Southeast Asia: Thailand, Laos, and China

Southeast Asia: Thailand, Laos, and China

Develop an understanding of relevant issues in international business, global corporate ethics, international financial systems, and international development. This semester explores these topics through a combination of fieldwork, case studies, and seminars.

Coursework was designed to foster understanding through the lens of real-world application in Asia. Travel throughout Asia to contextualize the concepts learned in courses and experience emerging issues in global business practice and international development. Engage in real-world cycles of topic immersion and reflective learning throughout China and Thailand.

Spend thirteen weeks abroad, including four weeks in China and nine weeks in Thailand.

Students love our programs!
Departure Dates
  1. September 06 - December 05, 2019

    Available
  2. February 03 - May 03, 2020

    Available
Program Profile
  • Countries:

    China

    Thailand

    Laos

  • Department:
    Gap Year
  • Duration:
    13 Weeks
  • Ages:
    17-22
  • Cost:
    $17,000 plus Airfare
  • Language Study Hours:
    12 Service Hours
  • Interests:
    Semesters
  • Program Types:
    College Credit
Program Profile
  • Countries:

    China

    Thailand

    Laos

  • Department:
    Gap Year
  • Duration:
    13 Weeks
  • Ages:
    17-22
  • Cost:
    $17,000 plus Airfare
  • Language Study Hours:
    12 Service Hours
  • Interests:
    Semesters
  • Program Types:
    College Credit

Country-Specific Academic Focus

China Focus: International Business and Corporate Ethics

Through seminar, guest speakers, and field case studies, students learn to analyze the effects of culture and politics on global business management; develop a working understanding of international capital markets and foreign currency exchange, learn the role that the international monetary system plans in global business; and explore critical issues in global corporate ethics.

This course is intentionally paired with a course of study in International development so that students have an opportunity to explore the connections between international trade, global markets, and international development.

Students will explore the Great Wall of China and the Terracotta Warriors of Xi’an, learn about imperial China’s rich history of commerce and cultural exchange throughout the world, visit bustling metropolitan cities of Shanghai and Beijing, and sample many of the rich flavors of Chinese cuisine.

Thailand and Laos Focus: International Development

Through field immersion, seminars, and case studies, students develop both an understanding of the basics of international development theory and experience international development practice in action. Through critical analysis of development practice, students will consider the role that international development work should play in the pursuit of basic human rights. This course is specifically designed around several case studies throughout Thailand that explore both large-scale and local community-based development programs.

Students will experience the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, one of Asia’s most dynamic and culturally rich cities; visit the famed temples along Bangkok’s Chao Phraya river; and take in the spectacular Royal Palace. While in Bangkok, students will meet with development organizations and explore their models for regional development projects. As students travel to the rural Isan region of Northeastern Thailand they’ll visit remote local communities, meet with community organizations, non-governmental organizations, and government development agencies working on local development projects. In addition to case studies, students will contribute to local development projects run by partner community-based organizations. While in the Isan region of Thailand, students will dive into Thai culture firsthand through homestays in our partner communities, reflect on the practicalities of implementing development policy, and better understand the human side of international development. Students will travel to Laos specifically to explore the social, environmental, and economical impact of Chinese foreign direct investment in large-scale infrastructure projects.

Semester-Long Academic Focus

In addition to the two country-specific courses offered in this semester, students will also complete two additional courses that span the full semester.

Rhetoric and Composition for the College Writer

This course has been designed to develop writing and rhetoric skills by leveraging core content explored through other Verto courses and immersive fieldwork. Students will use essential questions for other courses taken during the semester to contextualize the importance of strong academic writing, develop strong academic prose, and explore the relationship between language and rhetoric.

Identity, Politics, and Equity

Drawing from media, texts, and intercultural experiences within homestays and fieldwork, students reflect on the dynamic roles of ethnicity, gender, nationality, and socio-economic status in shaping relationships within communities. Students will leave the course with critical understanding and inquiry tools to serve in creating greater equity in relationships ranging from the interpersonal to those between nations.

Core Semester and Program Concepts

Seminars

In afternoons, students participate in seminars that are related to the topic that they’re working on in the morning. So if they’re working on farms in the morning, in the afternoons they’re doing readings, watching movies and having discussion related to that.

Mentorship and Support

Each student is assigned a Program Leader as a mentor who helps student set goals for the program and meets with the student regularly to provide feedback and support around the challenges associated with being abroad. There are significantly more support and investment in the student-staff relationship than your typical freshmen student who may have an RA and then office hours for professors.

While Program Leaders provide holistic support for the students, they are not with them at all times. There are built-in opportunities in the program for students to learn and grow together as a group with an emphasis on peer relationships and teamwork.

Host Families

Students live in pairs with host families in each country to give them insight into a different culture and a different way of living. Students spend the mornings working with local professionals and experts who are engaged in working to address local issues. Hands-on experience and getting outside of the classroom is essential to reigniting a passion for learning

Packing the right gear (and the right amounts) is the first step to an incredible travel experience. Follow these tips to pack like a pro:

Travel light. Pack only the essentials. You’ll need less than you think and remember you will find cool clothes to buy along the way, guaranteed!
Bring the right clothes. Pack clothes that are culturally appropriate for your destination and acceptable for service projects. This means bringing long shorts (think Bermuda and basketball shorts), t-shirts with sleeves to cover shoulders, and appropriate footwear.
Leave your valuables behind. While traveling, it’s easier for things to get lost, stolen, or damaged. Keep any prized possessions safe at home.
Check with TSA. Make sure your luggage complies with TSA regulations, especially your carry-on. Useful tip: Pack an empty water bottle and fill it up after security.

CARRY-ON
A school backpack is ideal as it will be used for day trips.

• Passport
• Photocopy of passport
• Extra passport-size photos
• Wallet/money
• Book and/or journal
• Pen
• Phone
• Camera
• Chargers
• Outlet power converter
• Ear buds
• Change of clothes
• Water bottle
• Snacks
• Medication
Visa Documentation (if applicable)
• All Flight Itineraries
• Rustic Pathways emergency contacts

CHECKED LUGGAGE
A 70-90 Liter duffel bag or backpack is ideal.

• Clothes
• Socks (5)
• Underwear (10)
• Lightweight Pants (1)
• Long Shorts* (2-3)
• Collared/Dress shirt (1)
• T-shirt (6)
• Tank tops (2)
• Long sleeve shirt (2)
• Pajamas
• Swimsuit (2, must be culturally appropriate)
• Rain jacket
• Fleece/hoodie
• Base layers
• Strappy sandals (like Tevas or Chacos)
• Sneakers (1-2 pairs)
• Sunglasses
• Hat
• Work gloves
• Quick dry towel
• Beach towel/sarong

Toiletries

(travel sized in ziplock bags – more available in country)

• Shampoo
• Body wash
• Face wash
• Toothbrush
• Toothpaste
• Sunscreen
• Bug spray
• Hand Sanitizer
• Feminine hygiene products (bring enough of preferred brand for duration of program)
• Contacts
• Contact solution
• Foam earplugs
• Personal med kit
• Deodorant
• Wet Wipes
• Razor/shaving cream
• Small packs of tissues

Miscellaneous

• Headlamp/flashlight
• Watch/alarm clock
• Large ziploc bags
• Large garbage bags for wet/dirty clothes
• Bed sheet or sleeping bag liner (actual sleeping bag not needed)
• Pillow Case

Optional

• Donations: As a responsible travel provider, we firmly believe in giving back to the communities and countries where we operate. As part of our holistic approach to business, we ​run a 501c3 nonprofit that supports high priority projects year round. If you feel inspired to join our global community of travelers making a difference, please consider making a donation here.
• Portable games (Bananagrams, playing cards, etc)
• Musical Instrument

IMPORTANT REMINDERS

• Community service appropriate attire includes T-shirts with no visible undergarments (tank tops will not be permitted) and shorts should be knee length to be respectful to the local culture and traditions. Leggings DO NOT count as long shorts. Long shorts must be loose fitting, like basketball shorts, or cargo shorts. Sneakers will get muddy during service activities, so some students like to bring an extra pair.
• Students will be visiting temples and museums throughout their program. All students will be expected to have their shoulders and knees covered. Please be sure to bring at least one pair of lightweight pants or capris and t-shirts that are modest (no v-neck/low cut tees).
• Carry-On Luggage cannot weigh more than 7 kilos (15 lbs.)
• Checked Luggage cannot weigh more than 20 kilos (44 lbs.) Less than 30lbs is ideal.
• If your bags weigh more than the above-stated amounts, the airlines in Southeast Asia will charge you an excess baggage fee for every kilo over the allowed limit. In past years, we have had students incur significant charges for excess baggage. These fees must be paid in cash at the check-in counter (no USD accepted), a situation that we always try to avoid! Rustic Pathways will not cover these additional costs.
• Some students prefer hiking boots, and they are nice to have, but in the interest of packing light, it is fine to wear sturdy sneakers that will be comfortable for hiking activities.

Rustic Gear

Want to get all your shopping done for your program in one place? We’ve got you covered. Check out Rustic Gear and get all the essentials sent right to your door.

IMPORTANT REMINDERS

• Community service appropriate attire includes T-shirts with no visible undergarments and shorts should be knee length—think Bermuda or basketball shorts—to be respectful to the local culture and traditions. Sneakers will get muddy during service activities, so some students like to bring an extra pair.
• On the program we will be visiting NGO offices so please make sure to bring a collared shirt (a polo shirt or a button down shirt is fine) that you can wear with jeans to these meetings.
• Some students prefer hiking boots, and they are nice to have, but in the interest of packing light, it is fine to wear sturdy sneakers that will be comfortable for hiking activities.
• Don’t forget the Big Five: Water Bottle, Sunscreen, Bug spray, Rain jacket, Closed-toe shoes.