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Studying Southeast Asian Languages

Southeast Asian Languages at Berkeley


The Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies at UC Berkeley offers language instruction in Khmer, Indonesian, Filipino, Thai, and Vietnamese. Most of these languages are offered through the advanced level of instruction. 

Other Options


Opportunities for intensive language study or for the study of Southeast Asian languages not offered at Berkeley are available through other programs and institutes in the U.S. and overseas.

Southeast Asian Studies Summer Institute

The Southeast Asia Summer Studies Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is an intensive eight-week summer language program open to undergraduates, graduate students and professionals. It offers language instruction in the main Southeast Asian languages taught at Berkeley, as well as other less commonly taught languages, such as Burmese, Hmong, and Lao.

Students interested in attending SEASSI may apply for a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowship award to cover tuition costs and receive a stipend. FLAS application information for UC Berkeley students is typically posted by UC Berkeley’s Graduate Fellowship Office in December. FLAS awards are open to all graduate students studying at any level of instruction, and to undergraduates planning to study at the intermediate or advanced level.

Language Study in Southeast Asia

Intensive instruction in Southeast Asia for Filipino, Indonesian, Thai, Khmer and Vietnamese at the advanced level was available for many years during the summer with funding from the U.S. Department of Education Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad. However, due to new federal budget priorities announced in 2012, most of these programs did not receive renewal grants and so have gone on hiatus. The only overseas summer language program to receive new Fulbright-Hays funding was COTI's Advanced Indonesian intensive program held in Salatiga, Indonesia, and managed by UCLA. For currently available summer programs, interested students should refer to the contact information here for updates:

Advanced Study of Thai (AST), in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Consortium on the Teaching of Indonesian (COTI), in Salatiga, Central Java, Indonesia

Advanced Study of Khmer (ASK), in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Other intensive language programs in the summer months include the U.S.-Indonesia Society Summer Studies Program and the U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship Summer Institute, both in Indonesia.

There are also many private language schools and programs in Southeast Asia that provide instruction in Southeast Asian languages. UC Berkeley students in recent years have attended programs at Vietnamese Language Studies Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) and Wisma Bahasa (Yogyakarta, Indonesia).

The Center for Lao Studies offers a summer study abroad program in Laos that includes language instruction.

Additional Resources