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Human Rights in Thailand

Studying issues relating to human rights in Thailand with local students from Mahidol University
Are you passionate about human rights? Do you want to get out of the classroom and apply your research skills in the real world? Join leading researchers from the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre (University of Sydney) and the Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies (Mahidol University) and receive partial funding to design and conduct real-world research in partnership with local students on Human Rights in Thailand.

About this program

What: A 2.5 week field school in Bangkok during the winter break, studying issues relating to human rights in Thailand with local students from Mahidol University

Where: Bangkok (Thailand)

When: Compulsory pre-departure training, 1 June 2020 (all day) and mobility component, 1-19 July 2020

Who: Undergraduate students studying Asian Studies, Law, Sociology, Government and International Relations, Geography and Political Economy

Why: Leave the classroom behind for a hands-on, international field school studying human rights in Thailand! Explore Bangkok, boost your field research skills, travel as a researcher not a tourist, and meet students from other disciplines and other Universities. The Sydney Southeast Asia Centre will contribute partial-funding to help with costs associated with your participation in this program. You will receive academic credit for participating in this program.

The Sydney Southeast Asia Centre (SSEAC) at the University of Sydney and the Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies (IHRP) and the International Relations Division at Mahidol University are offering a unique in-country experience to students interested in learning more about Human Rights in the Thai context. Based in the busy metropolis of Bangkok, this field school will bring together students from both universities to explore human rights in Thailand, while at the same time developing international research skills and interdisciplinary approaches to research and problem-solving.

This field school includes a short Thai language and culture course, lectures and seminars with key stakeholders, site visits, and discussions with local NGOs and government officials. In the final week of the program students will work in small multidisciplinary groups to undertake an independent group research project, allowing them to unpack human rights from multiple perspectives, including the environment, migrant workers, political rights, disability, and refugees.

Benefits of participating in this program

This is a unique opportunity to develop and apply your research skills in-country. It allows you to bring your disciplinary perspective to a problem, while also facilitating multidisciplinary research and learning. While the projects will be small in scope, the experience of working in another country will allow you to deepen your contextual understanding as well as developing your cross-cultural negotiation and communication skills and building cultural competence. It will also allow you to gain insights into the challenges associated with critically analysing real-world situations and taking a holistic approach to problem solving. A distinguishing feature of this program is the opportunity to work with students from another University, thus providing not only a cross-disciplinary but also an international learning experience.


Important information

To be eligible you must be:

  • Enrolled in a Bachelor’s degree program at the University of Sydney
  • Be studying in one of the approved disciplines
  • Have space in your degree for an elective
  • Able to attend pre-departure training and be available for the entire length of the field school in Thailand


  • Students from low socio-economic backgrounds and those who have not undertaken exchange or field school opportunities in the past are particularly encouraged to apply (though this is not a prerequisite).
  • This program is open to both domestic and international students.
  • This course is an elective and does not form a compulsory component of any degree.
  • This is a July Intensive, 6CP Unit (S2CIJL)
  • Participation and enrolment is by special permission once you have been interviewed by SSEAC staff and accepted into the course.
  • Students must have space in their degree to enrol in this elective.
  • Students from Asian Studies, Government and International Relations, Sociology, Geography and Law will enrol in ASNS2669 (Field Study in Southeast Asia) [link].
  • Students from Political Economy will receive credit through ECOP2619 (Development in Emerging Economies). Students already enrolled in this subject from Semester 1 2020 will be offered the opportunity to apply for the field school.

Students will complete an annotated bibliography prior to departure; a group research project (including a group presentation) in-country; a daily field diary whilst in-country; and a final essay upon completion of the program. A participation grade will also be awarded. Note that assessment requirements for students from ECOP2619 will be slightly different – for further information please contact

SSEAC will offer $1200 to University of Sydney students selected to participate in this program to contribute to flights and logistics. Mahidol University will provide accommodation (based on share rooms), breakfast and lunch each day, and transport for the activities of the program.

Estimated costs for this field school, per student, include:


Anticipated costs (approx.)

Language training and cultural induction in country

Covered by program

Airline travel Syd-Bangkok

AUD$1000 (depending on airline, time of booking etc)


Covered by program (twin share, onsite at Mahidol University)

Day-to-day costs within Thailand (food, local transport, sundries)

Up to AUD$30 per day

Travel Insurance

Covered by University travel insurance


AUD$1540 (estimated costs)

**Please note that the anticipated costs are intended as a guide. There may be additional out-of-pocket costs relating to this field school.

Domestic undergraduate students are encouraged to explore funding opportunities through the OS-HELP scheme.

This field school is made possible with the generous support and input of the Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies and the International Relations Division at Mahidol University.

  • Students are required to organize their own flights to and from Bangkok
  • Students are required to ensure they have an appropriate visa to enter Thailand
  • Places are limited to 12 x University of Sydney students
  • 8 x students from Mahidol University will also participate in this field school
  • Applicants must be available for a short (20 minute) interview on 11 or 12 March.

Applications close 8 March and places are strictly limited – don’t delay!

For more information or questions please contact the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre (