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UK Sponsored: Observing the World: Methods in Cross-Cultural Observation & Documentation (Design)
Bangkok, Thailand; Chiang Mai, Thailand; Phuket, Thailand; Siem Reap, Cambodia
Program Terms: Winter
The Education Abroad at UK deadline for adding this program has passed. To determine if it is still possible to add this program to your Education Abroad Application, please contact your Education Abroad Advisor or Education Abroad at UK (
Homepage: Click to visit
Fees and Policies Winter
Fact Sheet:
 Experience Type:
Study Abroad
 Area of Study:
Anthropology, Architecture, Art, Art History, Art Studio, Asian Studies, Design, Interior Design, International Studies, Merchandising, Apparel & Textiles, Sociology, Sustainability
 Course Language:
 Housing Options:
1-Freshman, 2-Sophomore, 3-Junior, 4-Senior, 5-Graduate
 Minimum GPA:
 Student Type:
Both undergraduate and graduate students
Liz Kociolek
 Program Director:
Lindsey Guinther
 UK Travel Medical Insurance:
Included in the UK Sponsored program fee
Program Description:
Observing the World:
Methods in Cross-Cultural Observation & Documentation

December 26, 2013 - January 9, 2014
(optional additional extension January 9 - January 13, 2013)

Program Overview

What does it mean to observe? What is the Thailand posterrelationship between seeing and knowing? Utilizing the practice of cross-cultural observation, students of this program will examine the social, cultural, historical and political contexts that frame the diverse landscapes of Thailand.

Students will travel to Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Phang Nga Bay, Thailand as well as Angkor Wat to investigate the influence of intercultural exchanges and experiences on perception. The program will begin and end in Bangkok, the cultural and political capital of the country and one of its most visited cities. This program will provide a foundation for examining and documenting the ways in which cultures differ from place to place and the complex factors that impact living in a variety of geographic regions. Additionally, students will engage in an alternate educational model focusing on experiential learning, personal development, group peer learning, and consensus decision-making. Field visits will take students from the lowland tropics verdant with life to northern Chiang Mai and its colorful ethnic and cultural diversity.

There will be a few required, in-person class meetings prior to departure in December. Meeting dates and times are TBD.

Interested students are eligible to participate in an optional extension, for a separate fee, to Cambodia January 9 - January 13, 2014. Students who chose not to participate in the Cambodia extension will still earn all four credit hours (ID 359 + ISP 599) for the Thailand portion of the program. 


  • Introduction and immersion in the architectural, social, environmental, historical political dimensions of diverse Thai culture
  • Develop an understanding of drawing and observation documentation as a vehicle for thinking, seeing, and communicating through the practice of cross-cultural observation
  • Visit spiritual and religious temples, experience rice winnowing and traditional food samplings, and sea kayak in the southern islands to observe geographic influences on living conditions

Optional Cambodia Extension, January 9 - January 13, 2014

Angkor, in Cambodia's northern province of Siem Reap, is one of the most important archaeological sites of Southeast Asia. It extends over approximately 250 square miles and consists of impressive monuments, several different ancient urban plans and large water reservoirs. The site is a unique concentration of features testifying to an exceptional civilization. Temples such as Angkor Wat, the Bayon, Preah Khan, and Ta Prohm, exemplars of Khmer architecture are closely linked to their geographical context as well and hold much symbolic significance. The architecture and layout of the successive capitals bear witness to a high level of social order and ranking within the Khmer Empire. Angkor is therefore a major site exemplifying cultural, religious and symbolic values, as well as containing high architectural, archaeological and artistic significance.


This program is open to undergraduate and graduate students from all academic disciplines.

Students from universities other than UK are welcome to participate in this program as visiting/transient students. For more information on how to apply to the University of Kentucky as a visiting/transient student go to UK Admissions or UK Graduate School Admissions. Non-UK students should consult with the program directors prior to participating in the program to ensure that they have the proper academic background for the course.

Academic Credit

  • UK Sponsored programs are conducted by the University of Kentucky faculty. UK GPA credits and grades will be awarded by the program director for the successful and timely completion of all required program activities and assignments, including any required on-campus meetings.
  • Undergraduate students will enroll in ID 359: Special Topics in Interior Design (3 credit hours). For College of Design students, this course can count in the "professional support" area.
  • Graduate students must make arrangements with the faculty leader regarding academic credits (3 credit hours).
  • All students will be enrolled in ISP 599: Study Abroad (1 credit hour).

Housing & Meals

  • Students will be housed in hotels throughout the program.
  • Breakfast is included in the program fee as well as some lunches and dinners (per the program itinerary).

Scholarships & Financial Aid

Students are strongly encouraged to explore all funding opportunities for programs abroad. There are numerous opportunities available based on the area of study, program type, length, and country of destination. 
  • Many financial aid packages (scholarships, loans and grants) used for on-campus study can be applied to education abroad programs. Students who qualify for financial aid should consult with their UK Financial Aid counselor as soon as possible to apply for funding.
  • The Education Abroad at UK Scholarship - The campus-wide Selection Committee awards need-based scholarships to UK students in the amounts of $750, $1,000 and $1,500. The deadline for application materials is March 1 for Summer/Fall programs and October 1 for Spring/Winter programs.
  • UK College of Design Thailand Travel Award - UK College of Design students can apply for a travel award to be used to defray the cost of travel expenses for UK Sponsored programs taught by College of Design faculty members. Award amounts vary and will range from $250 to $1000. The Travel Award is intended to provide supplemental funds and is not designed to cover all expenses. The scholarship will be awarded to students whose proposal application demonstrates a rigorous commitment and intention to meeting the program's goals and objectives. Eligible applicants must complete all four parts of the Travel Award application (see link above).
For more information about scholarship and funding opportunities, please visit the Education Abroad at UK Financial Aid & Scholarships resource page.

Program Costs

  • Costs and cancellation policies vary by program, so it is important to review this information very carefully. For more information on program costs, please see the "Fees and Policies" information page (the link is in the program header at the top of this website).

Passport & Visa Requirements

  • U.S. passport holders are not required to obtain a visa for participation on this program. Participants who wish to extend their stay in the country beyond the program start and end dates and those who are not U.S. passport holders must investigate the visa regulations at the Thai Embassy.

Travel Medical Insurance

All participants of this program will be enrolled in HTH Travel Medical Insurance for the duration of the program. The cost of Travel Medical Insurance is included in the program fee. Please see the Education Abroad at UK Health & Safety webpage for more information. 

For More Information

For additional information about this program, please contact:

  • EA Peer Ambassadors, Education Abroad Resource Center, 315 Bradley Hall
  • Ms. Lindsey Guinther, faculty member in the School of Interiors at the University of Kentucky, will be directing the program.

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Dates / Deadlines:
There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
The Education Abroad at UK deadline for adding this program has passed. To determine if it is still possible to add this program to your Education Abroad Application, please contact your Education Abroad Advisor or Education Abroad at UK (