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Study Abroad and Domestic Study Away

CIEE Public Health in Kohn Kaen



Don’t just study complex environmental, development, and globalization issues – confront them in Thailand with CIEE. On the Development and Globalization program, your coursework is a springboard, propelling you into the field to interact with, learn from, and contribute to communities and organizations. You’ll examine issues of development and social justice on a grassroots level, and immerse yourself in Thai culture through community stays, Thai student roommates, fun adventures, and more. A final group project brings your methodical, field based research into focus.

Study With CIEE in Khon Kaen and you’ll:

  • Engage in Thai culture with the help of community stays, translated exchanges, Thai student roommates, and peer tutors
  • Spend time living and exchanging with villagers and community organizers around the northeast that are affected by human rights issues such as natural resource management, agriculture, land rights, and more
  • Plan, execute, and present a final group project, which uses methodical, field-based research and contributes to the public sphere, in collaboration with NGOs and local communities

Program Type

Third Party Provider


Kohn Kaen, Thailand

Languages of Instruction


Program Dates

Fall 2018: August to December

Spring 2019: January to May

CIEE will set the dates closer to departure.


To be eligible to participate in this program, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Good academic and judicial standing during time of application AND time of participation in program
  • Undergraduates must have completed at least two semesters of study at Lake Forest College AND have second-semester sophomore status or higher before participation. (Transfer students may participate after the first semester on campus) 
  • At least 18 years of age by the program’s departure date
  • Be able to stay at the host program for the duration of the semester, including through the exam period
  • Minimum GPA of 2.75


Located in the center of the Northeast region, known as Isaan, Khon Kaen is Thailand’s fourth-largest city with a population of over 300,000. About 300 miles north of Bangkok, it is the educational and government center of the Northeast, as well as the headquarters for many development organizations working in the region. While exploring this center for commerce, industry, education, government, and transportation, you’re as apt to see water buffalo and Buddhist monks traversing the streets as businesspeople and students. The city also is home to the region’s silk trade, and beautiful temples, museums, and recreation areas. Compared to other parts of Thailand, the relatively rural Northeast has retained many of its traditional Lao and Khmer customs.



The CIEE Study Center has been based at Khon Kaen University since 1991 and its initial focus on development was established three years later in 1994. The Community Public Health study abroad program began in spring 2010. This program combines traditional classroom instruction with extensive field study involving government, private, and public health agencies, as well as visits to local communities.



The Faculty of Public Health at Khon Kaen University prepares students in the classroom, while government officials and practitioners provide guidance during students’ visits to various public health projects. Students use public health diagnostic tools to generate proposals and organize a project in the last part of the program. The program’s language instruction utilizes a proficiency-based approach designed to enable students to function effectively in everyday situations. Courses at all levels combine intensive classroom learning with the use of peer tutors and interactive exercises. Language classes are offered at beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels. Students should be aware that the program is academically demanding. Given the number of lectures, discussion sessions, site and community visits, students can expect most days during the week to be full.



Participants generally take classes with another study abroad students, although some international graduate students at the faculty may join in some classes.



In the CIEE courses, students are normally graded on the basis of a series of short papers, active participation, three-week project, and a final paper. In the language courses, assessment is based on daily homework, quizzes, and exams. Letter grades (A-F) are given with pluses or minuses.

Students in the Community Public Health study abroad program may expect a close collaborative relationship with various public health faculty members and CIEE staff who conduct periodic evaluations throughout the semester.



Courses are taught by the Faculty of Public Health lecturers and instructors from related faculties at Khon Kaen University. The biographies of current faculty instructors are listed below.

Professor Supannee Promthet, Ph.D., has served as the course director for many CIEE courses since 2011. She finished her Ph.D. in epidemiology at the University of Tempere in Finland. Her M.Sc. in Epidemiology is from Mahidol University, and she has an undergraduate degree in nursing from Khon Kaen University.

Dr. Anootnara Talkul is a lecturer in the Department of Environmental Health Science at the Faculty of Public Health at Khon Kaen University. She finished her doctorate at Drexel University in Biomedical Science, after completing a master’s degree at Lehigh University. She finished her B.Sc. degree and a master’s degree at Mahidol University in Bangkok. Her recent research has focused on prevention of workplace anxiety and stress as well as environmentally friendly techniques to handle flooding in Khon Kaen City.



There’s so much to learn in and out of the classroom. During courses at Khon Kaen University, you’ll:

  • See how a broad range of development and environmental issues affect local communities and the relation of these issues to greater development schemes
  • Study the work of grassroots social movement leaders and broad-based coalitions; representatives from non-governmental and governmental organizations; journalists; and political and human rights activists
  • Study participatory research methods, allowing you to gain the tools and skills needed to examine the contours of northeastern communities
  • Learn the basics of Thai language, or advance your current level of proficiency


All students take Thai language, plus the following courses:

  • Public Health Management in Thailand
  • Community Public Health
  • Public Health Field Practicum


Plus, you’ll take part in journalistic workshops that give you the framework to compose photo essays and articles appropriate for publication.



Collaborate with non-governmental organizations on research and projects that will benefit the communities you visit. Past projects have included creating human rights reports on the issues of agriculture, land, water, mining, and HIV/AIDS; developing a photo series on a community’s history accompanied by voice recordings of villagers explaining their livelihood; establishing a “Follow the Food” project to find out where food comes from; performing comparative research on mining laws between Thailand and Canada; studying how a water management system can affect the lives of the people along the river; and developing organic farming and anti-mining campaigns.



The field is your classroom, and local professionals are your teachers. Government officials and practitioners from local NGOs offer guidance during visits to various development projects, and freelance photographers and journalists work with and advise you on projects throughout the semester.

Experiential Opportunities


There are so many ways to see and learn about the vastly beautiful country of Thailand during this program, which will bring you into an authentic exchange with villagers, NGOs, and others who are working for social change at the grassroots level. You’ll participate in various site visits to explore methods and outcomes of sustainable agriculture and development in a local community. You could stay with families that practice organic farming and take a trip to communities facing land rights issues. Even visit communities affected by mining or in the process of preventing mines from being built nearby.

Housing and Meals

Housing is included in the study abroad program fee. While not on community visits and staying with host families, each student lives in an off-campus accommodation with a Thai roommate. The accommodations are located a short walk from where classes are held. Meals while not on community visits, are not included in the program fee and are the responsibility of the student. Students can eat meals at the university cafeteria or local restaurants.

Financial Information

For all approved programs for guaranteed financial aid transferability, students pay their Lake Forest College tuition plus a program fee.  The program fee for the CIEE Khon Kaen Public Health program includes orientation, on-site director, housing, some meals, airport meet and greet, cultural activities, several excursions, and insurance.  

Here is an estimated budget for your Fall 2018/Spring 2019 semester:

Budget Item


Lake Forest College Tuition


Program fee (estimated)


Program Deposit (credit)


Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College


Program Deposit (non-refundable)




Estimated Airfare


Estimated Personal Expenses (passport, visas, immunizations, books, supplies, personal expenses, additional travel etc.)


Total Out-of-Pocket Expenses




Tuition rates and program fees are subject to change each year, but this information was up-to-date as of February 2018. We will update these, and notify applicants if these estimates change for 2017/2018 academic year.

Keep in mind that you may spend more or less in certain areas like personal expenses, travel, meals, or airfare, depending on exchange rates and your own spending habits. 

Classroom or lab fees are not included in this estimate.

Don’t forget to apply for scholarships! A great listing can be found here.  

Do check your student account on My.Lakeforest for your aid awards, as much of this will go with you. If you want to compare your program to the cost of being on campus, those numbers can be found here: https://www.lakeforest.edu/admissions/tuition/fees.php