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CIEE: Khon Kaen, Thailand - Community Public Health Program
Khon Kaen, Thailand (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Fall,
Homepage: Click to visit
Program Sponsor: CIEE 
Program Dates &
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Fact Sheet:
Language of Instruction::
Core Program Attributes::
Direct Enrollment
Minimum GPA::
Housing Options::
Apartment, Homestay
Approved by::
Open to::
Program Advisor: Dr. Kristen Grace
Program Description:


Known for its innovative public health system, Thailand provides a fabulous environment for students interested in an intensive and integrated immersion experience. Combining traditional classroom instruction with extensive field study involving public health agencies, and visits to local communities, you will examine issues of public health and social services on both a regional and national level.

Study abroad in Thailand and you will:


  • Interact with villagers, academic researchers, government officers, and practitioners working to improve public health in Thailand
  • Immerse yourself through visits to various public health facilities and through community stays in Northeast Thailand
  • Visit surrounding Southeast Asian countries to compare and contextualize your knowledge of public health systems
Take hold of the unique opportunity to examine issues of public health on both national and regional levels, with CIEE Thailand.

The CIEE Difference


Enroll in a curriculum rooted in community engagement:
  • Use number of local case studies to explore trends of health and disease, critical assessments of system reform, and control strategies for newly emerging health problems
  • Conduct field-based research as part of a detailed community health project
  • Learn the basics of Thai language or advance your current level of proficiency, using the local community as the medium for practice.
Field Work

The community is your classroom. Visit local cultural and natural sites of interest, and participate in frequent field trips to public health-related programs. These may include:
  • HIV/AIDS hospice or hospital wards
  • The provincial offices of the Ministry of Public Health, and local public health facilities
  • Regional hospitals, and other specialized centers
The study abroad program may also take participants to visit various public health projects in Laos, Cambodia, or Vietnam. A study visit to one of these countries typically involves an examination of health facilities in the capital or other major urban area, and at a more rural site.


Put your knowledge to use. Based on your interested and opportunities available through the Ministry of Public Health, you’ll develop a comprehensive community health project with your classmates:
  • Conduct participatory research, develop appropriate diagnostic tools, create an intervention and evaluative plan.
  • Present your findings in a final report

Total recommended credit for the semester is 15semester/22.5 quarter hours.

The required Thai language courses on the beginning level has 65 contact hours and recommended credit is 3 semester/4.5 quarter hours per course. Language is taught intensively during the first three weeks of the program.

The contact hours for the Public Health Management of Thailand and Community Public Health courses are 60 and recommended credit is 4 semester/6 quarter hours.

The Public Health Field Practicum has a minimum of 15 classroom and 120 field contact hours. Recommended credit for this course is 4 semester/6 quarter hours.

Program Requirements

Study abroad students are required to take Public Health Management of Thailand, Community Public Health, Public Health Field Practicum, and one Thai language course at the appropriate level.

About Khon Kaen

Located in the center of the Northeast region, known as Isaan, Khon Kaen is Thailand’s fourth largest city with a population of over 300,000. About 300 miles north of Bangkok, it is the educational and government center of the Northeast, as well as the headquarters for many development organizations working in the region. Compared to other parts of Thailand, the relatively more rural Northeast has retained many of its traditional Lao and Khmer customs.

Where You’ll Study

Khon Kaen University (KKU), founded in 1964, has 19 faculties that offer Bachelor’s, Master’s, and professional degrees. KKU has 44,000 students, 31,000 undergraduate students and 13,000 postgraduate students. The Faculty of Public Health at KKU, the faculty in which CIEE students study, was established in 1978 as part of the Royal Thai Government’s policy to extend higher education to the rural areas of the country, and to leverage the resources of KKU to help address the development needs of people in the Northeast Region.

Housing & Meals

Housing is included in the study abroad program fee. While not on community visits and staying with host families, students live with a Thai roommate in off-campus rental units  near KKU. Meals are not included in the program fee and are the responsibility of the student. Students can take meals at the University cafeteria or local restaurants.

Academic Program

The CIEE Study Center has been based at Khon Kaen University since 1991 and its initial focus on development was established three years later in 1994. The Community Public Health study abroad program began in spring 2010. This program combines traditional classroom instruction with extensive field study involving government, private and public health agencies, as well as visits to local communities.

Academic Culture

The Faculty of Public Health at Khon Kaen University prepares students in the classroom, while government officials and practitioners provide guidance during students’ visits to various public health projects. Students use public health diagnostic tools to generate proposals and organize a project in the last part of the program.

The program’s language instruction utilizes a proficiency-based approach designed to enable students to function effectively in everyday situations. Courses at all levels combine intensive classroom learning with the use of peer tutors and interactive exercises. Language classes are offered at beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels. Students should be aware that the program is academically demanding. Given the frequent number of site and community visits, students can expect most days during the week to be full.


Participants generally take classes with other study abroad students, although some international graduate students at the faculty may join in some classes.


In the CIEE courses, students are normally graded on the basis of a series of short papers, active participation, three-week project, and final paper. In the language courses, assessment is based on daily homework, quizzes, and exams. Letter grades (A-F) are given with pluses or minuses.
Students in the Public Health study abroad program may expect a close collaborative relationship with various public health faculty members and CIEE staff who conduct periodic evaluations throughout the semester.




Courses are taught by the Faculty of Public Health and instructors from related faculties at Khon Kaen University. The biographies of current faculty instructors are listed below.
Associate Professor Dr. Prachak Bouphan has an undergraduate degree in Public Health from Khon Kaen University, Sukhothai Thammathirat University, and Public Health Administration from Sukhothai Thammathirat. He earned his M.A. in Development Administration, and Ph.D. in Development Science also from Khon Kaen University. Bouphan also has diplomas in Analytical Thinking on Policy and Planning from University of Hawaii at Manoa and Organizational Leadership, Leadership Development, and Project Management from Massey University in New Zealand.
Associate Professor Dr. Lertchai Charerntanyarak received an undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Faculty of Science at Khon Kaen University. He has a M.Sc. in Environmental Science from Kasetsart University, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Health Science from University of Innsbruck in Austria. Charerntanyarak also earned a diploma in Sanitary Engineering from Chulalongkorn University.
Associate Professor Dr. Supannee-Sriamporn Promthet has an undergraduate degree in Nursing from Khon Kaen University. Her M.Sc. in Epidemiology is from Mahidol University, and Ph.D. in Epidemiology is from University of Tempere in Finla

Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Approx. Start Approx. End
Spring 2016 10/01/2015 ** Rolling Admission TBA TBA

** Programs may fill long before their final deadline. * Recommendation--For SPRING: APPLY in MAY to study abroad the following spring. For FALL/YEAR: APPLY in DECEMBER. Later applications are always welcome, but colleges may need time to process your approval.