Course Details

Program dates


Travel dates


Course credits

Total credits: 15



portrait of Ashley Hollenbeck

Ashley Hollenbeck

Executive Director, InPlace

Southeast Asia is often seen as a leader in global development and innovation. The pace of economic growth in the region is unmatched, which is made possible through a formidable government apparatus, access to education, robust public health systems, and regional trade policies. However, the consequences of ‘growth’ as development throughout Asia are starting to be felt. Regional inequalities and multidimensional poverty are becoming more apparent, which are often made worse by climate change. Despite disparities in the global system, local grassroots actions are beginning to profoundly impact regional environmental conservation, human rights, and social justice. These grassroots efforts are now starting to shift local policy to prioritize the environment and the livelihoods of residents.

During this intensive two-month field program, students will gain an in-depth understanding of the global geopolitical system that guides local development and international policy, as well as learn directly from those living in communities facing these challenges firsthand. We will explore various participatory approaches to development, governance, and community building in cooperation with local partners. This will include learning directly from those working to protect indigenous knowledge, cultures, and practices. Through an intellectually and physically rigorous schedule of cultural study, intercultural interactions, and reflection, the course promises to be both unique and transformative.

This 15-credit course is designed to enable students to get the most out of their international experience by developing knowledge, skills, values, and their application in an intercultural context.

Program Highlights

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  • Learn about Southeast Asian culture, heritage, and history through the eyes of local students and community members we will work with and live alongside during our travels
  • Spend eight weeks in SE Asia working with local stakeholders, including government officials, NGOs and local university students
  • Identify elements of equitable international partnerships and how they are initiated, nurtured and sustained while gaining deeper insight into sustainable development, environmental conservation and community building
  • Learn about the daily life of villagers and traditional fishing and agricultural practices, as you visit communities you would not have access to as a tourist
  • Develop professional skills in community-based research, development, participatory engagement and project management
  • Support local development efforts of communities in Vietnam and Thailand

More information

Image of students in SE Asia

Expectations of Participants

The time walking & sitting varies from day-to-day. With or without reasonable accommodations, participants must be able to walk or stand 3-6 hours/ day, especially when the class is in motion. Activities include walking, biking, swimming, etc. as we move around urban and rural areas with local partners. All participants must be able to walk 2-5 miles per day and carry their own supplies (e.g., water, school supplies, etc.).

Due to the remote location of this program, we cannot guarantee access to refrigeration. However, we may be able to make accommodations with advanced notice.

Participants must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to departure, no exemptions.

Student working with leaves in SE Asia