CIEE Development + Globalization in Khon Kaen, Thailand
98% Rating
(13 Reviews)

CIEE Development + Globalization in Khon Kaen, Thailand

Start doing. What better way to begin understanding the complexities surrounding environmental, development, and globalization issues, than to engage with and confront them yourself? In Thailand, you’ll engage in a real-world learning model to examine issues of development and social justice on a grassroots level.

Study abroad in Thailand where coursework and the classroom are a springboard, propelling you out into the field where you’ll interact with, learn from, and contribute to communities and organizations in the Northeast of the country.

In Thailand you will:
- Immerse yourself in Thai culture through community stays, translated exchanges, Thai student roommates, and peer tutors
- Spend significant time living and exchanging with villagers and NGOs
- Conceive, collaborate on, and present a final, group project which uses methodical, field-based research and contributes to the public sphere

Asia » Thailand
Program Type
Subject Areas
Peace Studies
Degree Level
Host Family
Official Transcripts
Letters of Recommendation
GPA Requirement
Starting Price
Price Details
The program fee includes:

- Tuition and housing
- Pre-departure advising and optional on-site airport meet and greet
- Full-time program leadership and support
- Field trips and cultural activities
- CIEE iNext travel card which provides insurance and other travel benefits

CIEE also offers a wide variety of scholarships for participants; see website for details.

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

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Program Reviews (13)

Default avatar
29 years old
United States
University of Michigan

Deep Learning


This program gets the immersive, expansive potential of study abroad right. And it helps students combine classroom learning to the even more powerful learning that can happen on the ground and with communities. Using frameworks of anti-oppression, human rights, and organizing, this program connects students to issues in globalization and development to the communities that are impacted by changes. And more importantly, the program connects students to the ways in which local entities and communities are organizing in response to development schemes. Students participate in home stays in communities with which the program has long-standing, mutual relationships. For students in my year, this program was a major launching pad into helping students take ownership over their education and inform career pathways. And for me, it fostered some of my deepest friendships.

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23 years old
United States
Bowdoin College

Life changing !!


Learning from local NGOs and communities immersed me in the culture of Thailand and brought globalization to a very real, human level. The class collaborates on group projects, making for an intimate and team oriented learning environment. The independent project period provided a chance to collaborate with non-profits and give back to the communities you stay with. A journalism unit gave me tools to create a documentary for my independent project, and which launched my documentary film career.


Immersive and important


The CIEE Thailand Development and Globalization program is unique because you learn through complete immersion into the topics you are studying. This is done primarily through homestays and exchanges in villages and communities that are affected by the globalization issue that is the focus of a particular unit (e.g., agriculture, mining, urban migration). There is minimal reliance on lectures, textbooks, and readings, although there is some to enhance your time in the communities. The program leaders have spent 20+ years building relationships with the communities and NGOs you will visit, and each student group builds off the relationships and projects previous students have built so you are involved in an experience that is larger than your four months in the program.

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22 years old
University of Pennsylvania

Learning from people for people: an experiential education


The program takes experiential learning for what it should be. In our age of increasing globalization and development, learning from local communities in a bottom-up, people-first approach was invaluable experience for me. Speaking with villagers, NGOs, human rights advocates, and many others in a region of Thailand that many people often forget, disregard, and look down upon brought a new perspective on what it means to be a Global Citizen. This program is challenging, but it's definitely worth it. For those looking to challenge their perspectives of traditional education, of themselves, and of the world, I'd highly recommend considering CIEE's Globalization & Development program in Khon Kaen.


Learning the way it ought to be


Studying with CIEE Khon Kaen was the most transformative 4 months of my life. The program teaches you about yourself, how to collaborate with others in a community, and how Americans can learn from and support the efforts of rural Thai villagers using a learning model unlike any other study abroad program. The connections I made with my homestay families and friends on the program continue to enrich my life years after I was a student, and studying on the program refocused my goals for the rest of college and life after. If you're up for the challenge, it will be worth it!

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24 years old
United States
Lesley University

I learned how to learn, which has made all the difference.


We didn't focus on learning facts and statistics, but instead learned how to learn. After going through this program I feel comfortable in any situation, foreign or familiar. After talking to villagers, NGOs and politicians and understanding all perspectives of an issue I feel confident in approaching any situation or issue without any prior knowledge and able to handle it.
The most important thing I took out of this program was realizing how I learn and how I can teach myself and how I can take charge of my education in life.

How can this program be improved?

The program could be a little smaller, when I went it was about 20 people which was slightly too large in my opinion. I think about 12-15 people is a good size for a program like this.

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24 years old
Seattle, WA
Whittier College

A true realization of what it means to be a Global Citizen


If you want a study abroad experience that pushes your thoughts on education, social justice/human rights, and community, than this is an opportunity you want to take advantage of.

CIEE Khon Kaen, Thailand DG Program, does an excellent job at letting students decide what to take from their study abroad experience. When I was a student, I not only found out about another culture, but I was challenged to see, what my place was, as an American, as a student, as a consumer, etc. and how I fit into Development and Globalization.

Although, time consuming, the program will change your life and view of the world forever.

*** If your thinking about this program, I would highly suggest contacting former students! It really helps to get a personalized experience. Email CIEE and ask! *****

How can this program be improved?

One thing I would change is spending more time on my village stays! I loved interacting and speaking Thai with my families! We had great conversation about topics that they were facing, in Thai!!! It was awesome.

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24 years old
Tacoma, WA
Pacific Lutheran University

Life changing and incredible


We were able to learn from local villagers about the impacts and effects of globalization and development. We lived in the villages and were able to experiance daily life and connect with over 13 different host families. The CIEE staff were always there with answers and support whether academic or personal.

I was able to learn Thai with a well developed program and have meaningful conversations with my host families without feeling uncomfortable.

A few exciting things we were able to do was: plant rice and assist in its growing process throughout the semester at each village, work on projects correlating to sustainability and environmental consciousness, discuss impacts of development with government officials, work with NGOs in the Issan region, visit temples, swim in rivers, connect with Thai university students, hike, host a Human Rights Festival, and so many more great experiences.

How can this program be improved?

I would have appreciated more time in the Villages, once connecting with a host family we would move to another community to learn from them and their struggles, leaving our longest homestay around 3 days.

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42 years old
Brooklyn, NY
Bates College

Life-changing, eye-opening experience!!


The CIEE Thailand program is a truly unique and incredible program. This was far and away the most impactful educational experience I had during my college years. The program has very deep relationships with a wide network of communities, NGOs, community organizers, Gov't organizations that enable students to get very deep in learning about the issues of development and globalization in Northeast Thailand. Additionally, the program really encourages students to take ownership of their experience and ignite their passions while learning from their experiences in Thailand and from each other. Couldn't recommend this program more whole-heartedly!! Just go!

How can this program be improved?

In my group we had a few students who didn't come with the right mentality of genuinely wanting to learn. If you are not invested in your own learning, and you just want an excuse to party in Thailand, this may not be the program for you.

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24 years old
Macalester College

tough, but worthwhile


The most important things I took away from this program were expanding my ability to think critically and to ask questions... super basic and much needed, but not something I learned in-depth about in school up to that point.

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24 years old

an incredible experience


The program is designed for people who are interested in immersing themselves in the material and who are interested in their own personal growth, as well as group dynamics.

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24 years old
Pacific University

Variety of experiences


The program, while time intensive in the beginning, allowed for a variety of experiences. I had the experience of staying in a dorm with a Thai roommate, while also getting to stay in a variety of home stays in different provinces. I appreciated the mixed educational model of classroom time and peer facilitated spaces, while also gaining hands on experience. It was a transformative semester for me.

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32 years old
San Francisco

Live in a Village


This program lets you see a side of the world you can not even imagine. There is no other way to get the depth into Thai society than to see it with the help of the experienced, thoughtful staff and interns of this program. About half of the time in the program is spent in the home city of Khon Kaen (a non-touristy city that rarely sees outsiders) in dorm-type housing with a Thai roommate. The other half of the time is spent living with different Thai families that are involved with local issues and this is the real unique feature of the program. This gives you an unparalleled glimpse into how people really live. You sleep where their children sleep, you eat what they eat, you do what they do and truly see what it means to be a Thai villager. Spending time with people that do not speak a word of English really pushes you to learn the language too.

The primary objective of the program is learning about social organizing and grassroots efforts. Thailand is part of the global economy for good and for bad. This program shows you what it means to get the short end of that arrangement. Many of the communities you visit are battling issues such as dams flooding their community in the pursuit of electricity, finding a way to make a living by sorting through the trash at the landfill, and what it means to be a sex worker. These experiences are nothing less than amazing and the highlights would be too too many to list. Some of the things that stay with me are:
- eating a silkworm prepared by an old woman spinning silk for a weaving cooperative
- trying to pay attention to an interview with a sex worker while a trained elephant did tricks in a dark alleyway
- spending the night in the landfill and playing with the children that make that place their home
- harvesting rice
- eating a rat that the boys smoked out of its hole and waked with a shovel with a side of lotus flower stalks and bamboo shoots I harvested as we were subsisting off of the bounty of the swamps
- meditating with monks and following them on their morning alms rounds
- meeting with USAID officials about their Thai programs

This program is truly one of a kind. It is not your typical party semester abroad but if you want something different this is it. It will realign your perspective as a global citizen forever and for the better.

About The Provider


A nonprofit, non-governmental organization, CIEE is the world leader in international study and exchange programs. For 65 years, CIEE has helped thousands of students, professionals, and educators gain the knowledge and skills necessary to live and work in a globally interdependent and culturally diverse world