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Short Program - Southeast Asian Frontiers
Bangkok, Thailand; Chiang Khong district, Thailand; Chiang Mai, Thailand; Chiang Rai, Thailand; Mae Sai district, Thailand; Northern Thailand, Thailand; Tachileik, Myanmar; Tak Province, Thailand; Wiang Haeng district, Thailand (Outgoing Program)
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Program Terms: Winter
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Short Program
Program Description:
Program Description:
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ASIA3014/ASIA6114: Southeast Asian Frontiers is the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific’s longest running study tour. Now in it’s 10th year Southeast Asian Frontiers gives you the opportunity to step outside of the classroom and into one of Southeast Asia’s most dynamic borderlands.

Could you learn from a politician? A seafood factory worker? A school for migrant children? A banana plantation? A train journey? Can you draw knowledge from any encounter, any opportunity, and critically incorporate it into an academic project?

This challenging, hands-on, interdisciplinary course offers a unique taste of intensive field research for motivated undergraduate and graduate students. Travel along the fascinating Thai-Burma border area, engaging in briefings, interviews, site visits and constructive community-based activities. Interact with people and communities at all levels to gather multiple perspectives on pressing issues. Pick up (and try out) some practical linguistic and cultural skills. Learn how to design a research question based around your personal interests, and address that question in a final research paper.

Southeast Asian Frontiers puts human stories behind today’s headlines and challenges you to build experience and skills that will serve you well within university and beyond.

Check out this fantastic video of the 2015 course.

Study Activity

In-country activity for this course will run from Thursday 21 June 2018 – Friday 20 July 2018.

Southeast Asian Frontiers will engage you in an interactive approach to learning Thai and Burmese ethnic languages alongside a structured introduction to the cultures, societies and politics of mainland Southeast Asia's frontiers.

In 2018, Southeast Asian Frontiers will be centred on the topic of cross-border labour migration. You will explore historical legacy; human rights and human security; economic forces and impacts; international and inter-ethnic relations; limits of sovereignty; cooperation and corruption; vulnerability, advocacy and self-help.

The course begins on Monday 18 June with two full day academic workshops where you will meet with the course convener, Chintana Sandilands, your fellow participants and be introduced to Thai language and culture and the broad themes of the course.

You will travel to Bangkok on Wednesday 20 June to commence your tour of Thailand and Myanmar on Thursday 21 June. Over the next four weeks, you will undertake structured fieldwork to develop not only cultural and linguistic skills, but a greater understanding of the complexities of these Southeast Asian borderlands from a comparative and transnational perspective.

The course will wrap up on 20 July in Chiang Mai.

The major assessment is an individual research paper on a topic of your choice. You will have guidance from the teaching staff and guest lecturers develop and explore a research topic in-country. Some examples of topics in the past have included: immigration, human trafficking, refugees, preservation of language and culture of ethnic minority groups, water and food security, application of Buddhism in the modern era, the role of civil society in environmental protection, sustainable development, and economic sufficiency in Thailand. 

Please note: assessment for this course will overlap with Semester 2, 2018. Students who wish to participate in this course and complete 18 units of study or more in Semester 2, 2018 will need to apply to overload.

Students are advised that this program may be terminated or amended at short notice dependent upon external circumstances beyond the University’s control.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

This opportunity is open to ANU undergraduate and postgraduate students with preference given to students who have completed 48 units of study at the time of application.

Just tell us how this opportunity would benefit you personally and academically, how you will prepare yourself for cross-cultural communication in Southeast Asia and outline a proposed research topic. If you are eligible, also tell us how you think this opportunity meets the objectives of the Australian Government's New Colombo Plan program or Endeavour Mobility Grant.

Participants will be selected based on their response to the application questions. Academic results may also be taken into consideration during the selection process.

Where grants are available, preference may be given to students who meet the eligibility requirements of the grants.

This course requires a minimum number of students in order to run.

Application Details

***Applications for Winter Session, 2018 have been extended.***

Complete the application form by Sunday 29 April 2018.

If you are successful, you will be advised of your application outcome by Monday 7 May 2018.  You must be able to confirm your participation by Friday 11 May after meeting with the convener.

Funding Opportunities

New Colombo Plan Mobility Grants

CAP has secured a small number of New Colombo Plan Mobility Grants for eligible undergraduate students. To be eligible you must:

  • Be an Australian citizen
  • Be aged 18-28
  • Have not received an NCP short term mobility grant previously
  • Not hold residency rights to Thailand or Myanmar
More information on the Australian Government's New Colombo Plan and the full eligibility requirements can be found here

Endeavour Mobility Grants

  Additionally, CAP has secured a small number of Endeavour Mobility Grants of $3,000 for eligible postgraduate students. To be eligible you must:
  • Be an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • Be currently undertaking a postgraduate degree at the ANU
  • Have this course count toward your current postgraduate program
More information on the Australian Government's Endeavour Mobility Program and the full eligibility requirements can be found here

Grants will be issued based on access and equity considerations and responses to the selection questions related to the goals of the funding schemes.

***Please note that NCP and Endeavour Mobility Grants have been issued to applicants that submitted an application in the first round. Second round applicants will receive $500 funding support through the EngageAsia Travel Guarantee.***


EngageAsia Travel Guarantee

Successful applicants that do not meet the Endeavour eligibility requirements or do not receive a grant will receive $500 of funding support through the EngageAsia Travel Guarantee. 


OS-HELP is a Government loan scheme to assist eligible Australian students enrolled in a Commonwealth supported place, who wish to undertake an overseas experience as part of their degree. 


You will pay your tuition fees to ANU for this 12 unit course.

You will be required to arrange and pay for your own return travel to Thailand. You will also be required to cover the costs of your accommodation and living expenses.

The convener will arrange accommodation and internal transport for the duration of the course.

You will be covered by ANU travel insurance for the duration of the course.

General Information for Global Learning Programs

While the College of Asia and the Pacific welcomes participation from all eligible ANU students, credit towards your degree program will be at the discretion of your home College. It is your responsibility to consult with your College's student advisors about how this course might fit into your current degree requirements.

Students should ensure they have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after the end date of the program. 

The CAP Student Centre is not able to provide visa advice, please refer to the relevant embassy or immigration department for advice about visas.


CAP Student Centre
HC Coombs Building (9)
T: 6125 3207

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Dates / Deadlines:
Applications for this program are not currently open. If this is an ANU exchange program, you can view the next exchange program application opening dates and closing deadlines here.
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This program is currently not accepting applications.

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