TEAN’s unique summer program – Issues in Environmental Health in Asia – explores the interconnectedness between local environments and human health. Students will learn how harmful environmental conditions can have adverse effects on physical, mental, or social health, while also exploring various nature-based practices that can enhance personal and community well-being. This 3-week course travels from northern to southern Thailand, providing students with a holistic and hands-on learning experience. 

Highlights

Study human health as it relates to the environment

Spend time in two of Thailand’s most stunning regions, the northern city of Chiang Mai and southern tropical coastal area of Krabi

Learn from leading health ecology researcher specializing in infectious diseases ecology and evolution

2-week retreat complete with excursions like free diving in the Andaman Sea and climbing 1,200 steps to a remote temple at sunrise

Explore the natural beauty of Krabi’s karst cliffs, mangrove forests and tumbling waterfalls to feel restored by nature

Create a foundation for holistic wellbeing in your own life or as an understanding for future studies

Combine this with another course from the other Summer in Thailand session for an extended summer experience

Academics

Program Terms

During the summer, this program is offered for Session One of our Thailand Summer Program. Students can select to enroll in one session for a three-week program (3 credits) or two sessions for a six-week program (6 credits). See more details on the Summer in Thailand program here. Over the winter this course is offered as a standalone three-week program (3 credits).


ABOUT THE COURSE

HSC 4933 Issues in Environmental Health 

Environmental health is the control of all those aspects in the environment that may have adverse effects on the basic determinants of health vis-à-vis people’s physical, mental, or social well-being. Environmental health is the specialty of public health management that deals with the relationships in-between people and their environment; promotes human health and well-being in relation to people’s ecological settings; and encourages healthy and safe communities to be stewards of their environment.

All types of pollution and environmental concerns are directly or indirectly grounded in ecological in-balances resulting from short-sighted governance and are interlinked to influence one another, hence need to be tackled altogether as a transdisciplinary endeavor. Various stakeholders along with the community have to work together to reduce the environmental impact on public health and well-being by understanding issues origins and co-define contextualized solutions to sustainably address the root causes of the problem.

In this context, this course examines pernicious environmental issues in Southeast Asia, Thailand in particular, by dissecting their roots, analyzing their evolution, and identifying their consequences on health and well-being. Among key environmental problems, we will cover issues related to Climate change, Plastic Pollution, Deforestation and Biodiversity erosion, Agriculture industrial intensification, Infectious Disease transmission, and their impact on positive health and wellbeing at individual, community and society levels. The health consequences we will be looking into in particular are chronic disorders such as Cardiovascular diseases, Obesity and type 2 diabetes, stress and anxiety, zoonotic diseases and spillover, nature deficit disorder and depression related to loss of natural and social capital.

Recognizing these environmental issues and understanding their consequences on health and wellbeing provides opportunities to also look at practical nature-based-solutions and personal practices that are used in the region to address these issues and cope with its related impact. During the field research section of the course we will therefore immerse ourselves in locally implemented multisectoral projects that bring together environmental conservation, social innovation, community health development, ecosystem services for health and well-being, sustainability and transformative education that together embody people and nature co-benefits. The solution spaces we will particularly focus on are permaculture and regenerative designs for healthy food production, rewilding for integrated vector control and nature therapy, nature-based solutions for climate change mitigation as well as a range of personal development practices that uses Nature as a catalyst for well-being.

The course will combine open discussions, lectures, hands-on workshops, and field excursions in Southern Thailand to provide students a holistic learning and real-life solutions-oriented experience while studying in Thailand.

See course syllabus


FACULTY

Dr. Pierre Echaubard

Pierre Echaubard, Ph.D, is a health ecology researcher specializing in infectious diseases ecology and evolution, vector-borne diseases adaptive management and the linkages between biodiversity, health and wellbeing. A regular consultant for the WHO-TDR (a WHO special program on disease of poverty) and for numerous academic institutions and governmental organizations, he has been involved in numerous environmental and public health projects examining how social-ecological factors influence both vector-borne and parasitic diseases transmission and communities resilience and more.

Pierre also regularly teaches courses in ecology and biodiversity conservation, sustainable development, public health and tropical medicine as well as develops experiential education programs focusing on mindfulness-based practices and the role of nature in holistic health and wellness.


TRANSCRIPTS and CREDITS

Upon completion of the course you will be issued an academic transcript from TEAN’s School of Record. The course is worth 3 U.S. credits.

Itinerary

PART ONE – CHIANG MAI

Week One

The first week of the course is based in the northern Thai town of Chiang Mai where we will use open discussions and workshops to provide the necessary conceptual and factual knowledge and stimulate critical engagement with the course topics including:

  • Eating, exercise and sleeping
  • Mindfulness and mindfulness in Buddhism
  • Connecting with others
  • Biophilia and nature therapy

The first week is intended to provide foundational background knowledge and initiate essential discussions preparing for the field retreat.

Benefiting from Chiang Mai’s history as a 700-year old urban Buddhist center students will be introduced to Buddhist mindfulness at a local temple. Located on the mountain (Doi Suthep) that borders the city, students will mindfully walk through the forest to the temple (40 minutes) for this introduction to Buddhist meditation.


PART TWO – KRABI

WEEKS TWO & THREE

The field retreat (13 days) will be held in Krabi province in southern Thailand. Krabi’s lush forests, turquoise waters, coral reefs and towering limestone karsts provide the background for nature- and movement-based mindfulness practices as well as immersive sustainable living experiences in local communities.

Over the 2-week retreat, there will be 10 days (4.5 hours/day) of effective learning focusing on experiential learning by putting into practice the themes discussed at the beginning of the course. The retreat exposes participants to a series of workshops and experiential learning activities – combining mind-body therapy and nature therapy, plus movement and eating for optimal health – in addition to open discussions and seminars.

Throughout the retreat, students will learn and practice the following:

  • Tai chi-Qigong: metarobics set, stretching set, balance set, flow zone set
  • Yoga: restorative and therapeutic yoga short sets (fusion yin/vinyasa and pranayama)
  • Movement-based practices: Slacklining, rock climbing, Muay Thai, trail running, walking with emphasis on mindful movement, flow and breathing applied to stress reduction. While a basic level of fitness is required for this course, optional alternatives are provided for the more intensive movement-based practices.
  • Nature-based therapy: Inspired by the Japanese approach of Shinrin-yoku or “forest bathing,” you will formally and informally experience the healing power of being mindful in nature. During hikes in the rainforest, near waterfalls and during kayaking in the mangroves students will be provided tools to become awake in nature.
  • Breathing techniques: Emphasis on diaphragmatic breathing and pranayama with applications to stress reduction. Breathing workshop followed by an introduction to free diving.
  • Thai massage: An introduction to Thai massage and self massage techniques
  • Reiki: Level 1 content will be discussed and practiced to learn energetic self-healing
  • Whole food, plant-based nutrition: Experience a workshop on whole food plant-based meal preparation

Eligibility

Eligibility

  • 2.5 GPA
  • Currently enrolled at an approved degree-granting institution of higher education.
  • The course is an introductory-level health course and assumes no (or very little) previous university-level health studies experience, however students studying health or integrative health will certainly have the opportunity to expand on their knowledge by participating in the program.
  • Practical as well as interdisciplinary experience in one of the following areas is an advantage but not mandatory: yoga, meditation, psychology, public health, medicine and physiology, evolutionary biology, nutrition science, physical education and more.

Program Details

ORIENTATION

Be introduced to Chiang Mai upon arrival with an Orientation that combines useful informative sessions with intriguing introductory cultural experiences. Experience a sensory overload as you learn about Thai culture and society, jumpstart your knowledge of Thai Buddhism with a visit to one of Chiang Mai’s glittering gold temples, practice speaking key Thai phrases, and sample an array of deliciously diverse Thai cuisine. (All meals are included!)


Housing

In Chiang Mai students stay in twin-share accommodation with other TEAN students. The accommodation is fully furnished and located in a vibrant area, close to cafes, restaurants and street food.

In Krabi, for the retreat portion of the program students stay in twin-share rooms in guesthouse style accommodation in the forest, within 3 miles of the popular Ao Nang beach. Rooms are simple and clean with air conditioning and bathrooms. Breakfast is provided daily. TEAN staff also stay on-site.


TEAN STAFF

Our team works with you start to finish through the study abroad process. Our programs staff will help guide you through the application process to go abroad, then upon arrival in Southeast Asia, you will be met by our on-site staff who will provide assistance throughout your time in Thailand.

Meet the Team

Program Dates

APPLICATION DEADLINE

TEAN has a rolling admissions process. Late applications may be considered. Contact TEAN if the application deadline has passed.


Program Capacity

This program accepts 14 students only. Early applications are advised as the program will close once capacity is reached. Students may be added to a waitlist.


Summer 2022 dates

Application Deadline May 1
Arrival Day June 4
TEAN Orientation June 5
Class Starts June 7
Last day of class June 25
Program Ends June 25

Following this course students have the option to add  Environmental Conservation and Sustainable Development in Southeast Asia offered during Session 2. This course is designed to complement the Asian Approaches to Holistic Health and Wellness course. Both are taught by Dr. Pierre Echaubard.

Fees & Inclusions

Summer 2022

Program fee: $5,450

Two Session Special

$500 off total cost of program
Must take a course in Session 1 and Session 2


WHAT’S INCLUDED

  • Full tuition (3 credits)
  • Guaranteed pre-arranged housing
  • Overseas health insurance, plus evacuation and repatriation insurance
  • Orientation Program with meals, activities and transportation
  • WiFi access in housing
  • Flight from Chiang Mai to Krabi
  • Airport transfers and all course-related ground transport
  • Cultural events, excursions and field trips throughout the program
  • Most meals in Krabi 
  • Extensive pre-departure counseling and information
  • Readings for all courses (provided as PDFs to download)
  • Staff and resources available 24/7 to provide assistance and recommendations during emergencies

WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED

  • International airfares (approx $1,200 – 1,400)
  • Some meals (approx $150-200)
  • Local transportation in Chiang Mai and Krabi for personal outings (approx $30)
  • Travel insurance ($350)

Scholarships

TEAN Scholarships

Apply for TEAN scholarships – starting at $1,000 – for the chance to receive money specifically for studying abroad. Each year we award thousands of dollars in need- and merit-based scholarships, diversity scholarships, a full ride scholarship and more. Visit our scholarships page for details!

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