Program Overview

Spend four weeks this summer in Chiang Mai, a beloved destination in the north of Thailand, recently voted the world’s second-best city. Rich with a 700-year history and culture, you’ll enjoy the easy way of life, great food, and fun nightlife. As a Summer in Thailand participant, you’ll study at the Language Institute of Chiang Mai University (CMU), one of Thailand’s top universities located at the base of the famous Doi Suthep mountain. Study Thai language, Buddhism, international finance, and gender studies at this modern university set in the historic Old Town. From Chiang Mai, you can hike mountains, visit hilltribe villages, learn to cook Thai food, ride elephants, go bamboo rafting, and experience the kindness of the “Land of the Smiles.”

GPA Requirement
Application Deadlines
Session 1: April 1
Sessions 1 & 2: April 1
Session 2: April 15
Avg Course Load
2 courses (6 US credits)
Language(s) of Instruction
English and Thai

Key Program Highlights

  • Comprehensive and affordable program that won't break the bank
  • Internationally-focused university
  • Electives in English with Thai language and culture courses
  • Housing near the Old Town, close to temples, markets, and coffee shops
  • Easy travel to neighboring Southeast Asian countries

Your Journey Begins Here

  • Connect with your Global Advisor to start planning. Apply by the application deadline.

  • Meet your Program Coordinator to finalize acceptance paperwork, housing, courses, flights, visas, payments, etc. Attend a pre-departure orientation.

  • Fly away. You'll be greeted at the airport, participate in a robust On-site Orientation and La Vida Local Curriculum with your Site Director.



Study at the Language Institute of Chiang Mai University (LICMU) and enjoy the wonders of Thailand. Founded in 1964, CMU ranks as the second-best university in the country, according to the 2015-16 Times' Higher Education World University Report. CMU is located on a beautiful campus at the base of the famous Doi Suthep mountain. Fun fact: several movies feature this campus as a backdrop because it's so picturesque! More than 35,000 students study here in a wide range of academic disciplines.

The campus has an international center and several art galleries and sports facilities. You can take classes in English as you learn about local Thai topics. Classes are experiential and enhanced with excursions and activities that will deepen your understanding of Thai culture. You'll also study Thai language and you'll choose one elective from the following: international finance, Buddhism, or gender studies. Just like the local students, you'll also sport a uniform: white top and black bottoms. Actually, students are esteemed, so wearing your uniform will garner you a lot of respect! Just off campus, you can eat delicious food and join in the daily activities of life.

Students will receive a grade report from the Language Institute of Chiang Mai University, rather than an official transcript from CMU. The LICMU is a foreign-language learning center that supports students of CMU and the general public. A public research university, CMU was the first higher-education institution established in the Northern region of Thailand. The university seal features the elephant, which is revered in Thai culture and considered sacred.


students from chiang mai university riding an elephant

How to Choose Your Courses

Now the fun part! You get to pick the courses you will take abroad. Review the course information on this page and once you’ve decided which courses you want to take. Fill out the CISabroad Course Selection Worksheet in your online portal.

Course Approval

Make sure to talk with your home university about course approval and get additional classes approved before you go abroad. For example, if you are taking 4 classes abroad, we recommend getting 8 approved. This gives you some flexibility in setting up your class schedule. Think about courses required for your major, but also courses that fulfill your elective requirements.

GPA Requirement

If you find your GPA is lower than the requirement listed at the top of this page, do not despair! Get in touch to let us know your situation. In many cases, there are additional application materials that you can submit to make your case for acceptance.

Choose your courses, making sure to get them approved by your home university and then fill out the Course Selection Worksheet.

Course Information

Course descriptions:

All students must enroll in an Introduction to Thai Language course (mornings) and choose 1 other elective (afternoons).
Thai Language Studies

Let’s Speak Thai: Lessons for Beginners consists of 12 units and a review unit. The first unit contains background knowledge about the Thai language and the phonetic symbols used throughout the book. Other units cover a wide range if topics necessary in everyday life, and each unit is implicit in its structure. It starts with a dialog or a short passage to introduce vocabulary, expressions and language structures in a communicative way.

Elective Courses (choose one):

International Finance 

International Finance is one of the growing areas of the finance and economics curricula. Today’s financial marketplace is truly global. No students of economics or finance can fully understand current development without some background in international finance. If, after completing this course, a student can pick up The Wall Street Journal and understand the international financial news, along with its implications, then I feel that I have succeeded as a teacher. To this end, this course offers a concise comprehensive overview of international finance.

Gender Studies

This course is designed to explore the relationships between gender and society from a comparative perspective. The underlying biological basis of gender will be explored as well as the roles that culture and social structure play in defining gender. Students will explore how social factors influence the personal definition of gender and the importance of gender in perceptions of the self. Traditional and non-traditional gender roles will be explored in different societies. There will be a special focus on gender issues and women’s issues in Thailand.

Buddhist Philosophy

This course is an introduction to a wide range of the Buddhist ideas and practices that have developed within the diverse regions of South, Central, and East Asia. The course covers a wide range of Buddhist traditions: Theravada, Mahayana, Vajrayana, Chan/Zen, Pure Land Buddhism, etc. The course will address several areas of Buddhist Philosophy such as social, political, religious vs. non-religious, “who am I?”, Buddhist Thought and Psychology.

Life in Chiang Mai

Welcome and Orientation

Upon arrival you’ll take part in a comprehensive orientation program. You’ll learn the “do’s and don’ts” of living in Chiang Mai. Where to go out, how to stay safe, where the shops and markets are, how to get around, and the likes will be among the topics covered in our orientation. In the afternoon you will participate in the Thai Cultural values training, where staff will cover the differences in working and communication style between, Thailand and the West.

Farewell and Re-entry Program

At the end of the program we will all get together for one last epic meal and talk about your adventures and experiences. Our staff will also share some precious tips on going back home feeling like a champ! Your study abroad experience is something to be cherished and shared with your family and friends back home.

Housing Options

You’ll live in beautiful and centrally located guest rooms a quick walk from the Old City of Chiang Mai. With over 700 years of history, the Old City is the very center of Chiang Mai and there are many beautiful temples and exciting markets to explore.


  • Shared suite with a shared room (Participants may request a single room for an additional fee. Note: Single rooms are only available for the Chiang Mai portion of the program. Rooms in Bangkok are all doubles. Please contact an advisor for more information)
  • Free internet access
  • Air conditioning
  • There is a pool in the building and a restaurant and massage studio on the main floor

Living in the Old City will give you a better insight into Thai culture, especially because you will be living within walking distance to the Sunday Walking Street, Night Bazaar, and Tha Pae Gate. The university is a 15-minute bus ride away. From your central location in the city, you can walk or bike all over this moderately sized town.


Local Life

  • Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep: Chiang Mai’s most holy temple, located 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, local 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, do you research and find a trekking program that allows you to visit these communities in a sensitive and responsible way and you will have the experience of a lifetime.
  • Thai Cooking Class: Sign up for a program where they teach you all about Thai herbs and vegetables, visit a market to learn the names and then make several delicious dishes of your own choice.

More About 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, ride 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.


Program Excursions

While participating on a CISabroad program, you'll be able to take part in built-in weekend and 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.


This 2 day trip to Bangkok covers both the old and new City of Angels. See the center of Bangkok's massive Chinatown, visit the Temple of a 5 ton golden buddha that was lost for almost 200 years, experience the center of bustling metropolitan Bangkok, and much more!

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 5 dishes of your own from scratch.

Elephant Sanctuary

CISabroad participants will 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!

Student Feedback

CISabroad Summer abroad in Thailand Student photo grass and mountains
The excursions included in the CISabroad program were amazing. The site directors chose awesome tour guides for our excursions and made it a great experience. Both the site directors and the tour guides were extremely caring and knowledgeable about their job. I felt safe at all times.

Ellie Ashbrook - Valparaiso University

Program Support

Meet Our Staff

Before, during, and after your study abroad experience, you’ll be supported by the dedicated and passionate CISabroad staff. Our goal is quick responses to your questions before you depart, and even quicker once you’ve arrived on site.

Robust Advising Center

Our team of advisors will help you choose a program, connect with your home university regarding classes and financial aid and get you prepared to apply for your program.

Team of Dedicated Program Coordinators

Your Program Coordinator will assist you in finalizing housing, enrolling in courses, booking flights, obtaining visas, arranging payments, and provide pre-departure orientation.

Experienced On-site Staff

From greeting you at the airport to a robust On-site Orientation to La Vida Local Activities our on-site staff will be there to support you throughout your time on-site.

Ongoing Support

Our support doesn’t end when your program does. We have alumni programming, webinars, and resources to help you readjust when you’ve returned from your experience.

Your Support Staff

Julia Sementilli
Program Coordinator for Asia, Africa, and the Pacific

Travel Tip: Be open to meeting new people! Some of my favorite memories while traveling include meeting people in hostels, or by getting involved at my school abroad. You never know who will be a lifelong friend! Try all of the local foods, even if you don’t think you will like it. Write everything down in a journal- you will appreciate those stories later!

Learn more about Julia

David Jackson
Site Director in Thailand

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.

Learn more about David

Global Advising Team

Travel Tip: We love what we do and want to talk to you! The Global Advising Center is here to help you decide on a program, and complete the Online Application. From the moment you first hear from us be it through a phone call, email or personal visit, you will find that our passion for international education is contagious. We’re ready to launch you abroad.

Program Fees & Dates

Advisor Tip: Please do not book flights until you have received confirmed dates in your acceptance paperwork. Dates posted here are subject to change.

  • Summer 2019: Session 1
    Application Deadline
    April 1
    May 24 (Estimated)
    May 25 - 26 (Estimated)
    Classes Start
    May 27 (Estimated)
    Classes End
    June 21 (Estimated)
    June 23 (Estimated)
    $3,990 - $4,490 (Estimated)
  • Summer 2019: Sessions 1 & 2
    Application Deadline
    April 1
    May 24 (Estimated)
    May 25 - 26 (Estimated)
    Classes Start
    May 27 (Estimated)
    Classes End
    July 26 (Estimated)
    July 28 (Estimated)
    $5,890 - $6,890 (Estimated)
  • Summer 2019: Session 2
    Application Deadline
    April 15
    June 28 (Estimated)
    June 29 - 30 (Estimated)
    Classes Start
    July 1 (Estimated)
    Classes End
    July 26 (Estimated)
    July 28 (Estimated)
    $3,990 - $4,490 (Estimated)

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

Program Inclusions

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

Program fees are in US dollars and include the following:

  • Cultural and recreational excursions and activities in Chiang Mai
  • One guided weekend excursion in Bangkok
  • Full-time tuition and fees
  • Housing (guest room)
  • Medical and accident insurance
  • CISabroad support services before, during, and after the program
  • Academic advising
  • Financial aid counseling
  • Assistance with travel arrangements
  • Pre-departure orientation
  • Airport pickup
  • On-site support
  • Certificate of Completion from LICMU
  • NYTimes Digital Subscription
  • La Vida Local cultural program