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Business and Culture in Thailand (Faculty-Led)
Bangkok, Thailand
Program Terms: Summer I
Budget Sheets Summer I
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer I 2017 01/31/2017** Rolling Admission 04/30/2017 05/15/2017
 NOTE: 10-day optional week till May 25, 2017

** 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:
 Language of Instruction:
 Housing Options:
Hotel (double)
 Class Standing:
Undergraduate Freshman, Undergraduate Junior, Undergraduate Senior, Undergraduate Sophomore
 Number of Credits:
 Program Specialist:
Yumi Takahashi-Ede
 Language experience required:
 Areas of Study:
Business, Marketing, Public Relations
 Program Length:
Program Description:
Jump To: Photos Overview Location Academics Cost Housing Itinerary Resources

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Program Overview

Program Dates: April 30, 2017 - May 15, 2017
Optional week add-on: 10-day optional week till May 25, 2017: Southern Thailand, Beaches, Island Hopping, Rain forest, and the Original Full moon Gathering ($750)

Global Business in Thailand will offer students the opportunity to experience business processes in a limited English-speaking environment and explore oriental culture. In addition, the program provides better understanding of how global business in Asia operates and builds strategic clusters to compete in the global market. The course will include classroom instruction at WMU before departure as well as at government institutions in Thailand to introduce students to consumer behavior and business operations. Excursions allow students to observe and interact with different retail establishments to better understand cultural differences when marketing various products and services. Also, there will be site visits to a number of companies operating in Bangkok to understand how global businesses are established and maintained. For this program, I highly recommend that you talk to students who went on previous programs. They can tell you why this program is truly “a trip of a life time" and what makes it so unique, exotic, and popular.

Notes from faculty leader:

While the Office of Study Abroad encourages all students to take advantage of its programs, not all programs are equally suited to all students.

Due to local conditions, cultural traditions, and limited access to modern medical services, students should think twice before committing to this faculty-directed program.

Thailand’s summer temperatures are extreme, exceeding 90 degrees on most days with high humidity, which raises the heat index to above 100. Participants will sweat a lot. Individuals who become fatigued in extreme heat should not register for this class. High heat and humidity can also exacerbate pre-existing health conditions.

Participants must be highly mobile given the need to hike on unstable terrain in remote areas. Parts of the program also entail swimming and traveling by ATV, moped, bicycle, and raft.

This program is difficult for people who do not enjoy socializing with others since we will spend nearly a month with a group of 20 students and members of the local population. Traveling in a large group is different than traveling with a friend or family, and there will be occasions when the faculty director makes decisions that will displease some participants. Individuals who tend to get upset when they don’t get their way or become frustrated when asked to modify plans for the sake of the group should not participate in this program.

Because of Thailand’s different diet, students with food allergies or who are picky eaters will likely have a bad experience. The program provides dinner and breakfast at prearranged locations with limited menu options (sometimes planned by our local partner institution), and the faculty director cannot arrange special food accommodations. Students with allergies to soy, peanuts, wheat, or seafood must discuss options with the faculty director well in advance of the trip. Because Thai culture places high value on sharing food prepared by hosts, students must be prepared to try seemingly bizarre cuisine or at least be able and willing to endure temporary hunger pangs when exposed to foods that they cannot or will not eat.

If you think you need to drink alcohol in excess in order to have a good time, please don’t sign up for this program. Displays of public drunkenness offend local culture and increase tension in the group.

Due to public smoking regulations in Thailand, access to smoking areas is severely limited. Students are strongly advised to refrain from smoking during the program.

The participant must be open-minded. Cultural differences between Thailand and the United States are vast. Cultural immersion entails seeing and experiencing new things without being judgmental. Guests in Thailand are expected to adapt to the country and not vice versa.

Participants who are unable or unwilling to heed the aforementioned warnings and requirements may be dismissed from the program and sent back to the United States at their own expense.

This program is designed for the undergraduate; MBA or graduate students would likely benefit from a different program.

Due to the nature of product portfolio of our host corporations (brewery, bars, public house), you must be 20 years old by April 30, 2017 to join this trip. 

Since the number of seats is limited, applicants are usually chosen as follows: 1) students who graduate sooner will have less priority than those who graduate later; 2) students born in the U.S. with limited overseas experience will have priority over international students with overseas experience; and 3) students who participate in the optional week will have priority over those who don’t.

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Bangkok: Bangkok is the 22nd most populous city in the world. The Bangkok Metropolitan Area, which covers five provinces surrounding the capital province in the central region of Thailand, registers a little over 10 million. However, like many large cities, the city has seen a great influx of immigrants who are not listed among the city’s population. The population is therefore more likely to be in the range of 15-20 million. Bangkok is a magnet for foreigners escaping turmoil in their homeland or seeking business opportunities. It has long been the gateway to Asia for foreign interests seeking new markets. The city is a major economic and financial center of Southeast Asia and has one of the fastest rates in the world for construction of high rise buildings. The city's wealth of cultural sites makes it one of the world's most popular tourist destinations.

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Academic Eligibility

Good academic standing; minimum 2.5 GPA.

From Dr. Duke:
REQUIRED to complete your application:
This program does not require references from other professors.  For the applicant that I have not met in person, you need to meet with me (in my office) before the deadline of this program (31 Jan 2017).
Office Number 3126 Schneider Hall, Haworth College of Business

Academic Program
Students are required to make a 15 minute video showing the experience learned abroad through the seminar.  Dr. Duke will help direct video production and will demonstrate how to work with movie maker software.

Academic Credit
Students will be enrolled for 3 hours of WMU credit in BUS 3960, International Seminar. Enrollment will be for the summer I term. Students are urged to work closely with academic advisors and Study Abroad staff to plan a course of study allowing for steady progress toward their degree.

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Cost & Financial Aid

To access the complete program budget published at the top of this page, click here. Students should bring a copy of the program budget when they meet with their financial aid advisor to discuss funding for study abroad.

WMU students applying for this program may be eligible for the Haenicke Institute for Global Education Study Abroad Scholarship, which offers both merit and financial need-based awards. Business majors (PBA, BBA, MSA, or MBA) are eligible for the HCOB Study Abroad Scholarship. Please note that students may receive either a merit award from the Haenicke Institute or the HCOB Scholarship, not both.  Additionally, applicants may be considered for a financial need-based award from the Haenicke Institute.  Students are encouraged to apply for the scholarship at the same time they submit their application for the program. To access the online scholarship application, click here.

Financial Aid
Students eligible for federal or state financial aid may use their awards for studying abroad.  After a student has been accepted to the program, they must complete required paperwork with WMU Financial Aid to apply financial aid to the program costs.  It is the student's responsibility to complete the paperwork prior to departure and to maintain compliance with financial aid regulations while studying abroad (i.e., remain enrolled full-time).  Non-WMU students must apply for financial aid through their home university.

Please note: Disbursement of financial aid may not coincide with the start date of the program abroad, so plan ahead!  Some out-of-pocket costs may occur prior to receiving financial aid disbursement for the semester, such as the program commitment fee, passport, airfare, immunizations, visa or residence permit fees (if applicable).  These costs vary by program and WMU Study Abroad Specialists are available to answer questions about the program budget.

Notes from faculty leader:

1. In term of a financial time line, students should be prepared for the following timelines.
     - March 3, 2017  students have to purchase flight ticket (approx. $1500)
     - April 14, 2017  $750 extended stay fee is due. This is a main selling point of this trip-- every participant in the past attended this optional week.
      -First week of May the program fee is due (like any other Summer I class)

2. Unlike most programs at WMU, this program fee might be a little high---because our program fee covers almost everything (e.g. all dinners, breakfast, entrance fees). Most programs do not make a comprehensive planning like ours so they let students do and pay for their own --that how they can keep their program fees unreasonably low. In our program, the dinners we provide will blow your mind.  Students who have previously participated in this program will tell you that it is worth every penny.

Notes from faculty leader:
If you want to find out about possibility to get more financial aid for this trip, do the following:
1. Print out the budget sheet (clicking the “Summer I” link in Budget Sheet section)
2. Make appointment with a Financial Advisor at the main Student Financial Aid office (located on the second floor of the Faunce Student Services Building, also called "The Birdcage." They see students by appointment only. Appointments are made by calling (269) 387-6000

Note: Program fees are subject to adjustment due to changes in actual exchange rates or other factors. In addition, programs may be modified or canceled in the event of insufficient enrollment. Program dates are subject to slight adjustment by the home/host university.

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Lodging will be in budget hotels, with double occupancy and bath.

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17-Mar-17 Friday     Predeparture meeting 1 @ Schneider 1330 from 1:00-3:30 pm
31-Mar-17 Friday     Predeparture meeting 2 @ Schneider 1330 from 1:00-3:30 pm
14-Apr-17 Friday     Predeparture meeting 3 @ Schneider 1330 from 1:00-3:30 pm

30-Apr-17 Sunday   Leaving AZO or HCOB by Bus to ORD
1-May-17 Monday   Arrive BKK
2-May-17 Tuesday   Cultural Tour 1: Bangkok City Tour, Business District of Bangkok, Old City
3-May-17 Wednesday   Corporation Visit 1: Singha Corporation (Pathumtani Brew  Facility)
4-May-17 Thursday   Corporation Visit 2: Singha Trading Co.
5-May-17 Friday   Consumer Behavior 1: Rural Lifestyle (Floating Market by Spice Road Biking Tour)
6-May-17 Saturday   Consumer Behavior 2: Metro Life Style 1, Jatujak Weekend Market
7-May-17 Sunday   Cultural Product 1: Flight to Chaing Mai, Walking Street in the historical district
8-May-17 Monday   Eco Tourism 1: Baan Chang Elephant Sanctuary
9-May-17 Tuesday   Eco Tourism 2: Royal Project :Coffee Village and Flight of the Gibbon Eco Tourism
10-May-17 Wednesday   Cultural Tour 2: Flight to Samui Island, Island Tour
11-May-17 Thursday   Cultural Product 2: Samui Island the original full moon party
12-May-17 Friday   Samui Free day
13-May-17 Saturday   Corporation Visit 3: Fly to Phuket Island (Light House DC)
14-May-17 Sunday Eco tourism 3: Phuket Island (John Gray Eco Tourism Operation)
15-May-17 Monday Cultural Tour 3: Phuket (Island cultural tour)
Optional Week
15-May-17 Monday   Phuket (Island cultural tour)
16-May-17 Tuesday   Transfer to Phi Phi Island
17-May-17 Wednesday   Phi Phi Captain Bob Cruise
18-May-17 Thursday   Phi Phi Free day
19-May-17 Friday   Fly back to Bkk, transfer to Pattaya
20-May-17 Saturday   Pattaya City,
21-May-17 Sunday   Transfer to Koh Samed
22-May-17 Monday   Koh Samed
23-May-17 Tuesday   Koh Samed Free day
24-May-17 Wednesday   Back to Bangkok, Free Afternoon
25-May-17 Thursday   Leave for the USA

*Itinerary subject to change

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Additional Resources


Faculty Director:
Professor Duke Leingpibul
Department of Marketing
3141 Schneider Hall
(269) 387-4249

Barb Caras-Tomczak, MBA Program Coordinator and Global Business Center Advisor
Office: 2320 Schneider Hall 
(269) 387-5086

Study Abroad Specialist:
Yumi Takahashi-Ede
2425E Ellsworth Hall
Phone: (269) 387-5890

Country Information (external links)
Thailand - Lonely Planet
Bangkok - Lonely Planet

Country Specific Information - Thailand
Culturegram - Thailand

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