IIE Briefing Paper: Study Abroad in Thailand

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.