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Multi-disciplinary field school

Spend 16 days in Chiang Mai, Thailand studying how land shapes the everyday experiences of people and place.

In this field school, students will work with our partners at Chiang Mai University, local NGOs and government officials to research the different ways that land shapes people’s experiences and culture from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Applications are now closed for this field school.

What: A 16 day field school in Thailand over the summer holidays

Where: Chiang Mai (Thailand)

When: 10–26 January 2018 (tentative dates), compulsory pre-departure training 11–12 November 2017

Who: Students studying Medicine, Geography, Asian Studies and Anthropology

Why: Get out of the classroom and into the field! Explore Thailand, travel as a researcher not a tourist and meet students from other disciplines. The Sydney Southeast Asia Centre (SSEAC) will contribute partial-funding to help with costs associated with their field school.                 

SSEAC is offering a unique in-country experience to students interested in how land shapes the everyday experiences of people and place. This field school brings together students from medicine, geography, anthropology and architecture/planning to explore these issues in the unique context of Northern Thailand.

In conjunction with our hosts, the Regional Centre for Social Science and Sustainable Development at Chiang Mai University (CMU), this field school includes lectures and seminars at CMU, site visits, and discussions with local NGOs and government officials.

While the field school is interdisciplinary in scope, each discipline involved offers unique perspective on the current state of affairs in and around Chiang Mai. Possible interests may include (but are certainly not limited to):

  • Geography – powers of exclusion across rural and urban spaces
  • Anthropology – ethnicity and land issues
  • Medicine – gaps in health access between urban/rural settings and culture-specific approaches to health care
  • Asian Studies - understanding Southeast Asia

Students participating in this program will spend the first few days gaining a basic understanding of Chiang Mai and its surroundings through local visits and a cultural induction. Following this, students undertake a program of lectures, seminars and site visits with students from Chiang Mai University. In the final week of the program students will undertake an independent group research project, allowing them to hone in on topics of interest.

Pre-departure program: Before travelling to Thailand, you will participate in a short intensive  program that includes background study of Thailand and basic information about the cultural landscape, exposure to interdisciplinary methodologies, intercultural training. You will also be expected to complete relevant readings in preparation for the trip

In-country field school: In-country field school activities and related assessments.

Students will cultivate knowledge on Thailand and local issues surround land. This program will expose students to challenges and rewards of working in interdisciplinary teams, and enhance your negotiation and communication skills. It will also allow students to develop insight into the challenges associated with critically analysing real-world situations and taking a holistic approach to problem solving.

  • Be enrolled in a relevant degree and discipline program at the University of Sydney;
  • Able to attend pre-departure training and be available for the entire length of the field school in Thailand;
  • Medicine students: open to those currently enrolled in stage 1;
  • Students from Anthropology and Geography will undertake this course as an elective;
  • Asian Studies students will untertake this uni through enrolment in ASNS2665 Understanding Southeast Asia (January intensive)
  • Enrolment details will be provided to shortlisted candidates but please contact SSEAC if you require enrolment details prior to application;
  • Students from low SES backgrounds and those who have not undertaken exchange or field school opportunities in the past are encouraged to apply (this is not a prerequisite).



Anticipated costs

Cultural induction at Chiang Mai University

500 AUD

Airline travel

1000-1600 AUD


50 AUD per day (share basis)

Day-to-day costs within Thailand

50-60 AUD  per day

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

The Sydney Southeast Asia Centre is contributing a $2000 subsidy towards the field school costs of each student. This grant will be used to cover accommodation, the cultural induction at Chiang Mai, some in-country transportation and activities. Once we have covered the costs in-country, students will be given the remainder of the grant to contribute towards flights, transport to Chiang Mai and other additional costs.

Please note that you may be required to contribute some of your own funds to this experience.

You are also encouraged to explore funding opportunities through the OS-HELP scheme.

  • Students are required to organize their own flights to and from Chiang Mai
  • Students will be covered by the university travel insurance policy

Applications are now closed.