Eligibility and Program Details
You can study in Thailand with the International Sustainable Development Studies Institute (ISDSI) regardless of your major; however you can only receive 100% of your Calvin financial aid for the program if you are an international development major. Otherwise 50% of your Calvin aid (and 100% of non-Calvin aid such as federal grants and loans) will apply.
The ISDSI requires that you have at least a 3.0 grade point average to study in Thailand. While not required, it is helpful if you've had some background in development studies, ecology, geography or related topics before the program starts.
In addition, since the program is field-based, it is important that you be in reasonably good shape so that you can be able to focus on your studies while also spending days hiking in the jungle while studying forest ecology or sea kayaking while studying mangroves.
The cost of the semester program for the spring of 2010 will be determined by mid-September of 2009, and it will include:
- food and housing
- program-related travel
- roundtrip airfare
Additional expenses not included in the program cost: immunizations, insurance (required), and personal spending money.
*Note that currently, this is a Calvin-endorsed program. If you are an International Development Studies major, the program qualifies as a Level I program. If you are not and IDS major, it qualifies as Level II program. Learn more about how much of your financial aid will be applied to this program.
During the first five weeks of the semester you live with a Thai host family in Chiang Mai. Following that, you live in a "dorm" (haw pak) when in the city, but may be in host families or camping during portions of the Expedition Field Courses.
The ISDSI semester is a series of four one-month long block courses where students study a single topic for four weeks. These courses differ from courses offered in other Calvin development-focused programs (e.g. Ghana and Honduras) in that they also have an ecological focus.
You will participate in the following courses, earning 16 credits total:
|Foundations - Thai Language, Society and Development|
|This intensive course focuses on the acquisition of the Thai language and understanding of Thai society and key issues in development. In addition to small intensive language classes, students study the urban geography of Chiang Mai city and selected topics in Thai culture and society.||4 semester hours, language, sociology|
|Forests - Political Ecology of Forests: Ethnic People and Natural Resources|
|This course explores the ethno-ecological relationship between people and forests. The course is located in upland forest-dwelling communities in the mountains of Northern Thailand, learning from and working with Ba'ken'yaw (Karen) ethnic people.||4 semester hours, anthropology, ecology|
|Rivers - Human Rights and the Environment: Rivers, Dams and Local Struggles|
|This course examines the linkage between human rights and the environment by focusing on the environmental and social impact of dams. The course studies two river ecosystems--the Mun and the Yom, including paddling the Yom--one of the last undammed rivers in Thailand.||4 semester hours, political science, ecology|
|Coastal Ecology and Culture: Islands, Reefs and Mangroves|
|Mangroves and the zone between land and sea are a key component of global biodiversity and sustainability. This course examines the ecology of coastal zones, as well as the human communities that live and depend on the rich biological resources of coastal areas.||4 semester hours, biology, sociology|
Currently this program is considered a Calvin-endorsed program, so your first step is to complete a preliminary application. Calvin students will also need to contact ISDSI by email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request an application.
Program Application is due the second Wednesday of October.
For questions related to the program itself: email@example.com
For questions about how the Thailand program fits into your course of study, contact the Off-Campus Programs office.