(known around the world as "The Land of Smiles") is a thriving
Southeast Asian nation. Thais display deep respect for their monarchy and the
values of Buddhism. Thailand is blessed with a tasty cuisine, magnificent
temples, and idyllic beaches. Over the course of the Field School students will
be based for varying periods in three locations (Bangkok, Hua Hin, and Udon
Thani) that cover the breadth of Thai society, from rural to urban and from
poor to wealthy. In addition to scheduled program excursions there will be
a significant amount of time for students to create their own independent travel
itineraries to visit places of significance such as Buddhist temples, museums,
beaches, forests, and entertainment venues.
will learn about Thai culture and society and about significant regional
Southeast Asian social issues while they simultaneously learn to conduct cross-cultural
ethnographic (anthropological) research in a true field setting.
Early application is advisable for all NC State Summer Programs.
The Thailand Anthropology program will be
located in the three following sites: Bangkok, Hua Hin, and Udon Thani.
Bangkok is a very large city, larger than any city in America except New York
City. We will stay in a small neighborhood that retains the flavor of a
traditional Thai neighborhood. While tourism is a large industry in
Thailand, tourists are conspicuously absent from the neighborhood where we will
live. Hua Hin is a quiet rural beach town on the western shore of the Gulf of
Siam, southwest of Bangkok. Hua Hin is extremely popular with European
tourists, and was historically the destination of the Thai monarchy as a
weekend retreat. Udon Thani is a medium-size provincial capital city in
Northeast Thailand. While not a powerful tourist attraction, Udon Thani is home
to a largenumber of permanent resident foreigners.
In addition to these formal program locations, students will have
individual opportunities to visit locations of their choice both during and
following closure of the program. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the fact that they
are already in Thailand and to remain in the country a few days extra and
Two courses will be offered as part of the Thailand Summer Field School.
ANT 395 Traditional Cultural and Modernization in Southeast
This course will introduce students to significant social and
cultural aspects of traditional Thai culture, as well as to the larger
Southeast Asian region. The course will
also examine the impact of modernization on those aspects of traditional
culture. In addition to traditional classroom instruction and reading, students
will have opportunities to interact with guest speakers, as well as local
residents of the community. All such local guest will be fluent in English.
While students inevitably will learn some basic Thai phrases during the course
of the field school, no language competence other than English is required.
ANT 419 Ethnographic Field Methods
course will introduce students to the practice of ethnographic field research.
The emphasis will be on qualitative methods of data collection for the purpose
of cross-cultural understanding. In addition to learning methodology, students
will put that knowledge into practice in observing and interviewing a diverse
array of informants. Students also will be introduced to a range of ethical
issues pertaining to field research. Working at various times individually and
in small teams, students will produce a mini-ethnography on a topic of their
individual choice. This class will be of value to students who anticipate
living, working, or studying in a different culture where they will have to
devise strategies for navigating cross-cultural environments.
It is assumed that students pursuing a wide range
of majors, including (but NOT limited to) anthropology, may have a real
interest in the region and might benefit significantly from the opportunity to
learn to survive and thrive in a new and different cultural setting. Such ability to adapt is a major skill to take to a career in international development, non-government humanitarian work
overseas, corporate work in foreign nations, and a variety of other situations.
While ANT 252 Cultural Anthropology would be a useful foundation, all field
school courses will be taught in such a way that students without that course
can still succeed in ANT 395. The same is true of ANT 419. Students who apply
without any basic background course are encouraged (but NOT required) to take
such a course in preparation for the trip, but failure or inability to do so
will not be a disqualifying factor.
will be no single, formal classroom. We
will meet in casual settings such as restaurants, cafes, parks and similar
locations. This will provide an opportunity for you to familiarize
yourself with your general surroundings and bring you closer to where your
exercises for the day are to be conducted. In addition to traditional
classroom instruction and reading, students will complete field assignments
that will demand interaction with local residents of the community.
In Bangkok, students and the Program Director will be housed in an
apartment building located in Phayathai district of the city. Ideally (and this
has been the case in the past), each student will be assigned a single studio
apartment, typically with a refrigerator, toilet, shower/bathtub, air
conditioning and television, though television will include limited local programming,
plus CNN, BBC and Australia Network. Students
also may purchase optional wireless internet access in their rooms. The apartment complex boasts round-the-clock
uniformed security services, and amenities including a restaurant, a small convenience
store, a hair salon, a swimming pool, and a massage therapist’s service. We will make every effort to stay in the same
apartment complex. The apartment has
three levels of 24-7 security.
In Hua Hin, we stay at Baan Khachathong. BK is located in
the center of the town within easy walking distance of restaurants, clubs,
shops and the beach. It has round-the-clock security.
In Udon Thani, we stay at the Silver Reef Hotel, though the city
is in the heartland of Northeast Thailand (Isan) and is nowhere near any beach
or reef! Due to constraints on the availability of accommodation,
students may be required to share rooms in Udon Thani. This may also be
the case in Hua Hin (but very unlikely in Bangkok).
The program fee covers all meals, based on the assumption that
students choosing to visit Thailand will be equally interested in eating Thai
food. Therefore, the program budget
assumes that all meals will be Thai, and will be consumed in small "Mom
and Pop" restaurants. Dining in
more expensive restaurants, or at American fast food restaurants, will require
that students bear the extra costs of such food above and beyond program
costs. Such Western fast foods are no less expensive in Thailand than in
America. Two or three meals each day at such places will be considerably
more expensive than the Thai meals that are included in the program cost.
Excursions & Events
The following lists indicate possible excursion activities. Some of these excursions will be included in
the program cost, while others will not and must be arranged as independent
travel. Admission fees and
transportation costs related to required excursions are included in the program
fee. The lists below also include travel
destinations enjoyed as independent excursions arranged by students, either
independently or in small groups, in previous NC State summer Anthropology
field schools in Thailand. These trips
are optional and students must bear all costs associated with them. The
field school schedule is arranged in such a way that participants will have
most weekends and a four-day block of time in which to visit locations of
particular interest to them but which are not be included in the program plan
due to insufficient time.
Excursions in Bangkok (*indicates required participation)
The National Museumcontains
exhibits illustrating the history and culture of Thailand. There is a small
gift shop and a cafeteria at the Museum.
H.R.H. Princess Sirindhorn Anthropology Centeris a unit of Silpakorn University. It was
established under the auspices of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri
Sirindhorn. It contains exhibits illustrating the history of Thailand. It
occasionally stages special exhibits and is home to an excellent library.
*Yok Yoris a restaurant along the western bank of
the Chao Phraya river that operates a dinner boat cruise each evening. It is very popular with Thais, but largely
ignored by tourists who prefer to spend much more money to eat on much larger
boats. The boat cruises up and down the river past the city Skyline which
displays brightly lit and beautifully crafted Buddhist temples as well as
modern high-rise hotels and condominiums.
*Ta Wan Daengis a Bangkok nightspot popular with the
Isan people of rural Thailand. It is a
reminder of their home provinces, complete with very good food and a lively
stage show that focuses on Isan culture.
Wat Phra Kaew(The
Temple of the Emerald Buddha) is one of the most significant cultural sites in
contemporary Thailand. It is at this
temple that the King of Thailand annually performs rites at the change of
seasons, when he drapes fresh robes over one of the Buddha statues. The Emerald Buddha is one of the most revered
cultural objects in Thailand.
The Grand Palacedates
back to the arrival of the fleeing remnants of the ancient royalty of Thailand
following the Burmese sacking of Ayutthaya. It is a collection of quite
spectacular buildings, but is now largely a museum and a venue for State
occasions. The royal family lives in a
newer location (Chitralada Palace).
Wat Po(The Temple of the Reclining
Buddha) is also the site of the leading school of traditional Thai massage.
Weekend Market operates only on Saturday and Sunday. It is a crowded and bustling collection of
individual stalls somewhat reminiscent of an American flea market, albeit an
incredibly overgrown one! If you can't
find it here, then it is notavailable in Thailand. Sadly, that often includes endangered species
such as gibbons and many rare species of birds and snakes.
The Jim Thompson Houseis a
museum devoted to the life and activities of a rather shadowy American whose
activities were mysterious (he has been rumored to have been a CIA agent, for
instance) and whose disappearance remains equally mysterious. His fame in Thailand includes his role as a
prominent silk merchant. Students may
also wish to visit the Jim Thompson Silks shop at the intersection of Surawaong
and Rama IV Roads in the Silom District of the city.
Field School participants will be expected to visit a great many
other locations during the course of completing their field assignments. Such additional day excursions will be
arranged when students are onsite in Thailand. The program is flexible enough that individual
interests and tastes can largely be accommodated.
Excursions close to Bangkok (*indicates required participation)
*Ayutthayais an ancient capital of Thailand. It was sacked and largely destroyed by
invading Burmese in 1767. At that time
the royal family fled to Bangkok and established their new stronghold on an
artificially created island (Rattanakhosin) bounded on the west by the Chao
Phraya River and a series of constructed canals on the other sides. Ayutthaya is a World Heritage site that has
been painstakingly restored by archaeologists from Silpakorn University in
Chon Buriis home
to a Buddhist temple that boasts a sculpture garden illustrating the fates of
people who behave badly in this life.
*Muang Boranis a cultural theme park that presents
exact (though sometimes scaled-down) replicas of significant structures from
around Thailand. You can tour the park
on foot, on bicycle, or by hopping and off the small open-=sided trams which
move constantly throughout the park. The
trams are free (actually, included in the admission charge.).
Recommended in/around Hua Hin
Khao Sam Roi Yot is a National Park
accessible by foot or by boat. The boat is fun, and the overland trek can
be quite demanding if you are not in top physical shape.
Khao Takiab is a beautiful Buddhist temple and
The “Monkey Temple” is
a good place to feed a few dozen voracious monkeys who will be very glad to see
Beaches,miles of them, are everywhere.
Recommended excursions in/around Udon Thani
*Ban Chiang (group participation required) a
“working” museum and archaeological excavation that is home to some of the
world’s earliest pottery production.
Nong Khai is a
delightful Thai town on the southern shore of the Mekong River. Temples,
crafts, and a dinner cruise on the Mekong are a few of the attractions here.
Vientiane, is the capital of
Laos. a small country to the north of the Mekong River and Nong Khai,
Thailand. It offers markets, temples, and excellent French bakeries (a
Individually Organized Travel Weekend
This activity is designed to allow a block of four days, over a
weekend, for individual students or small groups of students to arrange travel
to places in Thailand that do not fall within the program design. In the past, students have gone to the beaches
near Phuket, the island of Koh Samet, Chiang Mai in the north for “adventure travel and trekking, and Kanchanaburi for national parks and
historical sites. The more active and
daring participants in past field schools have gone zip-lining through the
forest in Chon Buri province (to the
east of Bangkok, a day trip).
independent travel should be arranged in consultation with the Faculty
Director, and a formal itinerary must be submitted prior to undertaking such
travel in order to guarantee the possibility of immediate contact in an
emergency situation. There are excellent travel agents in both Bangkok
and Udon Thani that are very experienced in assisting young travelers.
Participants must make their own travel arrangements to and from
Thailand. The Faculty Director will
provide advice whenever possible.
Individual visa requirements may vary, depending on the passport
on which you will be traveling. All program participants must
obtain a tourist visa to enter Thailand. That visa will be issued for a valid
period of 60 days in Thailand. The cost
of a tourist visa is determined by the number of times you plan to enter
Thailand. Please contact the Faculty
Director for further information prior to attempting to obtain any visa to
Financial aid may be available to help qualified NC State students meet the expenses of NC State study abroad programs. Students from other institutions should contact their home institution study abroad and financial aid offices for information. For additional funding, NC State students should consider applying for a study abroad scholarship from the Study Abroad Office.
The program fee is $3,575.00, plus airfare. The fee is all-inclusive: accommodation, meals, transportation,
excursions, admissions, and six academic credits (see description above).
For more details on program cost information, see the above Summer Budget Sheet.
The Thailand Field School program is led by North Carolina State
University faculty member William E.
Wormsley, Teaching Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology
and Anthropology at North Carolina State University. Dr. Wormsley has been conducting research in
Thailand nearly every year since 1989. He has taught anthropology at Silpakorn
University in Bangkok and at Webster University Thailand in Hua Hin. He has held a Fulbright Senior Scholar Award
to teach and conduct research in Thailand. He also has received a John F.
Kennedy Fellowship for teaching and research in Bangkok.
The University reserves the right to alter the program format and/or costs in case of conditions beyond its control. If the program is canceled or a student withdraws, a refund of program costs may not be available in all cases. Please refer to the Study Abroad Office Refund Policy for details. Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dates / Deadlines:
PLEASE NOTE: Program Start and End Dates listed on the Study Abroad website are estimates; they do not reflect the actual start and end dates for semester and year long programs. Students are responsible for obtaining the correct arrival and departure dates directly from their host institution or program provider.