An Adventure Past Review

By (San Jose State University) - abroad from 01/09/2012 to 05/11/2012 with

ISEP Exchange: Bangkok - Exchange Program at Thammasat University

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained a whole new perspective on life. I had never left America before this and I am so glad I was finally able to. It has made me appreciate my life and opened my eyes to what the rest of the world is like. Not only did I experience the Thai culture, but I got to know people from all over the world. It was completely worth all of the hassle. I got to live in Bangkok, Thailand and visit five countries in five months. Not many 22 year olds get to say they have done something like that.

Review Photos

ISEP: Bangkok - Thammasat University Photo ISEP: Bangkok - Thammasat University Photo ISEP: Bangkok - Thammasat University Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The overall academic experience was rather poor. They did not offer the classes I had read they did. They did not register me for classes until days before the first day of school, thus many of the classes were already full. And I had sent in my classes two weeks before, but was not registered like I had told I would be. The classes themselves were constantly starting late and breaks lasted forever, which cut teaching time almost in half. There seemed to be a lot of prior knowledge needed for most classes, whether it be prerequisites or just knowledge from students that already took the class. Lecture structures and class discussions were poor.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

They had the worst staff I have ever had to deal with. My point person was nicknamed "Mama" because she was suppose to act just like our mothers. I am not sure how she got that name. She was not helpful at all and consistently rude. She acted as though we were inconveniencing her when we went to her with any question or concern. She either answered most of my questions wrong or did not answer them at all. I found myself avoiding her completely. It was also an English speaking program yet none of the staff spoke english, except Mama. I found this to be a challenge.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

They took us on a housing tour during our first week and there were many different options at many different price points. It was very helpful.

* Food:

Food is very spicy in Thailand. SPICY. There is a large difference between Thai food in America and Thai food in Thailand. It is very cheap though. Fruit is available on every street corner. And street vendors are very common. If you are adventurous with food you will love it there.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The culture itself is very exclusive. So I did not feel as though I integrated into the culture as well as I had hoped. The exchange students tended to stay separate from the local students.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not have any health issues while there. I had a few friends who went to doctors though and they had decent care. The program did not assist them. They just went to the school nurse and there were a few local hospitals near by. Health care in Thailand is very good and cheap though.

* Safety:

I felt safe at all times. I lived alone and never had any trouble. I traveled alone across town on a weekly basis using all types of local transport taxis, ferry, walking, etc. and I never felt unsafe. The thai people are extremely peaceful and very friendly and helpful (even with the language barrier).

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


* 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)

It is very cheap in Thailand. Most street food is around $2-5 per meal. Rent was around $380 for me, but I did have a larger apartment then most. Most of my friends spent around $280 a month. Compared to other big cities I found this totally affordable. Cab fair was always under $3 and buses were under 50cents a ride. And there are totally affordable clothing options available on the streets with most clothes under $10.

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? Yes
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? less then $70 but I honestly didn't keep track.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Wearing your school uniform can get you a discount with street vendors, at tourist attractions, and travel agents. Barter, barter, barter! They charge you more simply for being a foreigner, but will usually come down in price if you ask. You don't need a kitchen in your apartment. I got an apartment with a kitchen, but found that eating out was cheaper then cooking in.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • N/A
* 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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The travel opportunities were unbelievable.
  • Being the minority was a totally new experience.
  • The exposure to a new and wonderful culture.
* What could be improved?
  • Administration at both home and host universities.
  • More communication on program expectations.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? School will not be the priority. I went in thinking I would simply be going to school. But experiencing different cultures became my top priority. Of course school was important. I just wish rather then taking business courses I would have taken more of the culture classes offered. I also wish I taken half the stuff that I did take. I thought things would be so important to me, but it turns out they weren't. And make sure you have plenty of room for all the things you will bring home with you!!