Sabaaj sabaaj attitude will help to cope

Anna-Lena from University of Passau, Germany, studied abroad at Prince of Songkla University in Phuket, Thailand during autumn 2011. Read her interview below.

Anna-Lena, Asia Exchange student in Phuket

Who are you and from do you come from?

My name is Anna-Lena Brosell. I’m from Germany and study at University of Passau at the faculty of Arts and Humanities.

What made you decide to come and study in Phuket?

The courses offered fit into my degree in Germany which is studies concerning South-East Asia administration. I’ve been studying before in Indonesia and now had initial plans to go and study in Bangkok but the plan changed.

How did you get the study place? How was the application procedure?

Applying was spontaneous. The application procedure was easy and very fast, I just filled in the application at www.asiaexchange.org and the notice for a study place came after few days. I was also one of the lucky ones receiving Asia Exchange’s scholarship!

What have been the best things during the first weeks? What do you want to experience?

The surfing day at Kata beach was a really fun experience. The beaches, especially Kata Noi, are very nice. I want to learn to surf more. I would also like to paraglide which you can try for example on the Patong beach.

How do you see the balance between school and free-time activities is working?

I would say that the balance between school and free-time is good, especially since we have the Friday off from school. You can choose the courses you want and this way affect the balance. Four courses for me is ok, not too many classes and have time to do things also during the week afternoons.

What has been the most interesting in your studies so far?

International Business is a nice course and easy to understand. Also marketing class is good and the teacher David is nice. Thai language has also been useful. Actually I like very much all of the four courses I have!

Where would you like to travel during your exchange?

We would like to travel to Penang in Malaysia, in Thailand and to Indonesia. After the study exchange we want to go stay in Indonesia, in Java probably (where by boyfriend is from) or visit Bali.

Did you experience any culture shock in the beginning?

I didn’t really experience any kind of a culture shock, maybe because I have been abroad in Asia for a long time already. I was only surprised that Phuket was so westernized in certain areas in a sense that there are so many foreigners, many locals speak English and everything is well organized, such as the traffic. There are though many areas without tourists in Phuket. Go and explore!

Has your conception of Phuket changed so far?

I didn’t have any expectations about Phuket. I think it is the best way of travelling somewhere to not have too many expectations because they would just change and you could get disappointed. When I came here I liked it from the beginning. Kathu, where the university is located, is a nice place.

Why is Asia suitable exchange destination?

Asia and Thailand are suitable if you want to get knowledge and experience of South-East Asia related to your studies. Also Asia is a nice destination because here is good weather and affordable prices of food and living.  The culture is quite different than in the Western countries but it is easy to adjust especially here in Phuket.

Where are you staying in Phuket?

We (me and my boyfriend who is not studying here) are staying in Ormthong hotel. It`s a nice place with AC, TV, fridge and internet. The apartment is located close to the school campus. The monthly cost is 7000 THB excluding electricity and water.

What do you think about Asia Exchange’s charity work?

I think it is a good and valuable thing and the amount given each semester is good. It shows Asia Exchange feels responsibility of the underprivileged people and that they also want to open up students eyes to certain issues in the destinations.

Why is it better to study abroad rather than just backpacking?

Studying abroad lets you to go places and to meet people which you would miss otherwise. If you go only on travelling for short term in different destinations, you don’t learn much about the place, the people and the culture. I prefer to stay longer in a one place and settle down which enables to see the place differently. You also get to learn the language better. Travelling around you doesn’t get you to learn the language. Also a long-term experience abroad looks good in your CV and if studying you also get the credits for it.

What have you learned in Thai language?

I have learned already in three weeks how to greet and thank, ask how are you, say which day it is and the numbers. I can also introduce myself and order food. We learn a lot in the Thai class and the teacher is really nice.

What would you like to say to a person who is thinking about going to exchange to Phuket?

I definitely recommend it! You should come here with a good attitude and a dictionary. Bring also lots of sunblock! Sabaaj sabaaj attitude will help to cope. Take every step slowly but surely.

Find out more about studying abroad in Phuket

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