Working in the rice fields on Where There Be Dragons Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai.

Thailand

The Spirit of Greng Jai

A 4-week Summer Abroad Program

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Duration
31 Days
Description

Explore the idea of reciprocity: participate in a 3-day Theravada meditation retreat in the cool mountains or Chiang Rai, help out on a community-driven learning service permaculture project, and live with marginalized hill tribe communities.

Dates

Jun 28 - Jul 28, 2020


Suggested Ages

15-17

Number of Participants

12


Availability

Closed

Begins In

12 Weeks

Land Cost

$7,120


Estimated Flight Cost

$1,975

Mae Hong Son

Chiang Mai

Sukhothai

Ubon Ratchani

bangkok

Program Overview

FROM THE BUZZING METROPOLIS OF BANGKOK TO THE VERDANT MOUNTAINS AND RICE PADDIES OF THE NORTH, THE STAGGERING BEAUTY OF THAILAND LEAVES ONE ENCHANTED AND YEARNING TO EXPLORE THE NEXT WONDER.


Our program begins in the Kingdom of Siam’s first capital, Sukhothai. Here, students orient to the cultural, spiritual, and culinary nuances of the Land of Smiles before boarding the slow train north to the art and cultural hub of Thailand, Chiang Mai. Here we explore the city’s many temples and meet with grassroots NGOs and activists working on gender equality, migrant workers rights, environmental protection, and elephant conservation.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHT
  • Partake in a three day Theravada meditation retreat set in the misty mountains of Chiang Mai learning several forms of insight meditation.
  • Visit an Asian elephant conservation and research centre working to protect one of the world’s critically endangered megafauna species.
  • Live with Karen and Dara’Ang…

Our program begins in the Kingdom of Siam’s first capital, Sukhothai. Here, students orient to the cultural, spiritual, and culinary nuances of the Land of Smiles before boarding the slow train north to the art and cultural hub of Thailand, Chiang Mai. Here we explore the city’s many temples and meet with grassroots NGOs and activists working on gender equality, migrant workers rights, environmental protection, and elephant conservation.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHT
  • Partake in a three day Theravada meditation retreat set in the misty mountains of Chiang Mai learning several forms of insight meditation.
  • Visit an Asian elephant conservation and research centre working to protect one of the world’s critically endangered megafauna species.
  • Live with Karen and Dara’Ang ethnic minority communities in Mae Hong Son and Chiang Rai, taking part in daily life and rituals.
  • Meet with grassroots NGO representatives working to protect illegal migrant workers rights and learn about human trafficking issues in Thailand and the region.
  • Get your hands dirty at a community-led sustainable farm and learn about seed saving and sustainable agriculture.

We then move further north into the mountainous hill tribe regions in Mae Hong Son, where we hike from village to village through tea plantations and coffee fields staying with ethnic minority communities to catch a glimpse into their traditional way of life. Amid paddies and glittering Buddhist temples, we explore some of the dichotomies that come with living in a region experiencing rampant development while maintaining ritual and custom.

From here, we enter into a small Theravada Buddhist monastery in Chiang Rai for a three day meditation retreat where we learn and practice many forms of meditation—insight, walking, eating, silent—to center ourselves. We then venture to a Thai-run eco-village to study permaculture and sustainability practices. We learn about seed banking, traditional organic farming, adobe building, natural medicines, and rice cultivation in a valley surrounded by picturesque national parks.

Our Thailand journey culminates with a few day’s exploration of the country’s colorful and bustling capital, Bangkok, where we say goodbye to Southeast Asia amid the wild sprawl and awe-inspiring skyline of one of the world’s great alpha cities.

Read More Read Less Sample Itinerary

Program Components

5/5
Comparative Religion

History and practice of Theravada Buddhism; discussion of Buddhism, Animism, Christianity and Islam in contemporary Thai society.

3/5
Development Studies

Land-use and ecology, ethnic minority and gender issues, border politics, effects of tourism.

5/5
Focus Of Inquiry

Broad look at development issues, with focus on tourism impacts, human migration, gender, public health, education, human rights, politics, environmental conservation and more.

4/5
Homestay

10+ days of homestay living in two rural communities in the northern provinces. Single night village-stays with families while on trek (weather depending).

1/5
Independent Study Project (ISP)

Some opportunity during homestays and temple-stays for mentored study in a topic of interest.

2/5
Language Study

Frequent Thai classes with instructors and language immersion opportunities throughout.

2/5
Learning Service

Opportunities to participate in community-driven learning service projects focused on simple construction, harvesting or language exchange.

3/5
Rugged Travel

Travel by bus, tuk-tuk, taxi, minivan, truck, train, and boat within city, rural and natural landscapes. Expect fairly good roads and some a/c (although in the countryside open air options are more common).

2/5
Trekking

Easy to moderately challenging village to village multi-day hikes through rice paddy field and forest terrain. Day hikes in conservation areas to find waterfalls and hot springs.