New graduate-level study abroad course teaches cultural applications of lifelong learning

Student writer Andrea Day contributed to this story.

Buddhist temple in ThailandA new study abroad course offered by the Adult Education and Training master’s degree specialization in Colorado State University’s School of Education gives graduate students the opportunity to delve into cultural applications of lifelong learning, as related to spirituality and adult education, in Thailand. The program is open to anyone with an interest in participating.

Real-world experience and self-reflection

The course, EDAE 682A Study Abroad: Cultural Applications of Lifelong Learning in Thailand, focuses on the ability to critically reflect on individual experience with spiritual learning, while also analyzing spirituality and adult education lifelong learning practices through diverse contexts.

The two-week-long immersion course takes students to Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Led by School of Education Assistant Professors Kalpana Gupta and Kelly McKenna, the experience will include guest lectures and hands-on learning. The course includes opportunities for immersive experiences and critical reflection, such as lessons from an English-speaking Theravada Monk at a meditation retreat, a yoga retreat, excursions to several villages to experience local communities, alms offerings, in-depth learning of Buddha and Buddhist traditions, spiritual ceremonies, and temple visits.

“The program offers different things for different students,” said Gupta. “It focuses on spirituality and adult education, but what each student takes away will resonate differently. The idea is for the student to really reflect on what spirituality means for them. It’s a great opportunity to see what spirituality means in the Thai culture, and to be able to take that back to one’s own community, whether it’s personal or professional.”

Once they return home, students should be equipped to apply their experiences and new knowledge to professional and personal contexts, while also exploring issues of diversity, inclusion, and equity in Thailand.

An opportunity open to all

Gupta and McKenna made sure to organize the program is such a way that it benefits students from all programs.

“We’re open to anyone participating, regardless of what program they’re in, whether they’re alumni or even a student at another institution,” said McKenna. “Gaining various perspectives from different people will only enrich the experience.”

“The way we created this course is very safe with the intention to be as inclusive as possible,” said Gupta. “Even if you wouldn’t consider yourself adventurous, don’t hesitate to apply. If you’re interested in the program just a little bit, this will benefit you.”

The priority deadline to apply is Feb. 15, 2019. More information, including eligibility requirements, costs and funding opportunities and application instructions, can be found on CSU’s Education Abroad website. Questions about the course can be directed to Gupta at

The School of Education is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.