CIS Abroad - Semester in Thailand - Mahidol University

Video and Photos

Grand Palace
Grand Palace
First day in Thailand
First day in Thailand
Study Abroad Thailand
Study Abroad Thailand
Scurtified in Koh Tao
Scurtified in Koh Tao
A beautiful island that I was on with a my class.
Study in Thailand!
Study in Thailand!
Study Abroad in Thailand with CISabroad
Study Abroad in Thailand with CISabroad

About

Thailand is known for its beautiful landscapes, rich history, fun nightlife, tranquil Buddhist culture, and peaceful temples. Immerse yourself in this welcoming culture as you study at Mahidol University, Thailand’s top-ranked university. Choose from a wide variety of courses in English from the university’s International College. Our Semester in Thailand program is centered in your new home, the scenic college town of Salaya. From Salaya, easily venture into the heart of Bangkok, Thailand’s capital city. You’ll enjoy the serenity of a small town and the bustle of a booming city. The rest of Thailand also awaits you, with its beaches, jungles, and delicious cuisine.

Highlights
  • Wide range of course offerings available
  • Classes available in English
  • Opportunities to interact with elephants and explore ancient ruins
  • Take classes with Thai and international students
  • Volunteer in the local community: replant mangroves that were deforested due to overfishing

Scholarships

CISabroad Scholarships
CISabroad Scholarships and Financial Aid

70% of all CISabroad students receive scholarships, grants, or discounts to study abroad. We're unapologetically committed to increasing access to international education for all students.

Value
$250 - $500

Questions & Answers

Hi! I took three hospitality classes while I was there (Consumer Behavior in Tourism, Tour Package Management, and Wine Studies and Wine Tourism). I didn't find these classes too difficult, and the homework load was definitely manageable (honestly, not that much at all). Some of my friends who took more business-oriented classes, such as accounting or finance, thought those classes were a bit more...

Reviews

94%
based on 18 reviews
  • Academics 7.6
  • Support 8.1
  • Fun 9.5
  • Housing 9.2
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 1 - 15 of 18
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Jeremy
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

CIS Abroad- Semester in Thailand

CIS Abroad made my experience incredible. From a few days after we arrived abroad, we had an orientation before classes started where the taught us some of the local culture and language, brought us to the mall to explore and purchase cell phone plans, as well as assisting us with any questions we had right off the bat. Throughout the program as well, staff were always willing to answer questions and were available to help most of the time. They helped organize various tours and programs during our time abroad which was a great way for us to enjoy the experience even more without being burdened by the pressure of planning all o f our own trips. I would highly recommend CIS abroad to anyone looking to study abroad especially in Thailand. They really made our experience great.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
We were able to try everything from Scorpions to Spiders at the local market street Called Khao San Road. One of my favorite places to spend nights out.
Response from CIS Abroad

Thank you for your review, Jeremy! It's so good to know that our on-site staff were so helpful during your arrival and throughout your time abroad. We're so glad you enjoyed the excursions and you had such a great experience in Thailand. We appreciate your recommendation!

Default avatar
Nora
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Semester in Thailand: Mahidol University

What I enjoyed most about being a part of CIS Semester Abroad in Thailand was the sense of community and closeness that the program facilitated. I enjoyed that the program had pre-planned excursions and trips that included everyone in the program. It gave me an easy way to connect with other students studying abroad in Thailand and it made it effortless to make such a close knit group of friends. The pre-planned trips by CIS are what I looked forward to most while I was abroad because I knew we were always going to do something amazing and I got to be with everyone I had come to be close friends with. It also made planning trips less of a hassle because the program had everything planned out for us already when we went on group trips. I would always suggest that students participating in a CIS study abroad program take advantage of the pre-planned trips and try to go on them whenever they possibly can.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My biggest piece of advice would be to take risks. I seriously had such an enjoyable time abroad because I did things I would have never pictured myself doing before this experience. This could range from anywhere between trying a new meal or traveling to a secluded, rural part of the country you are studying in that tourists would not normally go to. For example, I traveled to rural Vietnam and did a homestay with a Vietnamese family during my school break. I had to travel 3 hours from a main city on a small, cramped bus where no one could speak English or communicate clearly with me. I would have turned around before my abroad experience, however I knew I had to push myself and do something I wasn't necessarily comfortable with in order to gain an authentic experience. I am so glad I chose to do this homestay because I got to learn so much about Vietnamese culture that I otherwise would not have learned if I had merely just visited the main, touristy parts of Vietnam. The family I stayed with taught me all about Vietnamese history and taught me how to cook Vietnamese dishes, which are delicious! I would encourage students to travel as much as they can while abroad and take the risks that I did. During my time studying in Thailand, I got to visit 5 other countries which included Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Vietnam. I got to visit elephants, go hot air ballooning, zip line through the jungle, try food I had never even heard of and completely immerse myself into Southeast Asian culture. It is because of my willingness to stray outside of my comfort zone that I had such an amazing experience abroad, and I would encourage any student considering studying abroad to do the same.
Response from CIS Abroad

Hi Nora! We're excited to hear that you had such an amazing experience abroad! It's so wonderful that that you were able to get out of your comfort zone, travel to so many other countries, and experience so much of what Southeast Asia has to offer. We really appreciate you sharing your experience with us!

Default avatar
Linden
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Comfortable in Another Culture

CISabroad coordinated airport picks up, which trust me, after coming off from a 17.5-hour flight from China, and another 2-hour flight to Bangkok was NECESSARY. Getting to the housing to the airport was very easy. It struck me on my first night there, after I had walked to 7/11, how natural I felt there. A the pre-departure orientation at my university a representative from CIS came who has been to the university in Thailand. She was able to outline for me what just some day to day things I could expect are. Like wearing a uniform, eating at 7/11 and the importance of carrying cash (fun fact! many places in Thailand don't take credit card). I felt supported when I was there enough so that I could live my life in the way that I wanted to abroad. I couldn't have done it without CIS!

What would you improve about this program?
I think that CIS should offer more support in obtaining the student visa. And I don't think they should list the Mahidol program as being in Bangkok! In reality, students live and go to school about 30 minutes from the outskirts of Bangkok. This wasn't a bad thing AT ALL! It was so much more of local life. Not a lot of the business spoke English and things are a lot cheaper outside of the city.
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Ashley
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Semester in Thailand

Thailand was an absolutely incredible time. During my stay there, I traveled to Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia, which was done with ease due to our close proximity to the travel-hub of Bangkok. I haven't stopped talking about the trip since I returned to the US, and can't wait to start planning another trip back to Southeast Asia. Everyone that I met brought something truly unique to the experience & I will always cherish it. Southeast Asia was the perfect balance of culture, nature, and urban/rural life that kept every day & excursion exciting.

Default avatar
Kate
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Living in the Land of Smiles!

When I decided to pack a suitcase and board a 23 hours flight to Bangkok, Thailand, I did not know much about the country. I really only knew where it was on a map. I was extremely nervous, but I could tell it was an excited nervous. Thailand is known as the land of smiles, and for good reason! Their culture is warm and welcoming, to say the least. What is unique about Thailand is their beautiful temples, delicious food, and islands. Once you are in the country, you can spend a day eating, shopping, and traveling to islands for less than $50. It is a simple, breathtaking, and life changing experience.

What would you improve about this program?
N/a
Read my full story
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Krista
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Semester in the Land of Smiles

Through CIS, I was able to go to Thailand for a whole semester last Fall. I was so excited to go, but I had no idea how much fun I was actually going to have until I was home again in the states. My time there was beyond incredible, and it was truly the best experience of my life...I even got a tattoo to remember it while I was there! CIS was very helpful with everything, and having an advisor that lives nearby, that you can basically text/call at any hour, was very comforting. Our trips through CIS were also amazing. The floating market, the elephant sanctuary, and the Ko Chang island trip were amazing, and our advisor was very organized and helpful when scheduling trip dates/locations/times. I've now been home for about 5 months, and I would do anything to go back!

What would you improve about this program?
The only issue I ever came across was scheduling my classes, as I had some difficulty and communication errors upon arrival. Therefore, if anything, maybe there needs to be more communication with the program supervisor, making sure that their CIS students have submitted everything necessary before arrival.
Default avatar
Kyra
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

CIS Abroad - Thailand

Overall I loved this program, I just wish there was more support coming from the CIS staff prior to arrival at the program (with the visa process, answering questions, putting us in contact with other students who have previously attended the program, etc.) as well as during the program. A lot of us felt like we were in the dark about a lot of things, and we had to rely heavily on each other to answer our questions based on if they had already asked our advisors or even gotten a response back. I think Thailand is a great place to go abroad and I would definitely recommend to others.

What would you improve about this program?
See above in my review, communication from program staff and transparency about housing. I also think information about the visa process and renewing your visa abroad should be clearer and multiple versus single entry.
Default avatar
Owin
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Mahidol University

The business courses for international students are brutally difficult and lack actual competence-building. However, CIS has no control over that. CIS did a fantastic job, always being responsive to needs and travel requests. Chui and David were both fantastic and trustworthy. The programmed trips were diverse and gave people who didn't wish to travel elsewhere a chance to see Thailand in several ways. Chiang Mai and the floating market were my two favorite trips. The final dinner was also very memorable. I can't wait to visit SE Asia again!

Ben
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Highly Recommend Studying in Bangkok!

The staff were responsive to our needs and requests. Sometimes certain memos needed to be communicated better or quicker, but the staff adapted well. The academics were fantastic at Mahidol University. The teachers are generally helpful and willing to meet up outside class. The Economics class I took was difficult but taught very well by an intelligent and talented professor.
This is one of CIS's larger programs, so there are dozens of Americans that go each semester. This means you have an English-speaking community and lots of friends! I made great lifelong friends while I was there and look forward to visiting them back in the States. Everybody is always down to travel and understand the culture better.
The housing (I stayed in Bundit) is really nice. It's basically a hotel room with a balcony. Lots of space to hang out and relax during your downtime.
Salaya (the neighborhood where you live) is generally very safe. A university community, I never had problems with theft or scamming, so it makes for a homey area.
Overall, I would highly recommend this program to anyone.

What would you improve about this program?
The staff communication for excursions could be improved. Other than that, everything went smoothly!
Randi
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Good experience

I always wanted to study abroad and travel to Asia. Being able to do both was a blessing for me. I was nervous starting off, but once I landed at the airport and seen how beautiful the trees were, I became so excited.
In my three month program, I met and made many friends. Some of which I still keep in contact with today! I will admit, I was very hard on myself and it took me some time to find people who I could relate to and feel comfortable around. That’s what my experience was mainly about, learning how to open up to people, and be myself. I never felt so free before.
The culture itself was A-MAZING!! It’s was safe as well because I took quite a few trips into Bangkok and even around Salaya alone. I also was able to cross a few other things off my bucket list. One being taking care of elephants. They were not shy one bit! I felt so comfortable around them which made it even more special. On our exertions, I wasn’t all too excited some times because of the communication with from the cite director. Additionally, it was kind of a continuous trend with the nonchalant and sarcastic demeanor which was huge disappointment and unappreciative experience for me. His communication and actual concern on things and over all interactions I expected to be better than it was.
Lastly, academics was a slight challenge but nothing I hadn’t experienced back home. I love love love how I didn’t have classes on Fridays because that gave me more time adventures and traveling! But more importantly, most of my professors were very helpful and understanding if I needed additional explanations of material from class. So we’re my Thai friends especially when it came to learning the language because it can be extremely tedious. The entire campus is gorgeous with a huge variety of food options. Thailand has amazing food annals a wide variety overall. Getting lost I was a little nervous but Thais were helpful too. I love the buddy system for that exact reason. At the same time, it was when I was lost I found the most solitude beautiful time of my experience. I embraced it because I knew I wanted to get the most out of living a totally diverse culture because it was a moment I’d remember forever.

What would you improve about this program?
On site communication with the site director, the cell phone usage and best way to use them for calling home.
Default avatar
Margaret
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Nicest people you’ll ever meet

No one in my family had ever left the country (except me) when I planned my study abroad. I was constantly being warned to “be safe” and “beware of strangers.” Yet, I would soon come to find that the people of Southeast Asia are no doubt the kindest people in the world. I lost my phone and wallet on 3 separate occasions in Malaysia, Bali, and Thailand and it was returned to me every time with all of its contents. Thai hospitality was undeniable within our first week, when a group of us (strangers at the time) all went down to Hua Hin. We arrived early and had hours to wait for our Airbnb to open, so we settled in at a local restaurant with our bags in hand. The owner of the eatery was a short, older Thai woman, who spoke little English. At the end of our meal, she asked us where we were headed next. When we explained our situation, she simply replied, “oh well I have car, I will take you to beach!”

Although this went against every “stranger danger” warning from my family, we all agreed. She drove us all the way there and suggested where we could go later to find a taxi to our homestay. She refused to take money from any of us, but in our final moments with this woman I gave her a US dollar to show appreciation.

The kindness in this woman would be seen every day for the entirety of our time in Southeast Asia. Although these kind strangers came and went - my friends in CIS were always there, as we all experienced the same hospitality, adventures, and life lessons.

Going abroad changed my outlook on humanity as a whole, and I know I will return to Thailand again. The feeling you get from studying abroad - the fullness of life - is felt amongst all of the friends I made in CIS. Now that we are back in the United States, I have my CIS friends in all regions of the country. A place is only as good as the company you keep.

What would you improve about this program?
More guidance from Abroad advisors.
Default avatar
Eliza
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

CISabroad Thailand

While there were a few things about the program that I would have tweaked, my overall experience in Thailand, and as part of the program, was fantastic. Mahidol University had a great variety of classes to choose from, and they all transfer over fine for all of the students I've talked to. I took 3 classes for my major - Wine Studies and Wine Tourism, Consumer Behavior in Tourism, and Tour Package Management - in addition to taking Intro to Thai Language and Culture. CISabroad also led us on a variety of trips that I believe showed the diversity of Thailand. We went up north to Chiang Mai, where we had an elephant encounter at a sanctuary and took a cooking class. We went south to Koh Chang, a beautiful island with a day-trip on a boat. CIS also brought us to the old capital of Thailand, and showed us around Bangkok. Mahidol is located about 30 minutes outside of Bangkok, which makes it easy to go into the city and the airport, but allows you to be out of the craziness of the city. I stayed at Baan Suan, which was one of the two living situations provided, and could not have been happier with my choice. The manager and security guard there were so so friendly and there is a restaurant right downstairs with the kindest couple running it (and their food was delicious and cheap!). The food in Thailand is AMAZING, so make sure to try more than just fried rice!! There are so many cool places to go on the weekends, and the pricing there is awesome if you want to do a lot on a small budget. It's definitely not your typical Europe destination, and can often push you outside of your comfort zone, but that's what makes the experience so fulfilling. Some must-see places would be Pai, Chiang Mai, Chatuchak Market in Bangkok, Khao Sok, the islands, and Krabi (there are so many more!). It's also relatively cheap to visit surrounding countries, so take advantage of that (overnight buses and trains are also available for those if you don't want to pay for a flight). Thailand is an absolutely beautiful country filled with the most amazing people, so if this is an option you're considering, I would urge you to go here.

What would you improve about this program?
Some of the weekend events seemed like they could have been planned better. In particular, for the Chiang Mai trip, on two separate weekends, a total of 3 students got to the airport and discovered that tickets were not booked for them. While CIS did resolve it, I feel like this is a problem that could have been avoided from the beginning. In addition, the hotel they reserved was not great - on the second night there, the water coming out of the taps, shower, toilets, etc., was black. In addition, the pre-departure (which included getting visas) could be explained better for students, and I know several students who had issues getting their visas. However, the staff from Thailand - especially Chuie - were wonderful and you could tell they really cared about the students.
Read my full story
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Courtney
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Why Study at Home... When You can Go Abroad!

Studying abroad through CISAbroad was a great experience for me. I really appreciated how easy and organized the application process was through the portal online. Once you get accepted be sure to find or ask for the Facebook group as the information posted in there is often very important as soon as you land in Thailand! I had a positive experience with all the on site staff, they were amazing and answered all of my questions as soon as they could.

Mahidol was a little unorganized at times. The campus was beautiful and the teachers were great, but the school's orientation could have actually gave us a tour or told us about all of the services offered around campus. When we had to renew our visas lots of students were confused with the process so just keep asking questions so you don't make a mistake. The on site coordinators helped to the best of their ability but it was really up to Mahidol to help us. Many people said the classes at Mahidol were easier than their home university classes, for me it really depended on the class and the teacher. Many classes (especially science classes) provided paid for field trips, which were amazing. There are also lots of clubs and activities where you might do a day trip or a weekend trip to different places like a sea turtle rehab, or a trip to Ayutthaya.

The excursions CISabroad provided were amazing, definitely would've liked to spend more time in Chiang Mai and Koh Chang but if you chose to leave earlier or stay later than CIS they worked with you to pick you up or meet you somewhere when they got there.

We got to choose between Baan Suan or Bundit housing. Both had pros and cons. Baan Suan didn't have a van to get to Mahidol like Bundit but CISabroad provided each of us cash for taking taxis to school. The bus system is awesome and cheaper too, but involves walking over a bridge to get to campus. The beds could have been more comfortable, but that is kind of across Thailand.

Some other cool things that CIS provided us was a cellphone with about 2gb of data per month. You could also buy more data or minutes if you wanted to. I mostly used my phone for gps when we went into the city and I decided not to use it. If your phone is unlocked you can insert the SIM card CIS gives you in your own phone, which I highly recommend because the phone they give us is understandably poor quality. Everything that they fed us on excursions was always really good, they always had, vegetarian options but you usually have to let them know if you want it. During our last week they took us to a pretty fancy upscale hotel's buffet and we got to gorge on all different foods and desserts, and then we took a bunch of photos and said our goodbyes. Those memories will forever be in my heart.

I highly recommend studying abroad through CIS!

What would you improve about this program?
The program was run very well. I don't really think it needs much improving. Maybe mention the Facebook group to all participants before they get to their country. It will help some early confusion my friend had :)
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Amelia
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

GOGOGO

There are going to be difficult times, but as a person who has never been out of the country, this program was perfect. I never felt unsafe or like I couldn't get a question answered. Thailand is amazing and I definitely recommend that you go, especially if you are even considering it. You will definitely always be able to find someone who can answer your questions. More people know English than you think.

What would you improve about this program?
Maybe more inform about the flight/travel to Thailand ?
Default avatar
Ansley
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Go to Thailand!!!!!

Going to Thailand was the most fulfilling 4 months of my life. I made the most unforgettable memories. Being immersed into the Thai culture is so unreal and if you let it can truly change you. The most unique experience I had while abroad was being there during the passing of the king. To see how he touched the lives of the Thai people was so special. I learned so much and absolutely left a more genuine and kind person. The friends you make while abroad are something to hold on to. Go get scuba certified, go skydive, and love on some ele's. David (the abroad coordinator) is amazing and so knowledgeable. He is literally always available for you and is a comfort to have abroad. I cannot recommend this trip enough. It is eye-opening and life-changing. GO. GO. GO.

What would you improve about this program?
Better communication with the CIS advisors PRE-departure.