The Time of My Life Past Review

By (Friends University) - abroad from 09/02/2017 to 12/11/2017 with

CISabroad (Center for International Studies): Bangkok - Semester in Thailand

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained a lot of friends. I learned about a new way to live, a new culture, and I met new professors who I hope to stay in touch with for a long time. I did many beach & city clean ups. I learned a lot about the environment and have been trying to make conscious efforts to help the environment more while I was in Thailand and now coming home.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Mahidol was a little unorganized at times. The campus was beautiful and the teachers were great, but at the school's orientation they could have actually gave us a tour or told us about all of the services offered around campus. When we had to renew our visas lots of students were confused with the process so just keep asking questions so you don't make a mistake. The on site coordinators helped to the best of their ability but it was really up to Mahidol to help us. Many people said the classes at Mahidol were easier than their home university classes, for me it really depended on the class and the teacher. Many classes (especially science classes) provided paid for field trips, which were amazing. There are also lots of clubs and activities where you might do a day trip or a weekend trip to different places like a sea turtle rehab, or a trip to Ayutthaya.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Studying abroad through CISAbroad was a great experience for me. I really appreciated how easy and organized the application process was through the portal online. Once you get accepted be sure to find or ask for the Facebook group as the information posted in there is often very important as soon as you land in Thailand! I had a positive experience with all the on site staff, they were amazing and answered all of my questions as soon as they could.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

We got to choose between Baan Suan or Bundit housing. Both had pros and cons. Baan Suan didn't have a van to get to Mahidol like Bundit but CISabroad provided each of us (living in Baan Suan) cash for taking taxis to school. The bus system is awesome and cheaper too, but involves walking over a bridge to get to campus. The beds could have been more comfortable, but that is kind of across Thailand. Bundit does have a pool and work out equipment and is a little more campus like as there are at least 3 large housing complexes over there filled with international students (full time and visiting). Baan Suan is more home-y with very personable staff and an excellent "restaurant" in front of the housing, but Baan Suan is further from Bundit and the other international housings. However it is a short 10-15 minute walk which I made almost every evening and never felt unsafe.

* Food:

Food throughout Thailand is the BEST. If you have dietary restrictions, you might feel overwhelmed at times, but with the help of the Thai language instructors they can write it down for you to show restaurants when you eat. LOTS of street food. Campus has MANY options, Lots of options by Bundit, and along the street you will walk or take a taxi to school. Baan Suan has the nicest restaurant with everything being delicious! Don't drink the tap water, don't be scared of the fried chicken, even if it's not exactly hot, it's delicious, I didn't get sick once, but be smart when eating any street food. If there is a jug of water on your table, its safe to drink, Thai people don't drink the tap water either.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Bangkok is a very touristy city, but your right outside of it in Salaya. Salaya is a lovely town with lots of locals everywhere. Don't be afraid to go exploring. When we had to get our visa renewed I discovered a part of the town that seemed very traditional, and the people over there helped us get a taxi home. Everyone is super nice and friendly! Do a homestay while in Thailand if you can!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I didn't experience the healthcare but students basically get everything paid for or very cheap (with the exception of motorcycle related incidents, Mahidol and CISabroad now refuse to cover motorcycle incidents because it is dangerous).

* Safety:

I always felt very safe in Salaya, and pretty much everywhere I traveled. Just be smart, travel with friends and be aware of your surroundings. That being said, I did many walks back and forth between Baan Suan and Bundit alone at night. Be careful of the stray dogs, many are sweet, but even just a scratch and you could be wasting a day away in the hospital get rabies tested (this happened to a girl playing with a puppy, so yes it happens). Never run from the dogs, if one is following, barking, and too aggressive, try shouting, walking away backwards so you're facing the dog. If that isn't helping crouch down and pretend to pick up a rock and pretend to throw it. The dog will take off running because this is what Thai people do. Most of the time the dog might come back until you get completely out of it's territory, so don't linger around.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

I would definitely go through CISAbroad again. Thailand was amazing and I made so many friends. I would love to spend another semester there and see even more, but I would also love to travel somewhere else through CISAbroad.


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

I had a budget of about $70 per week. Food is very cheap, most meals will be less than $2, I've spent $1 on 3 pieces of fried chicken, but I've also spent $9 to get FULL on sushi. I spent a lot of money on elephant pants, PRO TIP- don't pay more than 100baht for elephant pants (unless they have a super cool design you HAVE to have), buy multiple to get a discount. Traveling is very cheap as well.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Hostels are amazing, you can find them as cheap as $6 per person per night! Eat street food! Avoid touristy areas for meals. Always use meters for taxis, or better yet use the bus system! 515 orange bus will take you from Salaya all the way to Victory Monument (about an hour bus ride) which has a BTS station, and its less than $1 for the bus ride one way. It also goes by Dusit Zoo.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Apartment
  • Hotel
  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • CIS provided us was a cellphone with about 2gb of data per month.
  • Koh Chang Homestay Excursion
  • The program staff were all amazing
* What could be improved?
  • The university was just slight unorganized at times
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I really love how easy the bus systems were. I also wish I explored my campus a little more. There were so many other options of food that I didn't find until the second to last week thanks to a full time student friend. Explore campus, rent a bike from next to Brew & Bev and go! Also 515 orange bus takes you from Baan Suan to Mahidol, and then all the way into Bangkok Victory Monument where you can hop on the BTS train! Going the other way from Baan Suan will take you to Central Salaya Mall. That bus will be your friend if you want to go exploring alone or with just one other friend (little cheaper than a taxi).

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Ecology & Conservation

Course Department:
Instructor: Wayne Phillips
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The class was very fun and challenging in a way that it makes you think about your impact in the world. We went on a weekend field trip doing a beach clean up, sampling some growth on rocks, snorkeling, and exploring a seafood market and observing what fish were there and their abundance in each stall and the market as a whole. We had one exam, one group presentation, some work during the field trip and a paper that tied our field trip together with what's going on with micro plastics. The teacher was great. Highly recommend for some science credits
Credit Transfer Issues: