Summer: Rutgers- Food and Sustainability in Thailand

Salaya, Thailand

Program Overview

Term Start Date End Date Application Deadline
Summer 2021
May 22, 2021
Jun 03, 2021
Mar 01, 2021
Language(s) of Instruction
Class Standing
Good Academic Standing

Students will be notified of any program cancellation due to COVID-19 by February 15th, 2021. If host country does not allow US tourists or has not lifted mandatory quarantine restrictions by February 15th, the program will be cancelled.



Program Advisor

The Program

Study food sustainability, food security, and food safety across multiple locations in Thailand

From production to consumption, explore issues that drive the global food industry-Sustainability, Food Safety, and Food Security-in three different regions in Thailand: Kanchanaburi, Phetchabun, and Nakhon Pathom! You will also be exposed to everyday life there, experiencing the rich Thai culture across these rural and urban landscapes from over 2500 years of tradition, in addition to food pathways from farm to table!

Students at melon farm

Program Locations

Phetchabun Cabbage Production



Phetchabun is a province in North-Central Thailand, with over 1,400 years of history containing everything from historical ruins to forested mountains to river basins. Phetchabun is home to various National Parks, including Khao Kho and Nam Nao, as well as Than Thip Waterfall and Si Thep Historical Park. Not only rich in tourism though, the province  is an extremely productive agriculturally, making it an ideal place to visit for this course. 

Salaya Market



Salaya is located in Central Thailand, considered to be part of Bangkok's metropolitan region, as well as home to one of Mahidol University's three campuses in the region. The campus opened in 1982, and is filled with natural beauty, from exotic gardens to lush tropical scenery. While here, students will learn about Thailand fruits, vegetables, traditional foods, and more at the Salaya Farmer's Market 

Temple in Bangkok Thailand



Bangkok, a sprawling metropolis with a population of over 6 million people, is a city you experience with all senses. A rich cultural center, the city exhibits deep cultural influences of neighboring India, China, and Cambodia. While awash with opulent palaces, temples, and shrines, Bangkok is also a modern city with a vibrant spirit. 


Food and Sustainability: 11:400:315

This course will count as a three credit, 300-level elective. It is designed to appreciate the nexus of food sustainability, food security, and food safety.

Pre-requisites: General Biology and General Chemistry (minimum one semester of each)

Click here to view the syllabus from 2019.

For information about study abroad credit transfer, registration, and transcripts please visit the Academics section of our website. 

Important dates:

Students will be notified of any program cancellation due to COVID-19 by February 15th, 2021. If host country does not allow US tourists or has not lifted mandatory quarantine restrictions by February 15th, the program will be cancelled.

Summer 2021

May 22

June 3

Housing and Meals

Students will stay in double rooms in Hostels/Hotels. The program cost also includes most meals. More information soon! 

Financial Information

Program Costs

This is the billed amount that will appear on your Rutgers term bill during the term you study abroad.
NJ Resident non-NJ Resident
Undergraduate $1,990 $2,360
Graduate $2,220 $2,570
Program Cost includes:

•    Tuition 
•    Housing
•    Most Meals
•    Excursions
•    Administrative Fees
•    International SOS Health Insurance

Out-of-Pocket Costs

These are estimated expenses that are not part of your term bill. Students will need to pay for these expenses out-of-pocket.
Airfare $1,500
Meals $75
*Recommended vaccines (Hepatitis A & Typhoid) 0
Local Transportation 0
Personal Expenses $125
Total $1,700.00
Out-of-Pocket Cost includes:

The above costs are estimations and represent the known out-of-pocket costs students encounter during their time abroad. 
Some of these expenses will be paid for prior to going abroad, such as an airline ticket and visa costs, while some of these expenses, such as meals and local transportation, will be paid in-country as part of your daily expenses. As you plan, you will need to budget these costs and spend wisely throughout your time abroad.

* Price will vary based on US health insurance coverage.


Available to all Rutgers students participating in a Rutgers Global–Study Abroad program. Applications can be found inside of your study abroad program application. For more information, please visit the Scholarship section of our website.

 Available to SEBS students only.  For more information please visit the SEBS Scholarships web page.

Faculty leader & Student testimonials

Karl Matthews

Karl R. Matthews, Ph.D., is a Professor of Food Microbiology in the Department of Food Science at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. He serves as Chair of the Department of Food Science. Matthews’ research addresses farm-to-fork food safety issues.  His research covers elucidating at the molecular level the interaction of human enteric pathogens with plants to developing novel antimicrobials to improve the microbial safety of fresh fruits and vegetables from post-harvest processing to retail practices.  He serves as Principle and Co-principle investigator on federal and foundation grants and commercial funded projects. He is actively engaged in teaching at the undergraduate and graduate level and served as the Food Science undergraduate program director.  Matthews has given presentations and lectures throughout the world. He is involved in projects in China, Philippines, and Thailand to promote development of Food Science programs and microbial food safety.

He has received awards recognizing both his teaching and research.  He serves on both NIH and USDA panels and on the editorial boards for several journals. He is Associate Editor of Frontiers in Sustainable Food and Agriculture, senior-author of Food Microbiology – An Introduction a leading textbook on Food Microbiology, editor of Microbiology of Fresh Produce, and senior-editor of The Produce Contamination Problem – causes and solutions. Development of programs that foster food sustainability and food safety and minimize food waste are key focus areas.  

Megan Wang

As you would hope for from a study abroad program, Food and Sustainability in Thailand has a good balance between cultural and academic activities. Over the course of two weeks, we were able to tour the golden temples of Bangkok, stroll through lively night markets, take trips to food processing facilities, visit high-altitude farms in the mountains of Phetchabun, and so much more, all the while learning about food production, sustainability, and safety. We also had free time to rest, work on assignments, or do some additional exploring.

The faculty, staff, and students of Mahidol University were very friendly and hospitable. Food, potable water, and other necessities were affordable and easily accessible, making our stay quite comfortable.

This experience was absolutely unforgettable. Having known next to nothing about Thailand prior to studying abroad, I learned a lot about local culture and customs in addition to the focus of the course, food and sustainability. There really is no simple classroom substitute for going out into the world and challenging yourself to understand the norms of different countries.

Ryan Kirchner
My participation with the Rutgers Food and Sustainability study abroad program was one of my most valued experiences in my academic career. It has always been my dream to visit Thailand and this program offered me the chance to accomplish this goal while also advancing my degree, achieving hands on experience in food and sustainability practices and issues, and also giving me the chance to learn extensive knowledge of Thailand's rich culture. With his many years of experience traveling and working in Asai, Dr. Mathews provided a comprehensive course that sparked my classmates interest in every activity. 
        I highly encourage interested students to apply as they will be given the chance to visit a multitude of food processing facilities, experience local Thai agricultural practices, and speak with the local Thai people in regards to their everyday life. In addition, there is an abundance of cultural activities that make the experience that much more enriching. Each day we got to indulge in delicious Thai cuisines, cooking classes, street foods, visits to famous cultural sites such as the Thailand Royal Palace, and were allotted plenty of time to explore when not in the classroom.