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Fields of Study: Social Sciences, Science

Experience a mix of class instruction and field-based learning in community studies, public health, and population mobility. The opportunity to learn firsthand as you interact with experts and migrants is truly a unique experience. No prior study of public health or social work is required.

Unique study opportunities

  • Meet UC students from across California as you participate in class lectures, field work, and labs.
  • Confront the health challenges facing migrant, refugee, and displaced populations.
  • Observe and interview migrant community members and stakeholders in a geopolitical border crisis.
  • Participate in actionable problem-solving sessions with members of the local community.


Language of Instruction: English

Thai Language Study: Required

The program includes an introduction to Thai and Burmese language and culture. All other instruction is in English.

Courses and credit

Requirements While Abroad

To successfully complete this program:

  • Take a full-time course of study: Three courses for a total of 12 quarter/8 semester UC units.
  • You must take the language and culture course as pass/no pass, and the other courses for a letter grade.
  • Class attendance is mandatory and is counted in your final grade.
  • Participate in all required field and travel activities, including physically active hiking, swimming, and transporting personal belongings in a tropical environment.   

Current Program Courses

You’ll take three courses during this program which include lectures, field work, and lab-based components:

  1. Southeast Asian Language and Culture (2 quarter/1.3 semester UC units; pass/no pass only) 
  2. Mobility and Border Health (5 quarter/3.3 semester UC units; letter grade only)
  3. Health Realities in Border Populations (5 quarter/3.3 semester UC units; letter grade only)

Southeast Asian Language and Culture: Taken upon arrival, this course teaches the basics of Thai and Burmese language and culture as preparation for interactions with the local communities in the health courses that follow.

Mobility and Border Health: Concepts taught in the classroom introduce challenges facing migrants, the complex and dynamic reasons for migration, and the effects of globalization across geopolitical borders. You’ll explore how social determinants and their interactions translate into health realities for border populations, including migrants, refugees, and internally displaced persons.  

Health Realities in Border Populations: Taught in "classrooms without walls,” you’ll get real-world context in border communities. The course takes an interactive approach to learning about border health issues and offers the chance to observe, interact, and problem-solve with migrant community members and stakeholders. Topics include barriers encountered in terms of promotion, protection, and care of the population’s health with the aim to generate new ideas for innovative interventions in the field.

Catalogs and resources

  • Public Health Syllabus: Review more details about the program, course schedule, and activities.
  • UCEAP Course Catalog: See a list of courses UC students have taken on this program.
  • Campus Credit Abroad: Learn the types of credit (major, minor, general education, elective) students from your campus received at this location.

Academic culture

Thai norms for classroom decorum call for deep respect of the social hierarchy and traditional modes of social interaction. Following the King, the Royal Family, and Buddhist monks (who are highly revered and always take precedence), university professors are deeply respected and hold prestigious positions in Thai society.

The traditional Thai university classroom culture is changing as many of the instructors are graduates of US and European institutions and welcome active class participation. However, Thai mannerisms of being polite and positive remain. Talking on cell phones, chewing gum, eating, and loud behavior of any kind is unacceptable in the classroom. In deference to Thai students’ polite reserve, avoid dominating class discussions, being overly assertive, or making negative remarks. 

Aside from the language and culture course, the other courses will have a mix of Thai and international students. Thai students are serious and competitive. They frequently work in teams or groups and, although their spoken English may be limited, their written work is of high quality.


You will earn direct UC credit and grades for all coursework. Assessment in classes varies with the instructor. While most classes have midterm and final exams, some also require papers, class participation, presentations, etc. Final exams are often in essay format rather than in short answer or multiple-choice formats, and in the international programs they generally count for 50 to 70 percent of the final grade.

It is seen as inappropriate to question instructors about test scores or grades. Address any concerns you have about grades with UCEAP staff rather than the professor of an individual course.

Grades are usually available by mid-September.