Skip to content

Programs : Brochure

This page is the brochure for your selected program. You can view the provided information for this program on this page and click on the available buttons for additional options.
  • Locations: Bangkok, Thailand; Bellingham, Washington, United States; Chiang Mai, Thailand; Kanchanaburi, Thailand; Kui Buri National Park, Thailand; Mae Sot, Thailand; Pang Na Province/Moken Village, Thailand;
  • Program Terms: Winter Quarter
  • Budget Sheets: Winter Quarter
Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Winter Quarter 2019 10/15/2018 ** Rolling Admission TBA TBA

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.
Fact Sheet:
Program Type: Global Learning Faculty-led Fields of Study: Anthropology, Culture, History, Religion & Theology, Service Learning
Housing Options: Homestay, Other Minimum GPA: 2.5
Program Description:
WWU Global Learning Programs Program Details Instructor Cost

WWU logo

Global Learning

Indigenous Knowledge & Sustainability in Thailand

FAIR 437A - 15 credits

Program Dates: January 9 - March 23, 2018
Travel Dates: January 16 - March 6, 2018
Thailand Program Itinerary 2018.pdf

Indigenous Knowledge and Sustainability is a two-month field program in village communities in rural Thailand. It combines academic studies in Southeast Asian culture, history, religion, and politics, with opportunities for service learning and participation in grassroots community development. The program seeks to enhance empathy across cultures, heightening awareness of the power of culture and education, and celebrating diversity.
A primary focus will be learning about indigenous knowledge and its relation to social and environmental well-being. The program is run in partnership with the Institute for Village Studies.  We are looking for students that are passionate about social and environmental justice, can cope with adversity, and work well in a team. If this is you, join us next winter in Thailand!

Learn more about this program:

Back up to Top arrow
Back to top

Program Details

  • Explore issues of sustainability and social justice in rural Thailand, with a focus on indigenous knowledge and practice
  • Work with grassroots organizations on community development projects
  • Learn about sustainable fishing and conservation with the Moklen, one of the few remaining sea nomadic communities
  • Trek in the jungles of Kui Buri National Park, home to over 300 wild elephants
ivs thailand elephants

Course Syllabus:
FAIR 437A(15 Credits)
Thailand 2018 Syllabus.pdf

Back up to Top arrow
Back to top

Program Coordinator

Charlie Ashbaugh is the Director of the Institute for Village Studies. He joined Institute for Village Studies (IVS) from the field of international development and has worked on community development projects in Asia, Latin America and Africa. He is also a former student of the IVS Thailand/India program and worked as a trip leader after completing his undergraduate degree. Prior to taking over as Director, he conducted research on women’s economic empowerment at the International Center for Research on Women. He holds an M.A. in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University and a B.A. in Global Studies from Western Washington University. Charlie also is a nationally certified EMT. When not working, he can be found hiking, rock climbing or enjoying many of the other great outdoor activities in the Pacific Northwest.

Charlie Ashbaugh
Director of Institute for Village Studies
Phone: (360) 650-3930


Shirley Osterhaus
Senior Instructor, Fairhaven College

Shirley Osterhaus served as Senior Instructor at Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies and for the past 15 years, Coordinator for the World Issues Forum. An educator, organizer and activist, Shirley has been involved in solidarity and human rights education and work for the greater part of her life   Having lived in Bellingham for over 30 years, she was one of the co-founders of the Whatcom Human Rights Task Force, the Central American Refugee Assistance (CARA), Bellingham-El Salvador Sister City Organization (BESSO), and for the past 16 years, she volunteered with the Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival. Her travels have taken her to conflict areas of the world, ie Central America, Palestine and South Africa to better understand the reality of people on the ground. With students, she has traveled to India, Thailand, the Tibetan Plateau, Peru and the U.S./MX borderlands.    

Shirley retired from full-time teaching and work at Fairhaven College in June 2016 and, with leisure, continues to pursue her passion with human rights concerns, solidarity, travel, gardening and the great outdoors.

Community Partners


Inter Mountain Peoples Education and Culture in Thailand Association (IMPECT) works with a variety of Indigenous Peoples sharing similar situations and experiences, applying traditional knowledge and practices to all aspects of development work. IMPECT works as an association, providing opportunities for participation and ownership of development activities to representatives of the different indigenous groups. The four main areas of action are Cultural Revival and Alternative Education, Promotion of the Environment and Natural Resource Management, Enhancement of Indigenous Peoples’ Movements and Networks and Indigenous Peoples’ Rights. Here is an article about the school we will be working with during the trip.

Ban TapTawan

Ban Taptawan is a Moklen village along Thailand’s Andaman coast. The Moklen are one of Thailand’s three last nomadic sea peoples and some of the few remaining worldwide. However, their traditional way of life is under threat due to large-scale coastal development, marine pollution, over-fishing, and lack of secure property rights.
To help preserve their culture and earn income for the community they are trying to create a sustainable model for tourism that shares their way of life and promotes conservation.They have also begun working with IMPECT to create larger networks between indigenous and ethnic communities in Southern Thailand and organize to advocate for their rights.
Back up to Top arrow
Back to top


Please click the budget sheet for program cost and payment information.



thailand IVS

thailand IVS village


Program Ratings:
Academic Experience:
1 2 3
Program Value:
1 2 3 4
Housing Experience:
1 2 3 4
Cultural Immersion:
1 2 3 4
Program Administration:
1 2 3
Overall Experience:
1 2 3 4