About MSID—International Development in Thailand
Learning from experience is the core of Minnesota Studies in International Development (MSID). The program puts you in direct contact with the social and economic realities of actual communities and of people working within them to address complex problems. Through classes, field trips, and an extended internship or research placement, MSID strives to establish a continual dialogue linking experience with theory and critical analysis. Learn more about the mission and educational philosophy at MSID Philosophy.
About the Center
The MSID Thailand Center is based at the International Sustainable Development Studies Institute (ISDSI), which has been in Chiang Mai, Thailand, since 1998. ISDSI is staffed by a mix of American, Thai, Karen, and Hmong instructors and support personnel, with a unique, team-based approach to teaching.
The new sustainably built center's amenities include WiFi, a library, a cafe, a gym, a yoga studio, and an outdoor cafeteria that serves fresh Thai lunches daily.
The Center's New Home
Housing & Meals
You will live with a homestay family throughout your time in Thailand. Students who choose an internship or research placement outside of Chiang Mai will have a second homestay placement.
Homestay families provide breakfast and dinner daily; you will be responsible for providing your own lunches except for on the weekends. Host families can sometimes accommodate a variety of dietary needs, so if you have severe food allergies and/or restrictions, contact the program team prior to applying.
Homestays are an integral component of the learning experience and often a highlight for participants. Your family provides not only housing and most meals but also a vital connection to Thai culture. Nearly all families have hosted program participants before and have been chosen for their genuine interest in sharing Thai life with an MSID program participant.
Although excursions change from semester to semester, students can expect to visit a variety of sites that may include local markets, development agencies, and areas of interest around Chiang Mai.
- Foster an understanding of the global context through classroom and experiential learning
- Cultivate awareness and appreciation for development issues through engagement with diverse communities
- Translate insights gained into thoughtful and respectful long-term perspectives on concepts of social justice and sustainable development
- Strengthen communication skills through acquisition of local languages and cultural awareness
- Gain cross-cultural competencies through extended engagement at a local grassroots organization
Faculty & Staff
A team of dedicated local staff based in Chiang Mai work to ensure that your MSID experience is safe, academically enriching, and rewarding. All MSID courses are taught by Thai faculty who are experts in their fields.
Mark A. Ritchie, Ph.D., Resident Director
Ajaan Mark has lived in Thailand for over 20 years, working with local communities, international development work, as well as international education. Originally from the United States, Mark studied the transition of agrarian rural communities in Northern Thailand, and has been involved in project evaluation and assessment, participatory development research, and training of local communities in Asia. He is the Executive Director of the International Sustainable Development Studies Institute (ISDSI). He founded ISDSI with his wife, Dana E.C. Ritchie, over 15 years ago, and is currently working on empowering local communities through international education.
Supawadee "A" Chimmanee, Associate Director
Ajaan A works with ISDSI as an Associate Director, assisting in planning, coordinating, and evaluating the MSID Thailand program. She also trains American students about Thai culture, including social and development issues in Thailand. Ms. Chimmanee has a BA in English from Srinakarinwirot University and is working toward an MA in Human and Environmental Management from Chiang Mai University, with a master’s thesis on the network model of natural resources management rights claim. In the past, she worked as a trainer and instructor for the Peace Corps Volunteers and as a project coordinator and in-country consultant for a number of nongovernment NGOs.
Angkarin "Tik" Pimpaeng, Associate Director
Ajaan Tik works with ISDSI as an Associate Director assisting in planning, coordinating, and evaluating the MSID Thailand program. She holds a MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Wheaton College. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor who has been working with international education since 2010 and uses her background in mental health counseling to provide support for students onsite.
About the Learning Abroad Center
Learning Abroad Center programs are:
- Affordable: our programs are cost effective.
- Academically strong: many programs have strong University of Minnesota departmental support and offer pre-approved courses for many majors.
- Culturally rich: regardless of the program you choose, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture.
- Expertly managed: our staff in Minnesota and abroad are trained professionals and are always available to answer your questions from extensive pre-departure advising and online orientations to reentry programming. Your safety and well-being are paramount, and we work hard to ensure you have a rewarding and safe experience abroad.