Best Time of My Life Past Review

By (University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh) - abroad from 06/09/2012 to 07/20/2012 with

The Education Abroad Network (TEAN): Thailand - Summer in Bangkok

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned a lot about myself and how I should take a different perspective about the world. Global awareness is very important in society and we need to be mindful of other cultures, customs and traditions. This experience was worthwhile. I would never have been able to have this experience happen to me and I have met people that I will stay in contact with forever. Studying Abroad allows you to be who you want to be and start over with a clean conscious about the world. You learn so much once you open your mind. I am grateful for that opportunity.

Review Photos

The Education Abroad Network: Chiang Mai - Payap University Summer Program 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 experience was amazing. I really received the chance to immerse myself within Thai culture and I felt like a member of their society instead of a foreigner. Thailand is a great place to learn about different cultures and to experience a new perspective of the world. You never stop learning even when you're having fun!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I loved the supervisors that were provided to us. They made sure that we were exposed to everything possible to have a great Thai experience. Our supervisors would take us to popular attractions, but also would take us to the most influential locations that express the essence of Chiang Mai. The were very approachable and they really wanted us to participate in everything we could.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Housing was Great! I had the best Thai roommate ever! Even though she was taking basic English in school, we had great conversations and she was an amazing woman. I stayed in a suite-like dorm room. It was basic room with the necessities such as a bathroom, closet, dresser, etc. We had A/C and we had a beautiful view from our window facing the mountains.

* Food:

The food was really good! I loved having my morning coffee with fruit in the morning. But the meals were so authentic with special spices and was something different every night. They even had one day each month that the school would celebrate birthdays but also a different country and serve that food type. The cafeteria was great. My only concern was that I only had free breakfast and dinner so every lunch and weekend meal I had to pay for. But the meals were only like $2 a day.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I didn't have any negative encounters in Thailand. The people were very nice and very inviting. This country has a very collectivistic manner where they treat you like family. It wasn't hard to immerse myself in their culture because I was never reminded that I was an African-American woman in their country.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I don't have any personal stories to tell, but my friends that had to go to the hospital in Chiang Mai had positive experiences. Their visits were very quick, their insurance covered their issues and our Resident Director always came with the students. He wanted to be the translator so their was no problem or miscommunication. The students who went to the doctor, only had to go once, so it was quick and painless for them.

* Safety:

Chiang Mai is very safe. The university is a very big campus that has many security officers. There were no visitors allowed in your room of the opposite sex and each visitor had to be signed into the dorms. The area is well-lit and taxis know where they are going when you ask them to drop you off at Payap (if not just show them the business card that you will take with you at all times with the address). The people are very nice and helpful if you need assistance to get somewhere.

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 was very easy to live on a student's budget being that $1 is 30 baht in Thailand. Everything was very cheap but just a word of advise---make a plan for yourself of how much you want to spend each week including tourist things like massages, riding elephants and petting tigers.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? from $20-$40 (but closer to 20)
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? plan ahead on what you want to spend and find all the events you want to do for the whole time you are there and put that money aside.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

There was a foreign language class offered but it was not required. Taking the class would only enhance your experience of really immersing yourself in the culture. Some people in Chiang Mai can speak English but we never had to be alone to where we wouldn't be able to communicate to other people. Our class was always together and if not, we were with Thai students that could also speak English that could help us.

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
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? none
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Practice with your roommates and the friends that you make. If you don't learn the language at least learn how to say thank you, hello, good bye and my name is.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
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?
  • The people (Director, Resident Director, Thai students)
  • The EXCURSIONS (Buddhist temple, home stay, meeting political prisoners, meeting NGOs, going to organic farm, visit a cave, the national park)
  • The culture (the collectivism of the country)
* What could be improved?
  • Giving information in a timely manner before departure
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I could have budgeted my money better. I had a lot of plans and I really need to sit down and map out how I was going to be wise instead of just giving my money away. I wish I would have taken the language course!

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!