StudyExperience South-East Asia

StudyExperience South-East Asia is a 4-weeks summerschool program to South-East Asia. The program’s focus rests on a distinct mix between academic (the ‘study’ part) and cultural activities (the ‘experience’ part). Participants benefit from the small group size, the integration of lectures, fieldtrips and research methods training and the contact with local communities, NGOs and scholars who make up the wide range of our partners. We put great effort into sustainable and culture-sensitive travelling, based on an educational approach: participants not only learn about development, politics and socio-cultural aspects in the visited destinations, but also about their impact as tourists – ecologically, economically as well as socio-culturally.

What our Participants say About the Program

angelika2Thank you for this adventurous journey through Thailand and Cambodia. I really learned a lot about South-East Asia and the people (and it was all great fun!). If I had to pick the best moments, it would be the trekking tour in the pouring rain to the hilltribes in Northern Thailand, the elephant ride and, of course, the stunning beauty and mystery of Angkor and its temples. So thank you again for all the experiences, which I will never forget, and for the people I have met! – Angelika

cathrin2Being deeply interested in South-East Asian culture, the SEAS summer school was an amazing opportunity for me to get to know “the real life” in Thailand and Cambodia. In a small, familiar group we travelled around the two neighbouring countries. My favourite aspect of the study programme was getting to know many, many facettes of south east asian politics, economics, culture, cuisine, religion… We were given guest lectures by local professors, visitied NGOS that opened up their doors for us, and simply got out there and mingled with the locals. Now, I can say that I have gotten a very realistic and comprehensive glimpse into those fascinating cultures. – Cathrin

res2StudyExperience 2011 was great for me. It was the first time for me to be in a real third world country like Cambodia and in this sense it was already a very impressive experience. Having the comparison with a rapidly developing country like Thailand in this one trip made it even more impressive. And doing this in a with a small but very nice group of people and with your own personal professor to explain all the stories behind the scenes made it a wonderful one month excursion into a different world. – Res

kathrin2SEAS StudyExperience 2011 was a very special trip for me. Especially the excellent mixture of lectures and cultural sightseeing made this a memorable experience. As a China specialist, my knowledge was limited to Northern East Asia so far, and I really enjoyed learning more about South-East Asia during the study trip. Especially the beautiful temple complexes of Angkor (Cambodia) were really impressive. I hope to have another opportunity to see more of fascinating South East Asia and learn more about its cultural variety. – Kathrin

The meeting point for StudyExperience 2011 was Thailand’s capital Bangkok, where the group had some introductory lectures and time to adapt to their new environment. We stayed in Bangkok and Hua Hin for some days and learned more about Thai politics, society and culture as well as second home development in Hua Hin. An in-depth learning experience was enabled through the combination of lectures (at a number of local universities as well as privately) and fieldtrips, including a visit to the Grand Palace, a Klong Tour (Bangkok’s canals), a visit of a second home agency, vineyards in Hua Hin and more.

After some days we returned to Bangkok and took the night train to the capital of the North: Chiang Mai. In Chiang Mai a varied programme was awaiting us. We had lectures at Chiang Mai University on amongst others anthropology (incl. learning more about the hilltribes of the North), visited the NGO ‘Empower’ (incl. a talk by an expert on prostitution and sex tourism in Thailand), had the chance to talk to Buddhist monks at Wat Suan Dok temple, and went on a 2-day trekking trip to hilltribe villages (incl. a trip to coffee factories and plantations, discussion on ethnic minorities and human rights in Thailand, etc.).

After returning to Bangkok, we continued our journey flying to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. We toured through the capital city (incl. a visit of the Tuol Sleng Museum and the Killing Fields) and visited the temples of Angkor Wat (UNESCO World Heritage site) for three days. This was again combined with lectures in order to intensify the learning effect. We returned to Bangkok after a few days, where the programme finished after a total of 4 weeks.

Throughout the trip the participants had regular lectures, accompanied by fieldtrips to deepen and apply their knowledge. There was also space to reflect on the experiences gained within the group as well as to discover the destinations by oneself or relax during free time.

The departure date was left to the participants, so they could extend their stay in South-East Asia if wished.

 Timetable of StudyExperience 2011
  • 11th July to 8th of August 2011
Travel Route
  • Bangkok, Hua Hin & Chiang Mai (Thailand) and Phnom Penh & Angkor Wat/ Siam Reap (Cambodia).
Lecturers & Staff
  • Dr. Harold R. Kerbo: Professor of Sociology at the California Polytechnic State University and your accompanying professor for StudyExperience.
  • Mag. Alexander Trupp: Tutor at the faculty of Geography at the University of Vienna and also accompanying lecturer for StudyExperience.
  • Uthai Dulyakasem, PhD (Stanford): President of Silpakorn University, Bangkok. Guest lecture on Thai Politics, North and South
  • Vithi Panichpun, PhD: Department of Anthropology, Chiang Mai University. Guest lecture on Northern Thai Culture and History
  • Poch Bunnak, PhD: Ministry of Population and Planning, Professor of Sociology, Royal University, Phnom Penh (and personally a surviver of the Khmer Rouge camps). Guest lecture on Cambodia from the Khmer Rouge Period to Today
  • Deup Channarith, MA (Belgium): Director of the Trans-Cultural Psychological Organization (with mental health clinics around Cambodia treating victoms of the Khmer Rouge period). Guest lecture on Cambodian Social Problems Today

  • Kosita Butratana, M.Ed. (Thailand): Chiang Mai University, University of Vienna. PhD student at the Department of Geography and Regional Research, University of Vienna. Accompanying staff and tour guide on StudyExperience.

  • Claudia Dolezal, MSc.BA.: University of Brighton, UK. Phd student. StudyExperience organizer and accompanying staff.


Again, the meeting point of StudyExperience 2012 is Thailand’s capital city Bangkok. We stay in Bangkok for some days to visit amongst others the Duang Prateep Foundation, an NGO that was initiated by the slum people of Klong Toey, the Heinrich-Böll Foundation (incl. a lecture on climate change and energy policy, democratization and gender democracy in Thailand) and Mahidol University for a lecture on sustainable tourism. Our time in Bangkok also includes a boat and bike klong tour as well as visit of the Grand Palace.

We also go on a daytrip to Ayutthaya, the former capital of Thailand. In Ayutthaya we are guided to explore the ancient Thailand and temples and also have a lecture on the Ayutthaya kingdom. After this we go up to the North of Thailand (Chiang Mai), where we experience a Thailand different from the metropolitan capital. Our programme includes a visit of a community-based tourism project in the mountain area as well as a trekking tour, a chat to Buddhist monks and a visit of an NGO for handicapped and disadvantaged people in Thailand.

After some days we continue our journey to Laos, where we not only visit the capital city but some other – more remote – places. In Laos we explore the ‘Buddhism for Development’ project, learn about community-based tourism in Luang Namtha, enjoy some free time in the backpacker town Vang Vieng and continue our trip to the capital Vientiane, where we visit museums and have a number of lectures on politics and society in Laos. From there we travel back to Bangkok and go further down South to Pattaya where we visit an long neck Karen village, wine yards and the Buddha mountain. We focus particularly on tourism development in Pattaya, in specific sex tourism. We not only have the chance to visit the famous ‘walking street’ but also to have a chat to the local police to get to know how sex tourism in being dealt with locally.

Upon our return to Bangkok, StudyExperience ends after the individual student research presentations. The departure date is left to the participants in case they would like to extend their stay in South-East Asia.

Timetable of StudyExperience 2012
  • 15th July to 14th of August 2012
 Travel Route
  • Bangkok – Ayutthaya – Bangkok – Chiang Mai – Luang Namtha – Houay Xai – Luang Prabang – Vang Vieng – Vientiane – Bangkok – Pattaya – Bangkok.
 Lecturers & Staff (Selection)
  • Dr. Ramesh Boonratana: Lecturer at Mahidol University, Bangkok, Research Zoologist and consultant in the fields of biodiversity conservation and protected area management.
  • Sakkarin Na Nan: Lecturer at Chiang Mai University. Guest Lecture on State-Led Development & Ethnic Groups in Thailand
  • Napakadol Kittisenee: Lecturer at Thammasat University. Guest Lecture on Spirit in Education Movement: Anthropology.
  • Kosita Butratana, M.Ed.: Researcher at Chiang Mai University / University of Vienna with a focus on Migrant Communities, Thai and Lao language and culture. Kosita is also accompanying staff and Local Coordinator at StudyExperience 2012.
  • Claudia Dolezal, MSc, BA: Reseacher & Lecturer at the University of Brighton with a focus on alternative forms of tourism for community empowerment and host-guest encounters in tourism. Claudia is also accompanying staff and the organizer of StudyExperience 2012.
  • Anna-Sophie Tomancok: Student at the University of Vienna and Project Assistant for StudyExperience 2012.


Claudia Dolezal

Right now we do not offer any upcoming summerschool program. We suggest you to subscribe to our email newsletter, or our Facebook and Twitter account to stay updated and be informed when we announce another one. For general questions you can of course also refer to us via email. For our summerschool the person you should get in touch with is our StudyExperience organizer Claudia Dolezal.

Preparation and Support for Participation

We advise you to get the most important vaccinations if you travel to South-East Asia. Have a look at the website of Tropeninstitut. To apply for financial support for your summerschool participation (in Austria) please visit the following websites of OeAD – Österreichischer Austauschdienst, or Österreichische HochschülerInnenschaft, or consult your own university or local council. Bring suitable clothes for hot and humid weather, but make sure you also include long-sleeved shirts and trousers in order to gain access to temples.