Is ASAP right for me?
What is ASAP?

ASAP is a 15-week semester-long traveling study abroad program. ASAP 2020 is the 19th program. 


Students, program director, program coordinators, and some faculty are on the road with you as you travel across a huge part of the Asian continent.  The focus of the program is culture, Asian religions, economics, business, and regional business practices.

How is ASAP different from other Asia-focused study abroad programs?

First, ASAP is a traveling program with no home location like other study abroad programs.  Instead of regular classes in a classroom setting, ASAP delivers classes on the road as it moves from place to place.  Exploring a local environment is an intentional part of ASAP, not a side activity, and class meetings are scheduled to allow time for company visits, travel, and exploration.  Classes will meet, and likely for more hours than the same class back home on campus, but a set class schedule doesn’t interrupt other important educational objectives that are central to ASAP. 

Second, we meet with company and US Embassy representatives for briefings on business operations and opportunities in the region.  For example, if the business is manufacturing, we tour the shop floor to see the operations first-hand.  If the business is a service (e.g., engineering or accounting), we meet with key representatives to talk about how the company delivers the service effectively and competitively.  Such meetings are distinguishing characteristics for tier-1 MBA or EMBA programs and almost unheard of for an undergraduate program.  The purpose of these meetings is to give you first-hand exposure to a business, first-hand access to those running it, and first-hand experience researching a company to prepare for the visit. 






Who sponsors ASAP? 

Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY.  Well-known in the Northeastern US, Marist has 4,900 undergraduate students, 1,000 graduate students, and 400 adult students. Marist is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Higher Education (http://www.msche.org) and the School of Management is accredited by AASCB, the international accrediting body for business schools.


When is ASAP offered?

Spring semester only.  Departure/return dates are early January -- mid to late April depending on flight availability and cost.  These dates are subject to change depending on flight availability and cost.


What places are planned for 2020?

Japan, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Nepal




Is Asia safe?

Yes.  Every place we go is as safe or safer than the majority of cities in the US.  In prior programs, the only injuries have been self-inflicted, the most serious being a fractured arm from an unsuccessful attempt to jump a barrier while jogging.

Where do we stay? 

Mostly hotels, though we may also stay in hostels, on overnight trains (with sleeping berths), maybe even a sleeping room on a boat depending on where we go. At Mt. Everest Base Camp, we stay in a nomad’s tent.   



How do we travel? 

Primarily flights, though in SE Asia where distances are relatively short between some cities, we’ll take a bus. 


We also may travel by boat or train (including overnight train with sleeping berths).


Travel in a particular city may include train, skytrain, monorail, subway, tuk tuk, motobike (as a passenger), taxi, Uber, or boat.  




How’s the food?   

In a word, delicious.  Asians value fresh, unprocessed food and ASAPers generally like every local cuisine they encounter.  Picky eaters can almost always find Western food if they want to stick to something they know.


Can I find vegetarian or vegan meals? 

Vegetarian options are almost always easier to find in Asia than in most of the US.


Just as in the US, vegan options are less plentiful though still available. Asian cuisine seldom includes dairy products, though eggs are a common ingredient in many Asian dishes. 


If you want a vegetarian or vegan meal, you can ask the server to have it made at no extra cost.

Is food expensive? 

Food is generally a lot cheaper than in the US.  In some places – Hong Kong and Tokyo – food is priced similarly to the US, though cheaper options are available if you search them out.


Is food plentiful? 

Food is literally everywhere you turn in Asia.  With respect to the ready availability of good food, the US is a food desert compared to Asia. 


Do Asian really eat ramen?

Indeed they do, but ramen and all other noodles are made fresh on-site, usually right in front of you.


Who participates in ASAP?

Students from any school in good standing both academically and behaviorally; sophomore level or higher; 2.5 or higher overall GPA (exceptions on a case-by-case basis).  


Those majoring or minoring in business or international studies will find a good fit between ASAP courses and graduation requirements.


What type of person is best suited for ASAP?

These traits and characteristics work best with the ASAP experience:

  • Curious and adventuresome; open to new experiences

  • Adaptable, flexible

  • Self-disciplined, conscientious, responsible

  • Hard-working and solution oriented, helpful

  • Emotionally stable and mature


Example:  Imagine landing in Bangkok, taking the Airport Link to connect to the Skytrain to get to the hotel and next morning walking out to the sidewalk to buy your breakfast of fresh pineapple and fresh watermelon from a sidewalk vendor with his fruit cart, fresh pomelo from a fruit stand, and fresh fried chicken from yet another sidewalk vendor.  Not a traditional breakfast, but all delicious, all safe, and all cheap.  You may have some culture shock, but you'll probably like it. 

I like to do my own thing from time to time.  Will that be possible on ASAP?

Absolutely.  In fact, doing your own thing is a requirement on ASAP, not just a possibility.  ASAP is not a “tour.”  It’s a study abroad program that places you in many different venues where you are allowed, encouraged, and even required to explore.  Prior to arrival in the next location, an ASAP team will prepare and deliver a country briefing to the entire ASAP group so you’ll know what to expect and you decide what you want to see and do.  Only in Tibet is the day’s itinerary pre-planned, and even there, you’ll have plenty of free time to explore on your own or with other ASAPers.


People differ in their desire to go solo or with a group; letting each person decide is the norm of ASAP.


Will I be able to make friends within the group?

Everyone does.  The awkwardness of meeting people at the airport for the first time to embark on a 15-week study abroad experience together fades once you arrive at the first location.   


What classes are offered?

The following 3-semester credit hour classes are the usual offerings:

  • Organizational Behavior

  • Ethical Decision Making in Business

  • Financial Management

  • Marketing Principles

  • Legal Foundation of Business

  • International Business Economics

  • Cultural Studies:  Asia and the World

  • World Religions


Some classes are face-to-face on-site:  Organizational Behavior, Legal Foundation of Business, Financial Management, Cultural Studies, and World Religions.  Business Ethics is online with assignments customized for the setting and Skype meetings for interactive sessions.  Marketing Principles and International Business Economics are primarily online with online meetings and plans to meet with the instructor for intense class sessions. 


Other courses are possible depending on students’ curricular needs and the number of students needing a different course. 

How many classes do I take? 

You must be full-time and take between 12 – 15 credit hours.  No ASAP student may drop below 12 hours.


Marist students only:  In addition to 4 ASAP classes from the list above, you may also take a Marist online course and a total of 16 credit hours at no additional cost.  At all times, you must remain registered for 12 credit hours of classes from those listed above.  Example:  If you are taking 15 credit hours with the combination of courses being 4 ASAP courses and 1 Marist online course, you could drop the online course but not drop any of the 4 ASAP courses because at all times you must remain registered for a minimum of 4 ASAP classes. 

When and where do we have class? 

Any day of the week and anywhere we find a suitable location.  On long travel days, we don’t have time or a place to have class.  Thus, classes are scheduled around the travel schedule, not around the calendar, and the class venue changes with location. 



How much does ASAP cost?

Costs can be broken down into 2 categories: 

  • Tuition & Housing and

  • Out-of-Pocket


You pay Marist College the Tuition & Housing fees.  You pay for Out-of-Pocket costs as you incur them.  


Tuition & Housing for 2018: 

  • Non-Marist students: Tuition & housing = $18,850

  • Marist students:  See your financial advisor.  Your Marist scholarships apply just as if you were on campus.  The amount you pay Marist covers both tuition and housing.


Out-of-Pocket cost includes travel, food, visas, Tibet package, and personal expense: 


Travel Expenses (estimates based on 2018)

  • 2018 flight cost = $4,526

    • Includes roundtrip transoceanic flight plus all in-region flights. 

  • 2018 bus/train/boat/airport transfer = $550


Food = $1,700 (estimate; differs by person)


Visas = $300 (if you process them yourself)


Tibet package = $1,100 (estimate based on 2018 actual cost)


Personal Expenses = differs by person

Will ASAP cost me more than the estimates above? 

That depends on you and your day-to-day choices.  


Example 1:  Flights, once booked, are a fixed cost.  But pack too heavy and incur an excess baggage fee and your flight will be appreciably more expensive than for the ASAPer sitting next to you who packed lighter.  Pay that same excess baggage fee for 10 in-region flights and your travel costs have increased appreciably.


Example 2:  Everyone has to eat, though not all choose to eat at the same places.  If you spend an average of $5 more per day than another ASAPer, your food costs are $525 higher for a 15-week program. 


Day-to-day personal spending habits have the most influence on your overall costs.




End of September to mid-October with flexibility based on a case-by-case basis. 


How do I apply?

Complete the online application here:



After I apply, how do I find out more information? 


Once you’re accepted, you’ll start receiving emails to let you know what to do, including how to apply for visas, what to bring, what to leave at home, how to pack, what e-books to buy, which ASAP group you’re in, and a host of other information so that you’re well informed about your responsibilities as well as about the region.  If you do your part, you’ll be well prepared to board the flight in early January to begin your ASAP adventure. 





Students (aka ASAPers)