & Prices

ADVISOR TIP: Please WAIT to book flights until you have received confirmed dates in your acceptance paperwork. Dates posted here are subject to change.

  • Application Deadline: Nov 1 (Estimated)
  • Arrival: January 6 (Estimated)
  • Departure: February 18 | March 4 | April 1 (Estimated)
  • Price: $4,790 - $5,490 (Estimated)
  • Application Deadline: Mar 1 (Estimated)
  • Arrival: May 5 (Estimated)
  • Departure: July 1 | July 29 (Estimated)
  • Price: $4,790 - $5,490 (Estimated)
  • Application Deadline: Mar 15 (Estimated)
  • Arrival: June 2 (Estimated)
  • Departure: July 29 | August 26 (Estimated)
  • Price: $4,790 - $5,490 (Estimated)
  • Application Deadline: Jun 1 (Estimated)
  • Arrival: September 8 (Estimated)
  • Departure: November 4 | December 2 (Estimated)
  • Price: $4,890 - $5,690 (Estimated)
  • Application Deadline: Jul 1 (Estimated)
  • Arrival: October 6 (Estimated)
  • Departure: December 2 | December 30 (Estimated)
  • Price: $4,890 - $5,690 (Estimated)
Additional Information:

Prices vary according to duration

As with all study abroad programs, you should count on a few additional expenses.

CIS Abroad reserves the right to alter fees at any time due to currency fluctuations and/or fee changes made by our partner universities.