FAQ

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS   TOP

The Southeast Asian Studies Program is a one semester program offering students in-depth exposure to Thai language and culture. Each term the program includes a three or six-credit Thai language course, a three-credit required course entitled Societies and Cultures of Southeast Asia, a three-credit practicum offering opportunities to put to action what you are learning in your courses, and two to three additional elective courses of the student's choice.

SEASC students must enroll in a minimum of 15 credit hours per semester (Fall & Spring) to maintain full-time student status. Elective courses are usually set only a few months prior to the start of each term. Please see the Course Offerings page for a description of the elective courses available for the coming term.

In addition to the academic courses, the Southeast Asian Studies Program includes a variety of experiential learning activities, field trips, and excursions designed to complement the classroom learning and provide opportunities for students to use the language. Most of these activities are linked to the academic content of the program; student participation is a required element of involvement in the SEASC program.

Below are some frequently asked questions - click on any link to go directly or scroll down to read information for each question.

What is the application deadline date?
Are credits earned from the Southeast Asian Studies Program transferable to my home institution?

How much foreign language do students need?
What room and board options are available to me in Chiang Mai?
Is the cost of living in Chiang Mai high?
How much will I spend on books?
Are there any scholarships available for studying in the Southeast Asian Studies Program?
Study Abroad Funding Online Database

Am I elligale to receive a student visa to study in the Southeast Asian Studies Program?
What is the best way to exchange or obtain local currency?

How should I manage my money while studying abroad in Chiang Mai?
What kind of mobile phone options are available?
What about electricity and appliances in Chiang Mai?
What clothes should I bring?
Is there a dress code on campus? What do students usually wear?
What essentials can I buy in Thailand instead of packing them in my bags?
Are bedding and linens provided in the dormitories?
How will I get around Chiang Mai?
Is there access to computers and the internet?
How will I meet Thai students?
Are there embassies or consulates in Chiang Mai?
Is Chiang Mai safe?
How do I get from Bangkok to Chiang Mai?
What happens when I arrive in Chiang Mai?
Who can I call for help when I arrive, or during the program?

 

What is the application deadline date?
Students applying to the Southeast Asian Studies Program through their home college or university's study abroad program should contact their International Programs office for scheduled application deadline dates. For Payap's dates, please see the schedule for the current terms at http://seasc.payap.ac.th/index.php/schedule.html

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Are credits earned from the Southeast Asian Studies Program transferable to my home institution?
Courses offered through the Southeast Asian Studies Program at SEASC are part of the Payap University curriculum and have been fully accredited by the Ministry of Education of the Royal Thai government. Whether or not the credits will be accepted at a student's home institution is up to the discretion of that institution. Students are advised to speak with their academic and study abroad advisors for information on their institution's policies on transferring credits before enrolling in the SEASC program.

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How much foreign language do students need?
All courses in the Southeast Asian Studies Program are taught in English (except for the Thai language course, which is taught in English and Thai). International students for whom English is not their first language, should provide documentation showing that their English skills (reading, writing, speaking and listening) are sufficient to succeed in courses designed for university-level students from English speaking countries. This is normally a TOEFL score of approximately 500 or an IELTS score of approximately 5.0. 

Most students at Payap have studied English for many years, but may be shy about using the language. While it is possible to get around town without a deep knowledge of the Thai language, we recommend that students learn as much as much Thai as possible during their stay here so that their experiences in the country can be as meaningful as possible.

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What room and board options are available to me in Chiang Mai?
Payap University's residential complex includes Paradornparp International House, Alpha Women's Dorm and Omega Men's Dorm, all located on the main Mae Khao Campus. Students will be placed with Thai roommates in one of the campus dorms with available space. Married students or students with special circumstances (such as extensive experience living and working in Thailand or owning a home in Thailand) must fomally request to opt out of the room and board program. 

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Is the cost of living in Chiang Mai high?
Most students find that living in Chiang Mai is quite affordable, and considerably less than Bangkok. While different students have different spending patterns, a recent survey our international students resulted in the following monthly estimates:

 

Expected personal expenses for 1 month

Food:

5,000-7,000 baht

Postage:

200-1,000 baht

Local Transportation:

1,000-1,500 baht

Phone:

500-2,000 baht

Books, Newspapers, CDs:

1,000-2,000 baht

Entertainment:

2,000-3,000 baht

Other:

2,000-3,000 baht

Total:

11,700-19,500 baht 

 

How much will I spend on books?
Students should expect to spend up to approximately $30 (1,000 Thai baht) per course for books and materials fees. Students typically take four courses. The total book expense is usually around $130-$150 (4,000-5,000 Thai baht).

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Are there any scholarships available for studying in the Southeast Asian Studies Program?
There are no scholarships available from Payap University for the Southeast Asian Studies Program. Many of our US students, however, are able to use their federal financial aid to support the cost of study in this program. Please see your home institution's Financial Aid office as soon as possible for details on opportunities and eligibility. Students are encouraged to search the following sites for possible scholarship opportunities.

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Study Abroad Funding Online Database
The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program is a great place to search for scholarships available.

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Am I eligible to receive a student visa to study in the Southeast Asian Studies Program?
Students who are accepted to study as full-time students in the Southeast Asian Studies Program are eligible to apply for a 90-day non-immigrant visa to study in Thailand. This visa can be extended for the duration of the study period as long as the applicant remains a full-time student. Full-time student status requires registration for a minimum of 12 credit hours. Upon acceptance to the Southeast Asian Studies Program and payment of the required deposit, the Office of  International Affairs will issue a visa request letter. This letter will be addressed to the Royal Thai Embassy, Visa Section, and should accompany your Thai visa application form. For more information on how to apply for your visa, please refer to the following website of the Royal Thai government: [http://www.thaiembdc.org/].

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What is the best way to exchange or obtain local currency?
ATM machines are located on campus, as well as throughout the city of Chiang Mai. Students who have bank accounts in their home countries can easily get money (in Thai baht) from their home accounts by using an ATM card. Please check with your banking institution to be certain that your card can be used internationally, and that your account and PIN are active.

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How should I manage my money while studying abroad in Chiang Mai?
Students are recommended to open a bank account at the Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) branch on Payap's campus. It costs about $10-15 dollars (approximately 300-500 baht) to open an account with an ATM card. This will allow you to use a local ATM card without being charged foreign transaction fees every time you withdraw money. Your family can easily wire transfer money from abroad to your SCB account and it usually only takes 2-3 days to show up in your account. This is the most convenient and secure way to manage your money while in Thailand. Students should not leave large amounts of cash around their dorm rooms.

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What kind of mobile phone options are available?
Students are HIGHLY encouraged to use a local Thai mobile phone network. SIM cards are cheap (usually 50-100 baht) and sometimes the Chiang Mai International Airport even distributes free SIM cards at the baggage claim areas.

There are three major mobile phone networks in Thailand: AIS, DTAC, and True Move. AIS tends to have the strongest coverage, especially in rural areas of Thailand. True Move offers an "International SIM" with low prices for making overseas calls. All three networks have competitive prices and offer equal coverage in Chiang Mai. Customers can choose from various calling plans and all three networks offer pre-paid "Top Up" plans that do not require a contract. This allows you to "pay as you go" by topping up your phone with calling credit that can be purchased at any 7-11 or other such convenient stores.

Basic mobile phones can be purchased all over Chiang Mai and range from as low as around 800 baht to over 20,000 baht if you want a smart phone. The ground floor of the Big C Extra department store near Payap University is a good place to buy mobile phones and SIM cards. If you want to use your mobile phone from your home country, be sure to check that it is not "locked" so that you can use it with a SIM card in Thailand. Purchasing a basic phone in Thailand is easy, cheap, and, if you don't damage it, you can then sell it back for a discounted price when you leave. 

Note: Using a local Thai SIM card is basically the only way that your Thai friends and other people in Thailand will call you. Please DO NOT use a foreign mobile phone on roaming. Doing so is both expensive for you as the customer and for people in Thailand trying to call you. Consider using SKYPE or Google Talk to call your family and friends outside of Thailand.

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What about electricity and appliances in Chiang Mai?
Thailand uses 220 volt electricity, and most outlets accept plugs with two round prongs. Inexpensive power strip extension cords often accept flat prong plugs. Voltage adapters for 220 to 110 volt conversion are readily available for under US $10. In general, it is less hassle to buy small electronic appliances here than to bring them from home and fuss with adapters.

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What clothes should I bring?
Thailand is a very modest culture, and students should generally be prepared to dress more conservatively than they would in their home cultures. Thais place a great deal of emphasis on looking clean and neat, and students will find their experience here more satisfying if they adapt to local customs. Men wear slacks or jeans, t-shirts, "polo" shirts, or short- or long-sleeved dress shirts. Long shorts are acceptable in social and recreational settings, but not on campus or in many public places. Women generally wear skirts-although slacks or jeans are also common-t-shirts, "polo" shirts and blouses. Women often wear two or three layers of relatively sheer shirts, but never go out in public without a bra.

"Spaghetti-strap" tops are generally not acceptable in public or on campus.

Most of the year Chiang Mai is warm to hot, and humid. Light cotton or cotton/ polyester blends are the most comfortable. From November-February nights can be cool, and a light sweater can be useful.

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Is there a dress code on campus? What do students usually wear?
All university students in Thailand wear uniforms to school. The Payap University uniform consists of a white dress shirt or dress blouse, a black (or dark color) skirt (for women) or slacks (for men), and a Payap University pin and belt buckle. White "polo" shirts are not acceptable for men or women.

Women must wear skirts (short, long, mid-length) - no slacks. Sleeveless blouses and very short skirts are not acceptable. Men are supposed to wear dark neckties, but in recent years this element appears to be waning. Within the requirements of the uniform there is a great deal of variation reflecting personal style. While it is useful to bring one set of the basic uniform elements with you, it is easy to obtain uniforms during the orientation days. Many Thai students wear their uniforms off-campus as well. In Thai culture being known as a university student confers a measure of respect that is highly valued. Foreign students wearing their uniforms off-campus have found that they are frequently treated with more respect and are given better prices from sii-lors (taxi-truck) drivers and market vendors.

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What essentials can I buy in Thailand instead of packing them in my bags?
Traditional Thai markets offering food, clothing, household goods, and handcrafts are available almost everywhere. There are three very large "hypermarts" close to Payap which offer discount consumer goods. Students can generally find almost any product they want in Chiang Mai, although familiar brands might not be available, and the quality of some kinds of goods might be different than students are used to. The staples of daily life - clothing, toiletries, food, etc. - are very readily available. Western consumer goods - electronics, cameras, and the like - are available but often slightly more expensive than they would be elsewhere.

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Are bedding and linens provided in the dormitories?
No linens or pillows are provided. Students should either bring a mattress pad/cover, sheets and pillowcases from home, or plan to buy them in Chiang Mai. Big C Extra, a major department store, is located within walking distance of the campus. Students accustomed to using a top sheet should bring one with them. Top sheets are not generally used here, and are difficult to find.

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How will I get around Chiang Mai?
There is a roving fleet of pick-up truck taxis called "songtaew" and threewheeled taxis called "tuk-tuks." Student will quickly learn how to flag these drivers down, state their destination, and negotiate a fare. In town most sii-lors trips cost 10 baht. However, getting from town to Payap and from Payap to town can be somewhat more expensive, depending on traffic, the number of passengers going the same direction, and the time of day. Expect to pay 50 to100 baht per trip. Please note that while enrolled in the program, students are not permitted to drive motorcycles, cars, or trucks. If you are seen driving a vehicle while a student, your transcript may be witheld or you may be expelled. Students married to Thai citizens or students in Thailand on a non-Payap sponsored visa (usually the O visa) are exempt. The program encourages students to use bicycles to travel from the dormitory to campus and around town.

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Is there access to computers and the internet?
SEASC students are fully registered Payap University students and are allowed to use all campus computing facilities. Most of campus has wireless internet access including Paradornparp International House (PIH) which also has an internet-connected computer room.

There are numerous WiFi access points on Payap's campus. Off campus Chiang Mai is littered with internet shops selling access at very cheap rates.

PLEASE NOTE: WE STRONGLY DISCOURAGE excessive (daily) use of email and the internet to maintain contact with home. While we acknowledge that it is important for students to communicate their health and well-being to their families, students and their families should think carefully about how frequently this communication is necessary and adjust their expectations accordingly. The point of study abroad is to immerse oneself in the local culture, not to maintain a running dialogue with friends back home.

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How will I meet Thai students?
SEASC sponsors a "buddies" program during orientation week to link Thai students directly with Southeast Asian Studies Program students. The Thai students enjoy the opportunity to practice their English and help SEASC students with their Thai. Students also live with Thai roommates on Payap's main campus and daily interact with a Thai student body of over 6,000.

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Are there embassies or consulates in Chiang Mai?
The United States, Britain, Japan, China, Korea and India have Consulates located in Chiang Mai. We strongly recommend that students from these countries register with their consular offices upon arrival in Chiang Mai. Australia maintains the Australia Centre, with an Honorary Consul.

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Is Chiang Mai safe?
Please keep in mind that Payap University is located in the far north of Thailand, quite far both geographically and politically from the southern regions of Thailand that have been receiving a great deal of attention due to both political violence and the tsunami disaster.

The recent increase in terrorist activities world-wide must be acknowledged. The US State Department and other governments have issued general travel cautions and warnings covering southeast Asia. Please refer to the US State Departments Consular Information Sheet on Thailand for current details: http://travel.state.gov/content/ passports/english/thailand.htmlUniversity staff monitor all warnings issued by the home governments of our students, and will respond as appropriate as circumstances change. 

Thailand, in general, and the city of Chiang Mai, in particular, is a very safe place. Students will avoid potential problems by exercising the same commonsense practices they would use at home: don't travel in unfamiliar places alone, don't display (or even carry) valuables, etc.

Chiang Mai province covers a very large land area extending north to the border with Burma. Periodic reports in the international media often describe military skirmishes between the Thai, Burmese and ethnic groups' armies as taking place "in Chiang Mai." Students (and their parents) should be aware that the trouble spots are localized in areas of the province approximately 100-200 kilometers from the city of Chiang Mai. The Southeast Asian Studies Program does not take students on excursions to this area, and we discourage students from traveling in these areas on their own.

Traffic accidents are the most significant safety problem our students face. Thai traffic patterns are quite different from those most students are accustomed to, and take considerable attention. The Southeast Asian Studies program has a firm policy regarding the use of motorcycles. The program prohibits students from owning, renting, or driving motorcycles. Violation of this policy will result in immediate termination from the program without compensation, and revocation of visa sponsorship. Students may ride as passengers on motorcycles only when wearing a safety helmet. Violation of the passenger helmet policy will result in immediate termination from the program without compensation, and revocation of visa sponsorship.

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How do I get from Bangkok to Chiang Mai?
Most first time travelers to Thailand will enter the Kingdom through Bangkok via Suvarnhabhumi International Airport (BKK) which is pronounced soo-ahn-uh-poom. Suvarnhabhumi offers domestic flights on Thai Airways and Bangkok Airways. Don Mueang (DMK), the older Bangkok airport, also operates a number of domestic flights on discount carriers Air Asia, Nok Air, Orient Thai Airlines, and Thai Lion Air.

If transiting through Suvarnhabhumi (BKK), please check to be sure that your connecting flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai leaves from BKK (and not DMK) when making your airline reservations from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. Otherwise, you will have to take a shuttle or taxi across town to Don Mueang (DMK) airport. This journey can take hours depending on the time of day and traffic conditions. From Bangkok, there are daily (and multiple) train, bus and airline departures.

Arrivals in Bangkok on US carriers generally involves a short overnight stay. There are also direct flights into Chiang Mai from Seoul, Korea on Korean Airlines, from Singapore on Silk Air and from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Air Asia.

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What happens when I arrive in Chiang Mai?
All SEASC students will be met at the Chiang Mai International Airport (code: CNX), providing we know in advance when you will arrive. We ask that you provide us with your arrival schedule at least two weeks before your departure from your home country. Students who fail to inform program staff of their arrival times in advance will not be picked up and must arrange their own transportation to campus.

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Who can I call for help when I arrive, or during the program?
In the event that you have informed us of your arrival schedule in advance, but are not met at the airport, train station, or bus terminal in Chiang Mai as planned, you may call one of the SEASC Program Officers' mobile telephones which will be given in the registration package.

SEASC Program Officers carry a mobile telephone at all times. Students are encouraged to use this number as their first call in the event of an emergency. It is not to be used for routine questions which can be handled during regular office hours.

If you have further questions not answered here, please contact the Southeast Asian Studies Center:

Payap University
Southeast Asian Studies Center
Institute of Religion, Culture, and Peace
Chiang Mai 50000
THAILAND

Tel: +66 (0)53-851-478 , ext. 7882, or 7885

E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

SEASC is located in the Institute of Religion, Culture, and Peace Building on the Mae Khao campus.

For direct email, send inquiries to Ms. Chanpim Rawin at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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