Indigenous Knowledge & Sustainability in Thailand

January 6 - March 15, 2020


Indigenous Knowledge and Sustainability in Southeast Asia is a two-month field program in village communities in rural Thailand. It combines academic studies in Southeast Asian culture, history, religion, and politics, with opportunities for service learning and participation in grassroots community development. The program seeks to enhance empathy across cultures, heightening awareness of the power of culture and education, and celebrating diversity.

A primary focus will be learning about indigenous knowledge and its relation to social and environmental well-being. The program is run in partnership with Western Washington University, but open to students from all universities. We are looking for students that are passionate about social and environmental justice, can cope with adversity, and work well in a team. If this is you, join us next winter in Southeast Asia!

Study abroad in Thailand

Key Features

  • Explore issues of sustainability and social justice in Thailand, with a focus on indigenous and village knowledge and practice

  • Work with grassroots organizations on community development projects

  • Learn about sustainable fishing and conservation with the Moklen, one of the few remaining sea nomadic communities

  • Trek in the jungles of Kui Buri National Park, home to over 300 wild elephants

  • 15 credits through Western Washington University


Jan 6 - Mar 15, 2019

$8,499 per student


  • 15 credits through Western Washington University

  • Daily living expenses (food, lodging)

  • In-country transportation

  • Admissions (temples, parks, etc.)

  • Trek and other excursions

  • Travel Health Insurance


  • Visa

  • International airfare

  • Immunizations/personal medical expenses

  • Independent travel

Work with community partners on our Thailand study abroad program


Inter Mountain Peoples Education and Culture in Thailand Association (IMPECT) works with a variety of Indigenous Peoples sharing similar situations and experiences, applying traditional knowledge and practices to all aspects of development work. IMPECT works as an association, providing opportunities for participation and ownership of development activities to representatives of the different indigenous groups. The four main areas of action are Cultural Revival and Alternative Education, Promotion of the Environment and Natural Resource Management, Enhancement of Indigenous Peoples’ Movements and Networks and Indigenous Peoples’ Rights. 


Ban Taptawan is a Moklen village along Thailand’s Andaman coast. The Moklen are one of Thailand’s three last nomadic sea peoples and some of the few remaining worldwide. However, their traditional way of life is under threat due to large-scale coastal development, marine pollution, over-fishing, and lack of secure property rights.

To help preserve their culture and earn income for the community they are trying to create a sustainable model for tourism that shares their way of life and promotes conservation.They have also begun working with IMPECT to create larger networks between indigenous and ethnic communities in Southern Thailand and organize to advocate for their rights.

Live in Ban Taptawan, one of the last sea nomad communities in the world, on your study abroad trip to Thailand!

Have Questions?


Trip Leaders

Alex Martin   WWU Faculty Member, Thailand Program

Alex Martin
WWU Faculty Member, Thailand Program

Won Pen   Thailand Project Coordinator

Won Pen
Thailand Project Coordinator

Yotaka Martin   Thailand Trip Coordinator

Yotaka Martin
Thailand Trip Coordinator


Ready to join us?