Thai Culture, Society, and Business

Bangkok and Chiang Mai, Thailand

May 15 - May 30, 2017

Program Highlights

  • Focus: the influence of Thai culture and society on Thai business
  • Open to all majors
  • Primary cities: Bangkok and Chiang Mai
  • Visit businesses, universities, and cultural sites; options may include local entrepreneurial ventures, local boutiques with arts and crafts, major corporations, agricultural farms, textile factories, etc.
  • Learn about the Hmong Hilltribe communities
  • Visit Emerald Buddha statue at Wat Pho, Grand Palace, Emerald Buddha
  • Explore canals from a traditional "long tail" boat
  • Ride an elephant through Baan Chang Elephant Park to learn about Thai elephants and their caretaking; feed the elephants banana and sugar cane, learn basic commands, and even help bathe some of the resident elephants
  • Explore craft shops and stalls, learn how different products are made- from silk umbrellas to cotton weaving and lacquer ware
  • Intercultural (IC) designation (pending)

Program Description

This course is your introduction and orientation to Thailand's culture and society and how these factors influence Thai business. You will be exposed to Thai culture in a variety of ways including readings, hands-on cultural activities, and visits to local universities and businesses to help introduce you to Thailand in a meaningful way. The course is intended for you to gain an understanding of Thai cultural norms and to explore Thai national cuisine, arts and architecture, and religion. You will learn about Thai society and the Royal Family, their history and works, including the state of Thai society in the past and in the present including social structures, way of life and Thai wisdom. The course is intended for you to develop an appreciation for the Thai daily life along with beliefs, values and characteristics of Thai people, Thai etiquette, and Buddhist lifestyles. You will gain an understanding of how all these dimensions of Thai culture may influence Thai business today. 

Course Information

Course Name: Thai Culture, Society, and Business

Course Number: TBD

Credit Number: 2

Designation: Intercultural (pending)

Program Cost

The estimated program fee is $2,100 plus the cost of two CSB/SJU credits at the reduced summer tuition rate (approximately $573 per credit).

This price includes:

  • Accommodations during the program
  • Local transportation, including overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
  • Private coach transportation for excursions
  • Welcome & farewell dinners, occasional lunches, and some group meals
  • Program administrative costs and fees
  • Course related excursions including admission to cultural attractions as outlined in the itinerary

The Program Fee does not include:

  • Roundtrip airfare from Minneapolis to Bangkok (estimated at $1,500)
  • Some meals (estimated at $100)
  • Personal spending money (estimated at $400)
  • Activities, housing or transportation not associated with or included in the program


We will be staying in area boutique hotels. Examples include Siam Heritage Boutique Suites, Radtanalya Residence, and the Hmong Hilltribe Lodge


The program director and instructor for this course is Dr. Deborah Pembleton, who has visited Thailand more than six times. Dr. Pembleton has considerable experience in Thailand and is an expert in international business, Southeast Asia, and Thai culture. She has worked as an international consultant for the Thai Ministry of Education, and she conducted her Ph.D. dissertation research at the Sasin Graduate Institute of Business at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. She has a solid network of Thai university professors and business owners with whom she will be collaborating for this venture. Dr. Pembleton is enthusiastic about Thai culture, its welcoming people, delectable Thai foods and the amazing Thai scenery.