Journey through the diverse wonders of Thailand, from bustling markets in Bangkok to ancient Buddhist temples in Chiang Mai and the ancient ruins of Sukhothai.
Due to the deepening concern about the coronavirus, The Experiment has transitioned all 2020 programs to The Experiment Digital.
The Experiment Digital is a fully funded (free) exchange program conducted entirely online and mobile-accessible four (4) hours per week from June 22 to August 16, 2020.
The Experiment Digital connects hundreds of young people across the United States with peers from Iraq, Algeria, Yemen, and other countries in the Middle East and North Africa to discuss such topics as digital citizenship, leadership and identity, community initiatives, and public narrative. Participants even have virtual families!
Your Experiment begins in the northern mountain city of Chiang Mai, home to hundreds of ancient temples. You will visit the city’s famous sights, explore lively street markets, discover Buddhist temples, and take in the tropical landscapes as you get to know your group. Get a taste for Thai food culture with a cooking instructor who will help you shop for the freshest ingredients at a local market, then teach you how to whip up traditional dishes. Discover an important part of Thai culture as you stay overnight at a Buddhist temple and learn about the art of meditation. Introductory Thai language lessons will prepare you to communicate with your host family during your homestays.
Relish the northern region’s lush tropical valleys and highlands as you take part in outdoor activities such as trekking and zip-lining. Visit an elephant sanctuary and get close to these majestic creatures as you feed and bathe them. Your Experiment will also take you to the historic city of Ayutthaya, a former capital of Siam and a UNESCO World Heritage site, before traveling to the seaside town of Hua Hin to explore breathtaking beaches.
As your Thai adventure continues, you will live with a family in a lowland northern village in Chiang Mai province and then with a hill tribe in Chiang Rai province. You will work on a community service project, such as teaching English to young children, helping build a natural water dam, or assisting with reforestation work. You will continue to develop your Thai language skills as you interact with locals.
At the conclusion of this program, each participant will earn a community service certificate noting the number of hours of community service completed.
Chiang Mai, 5–7 days
Northern Thai village outside of Chiang Mai*, 9–11 days; Lisu hill tribe community in Chiang Rai province*, 3 days
Orientation in Chiang Mai
During the orientation period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located guesthouse, or hostel and a temple
Homestay and Community Service
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 excursion in Chiang Mai
Homestay in Baan Doi Lan Village
During this period, you will stay in the home of a family. Sample communities include Baan Doi Lan and Chiang Rai.
Thematic Focus and Travel in Bangkok, Ayutthaya, & Hua Hin
During this period, you and your group will stay in guest houses and hotels.
Thematic Focus and Program Reflection and Wrap-up in Bangkok
During this period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hotel.
Please note: This itinerary is only a sample and is subject to change. Because of factors such as group size and availability of in-country offerings such as festivals, your experience — including sites visited and the number of days spent in each location — may differ somewhat from the one presented above.
Hailing from sunny San Diego, Ina Chu decided in high school that she needed a change of scenery and moved 3,000 miles across the country to attend Boston University (BU) in Massachusetts. During her time at BU, Ina studied abroad in Germany, served as a resident assistant, and landed a journalism internship that took her to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. After graduating with a dual degree in German and journalism, she joined the Peace Corps in rural Thailand, where she worked side by side with locals to create community projects. In fall 2014, Ina returned to beautiful Boston to attend graduate school at Harvard University. In her free time, Ina enjoys good food, music, reading, traveling, and playing outdoors.
Born and raised in rural Southern Illinois, Lauren Williams had her first taste of international travel at the age of sixteen, when she had the opportunity to backpack throughout Western Europe as an international Girl Scout representative. She then attended Elmhurst College where she pursued degree in biology with minors in chemistry and art. The summer after freshman year, Lauren went to Europe to study the healthcare systems of Austria, Germany, England, France, and Italy. During her sophomore year, she studied with SIT Study Abroad in Australia, where she conducted field study projects on the rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef as well as independently researching wildlife rehabilitation at the Australian Wildlife Hospital. Upon graduation, Lauren received a Fulbright grant to teach English in Northern Thailand for a year. She taught at a small school in Chiang Rai and interned at a hospital in Chiang Mai during summer recess. Lauren is a veteran leader of The Experiment’s Thailand program, having led Experimenters in Thailand in both 2013 and 2014. Lauren is currently a second-year medical student at Rush University in Chicago.
I went to Thailand expecting to be happy with my summer, but came out with so much more than happiness. I experienced a new way of thinking about life, and overall a new world. This trip was definitely an eye opening experience. I learned a lot about how I deal with new situations and new environments and I think that is going to follow me around when I visit new places.--Alexandra
During my incredible week homestay experience I was able to share a home with a wonderful, kind, family with two twin daughters Ing and Ang. I’ve never had any sisters in my life so all of the sudden I had two little sisters with never ending energy spreading their love everywhere they went.--Willa
The things I learned and the people I met are memories I will hold onto forever. My leaders were also amazing and did everything they could to have the best time possible. From visiting the grand Palace to going to the meditation retreat to zip lining and visiting an elephant reserve I gained so much knowledge about Thailand and everything it has to offer.--Torie
Six months later, and my experience in Thailand still affects me. While my friends spent their summers doing all types of interesting things, no one had an experience like mine. The friends I made, the people I met, and the culture I experienced remain with me in my daily life. My love of traveling has taken me all around the world but until my Thailand trip, I had never had such an authentic abroad experience.
Let’s start with the people! Everyone I met in Thailand was incredibly kind and warm. Our homestay families welcomed us into their homes and during my two-and-a-half-week stay, I received several gifts and was made to feel at home.
Communicating with my family was not easy. My Thai was better than their English, which is saying a lot considering that the only Thai I knew was from our two lessons we had in Chiang Mai before going to our homestays. Bonding with someone who speaks a completely foreign language is not easy, but simply experiencing their way of life was fulfilling.
I made some amazing friends on my trip as well. Now, several months later, I still communicate with all of them and find myself laughing about our inside jokes or daydreaming about our time together. In fact, back at home in my daily life, Thailand memories are my salvation through the stress of a difficult course load, extracurriculars, and college applications.
I could talk for hours about all my memorable experiences from the trip, but I would like to recount one of my favorite memories, which was with my host family.
One night as I was eating dinner on the floor of my homestay house, as is customary in Thailand, my family, as usual, tried to keep on feeding me after I was too full for anything more. As usual, they told me to “gin” or eat. I responded by saying “Im lao” meaning I’m full but still they tried to feed me.
Finally, I responded with “Im lao, katong” and placed my hands on my stomach. Now katong in Thai means fat or, as I and my friends from EIL translated it, “food baby.” At the mention of katong, my family all burst out laughing, and I joined in.
This may seem like a small moment, but for me it was the time when I felt more connected with my family and as I sit here writing about my experience now, I have a wide smile on my face and am flooded with all the other little memories of my homestay that made the experience so worthwhile.--Julia