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Thailand: From Here to There to Here

May / June
4-weeks on-site in Thailand with scheduled pre- and post-trip class meetings in Milwaukee

  • 6 Credits
  • HS396 Humanities Travel Elective
  • FA396: Fine Arts Studio Travel Elective OR DS396: Design Studio Travel Elective
  • Pre-requisites: Completed Freshman year by time of travel and instructor approval


Thailand is a diverse country poised on the cutting-edge of design, with a fascinating history, a rich array of cultures, and growing economic development. Traditional Thai culture persists and exists alongside, and is folded into, contemporary life… a juxtaposition uniquely Thai. Traditional Buddhist temples sit next to air-conditioned mega malls, monks use cell phones, and the government lives within the protection of religion. Like other developing countries affected by globalization, there are great tensions generated by the changes experienced in a place of so much cultural confluence.

This course embraces and examines various Thai cultural practices from antiquity to contemporary by immersing the students in research and exploration into design, art, architecture, and cultural studies. Students will experience Thai culture and history through guided research trips to culturally and historically important places in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and other regions. Broad exposure to the country’s history will help to contextualize students’ close and intimate experiences with the Thai art and design world.

Students will visit galleries, museums and artist studios and participate in dialogues with artists, designers and other creative professionals who must constantly navigate rapidly evolving Thailand. Despite geographical distances and cultural differences, all designers/artists share similar aspirations to understand the world and culture around them. As a result of this experience, students will be better able to contextualize and navigate their own studio practices in relation to contemporary social, cultural or intellectual currents.

A collaborative studio/research project with Thai students from Mahidol University (outside of Bangkok) will also provide a significant and tangible learning experience for participating MIAD students as well as an incredible opportunity for sharing cultural experiences and creative ideas. Student research will be an important foundation, not only for the required paper and projects done on-site, but also for the studio project to be completed upon return to the states. Students will participate in the planning and installation of their work, which will be on display at MIAD in August 2017.

During this four-week course, students will be based at a hostel in Bangkok near the Chao Praya River an area rich in Thai culture, accessible by Skytrain, riverboat and taxi where they will easily immerse themselves in Bangkok life.

Jason S. Yi has traveled extensively in Asia including China, Vietnam, Korea, Japan and Thailand. He has exhibited his work nationally and internationally and is the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Joan Mitchell Foundation 2014 Painters and Sculptors grant. Jason has a deep interest in studying different cultures and affects of globalization on society, which filters into his studio practice as well as the classroom. He previously led MIAD’s China program as well as co-taught in programs to Florence, Italy and Thailand. Jason has been teaching Foundations and fine arts classes at MIAD since 1996.

Kim Miller is currently Chair of Fine Arts / New Studio Practice at MIAD. She has also taught in the art department at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand and has been artist-in-residence at Compeung, Doi Saket, Thailand. She has traveled extensively throughout Thailand, and is knowledgeable about Thai culture, customs and beliefs. Kim has worked as an art director, graphic designer, educator and artist – working for both non-profits and multi-national corporations as well as in the freelance world. She co-taught in MIAD’s 2014 Thailand program.

Estimated Travel/ Course Fee: $4250
Includes 6 credits MIAD summer tuition, housing, field trips and museum admissions, travel health/safety insurance during program dates, and several group meals.

Students are responsible for necessary passports or visas. Airfare is NOT included. (Roundtrip airfare is estimated at $1500.)

Application Deadline: December 1, 2016.
Interested students must apply for the program and complete an application packet (download from MIAD website or available outside of office 450B). Space is limited. Completed application forms must include a deposit of $600 payable to MIAD Thailand Program, a statement of interest, 2 letters of reference and financial aid form (whether requesting aid or not). Students interested in being considered for this year’s Study Abroad Need-Based Grants must submit their complete application package by November 17, 2016.

Students must be in good academic standing with a minimum GPA of 2.5.

Minimum enrollment must be met for program to run. Deposits will be returned if program is canceled because of insufficient enrollment or if student is not accepted.

After student is accepted into the program, the deposit is non-refundable.

Financial Aid:
Financial aid is available for qualified students. Interested students should inquire at the MIAD Financial Aid office ASAP to determine individual eligibility. Students should be aware that financial aid cannot be distributed before the start of the summer term, and in some cases, not until mid-program, so students should plan other means to cover earlier required payments and plane ticket purchases.

Payment Schedule:
Payments on balance of course fee and tuition* will be due in the MIAD Business Office. Sample payment schedule based on estimated tuition/course fee noted:

December 1, 2016 – $600 Deposit must accompany application
(non-refundable after program acceptance)
January 30, 2017 – $350
March 20, 2017 – $350
May 1, 2017 – $2950 FINAL PAYMENT**

Full payment is REQUIRED before program begins.
Payments beyond initial deposit may also be non-refundable if expenses have already been paid on participant’s behalf.
** Students who are expecting financial aid for the summer semester can elect to have this applied to their final payment.

Jenny Krantz, Director, Creative Learning Opportunities & Research –
Office – 450B