Grounded in university based seminars and lectures, students move outside the classroom to learn through Expedition Field Courses –field based courses taught in intensive “blocks” of 3-4 weeks. All of ISDSI’s Expedition Field Courses incorporate an understanding of people, the environment and development. Courses focus on a specific issue and study a particular natural region, such as a watershed, urban area, or island archipelago. Students learn by living and working with local people and NGOs and travel under their own power to better understand the landscape.
Our mission is “To develop committed leaders for a sustainable future by facilitating experiential learning about people, the environment and development.”
The Institute is located at the Faculty of Economics, Chiang Mai University. We are an initiative of Kalamazoo College in the US, and collaborate with the Faculty of Economics and Chiang Mai University, who graciously host us.
Chiang Mai, in Northern Thailand, is part of the “Mekong Region” (an area including Yunnan China, Northern Burma, Thailand, Laos and Viet Nam).
Mainland Southeast Asia, and especially Northern Thailand, is a place of tremendous contrasts–remote tribal villages, a small but international city, lowland rice farming villages, and a mosaic of the languages and cultures of the Mekong region. While Northern Thailand remains our base, ISDSI Expedition Field Courses take place throughout SE Asia–from remote islands in the Andaman sea to dense urban cities like Bangkok.
Our programs are distinct in offering “Expedition Field Courses”–extended studies of a specific issue. These courses are characterized by:
Deep immersion in the local cultures and language
Strong focus on leadership competency and judgment
Development of technical skills to safely explore and study the environment in SE Asia
Natural bio-regions as study areas
Partnerships with local and international NGOs
Our study programs feature:
Integration with a well respected Thai university
Homestays with urban and rural families, including both Thai and tribal people
Thai and international faculty
Work with Thai student counterparts
Intensive and on-going Thai language instruction
Practical work with local and international NGOs
Opportunities for independent study and travel