St. Lawrence University partners with the University of Minnesota to offer the MSID-Thailand program. Students study for a semester in Chiang Mai, Thailand, at the International Sustainable Development Studies Institute (ISDSI), an educational institution offering experiential study abroad programs for students currently enrolled at universities and colleges in the United States
On this program, students spend fall or spring semester in northern Thailand, studying Thai culture, language, and society. Students can engage in internships or research projects through community development agencies and NGOs, which immerses them in Thai culture and deepens their understanding of Thai society. Along with studying the Thai language, students also live with a Thai family.
- Based in Chiang Mai
- Fall or spring semester
- Pre-requisites: 3.0 GPA and one Asian Studies course OR another course that specifically prepares for study on this academic program
Located in the north of Thailand and founded in 1296 as the second capital of the Lanna Kingdom, Chiang Mai or "New City" is a cultural capital of Thailand and the second most important city in the country after Bangkok. Nestled in a valley surrounded by mountains that form the foothills of the Himalayas, Chiang Mai is a cultural and natural wonderland bustling with ethnic diversity, a fabulous food scene and welcoming hospitality.
Each course is worth 1.11 SLU units. Students MUST take 4 courses to maintain SLU student status, and students will earn 4.4 units in total after the completion of the program.
THAI 1xxx/3xxx, Beginning/Intermediate Thai 4 CREDIT HRS/ 1.11 units
MSID 4001, International Development 4 CREDIT HRS/ 1.11 units
MSID 4002, Country Analysis 4 CREDIT HRS/ 1.11 units
MSID 4003, Community Engagement in the Global South 4 CREDIT HRS/ 1.11 units
Departmental designation at SLU for these courses is :
THAI 1xxx/3xxx, Beginning/Intermediate Thai, Modern Languages 100 Level
MSID 4001, International Development, Global Studies 100 Level
MSID 4002, Country Analysis, Anthropology 200 Level
MSID 4003, Community Engagement in the Global South, Sociology 200 Level
For more details and the course syllabi, please visit the MSID Thailand program website.
Research or Internships
As an MSID student, students have the choice to conduct either a research project or an internship for six weeks as part of the Community Engagement course. In either option, students will be placed with a local NGO related to the track they have chosen for the International Development course (Arts & Cultural Studies, Education & Literacy, Entrepreneurship & Alternative Economies, Public Health, Sustainability & the Environment, or Social Service).
A research project involves a systematic investigation of a specific topic, question, hypothesis, or theory. Research is conducted under the guidance of a project supervisor at the MSID program and at a local NGO. The project culminates in a final paper or project that demonstrates the knowledge gained through the investigation.
Travel and Excursions
Although excursions change from semester to semester, students can expect to visit a variety of sites that may include local markets, development agencies, and areas of interest around Chiang Mai.
There is a one week break during fall and spring semesters and students are allowed to travel outside Thailand during the breaks. Students are not allowed to travel to countries with level 3 or 4 travel advisories as determined by the US State Department. Many students visit Laos, Vietnam or Cambodia during the week long break and others travel to the south of Thailand.
Homestays are an integral component of the learning experience and often a highlight for participants. Each student's family provides not only housing and most meals but is also a vital connection to Thai culture. Nearly all families have hosted program participants before and have been chosen for their genuine interest in sharing Thai life with an MSID program participant.
Students who choose an internship or research placement outside Chiang Mai will have the option to stay at an apartment or a second homestay placement.
Please see the UMN website to view the Program Calendar. The spring semester typically begins in mid-January and ends at the beginning of May. The fall semester typically begins in late August and ends in mid-December.
Pre-departure: The CIIS office organizes in-depth orientation sessions on-campus prior to the students' participation in the program. This includes a program-specific session in which students will learn more about the program, local culture, and academic expectations. There is also an orientation session led by the CIIS office on culture shock as well as on safety and security while abroad.
The MSID Thailand program provides an electronic version of the pre-departure orientation handbook; SLU students can attend the MSID Thailand pre-departure orientation remotely.
On-site: Orientation takes place the first week of the semester at the ISDSI.
If you are interested in learning more about the Thailand program please contact one of the following people.
CIIS Office: Dr. Helen Huang, Director of Asia Programs - Questions about eligibility, program logistics, and other off-campus opportunities.
Faculty Coordinator: Dr. David Henderson - Questions about program academics.