- 18 years of age or above
- Good academic and disciplinary standing at Penn State
- 2.5 cumulative GPA or better at the time of application
- Sophomore standing or above at the start of the program
Immerse yourself in Thailand’s grassroots issues in this intense, people-to-people, and group-focused program whose mission is to create solidarity between people living half a world apart. Be part of something, be engaged, and learn about yourself, this inviting part of Thailand, social justice, and your role in the world—while having time to travel in Thailand and to other countries in the region.
This program uses international and national human rights frameworks to understand grassroots and social justice issues for the past decade. Students prepare for five 1-week community stays with lectures and preparations at CIEE Khon Kaen, located just off of Khon Kaen University. The field becomes the classroom, and community leaders, government officials, and NGO practitioners are the teachers.
Language instruction is geared toward helping students function in everyday situations. It starts with three weeks of intensive instruction, with classes at beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels, and combines intensive classroom learning with help from peer tutors and interactive exercises. Content courses are taught by a variety of professors from Northeastern universities and as well as outside university lecturers, members of the NGO Coordinating Committee on Development (NGO-CORD), government officials, representatives of NGO and governmental organizations, and CIEE staff. Beginning Thai language courses are taught by CIEE-Khon Kaen staff, while non-beginning Thai classes are typically taught through the ASEAN Language Center at Thai Department of Khon Kaen University.
Fall: mid August - mid December
Spring: mid January - mid May
Refer to CIEE's website for the specific dates, if available.
The Northeast of Thailand, called “Isaan,” retained many of its traditional Lao and Khmer customs, and features a strong silk trade, ancient temples, museums, and recreation areas. Khon Kaen city features expansive shopping malls, top-rate private medical facilities, and chain outlets like McDonalds and Starbucks. But it also has close-knit traditional communities and historic Buddhist temples dotted along the banks of the city’s picturesque lakes. Khon Kaen is at the center of Isaan, and serves as a regional hub for development organizations, commerce, industry, government, and education. Compared to other regions, this area is well known for its welcoming attitude toward visitors.
With the Thai language skills you develop on the program and through your site visits and community stays, you’ll come to feel proud to be part of the culture and not a mere tourist.
Education Abroad in Countries with a Penn State Restricted Travel Designation
In order to comply with Penn State’s International Travel Policy, students interested in studying abroad in countries that Penn State has designated as “restricted” for travel, a petition for a waiver must be submitted. Once a petition is complete, and if the student is approved for study on the program in question, the student may be asked to meet with the Director of Education Abroad and the petition will be reviewed by the Penn State International Restricted Travel Committee (IRTC). The necessary petition will be included in the online application process for this program. To see if your program is taking place in a restricted travel country, please visit the Global Programs website.
Available Fields of Study
Environmental Studies, Global Studies, Journalism, Sociology
To find courses at CIEE Khon Kaen, follow the instructions on CIEE's website under "Academics."
To see what Penn State students have previously taken on this program, see the Historical Course List, which is meant to be a guide as to what courses might be available and how they might transfer to Penn State. Courses listed here may not be offered during the semester you attend the program and the credit amount or course title may have changed.
Note: You are not limited to choosing classes on the program Historical Course List. You should consult the full list of courses on CIEE's website before choosing a program.
To find appropriate courses that will fit into your degree requirements, you will need to work with your academic adviser. Suggested tips:
- Research courses available on your program
- Meet with your academic adviser to discuss potential courses abroad and your degree requirements
- Keep in mind that courses abroad may change or may be unavailable for your selected term, so you will need to discuss possible back-up course options
- To register for courses on this program you will work with CIEE
Students take the following four courses:
- The Human Perspective on Development and the Environment (6 credits)
- Directed Research Field Study/Practicum (3 credits)
- Social Research Methods or Grassroots Journalism (3 credits)
- 1 Thai language course (3 credits)
- You must enroll in a minimum number of 15 credits and a maximum number of 18 credits
- You cannot take any courses abroad on a Pass/Fail basis
- World Campus courses should not be taken in addition to or as a substitute for courses offered abroad
- You may not take sport or physical activity courses (e.g. sailing, bowling, yoga, etc.) abroad
- If you are studying abroad in your final semester at Penn State, please note that Penn State may not receive your grades in time for graduation
Course Equivalency Process
In order for courses from abroad to appear on your Penn State transcript, each course must be given a course equivalency. Please visit the Academics section of the Global Programs website for information on the course equivalency process.
Courses can be submitted for course equivalency before, during, or after the education abroad program, however, you should begin this process as soon as possible as it can take on average 2-4 months or more for courses to receive a Penn State course number. In some cases, it can be difficult to obtain syllabi from abroad before the start of the term, but when possible, courses can be submitted for review before departure. Talk to your Education Abroad Adviser about requesting syllabi.
Grade and Credit Conversion Scale
Grades and credit conversions from your host institution cannot be changed. They will be converted to Penn State credits and grades based on the following scales:
Grade Conversion Scale
|Host Institution Grade
||Penn State Grade
Credit Conversion Scale
|Host Institution Credit
||Penn State Credit
|3 credits per course
||3 credits per course