Explore Thailand by foot, raft, and elephant and see temples, lush landscapes, and cities and villages on this high school summer abroad program.
Take an immersive journey through urban and rural landscapes of Thailand. Experience the cultural sights, markets, and ancient temples of major Thai cities; live with host families in rural villages; participate in community service projects organized by local organizations; and explore northern Thailand by foot, raft, and elephant. Learn introductory Thai through formal and informal language instruction and through time with host family members and others.
The program begins in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai, home to hundreds of ancient temples and surrounded by mountains. Visit the city’s famous sites and museums and explore bustling street markets and Buddhist temples as you get to know the other members of your group. As your Thai journey continues, you live with a Kon Mueang host family in a lowland Northern Thai village in Chiang Mai province and then with a Lisu host family in a hill tribe village in Chiang Rai province. Join host family members and others in working on a service project such as helping to build a natural water dam or assisting with reforestation work. Other service opportunities could include teaching English to young children.
Experience the northern region’s tropical valleys and highlands as you participate in outdoor activities such as trekking, zip lining, and rafting. Conclude your Thailand exploration with five days in Bangkok, visiting sites of cultural and historical importance such as the Grand Palace, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, and Koh Ket.
Orientation in Chiang Mai
- Learn about the history and culture of Thailand and learn about Buddhism
- Get to know other members of your group during activities and group discussions
- Visit famous sites and museums throughout the city
- Explore bustling street markets and Buddhist temples
- Attend Thai language classes
- Take a cooking class and enjoy a traditional Northern Thai Khantoke dinner with dance performances
- Learn more about Thailand’s ethnic minorities at the Tribal Museum
During the orientation period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located guesthouse.
- Become fully immersed in the daily life of a Thai family and community
- Do activities with your host family
- Explore your host community and the surrounding area with your group
- Participate in a community service project such as building a house and planting trees at a temple
- Teach English at a local school
- Bike to neighboring villages, cook meals with your hosts, help in the fields, and learn Thai folk dancing
During this period, you will stay in the home of a family. Sample communities include Baan Mae Bon and Baan Ton Chok Sri Khum.
Travel and a Day in Chiang Mai
- Visit the Tiger Kingdom and San Kampaeng Road (the “handicraft highway”)
Homestay in Baan Doi Lan
- Become immersed in the lives of Lisu hill tribe family and community
- Do activities with your host family
- Participate in daily activities with your host family
- Teach children at a local school
- Go hiking
During this period, you will stay in the home of a family. Sample communities include Baan Doi Lan and Chiang Rai.
Thematic Focus in and near Chiang Mai
- Explore the lush jungle areas around Chiang Mai
- Spend a day at an elephant rehabilitation center learning about elephants and their importance in Thailand
- Participate in the Elephant Mahout Program at Baan Chang Elephant Park
- Explore the hills of northern Thailand as you trek to rural villages
- Zip line through the rainforestVisit important sites while on a bicycle tour of Sukhothai, the ancient capital of Siam and a World Heritage Site
- Visit Sukhothai’s historical park
- Stay at the seaside town of Hua Hin, where you will spend time on the beach and visit the Chang Hua Mun royal project
During this period, you and your group will stay in guest houses and hotels.
Thematic Focus and Program Reflection and Wrap-up in Bangkok
- Visit important sites in Bangkok such as the Grand Palace, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, and Koh Ket
- Go on excursions to Ayutthaya and Rattanakosin Island
- Reflect with your group on your experiences during the program
During this period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hotel.
About The Experiment
The Experiment in International Living is a non-profit organization that has been offering immersive experiential learning programs abroad since 1932. Today, The Experiment offers three-, four-, and five-week summer programs for high school students in more than 20 countries around the world.
Programs are designed to equip participants not only with essential cultural skills and, in many cases, language skills, but also with a deeper awareness of and sensitivity to critical global issues shaping the diverse communities and regions we visit. Each year, hundreds of Experimenters come away from their summer abroad with invaluable new skills, connections, awareness, and knowledge that help them to thrive—and lead—in diverse, intercultural environments.
The Experiment is committed to providing participants from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds with access to The Experiment’s immersive cross-cultural programs through its partnerships, scholarships, and other initiatives.
The Experiment places the highest priority on health, safety, and security. Each program follows a comprehensive structure designed to maximize the well-being of all participants while they engage in dynamic cross-cultural experiences. We have implemented specific risk management strategies that include a 24-hour emergency on-call service and regular safety reviews. We hire and train experienced adult group leaders and maintain longstanding partnerships with in-country offices to support each of our programs.
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The Experiment in International Living gives high school students a unique opportunity to become immersed in another culture, while building friendships with interesting, new people and learning things that aren't typically learned in schools. I spent 5 weeks in Thailand creating memories with my group members who I still talk with everyday (5 months later). With scavenger hunts, community service projects, language classes and lots of exploring the cities, villages and breathtaking temples we were kept busy but we also had plenty of free time to bond over bowl of questions and throw ourselves spontaneous dance parties in our hostel. In addition to the incredible friends I made over the summer, I will never forget the kids I taught and played futbol and frisbee with in the villages and the generosity and welcoming, embracing hearts of my host family. Its beautiful how relationships can be built despite cultural differences and a language barrier. This truly was an amazing and unforgettable experience, and I definitely recommend this program to anyone who wants to try something new, throw themselves into a new culture, learn tidbits of a new language and religion all while having a whole lot of fun.