Chiang Mai, Thailand
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Chiang Mai Courses - 2019 Spring

Studying abroad can be a more meaningful and invigorating learning experience than at home—both inside and outside of the classroom. You may be more curious and alert than you usually are so use this heightened energy to enhance your studies as well as your cultural and geographical explorations. You may also encounter different teaching styles and course processes; be prepared to adapt and to learn.


You will enroll in 12 to 18 credits each semester comprised of electives in Southeast Asian culture, international relations and development studies. Thai language is not required but strongly encouraged to help you better assimilate into your new life and culture. Course availability is contingent upon student enrollment and is subject to change.

Fall Semester

Spring Semester

Field Studies

Deepen your academic experience through the optional Hill Tribe Field Study which helps you explore the historical, cultural, and natural features of the region. Students who enroll in this 1-credit course will select a particular topic of interest to examine as part of the field study, and complete a research paper drawing from their field study experience as well as from additional readings, research, and written assignments.


USAC internships are rich resources for your academic and professional development and are counted as part of your credit load. Students will be working in an authentic local environment, with high exposure to Thai language and culture. Thai language ability is not necessary to complete an internship, but helpful. Interns earn credits but no financial compensation. The schedule and the number of work hours will be determined by the schedule of USAC courses.

Previous Chiang Mai placements have included: local schools, teaching English in the community, local non-profits, the Provincial Office, and a local magazine. Placement is not guaranteed by USAC, rather it will be determined by your application and supporting materials and an interview with the internship sponsor on site.

Eligibility: enrollment in the Chiang Mai program, a minimum 3.0 GPA, and junior standing at the time of the internship. A refundable fee of $100 is charged and returned upon successful completion of the internship.

US Professors

Local faculty teach most USAC courses; however, the following US professors are also teaching as Visiting Professors.

Fall Semester:

Dr. Stephen Jenkings | Humboldt State University

Courses offered:

Professor Jenkins, trained at Harvard in South Asian religions, has led study abroad programs throughout Asia, chaired statewide and campus committees to support study abroad, and has traveled throughout Asia for thirty years. His research publications focus on South Indian Śrī Vaiṣṇavism and the Indian Buddhist ethics of compassion.

Course Descriptions

ASEAN Tourism Management

Fall (Business, Political Science; 400-level; 3 credits)

This course, ASEAN Tourism Management, focuses on the current issues in tourism development and management in the Southeast Asia. The course offer fundamental knowledge on tourism management and development. The key contents encompass various specific aspects of tourism development and management in the region under the contexts of ASEAN including infrastructure development, mutual recognition of agreement (MRA) on tourism labour flow in the region as well as he management of logistics and supply chain of the tourism supply chain.

Students who successfully complete this course are expected to be able to critically understand the revolution of tourism development, to comprehend the tourism management process and be able to suggest the managerial solution and sustainable policy of the tourism industry in the Southeast Asia.

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Asian Religion in the Western Imagination

Fall (Anthropology, History, Religious Studies; 300-level; 3 credits)

Participants critically process their own experience in light of the fascinating tragi-comic history of Euro-Americans’ encounter with Asia, addressing colonialism, orientalism, proselytization, mystification, eroticization, the “pizza effect,” cultural appropriation, and commercialization of traditions such as yoga, and tropes such as the spiritual East versus the materialist West. We examine how Asia has served as a template for Western fantasies in advertising, film, and other popular media. The goal is to enrich cultural sophistication and humility by providing a knowledge base and critical analysis, actively applied to field experience.

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Buddhism in Thailand

Fall (Philosophy, Religious Studies; 400-level; 3 credits)
Spring (Philosophy, Religious Studies; 400-level; 3 credits)

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.

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Comparative Conceptions of Sacred Spaces and Pilgrimage: Monasteries, Temples, Churches, Mosques, and Landscapes

Fall (Anthropology, Religious Studies; 300-level; 3 credits)

This class explores and illuminates a diversity of local sacred spaces and related human practices, while simultaneously bringing to bear the theory of pilgrimage to illuminate and enrich students’ own understanding of their pursuit of meaning and self-transformation through travel. Anthropologists reveal parallels between psychological, social, and economic dynamics of tourism and religious pilgrimage. Asia often blurs the boundaries of these two for Western seekers. Similar connections can be made to touring for education. We examine landscape itself as overlaid with an imaginal topography, invested with mythic meaning, which pilgrims pursue as they project inner paths on outer ones.

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Diplomacy in Southeast Asia

Fall (Political Science; 400-level; 3 credits)

This course is designed to provide students an understanding of the Association of the South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), its achievements and challenges, as well as its Member States profiles, and the role of the Association in building a dialogue platform in the Asia-Pacific region.

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Gender and Sexuality Studies

Fall (Women's Studies / Gender Studies; 400-level; 3 credits)

This course is designed to look at Gender and Sexuality as a societal construct, and to how different societies use/experience these constructs. This course will cover the roles that culture and social structure play in experiencing sex/gender identities. There will be particular attention given to deconstruct Western conceptualizations of sex/gender/sexuality, as well as an in-depth look at the construction of their Thai counterparts.

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Global Environmental Politics and Social Movements

Fall (Political Science; 400-level; 3 credits)

This course offers a broad introduction to issues of global environmental politics. Each week explores a different thematic in this field: including multilateral environmental governance and law; the relationship between the environment and social inequalities; the politics of water, waste and consumption; the social construction of natural disasters and the sociopolitical effects of climate change. Classes will comprise lectures, discussions, student presentations and occasional film clips to enhance engagement with complex issues. The assessment criteria reflects an emphasis on the importance of class participation and interaction in this course.

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Global Health Issues

Fall (Community Health Sciences, Sociology; 400-level; 3 credits)

This course examines global public health issues through a biopsychosocial perspective focusing on health as a fundamental human right for all people. The relationships between social and behavioral factors in health and disease frame the course. Topics include; infectious illnesses, chronic illnesses, nutrition, mental health, health issues of women and children, and ethical issues in health. Global perspectives on environmental factors in health such as climate, culture, economics, and political systems will be explored. The course will focus on challenges of international cooperation in dealing with health disparities, natural disasters, conflicts, global health interventions, and setting world health policies.

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Global Health Psychology

Spring (Psychology; 400-level; 3 credits)

Depression is an important health condition. It is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and it can be a cause of suicide. This course is a discussion based class, based on readings, videos and personal experience, the course will be of particular interest to students with mental health and non-mental health backgrounds, who seek to understand more about psychological issues and the implementation of mental health care across diverse cultural populations. It will also be of value to those who may be seeking to assume positions in global healthcare organisations, health-related research institutions, non-governmental and governmental organisations and private consultancies with a global developmental agenda.

Each class will challenge you to look inside yourself and help you define how you see the world and your place in it.

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Governance and Politics in Asia

Spring (Geography, Political Science; 400-level; 3 credits)

This course aims to facilitate students with fundamental knowledge about backgrounds and developments of government and politics in Asia. As Asia counts for approximately 60% of world population and is home to the biggest economic growth between nations, it is crucial that students gain knowledge to interpret the signs of political movements and issues. Main actors in politics and economics in Asia-Pacific will be focused.

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Highland Ethnic Peoples and Social Transformation of Northern Thailand

Fall (400-level; 3 credits)
Spring (400-level; 3 credits)

This course will explore historical background of highland ethnic groups in Northern Thailand and their social transformation. It also covers the state government policies, regionalization, and globalization impacts toward them. Ethnic responses in various aspects will also be explored and discussed. Furthermore, field studies will be organized for students to experience ethnic people’s livelihood and culture.

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Hill Tribe Field Study

Fall (Anthropology; 400-level; 1 credit)
Spring (Anthropology; 400-level; 1 credit)

Students get the chance to participate on an educational tour of the Hill Tribes. This is an excellent opportunity to break the routine of classes and get acquainted with other parts of the country.

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Intercultural Communication

Fall (Speech Communications; 400-level; 3 credits)

A study of human communication across cultures focusing on variables which influence interaction when members of different cultures come together. The goal of the course is to increase Intercultural Communication Competence. Topics will include cultural adaptation and culture shock, nonverbals, identity, conflict, etc. with a special focus on Thailand.

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International Business Management

Spring (International Business, Management; 300-level; 3 credits)

The environment that corporations operate in has seen dramatic changes in recent years. International management is now a major challenge facing organizations in this current new century. To succeed in this environment, students must now be knowledgeable about the international dimensions of management. This course enables students to expand their knowledge of management and international business in a range of organizations by engaging in practical business tasks, such as preparing business plans, undertaking negotiations and giving presentations. This course has two primary objectives. The first objective is to provide students with an understanding of the international business environment. The second objective is to provide a context in which students can continue to develop their general business skills, such as analysis, strategic decision-making, presentation skills and writing skills.

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International Political Economy

Fall (Political Science; 300-level; 3 credits)

This course seeks to provide an introduction to international political economics while situating within the Asian Pacific context in particular. This course examines the theoretical perspectives in relation to political economy. This course adopts a holistic perspective through unraveling the multiple dimensions towards political economic development including geographical, socio-cultural and political factors. Besides, this course incorporates an institutional perspective through discussing international organizations and multi-national corporations and their diverse roles in political economic. Moreover, this course attempts to explore the inadvertent presence of global superpowers and their critical roles in political economic development. Further, this course takes cognizance of social movement in light of the transforming and transnationalizing political economic landscape. Finally, this course offers a critical platform for the discussion of contemporary issues related to this topic.

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International Relations

Spring (Political Science; 400-level; 3 credits)

This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of issues and theories in international relations: the nature of world politics, theories of international relations and diplomacy and elements of world systems. This course also will discuss state foreign policy in international relations, intervention, alliances, economic integration and interdependence, neutrality, isolation and non-alignment. Successful completion of this course satisfies UNLV’s International and Foreign Culture requirement.

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Mindfulness and Mindfulness-Based Intervention

Spring (Psychology; 300-level; 3 credits)

Mindfulness meditation and other similar contemplative practices have garnered significant attention from both scholars and practitioners in the past 15 years, especially as it relates to using mindfulness to treat a myriad of psychosocial concerns. This course will introduce students to the concept of mindfulness meditation, specifically as it relates to health, psychology, and other applications through both didactic and experiential learning. Students will study the varied applications of mindfulness-based interventions with special attention given to psychopathology. Students will also be asked to cultivate their own practice of daily meditation/contemplative exercises while also being led by the instructor on various contemplative exercises.

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Peace and Conflict Studies

Spring (Political Science; 400-level; 3 credits)

This course introduces students to the major themes in the study of peace and conflict. It recognizes the closely interlinked nature of these complex political concepts, and explores the varied modes through which actors have sought to define and explain them. Just as war and other forms of violence and conflict are a constant of human history, so too are ideas and practices that seek the conditions of peaceful (co)existence. We will explore how peace is more than just the absence of war and manifests in different forms in different contexts: just as conflict in global politics is a multi-faceted phenomenon that can (and must) be analysed from a range of perspectives. The first part of the course introduces students to major theoretical paradigms. The second half engages with key thematics integral to the contemporary study of peace and conflict, with a particular focus on the Southeast Asian region.

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People on the Move: Dynamics and Challenges of Global Migration

Spring (Anthropology, Political Science, Women's Studies / Gender Studies; 400-level; 3 credits)

This course explores the global context of migration, including the reasons why people are on the move, the risks faced by people on the move, the rights that people on the move are entitled to, the reaction of governments and individuals to people on the move, and the responses needed to adequately address the needs and challenges of people on the move..

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Reading and Writing Thai Language I

Fall (Thai; 100-level; 3 credits)
Spring (Thai; 100-level; 3 credits)

This is a course for students who are interested in learning Thai orthography, how Thai words are formed and rules for intonations. The purpose of the course is to provide the students (even though they have not taken any Thai language courses before) with basic Thai writing system resources to help them read as well as communicate in daily situations while studying in Thailand.

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Social and Cultural Dynamics in Thailand

Spring (Anthropology; 200-level; 3 credits)

This course provides students with a holistic sociological portrait of Thai culture and society that includes Thai history, political structure, geography, cultural traditions and spiritual beliefs, presence in the global economy, and patterns of daily life.

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Social Entrepreneurship

Spring (General Business; 400-level; 3 credits)

This course provides an introduction to the theory and practice of the fast-growing field of social entrepreneurship. The first part of the course will provide students with a contextual framework covering some of the major global social problems, with a focus on poverty and inequality, as well as introducing students to the ideas of community development. We will then cover key concepts within the field of social entrepreneurship with a focus on a social enterprise’s ‘fit’ between venture opportunity, entrepreneurial skills and characteristics and resource mobilization. Students will also be introduced to various ways social entrepreneurs can measure the impact and effectiveness of their social enterprises. In the final part of the course students will develop and present a simple business plan for a feasible social enterprise business plan. Throughout the course, students will be challenged to look beyond traditional boundaries and critically assess alternative ways of doing business that develop innovative approaches to some of today’s major social problems including, but not limited to, education, the environment, inequality and healthcare.

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Sustainable Agriculture Development

Fall (Environmental Science, Geography; 300-level; 3 credits)

This module takes students through the range of ecological and environmental issues associated with sustainable development. The module is taught collaboratively by staff from four Schools (Geography & Geosciences, Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics & Statistics). The module explores 5 themes: ecosystem functions and services (biodiversity, ecosystems, the role of soils, climate and water), the anthropogenic effects on ecosystem functions and services (habitat change, agriculture, forestry, atmospheric change, harvesting wild animals), conservation of biodiversity (extinctions, species and habitat protection, protected area design), technology and the environment (energy supply and use, genetically modified organisms, mining), and environmental monitoring and assessment techniques. A large part of the module will use case studies to illustrate the above.

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Thai Homestyle Cooking

Fall (Nutrition; 200-level; 1 credit)
Spring (Nutrition; 200-level; 1 credit)

Cuisine is a very important part of Thai culture. In this course we will explore the main themes in Thai cuisine: rice, noodles, herbs & spices, and typical fruits and vegetables. Cuisine varies from northern to central to southern regions of Thailand with differing uses of hot, sour, sweet, salty and bitter. Be prepared to dive into new and exciting flavors, learn how to serve like the Thai, and what influences the cuisine and how to make all kinds of new dishes.

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Thai Language for Daily Communication I

Fall (Thai; 100-level; 3 credits)
Spring (Thai; 100-level; 3 credits)

This is a course for students who have not taken any Thai language courses before. Its purpose is to provide the students with basic lexical, grammatical and functional resources to manage in daily situations while studying in Thailand.

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Thai Language for Daily Communication II

Spring (Thai; 100-level; 3 credits)

This is a course for students who have taken Thai Language or Daily Communication I (or equivalent). Its purpose is to provide the students with basic lexical, grammatical and functional resources to manage in daily situations while studying in Thailand.

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Thai Society and Culture

Fall (Anthropology, Sociology; 100-level; 3 credits)

The course primarily aims at studying sociological, anthropological and cultural issues related to Thai society and culture.

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Tropical Plant Ecology

Spring (Biology, Ecology; 400-level; 3 credits)

An introduction to the structure and ecological functioning of the various tropical forest plant communities of northern Thailand, including various types of both evergreen and deciduous forest types; ecological survival strategies of characteristic plant species of each forest type; deforestation, ecological succession and ecological restoration of degraded forests, including the most severely degraded landscapes of open cast mines. Two field trips are an essential part of the course.

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World Economic Issues

Fall (Economics; 400-level; 3 credits)
Spring (Economics; 400-level; 3 credits)

The purpose of this class is to give students some tools to understand the working of the world economy. Since, so far countries around the world trade goods and services, and factors of production move across their borders every day. This class will (1) help students to understand the effects of these flows and the different policies used by countries to restrict or promote them. (2) This course offers an overview of various aspects of world economy within the field of economic geography and its linkages to related issues of resources, development, international business and trade. It investigates the phenomenon of globalization and seeks to provide understanding of today’s increasingly interdependent world. (3) This course recognizes that economy cannot be treated separately from other domains of social studies so such topics as political economic theories and models, historical context, consumption trends, role of telecommunications, world economic risks (global financial crisis, regional crisis, etc.) and others will be discussed.

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