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  • Locations: Bangkok, Thailand; Chiang Dao, Thailand; Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • Restrictions: Rhodes College applicants only
  • This program is full, or the deadline has passed.
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Language of Instruction: English Type of Program: Academic Study
Program Description:
Thailand Maymester 3

PLEASE NOTE: The final course credit  information and final cost of this program is still under development. It will be posted here as soon as it is available. Once the information is posted, you will have 7 days to withdraw from the program without penalty. After that time, Rhodes' regular "Program Fees and Billing" Policy will be in place. For your convenience, if you have submitted or started your application to this program, you will receive an email about course and cost updates, as well as about the last day to withdraw, as soon as the information is available.

Start date May 16This means you will need leave the US on May 15 in order to arrive on time (earlier if you are not vaccinated, see notes below)
End date June 13

Bangkok 8-10 days (pending quarantine requirements)
Chiang Mai 7-9 days
Chiang Dao 6 days
Doi Inthanon Village 3 days

Program Description:
This 4 credit course presents students with an opportunity to learn about contemporary issues, problems, and controversies in global health and mental health through an interdisciplinary perspective, using Thailand as a case study. Students will learn how to work ethically in the complex tapestry of social, economic, political, and environmental factors that affect health internationally, particularly in countries with emerging economies. Students will analyze global health disparities through a social justice and human rights lens, and meet people working or living with the micro, meso, and macro influences on determinants of health in Thailand. They will also learn about non-Western perspectives on health (including indigenous healing) and the importance of being globally competent and ethical when engaging in health related work and research across cultures. Students will use constant comparison as they explore a holistic and psycho-social model of health comparing Thailand with the US; Bangkok with Chiang Mai and more rural parts of Thailand; and majority populations' health access vs. minority populations (socioeconomic, gender, ability, cultural minority, etc.). Students will also reflect on the role of Thai and international organizations (private, public, NGOs) in addressing access to health and mental health in Thailand.

The 4-week program will start with 8-10 days (pending quarantine rules) in Bangkok, a highly developed, urban, international financial center, with more than 10 million people. The first 5 days will introduce students to Thailand and the course, mixing lectures and readings with excursions and site visits. The last 5 days will focus on meeting with Thai students studying health and mental health, site visits to hospitals, and an introduction to the medical tourism and plastic surgery businesses in Thailand (Covid-19 quarantine rules willing!). Next, we spend 7-8 days in Chiangmai, a historical city of 1 million people in Northern Thailand. While there, we focus primarily on gender, immigration, and the difference in access to health between Bangkok and Northern Thailand. We take a close look at the ladyboy culture, human trafficking, Burmese refugees, and the sex industry. Covid-19 willing, our site visits will include a mental health hospital, a center working with boys in the sex industry, psychology students at the University of Chiangmai, and a child development center for children with disabilities. Our third stop is Chiang Dao, a small town in Northern Thailand. Here, students will spend 5-6 days learning about traditional healing methods, the Thai National Health Care Plan, Karma and disability issues, migrants and refugees in Thailand, and the challenges with access to healthcare for minority people. We will speak with a local Munk, visit LGBTQ people living in the countryside, and meet with people with disabilities as well as migrant workers in the tourism industry. Finally, we spend 3 days in a hill tribe area (staying on the outskirts of a Karen village) near Doi Inthanon, the tallest mountain in Thailand The village we stay in/near used to be involved in the drug industry, but are now growing organic fruits, vegetables, coffee, and flowers that they sell to high end restaurants and hotels. We will learn more about the pros and cons of government programs like the one this village participate in, visit a nearby health clinic (working with all the hill tribe villages in the area), and learn about the continued problems with drug use and drug trafficking in Thailand. We will also drink amazing coffee made in the village and engage in some beautiful hiking while continuing to learn about traditional healing methods. Finally, we fly back to Bangkok for 2 days of recap and processing before leaving Thailand.

Lodging and food
Students will stay in shared rooms (2 per room) in hotels in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. These are nice, but simple hotels (with swimming pools - to help combat the heat). In Chiang Dao, students stay in shared 2-3 bedroom bungalows at an upscale nature resort. Each bungalow has a bathrooms with shower. In the village, students will share small and simple cabins (4 students per room) with basic bathrooms (working toilet and low water-pressure showers that may or may not have hot water).

All lodging includes breakfasts. The program includes one extra meal per day, either lunch or dinner, typically eaten as a group. All meals in the village are included. 

Students will be using local transportation (ferries, skytrain, public vans) when possible, but the instructor will help arrange taxis and vans when needed. The instructor will also purchase the flights between Bangkok and Chiangmai - which are included in the program budget. Students will be met at the airport by the instructor or a representative from the first hotel and be transported to the hotel in a taxi. Students are responsible for purchasing their own flight to Bangkok (or Koh Samui, pending Covid-19 quarantine requirements). The international flight is NOT included in the program price.

Eligibility Requirements:
Minimum GPA 2.5 and good academic and social standing.

Cost of program:
TBD (Best estimate at this time is $3,000+/- $200). Cost includes lodging, breakfast plus one additional meal per day, transportation to all class-related activities, return flight Bangkok to Chiang Mai, and entree fees to all national parks or sites requiring entry fees.

Contact: Dr. Elin Ovrebo,

Need-Based Scholarship Available:
All students on Summer Programs will be considered for a need-based scholarship if they submit their application by Feb. 1, have completed a FAFSA, and have at least a 2.75 GPA.Not all students will receive an award. Need based award amounts vary, based on each student's individual FAFSA information. Some awards may cover up to 100% of the program cost, though that is rare.

Students choosing to withdraw their Off-Campus Study Application for a Rhodes Summer Program* must do so by February 14. Following February 14, Rhodes′ "Program Fees and Billing" Policy, and Rhodes′ "Cancellation and Refund" Policy will apply. Follow this link to review our Policies.

A Note About Health and Mobility
The weather is muggy and temperatures are in the low 90s to 100 degrees in Thailand in late May-Early June. A lot of our activities will include a great deal of walking and standing outside. Unfortunately, Thailand is not a very accessibility friendly destination for people with mobility challenges. Most public transportation in Bangkok includes stairs and steps. As we will be exploring health also in rural areas, including hill tribes (named so for a reason), there will also be some walking n very steep terrain (even on the regular roads). Additionally, the trip includes several nature hikes and walks on trails to explore traditional nutrition and herbal medicine. While the most difficult hikes are optional, the combination between walking and the hot weather can be a challenge to some students. It is beautiful yes, but if you have any questions or concerns about this, please contact the instructors so we can discuss possible accommodation and what is best for you.

A Note About Covid-19:

There may be program changes based on Covid-19. For example, if hospitals and clinics are not open to visitors (or if hospitals are not safe enough for us to visit), health professionals and Thai educators may come to visit with us. Also, if Thailand still has a 10 day quarantine, there is a chance our first 10 days will be spent in Koh Samui, where the Thai Government allows "Sandbox Quarantines". In a Sandbox quarantine, we would need to spend the first 24 hours in our hotel rooms, but would then be allowed to leave the hotel every day as long as we do not leave Koh Samui. This means our intro to the course, Thailand, and the Thai health and mental health system would happen on a beautiful island instead of Bangkok. The cost of the program would not change. However, if you are not vaccinated, the Thai government uses different quarantine rules. Your quarantine would begin with 7 days at a hotel by yourself at your own cost BEFORE you would qualify for the 10 day Sandbox program and could join us. If you are in this situation, please contact me for more detail information.

Thailand Maymester 4(Village Health Clinic)

This program is full, or the deadline has passed.