Thailand Study Abroad Country Profile

Thailand Overview

Thailand is a country where opportunities abound, and the people are friendly and inviting. Thailand’s stunning natural landscapes and traditional cultural components contrast the country’s more modern face. Its economy is one of the strongest in Southeast Asia. The capital city of Bangkok serves not only as the country’s economic and commercial center, but as its cultural and educational center as well. Thailand is in many ways a dichotomy between its past and its present, though both exist in a balance that provides diversity and opportunity. Each of Thailand’s four regions represents a unique but integral part of the country’s identity.

Cultural Highlights

Similar to elsewhere in Asia, education is extremely important and highly valued in Thailand, with Thai students taking rigorous exams and undergoing heavy amounts of competition to get into the best schools. English education is heavily stressed, and the Thai government aims to put Thai universities at the forefront of science and engineering. This is likely a result of Thailand’s strong economy and the modern advancements that the country will continue to experience.

Thailand is not just traditional education and modernity. Elsewhere in the country, life is very much as it has always been. The northern, mountainous region of the country is home to Thailand’s second largest city, Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai is a diverse and international city, but remnants of its past, like temples and the remains of a moat that once encircled the city, are obvious. The surrounding area is home to a number of indigenous tribes that have stayed true to the lifestyle they enjoyed centuries ago.

Popular Fields of Study

Much of the most proactive work being done in Southeast Asia with regard to ecology and the environment, agriculture, and development studies is happening in Thailand. It is not surprising, then, that many Thailand study abroad programs cater to students with interests in these topics. Programs relating to ecology, human communities, and development are popular, and students often get to experience the breadth of Thailand’s natural environments and landscapes while also experiencing some of the most traditional and fragile aspects of Thai culture. And of course, though it is not as popular or widely spoken of as some of the other Asian languages, Thailand the only place to go if you are interested in learning to speak Thai.

Why Study Abroad in Thailand?

Thailand has many unique advantages as a study abroad destination. Here are ten reasons why you should consider studying abroad in Thailand.

1. Friendly People

The people of Thailand are revered for their friendliness and hospitality; forge genuine, life-long relationships with your host family, fellow students, and acquaintances.

2. Natural Landscapes

Simply put, Thailand has some breathtaking, picturesque, tropical landscapes and natural areas that draw tourists and divers from all over the world. From mountains to picturesque beaches, there is something for every nature lover.

3. Food

Food in Thailand is varied, delicious and often extremely cheap (as well as often being comparatively healthy to what students are used to eating at home). If you love tropical fruit, you will love Thailand.

4. Weather

Thailand is tropical, with six months or more of generally little more than pure blue skies during the dry season. This makes it a favorable location for students studying abroad during the winter (or really during any time of the year).

5. Beaches

The tropical climate perfectly compliments Thailand’s fantastic beaches – some of which could be considered the most beautiful in the world. Many Thailand study abroad programs will take you to these picturesque locations, but regardless of your location and program of study, you are never that far from a beach.

6. Cost of Living

For students that want to make the most of their money while abroad, Thailand is an excellent choice. Food is inexpensive (as little as $1 USD/meal), and other living costs are equally low.

7. Thai Language

It goes without saying that if you are interested in learning Thai or have any previous exposure, Thailand is the only place for you.

8. Buddhism

Roughly 95% of the country identifies as Buddhist, and the influence of the religion has an almost tangible positive influence on the ambiance of the country.

9. Backpackers' Paradise

Many students select Thailand because it is a good place for travelers on a lower budget, but Thailand also provides a gateway to the rest of Southeast Asia – many students choose to visit Cambodia or other destinations after their program concludes.

10. Environmental & Development Initiatives

The strength of programs in these areas makes Thailand very attractive to students interested in ecology, biological and human communities, and international development.

Thailand Study Abroad Statistics

Thailand Country Ranking: 30+

(based on estimated total outbound U.S. students)
  • % of U.S. students: less than 1%
  • Total US Students 2006/07: less than 1,000
  • Total US Students 2007/08: less than 1,000
  • Yearly 2007/08 Trend: N/A
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