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Programs : Brochure
This is the program brochure page.
ASU: Southeast Asian-West Perspectives on Philosophy, Religion, and Society (Spring Session A)
Chiang Mai, Thailand; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Phnom Penh, Cambodia; Siem Reap, Cambodia (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Spring Semester
Dates & Deadlines: Click here to view
Earn ASU Credit: View Pre-Approved Courses
Cost Sheets Spring Semester
Areas of Study:
Global Studies, Humanities, Other, Social Sciences
Program Type:
Faculty Directed
Language of Instruction:
Internships Available:
Graduate Courses Available:
GPA Requirement:
International Coordinator:
Mandy Nydegger
College Sponsor:
New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences (West)
Available to Non-ASU Students:
  Program Details


Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai Buddhist Temple

Quick Facts


  • Dates: Spring 2018 Session A: January 4 - March 1, 2018 (possibility of extending your private stay during Winter Break (before program start date) and/or Spring Break (after the program end date)

  • Location: Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand

  • Classes: at Chiang Mai University on M, T, Th (no Friday classes)

  • Field-trips: Most Wednesdays; academic, cultural, or nature excursions by private A/C vans (Chiang Mai city tour, visits to local temples and markets, meditation temple visits, cultural sites, monk chat)

  • Two overnight trips by air: 4 nights in Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City: War Remnants Museum, Independence Palace, Chu Chi Tunnels, Mekong Delta and Delta villages); 3 nights in Cambodia (Siem Riep: Angkor Wat; Phnom Penh: Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, the killing fields)

  • Credits: Earn 6 or 9 credits

    Application Requirements

    To apply for this program, click the "Apply Now" button above. This will generate an online application with the requirements listed below. Please also refer to the "Academics" tab for specific eligibility information. Note: Non-ASU students should consult these instructions before applying.

  • Electronically sign our standard signature documents:

  • Submit emergency contact details


Chiang Mai Buddhist Temple
Temple Wat Umong in Chiang Mai

Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat - Smiling FacesAngkor Wat - Smiling Faces

Ho Chi Mihn City View
Ho Chi Minh City - City View

Location Details

Chiang Mai is a city in mountainous northern Thailand. Founded in 1296, it was capital of the independent Lanna Kingdom until 1558. Its Old City area still retains vestiges of walls and moats from its history as a cultural and religious center. It’s also home to hundreds of elaborate Buddhist temples, including 14th-century Wat Phra Singh and 15th-century Wat Chedi Luang, adorned with carved serpents.

A visit to Cambodia’s World Heritage Temples of Angkor complex, voted by Lonely Planet as the world's number 1 sight, Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world. Originally built as a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Vishnu, it was converted into a Buddhist temple in the 14th century, and statues of Buddha were added to its already rich artwork. Its 213-foot-tall (65 meters) central tower is surrounded by four smaller towers and a series of enclosure walls, a layout that recreates the image of Mount Meru, a legendary place in Hindu mythology that is said to lie beyond the Himalayas and be the home of the gods.

Wat is the Khmer name for temple (the French spelling is "vat "), which was probably added to "Angkor "when it became a Theravada Buddhist monument, most likely in the sixteenth century. After 1432 when the capital moved to Phnom Penh, Angkor Wat was cared for by Buddhist monks. It is generally accepted that Angkor Wat was a funerary temple for King Suryavarman II and oriented to the west to conform to the symbolism between the setting sun and death.

This trip is part of the program course, Death and Happiness in Human Existence: East-West Perspective (3 credits, course catalog title: Philosophical and Spiritual Issues in Death and Dying).            

Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s busy capital, sits at the junction of the Mekong and Tonlé Sap rivers. It was a hub for both the Khmer Empire and French colonialists. On its walkable riverfront, lined with parks and restaurants, are the ornate Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda and the National Museum, displaying artifacts from around the country. At the city’s heart is the massive, art deco Central Market.

Choeung Ek, the site of a former orchard and mass grave of victims of the Khmer Rouge - killed between 1975 and 1979 - about 17 kilometres (11 mi) south of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, is the best-known of the sites known as The Killing Fields, where the Khmer Rouge regime executed over one million [1] people between 1975 and 1979. Mass graves containing 8,895 bodies were discovered at Choeung Ek after the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime. Many of the dead were former political prisoners who were kept by the Khmer Rouge in their Tuol Sleng detention center.
This trip is part of the program course, Justice & Forgiveness (3 credits, course catalog title: Trauma Studies).

Ho Chi Minh City (commonly known as Saigon) is a city in southern Vietnam famous for the pivotal role it played in the Vietnam War. Saigon, capital city of South Vietnam, fell to North Vietnamese forces on April 30, 1975. The fall of Saigon (now Ho Chin Minh City) effectively marked the end of the Vietnam War. It's also known for its French colonial landmarks, including Notre-Dame Cathedral, made entirely of materials imported from France, and the 19th-century Central Post Office. Food stalls line the city’s streets, especially around bustling Ben Thành Market.

In order to combat better-supplied American and South Vietnamese forces during the Vietnam War, Communist guerrilla troops known as Viet Cong (VC) dug tens of thousands of miles of tunnels, including an extensive network running underneath the Cu Chi district northwest of Saigon. Soldiers used these underground routes to house troops, transport communications and supplies, lay booby traps and mount surprise attacks, after which they could disappear underground to safety. To combat these guerrilla tactics, U.S. and South Vietnamese forces trained soldiers known as “tunnel rats” to navigate the tunnels in order to detect booby traps and enemy troop presence. Now part of a Vietnam War memorial park in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), the Cu Chi tunnels have become a popular tourist attraction.
This trip is part of the program course, Justice & Forgiveness (3 credits, course catalog title: Trauma Studies).

Visa Information

It is each student’s responsibility to independently determine if a visa is necessary for travel to any foreign countries visited on this program. Limited information may be provided by the ASU Study Abroad Office, your faculty director, and/or partner organizations/institutions. Where visas are required, failure to obtain a visa may result in your inability to participate and, ultimately, your withdrawal from the program, subject to the terms of the Study Abroad Payment and Withdrawal Policies

Consult this page for additional information regarding visas. If you need assistance securing a U.S. Passport, visit the ASU U.S. Passport Acceptance Office in Tempe.

Additional Resources for acquiring a visa for this program: 

PLEASE NOTE: Visa requirements for non U.S. citizens may differ from those for U.S. citizens; students who are not U.S. citizens are advised to contact their International Coordinator and begin independently researching the visa requirements for their nationality as soon as possible.


Eligibility Requirements

  • GPA of 2.0


Students will take a minimum of 6 credits, but may take up to 9 credits during this program.  Students will take both of the following courses (for a total of 6 credits):
  • PHI 494 / REL 494 / MAS 550: Death and Happiness in Human Existence: East-West Perspective (3 credits)  (course catalog title: Philosophical and Spiritual Issues in Death and Dying)

    From Buddha to Plato to Maimonides to Heidegger to Kubler-Ross, scholars, clinicians, and spiritual writers have recognized that attitudes about death and dying contribute to understandings of human existence. This course provides inter-faith East-West perspectives on existential philosophies and care ethics.

  • JHR 598 / PHI 494: Justice & Forgiveness (3 credits) (course catalog title: Trauma Studies)

    This course explores the moral, social, and political implications of reparative justice and reconciliation processes. Reparation for injustice, rituals of amnesty, and healing of trauma are ways of coming to terms with mass violence and irreparable harm. We will explore moral conceptions of reparative justice, social-political-psychological process of reconciliation and amnesty, and extra-normative granting or withholding of forgiveness.

Students may also opt to take the following course for an additional 3 credits (for a total of 9 credits):

  • WST 494 / WST 598: Gender Identities in Thailand (3 credits, optional) (course catalog title: Topics in Women's Studies: Gender Identities in Thailand)

    We will study relationships between gender, culture, and society from a comparative perspective. Is there an underlying biological basis of gender? What is the role that culture and social structure play in defining gender? How does gender impact perceptions of the self? There will be a special focus on traditional and non-traditional gender roles, particularly Thai queer identities, politics & activism.
Independent studies for undergraduate and graduate students can be accommodated on a case by case basis.  Please reach out to Dr. Matuštík with questions.

Click here for sample syllabi.

Internship Opportunity: Students may independently set up internships in Chiang Mai during this session A course.  In order to do so, students must come up with an internship idea, make the necessary contacts in Chiang Mai, and work with the director of their school or department to ensure the appropriate approvals for their degree program.  Professor Matuštík can assist students with internship issues that arise on site, but he cannot provide internship suggestions or serve as the internship advisor to students participating on the program.   

Course Format

Students will attend classes Monday, Tuesday, and Thursdays.  Wednesdays will be devoted to field trips around Chiang Mai, and transportation will be in A/C minivans seating 8-10 people.  There will be no classes on Fridays.
Genocide Museum
Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum - Victim Gallery

Chiang Mai Food
Chiang Mai Food

Chiang Mai - Painting Elephant
Watch elephants paint on one of your Wednesday outings in Chiang Mai!


Faculty Director

Dr. Martin Matuštík
Lincoln Professor of Ethics & Religion
Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies
Affiliate Professor of Jewish Studies
School of Humanities, Arts, and Cultural Studies
New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences
Phone: 602-543-6242

Dr. Matustik's Home Page
Dr. Matustik's Publication Page

Dr. Martin Matustik


Chiang Mai Market

Program Housing

Students will stay in the university residence halls at Chiang Mai University.  Breakfast will be included each day.  Classes will be held at Chiang Mai University, which is a short walk from the residence halls (about 10-15 minutes).  Students will have acess to fitness facilities, WiFi on campus, and affordable meals at a student cafeteria.  Students will also have the opportunity to meat Thai university students during some activities.  


Accessibility Information


Individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation in one of more of this program’s locations very different from what you find in the United States. The Study Abroad Office cannot guarantee access to public transportation, buildings, or public sites on this program.

Although ASU cannot guarantee the accessibility of all program sites, students with disabilities can and do study abroad. Upon request, the ASU Study Abroad Office can provide information about the availability of accommodations and accessible facilities on the specific program and can help you determine whether this program can meet your accommodation needs.

Local Orphanage


Cost Information

The Program Fee for Spring 2018 is $6,895.

Program Fee includes: Housing, daily breakfast, one group dinner per week and one main meal on all excursions, including trips to Vietnam and Cambodia, site visits and cultural events, airport pick-up and drop-off in Chiang Mai, in-country transportation, transportation and accommodation for excursions to Cambodia and Vietnam, ASU faculty support, and international health insurance. Not included: Round-trip airfare to and from Thailand, passport & visa fees, most meals, personal expenses, and miscellaneous items.  Please note that the participant is fully responsible for making arrangements and for all costs of transportation, lodging, food and additional expenses that may be associated with any non-Program activities.

Faculty Directed program participants are also responsible for paying a non-refundable $50 Application Fee, in addition to the Program Fee listed above. All other costs associated with participation in the program are the responsibility of the individual student. Be sure to reference the program cost sheet for information on program fees and any additional estimated expenses.


Funding Your Study Abroad Program

Studying abroad is an investment in your future, which requires careful planning and management. However, the personal, academic, and professional rewards that you will gain from this experience will last a lifetime. You should carefully consider costs, budgets and financing when selecting and preparing for your experience abroad. If you have questions at any step of the process, we encourage you to reach out to your International Coordinator for guidance.

Steps to Financing Your Study Abroad Program

  1. View the program Cost Sheet to find a breakdown of program expenses.
  2. Attend a Financing Your Study Abroad Workshop.
  3. Consider your Financial Aid options.
  4. Search and Apply for Scholarships and Grants.
  5. Exhaust your options by exploring Additional Funding Resources including our Community-Based Funding Guide.
  6. View our  Financing Your Study Abroad Program Handbook for more information, including Payment Information.

Unique Funding Opportunities

  • Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship
  • ASU Tuition Waiver may be applied on this program to cover the tuition associated with this program.  The ASU Tuition Waiver cannot be used to subsidize the posted program fee.


  Dates & Deadlines
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring Semester 2017 09/25/2016
Rolling Admission TBA TBA
Spring Semester 2018 09/25/2017 ** Rolling Admission 01/04/2018 03/01/2018
NOTE: Dates are subject to change. Do not purchase airfare until dates are confirmed in host institution acceptance materials.

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Students will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision tasks prior to the term's application deadline.

Indicates that deadline has passed