Unforgettable Experience! Past Review

By (Managerial Science, Georgia State University) - abroad from 05/31/2014 to 07/19/2014 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned that the world is a lot bigger than my backyard, and opportunities are endless as long as I'm brave enough to explore. The trip was worth every penny, I will never forget it.

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.

I was hesitant about studying while abroad because I felt as though being in a class room the whole time would take away from my experience. Especially since for this program it was M-F for 3 hours. However, if anything, taking courses enhanced my experience abroad. Firstly, although some time is spent within a classroom, a lot of class time is spent field learning meaning that we visited museums, temples and even other cities during class time to learn which is an awesome alternative to traditional classroom learning. I learned WAY more that way and enjoyed all the field trips. Secondly, studying while abroad allowed for me to learn about Thailand, but also about business (which is what I studied) on a much larger and real scale. The things I learned in my business class in Thailand will take me a million times further than anything I've learned in my business classes here in the states. There is some rigor, because there are actual papers, projects, and tests involved (varies depending on which courses you take) but it's nothing anyone can't handle.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Our on-site staff member's name was Pkai and he was our guardian angel. Anything we needed he was able to provide, and any issues we had he was able to resolve. He is Thai, so he was able to inform us how to go about experiencing the real Thailand, not just touristy Thailand. He was a huge reason why my experience was awesome.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Myself and all of the other students in the program were able to stay in off campus apartment style housing, which was cool because we were around other Chiang Mai University students (both Thai and foreign) but we were not on campus so it didn't feel like we were trapped at CMU (though CMU was in walking distance from where we lived). It was in an awesome location, just a quick ride to the Old City and surrounded by 7/11's (where everyone buys everything from) and awesome places to eat. Also, as mentioned above our rooms were apartment style so I had my own space from my roommate which was nice. The apartment lacked a kitchen, but you really don't need it. There's places where you can get cheap delicious food everywhere.

* Food:

Thai food is amazing. A lot of people on my program were hesitant to try it because they were afraid it would be too hot but milder options are always available, and most Thai restaurant workers will ask you if you would like a milder version beforehand. Plus, you almost always have an option to get a dish with chicken, pork, or tofu which was awesome for me because I don't eat red meat. The food is really healthy and organic too, my skin cleared up within a week of me being there. The program gives you an 1500 baht food stipend every module which is super helpful, and allowed me to try different Thai dishes.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I was really happy with how integrated I felt. When you're in Thailand, you'll see a lot of backpackers and foreign visitors on vacation and sometimes I would find myself getting jealous because they didn't have homework or any other obligations to worry about but trust me, we definitely had the advantage: our Thai roommates. At the beginning of the program everyone is assigned a Thai roommate that you live with for the course of the program. The roommates taught us Thai, cooked us traditional dishes, and showed us places/restaurants that the locals go to... not just touristy places that foreign travelers confine themselves too. They also shared a lot about their culture with us and what life in Thailand is like on a day to day basis, something you can never get from reading about Thailand or just taking a vacation there.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

At the beginning of the program what to do if we had a health emergency was addressed by the program directors. Also, we were all given insurance that covered us for our entire stay.

* Safety:

Before I left for Chiang Mai, Thailand I was absolutely terrified. I heard a lot of stories about theft and trafficking that had me ready to opt out of the program. However, I NEVER felt unsafe there. Although I would advise always traveling in groups just because the country is foreign to us, there were times that I walked somewhere on my own... even at night. I don't even do that where I live.

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)

The dollar converts really well in Thailand so it wasn't hard at all to live on a student budget. Plus TEAN provides you with a 1500 baht stipend for food which definitely eased any financial strain I may have had.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? On average about 1200 baht
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? You are going to bring back a million things so pack an extra backpack/dufflebag in your suitcase for souvenirs on the way back so that you don't have to purchase extra luggage in Thailand. Also, always always ALWAYS bargain when you are at a market. It is expected so you will not be offending anyone, and it will always save you money. Lastly, do not be afraid to eat at street vendors. They taste amazing, they are safe to eat at despite speculation, and they are cheap.


* 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

The program offered a Thai language course, and we had Thai roommates to facilitate learning the language and culture.

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
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? I made sure to study basic words and phrases before I left, but I was able to learn basic conversational and survival Thai just by talking with the Thai roommates and practicing/listening in markets. The language isn't as hard as it appears to pick up. The Thai people really appreciate when you at least try to speak their language, so definitely try to pick up as much as possible. Some will even reward you with the Thai price (which is always cheaper than prices for foreigners).

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International 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 Thai roommates
  • My business professor
  • The diverse group
* What could be improved?
  • Nothing!
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew that post-study abroad depression is a real thing, because I definitely felt it when I came back to the US. I miss Thailand and my program every second!

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!