Lewis and Clark College

Thailand: Ecology, Culture, and Society

Fall semester, 2020

Study abroad with Lewis and Clark College in Thailand!

Experiential learning is the foundation of this semester-long study abroad program launching in Fall 2020 in partnership with Lewis and Clark College. Dr. Bruce Podobnik, Professor of Sociology, will travel with students in an unforgettable semester studying the interconnectedness of global systems through Thai language and culture, food systems, ecology, and religion. Students will experience the beauty and richness of Thailand through homestays and group activities such as backpacking, hiking, snorkeling, camping, and skin diving. Studying abroad with Lewis and Clark College in Thailand is a unique opportunity to connect classroom study with hands-on experiences. Apply today!

The Lewis and Clark semester in Thailand courses are a series of four month long block courses, exploring the 700 year old city of Chiang Mai, the villages of Northern Thailand, the hill tribe communities in the mountains on the Thai/Myanmar border, and the islands, coasts, reefs, and mangroves of Southern Thailand.

Block 1: Thai Language and Society  Language classes start on the first day, and continue throughout the semester when students are in Chiang Mai.  Experiential field studies happen throughout the block, with time off-campus studying Thai society, development and culture.

Block 2: Sustainable Food Systems Language classes are in the morning with seminars in the afternoon of the first week. Weeks 2-4 are in small holder farming villages learning directly from experts in organic farming, organic polycultures and small scale agroecology. We will also be backpacking and hiking through the remote villages of Mae Hong Son, learning directly from the Karen upland communities about forest management and ecology.

Block 3: Culture and Ecology of the Andaman  Language classes are in the morning with seminars in the afternoon of the first week. Weeks 2-4 are spent studying reef ecology and resource conservation in the Adang Archipelago, as well as studies of mangroves and sea grass ecosystems. A highlight of the course is skin diving and snorkeling the coral reefs, sea grass beds and mangroves, as well as sea kayaking, camping and home stays.

Block 4: Ecology, Religion and Spirituality in Thailand focuses on understanding the rich religions and spiritual traditions in Thailand and Southeast Asia, focused on Buddhism, as well as other significant traditions and practices in Thailand, including Islam, Christianity, Animism, and others.

The Campus of ISDSI and Chiang Mai

One of the highlights of the Lewis and Clark program is studying on the campus of the International Sustainable Development Studies Institute. Built of 17 shipping containers, this sustainable campus has been internationally recognized and highlighted for its commitment to not just teaching about but practicing sustainability.


In addition to the main ISDSI building, the campus includes a cafe and roastery selling fair trade coffee from local coffee farmers, as well as a CrossFit gym.


Deadline for application: October 7, 2019 by 4:00pm.

Application and Info


Appointment Scheduling

Please stop by the Overseas Office in Albany 206 for more information!

Faculty Leader

Bruce Podobnik, Associate Professor of Sociology

[email protected]

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