About BALAC

          The Bachelor of Arts in Language and Culture (BALAC) program is Chulalongkorn University’s flagship global liberal arts program and Thailand’s first cultural studies program. Since 2008, it has prepared a wide range of students with 21st century humanities skills, knowledge, and experiences to help them succeed in today’s world.

          BALAC began as an international program, taught in English, in the renowned Faculty of Arts of Chulalongkorn University. Aiming to provide carefully selected students a quality globally-oriented liberal arts education, BALAC has focused on teaching Cultural Studies in English along with foreign language competence. In doing so, it has fostered critical thinking, creative problem-solving and clear communication in its graduates through a wide range of cultural studies classes, as well as giving them competency in a foreign language. These primary goals remain central to the program’s future, too.

          But BALAC has grown and improved in its first decade.

          BALAC is bigger and more international. Since 2008, the BALAC program has more than doubled the number of enrolled students in each class to more than 100 new full-time students each year, and quadrupled the number of foreign faculty who teach in it. It now comprises about a quarter of the Faculty’s students. In addition, each semester more than thirty inbound exchange students from many universities around the world further diversify and globalize the program. To help realize its international mission within the Faculty of Arts, each year more than thirty outbound BALAC students leave to study for a summer, a semester or a full academic year in a foreign university. The program has plans to increase and enhance its global expansion in the future, too.

          BALAC is forward-looking and more committed to teaching real-world skills. From 2018, the curriculum will expand and diversify. In addition to providing a concentrated study of a foreign language, the program will also offer concentrations in two new areas, Global Cultures and Media Cultures. Students will have a wider range of Cultural Studies classes to choose from, including many with a stronger practical orientation. This can be seen in two important new options available to students from 2018: an Internship for which they can receive three credits, upon its completion, and a capstone Senior Project, which students can do for six credits in their final year.

          The evolution of the BALAC program in its first decade reflect an awareness that students need more than just knowledge and a diploma to succeed in today’s world. They need concrete evidence of their abilities in action, both in and out of the classroom. The above extras, along with expanded forms of international engagement and community involvement offered by the program, aim to help BALAC graduates get an edge in global academic settings and in today’s global workplace.

Testimonials

“BALAC has equipped me with valuable knowledge and global understanding, and, more importantly, with essential skills for critical thinking, problem solving and communications that allow me to continuously learn and grow academically, socially and professionally. As the world is rapidly and constantly changing, the ability to adapt and understand these changes is crucial and is an important part to mastering the art and craft of success.”

Nina Simpson
BALAC 7
Digital Marketing Executive

“Studying in BALAC and at Faculty of Arts provides critical cultural understanding and life management skills. I have integrated diverse inter- disciplinary subjects like Philosophy, Cultural Studies, and many others into my work, and they became part of the brand I created. I made artistic values and cultural knowledge part of my business.”

Wisarut Homhuan
BALAC 4
Owner of WRITE by WISARUT, Freelance Actor, Bilingual MC/ Show Host, Acting Coach, Lecturer

“BALAC put me in the right point to start my own journey. A lot of times, I take what is introduced in class and then, based on that, further explore what I am interested in. For example, the contemporary literature course, most of the texts that were used in class was the postcolonial literature from Africa and Caribbean. I started to question – there are postcolonial literature in Southeast Asia as well but why were those texts not selected? For me, it was a good point of departure to explore further interests. I don’t want to say that I learned “A” so I could do “B”. But I think I was just the general atmosphere and mindset that the program put me in.”

Kamolwan Panyasevanamit
BALAC 5

Chevening Scholar
Graduate Student at Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge

“As a consultant, I solve the problems for my clients. To do so, I need to understand every variable for each of them has its own impact on the problem. Even though BALAC does not offer me any popular skillsets for the market, it taught me to observe things differently which, in my opinion, is also vital for my career life.”

Nattanun Werawutiwong
BALAC 4
Ipsos Business Assistant Consultant

“BALAC opened my eyes and my mind to various ways of thinking from different cultures and traditions. BALAC taught me to see the bigger picture and to be able to find a thread through little details within it. This prepared me to better adapt to unexpected situations and to be able to read into how people communicate and to see the true ideas behind them.”

Pinnaree Yontararak
BALAC 2
Project manager and piano teacher, Nat Studio; Music therapist, Bangkok Hospital

“BALAC’s interdisciplinary program prepared me for my future career and shaped my perspectives towards society. The program not only focuses on languages but also emphasizes the intersectionality between cultural studies and lived experience. The cultural studies’ courses I learned at BALAC prepared me for my academic career today.”

Porranee Singpliam
BALAC 2
BALAC Lecturer, Ph.D. in International Culture and Communication Studies, Waseda University

“BALAC has given me a personal and intellectual confidence from its interdisciplinary teaching in a multicultural environment. The program equipped me with an ability to view the world through a cultural lens, which gives a broader vision while still embracing the distinct identity of each individual. This way of seeing things helps a lot in my daily life, both when working with people from different cultural backgrounds and when trying to make sense of the way things are done in ordinary settings.”

Theppadol Punyatipat
BALAC 6
UNHCR (UN High Commissioner for Refugees) Registration Assistant, Protection Department

“The BALAC program prepared me to multi-task using the knowledge I gained from lecturers and international exchange students. Critical thinking and writing also deepened the way I see the world and extended my cultural awareness. Being able to understand situations from various perspectives helps me creatively complete each task.”

Alissaya Tsoi
BALAC 1
MC, TV Host, Actress (Entertainment), Moderator, T.A., Translator, TV content creator, Artistic Director of YELO House

“There is nothing outside of the text’ was probably the most repeated quotation of Jacques Derrida I heard during my time in BALAC. As incomprehensible as it may sound, it taught me how important words and communication are in life. This is because language, much like life itself, builds on the meanings of all those that came before it, and exists only in relation to others around it. Hence, probably the most important thing BALAC has prepared me for is to handle my life knowing that I will have to ‘live’ with other people. This knowledge and experience is something I will treasure and cherish every day of my life.”

Pasavit Boonkongchuen
BALAC 4
AP Payment Analyst (Italian speaker) ExxonMobil Limited