Press Release

Colleges and Universities in Thailand Strategize to Become a Study Abroad Destination of Choice for U.S. Students

New Paper from the Institute of International Education Examines Challenges and Opportunities of Expanding U.S. Study Abroad in Thailand

NEW YORK, October 15, 2010—Colleges and universities in Thailand would benefit from implementing proactive, coordinated measures to improve the country’s capacity to host U.S. study abroad students, according to a new paper from the Institute of International Education. The paper, “U.S. Study Abroad in Thailand: Host Country Perspectives and Guidelines for Partners,” written in cooperation with the U.S Embassy in Thailand and Mahidol University International College, emerges from a workshop that focused on a wide cross-section of perspectives on the topic of expanding study abroad in Thailand and was held in Bangkok this past February. Convened by the IIE Southeast Asia Office in Bangkok, with support from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State and the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Thailand, the workshop involved discussions between high-level representatives from Thai higher education, government and nonprofit organizations, and U.S. institutional administrators and study abroad program providers.

“U.S. Study Abroad in Thailand” highlights the current landscape and opportunities for expanding U.S. study abroad in Thailand, and addresses diverse concepts, models and approaches for study abroad, as well as the challenges of increasing the number of U.S. students who choose to study abroad in Thailand. The report also identifies critical action steps that colleges and universities have undertaken and can continue to develop to reach out to and expand their capacity to host U.S. students. The paper recommends both substantive changes to study abroad programming within institutions in Thailand and better marketing of Thailand’s higher education system to the student, faculty and administrator audiences abroad. 

According to IIE’s annual Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, supported by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau for Educational and Cultural Affairs, more than 8,700 students from Thailand studied in the United States in academic year 2008/09, while fewer than 1,600 U.S. students studied abroad in Thailand in academic year 2007/08 (the most recent year for which data is available). The number of U.S. students studying in Thailand has increased more than threefold in the last decade, however, and there is still much untapped potential to send more students, according to the report. While several institutions suspended their study abroad activities this past year due to the protests in Bangkok in March-May, 2010, these programs have largely resumed in the current academic year. Despite the crisis of the spring, leaders in Thai higher education express confidence in their institutions’ security measures and international students’ safety in the country.

About the Institute of International Education

The Institute of International Education is a world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. An independent, nonprofit organization founded in 1919, IIE has a network of 18 offices worldwide and over 1,000 member institutions. IIE designs and implements programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government agencies, foundations, and corporations. IIE also conducts policy research and program evaluations, and provides advising and counseling on international education and opportunities abroad.


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