Our Bangkok student Maike gives 5 tips on what you need to know before starting your studies in Bangkok

My semester abroad in Bangkok is halfway done. So far, I have learned a lot about the Thai way of living and of course, I noticed major differences in the culture from what I´m used to back home in Germany. Before coming here, I read about what to expect and eventually I got a general idea about life here in Thailand. I spent a long time abroad before coming here and therefore I knew that cultural shocks can be normal and getting used to a new environment can also take a while. I expected major differences compared to western culture, but when I came here, the culture shock was more intense than I imagined.

Girl in Bangkok standing in front of temples
Maike is having a great time exploring Bangkok. Photo by Maike /  CC BY

Before going abroad, you should read about the country you are going to live in. Also, you should clarify all organizational things related to your home country before leaving, e.g. arranging everything with your bank (since it is difficult to organize abroad).

The listed things below are things I read about before I left Germany. But I still would have appreciated knowing more about it. Of course, reading can help you but when coming to Thailand you are going to see, that those facts are even more extreme when you experience them in real life. Being open-minded and not predetermined about the culture as well as the life in Thailand surely is going to help you when coming here. Here are top 5 things I would have appreciated knowing more about before leaving Germany: 

1. Not as cheap as you think

Some things are not as cheap as you think they are. Many students who come here think Asian countries are cheap to live in and that everything is low-priced. Of course, that is true when it comes to traveling, shopping and living here in general. But some products are pricier than in European countries like groceries from the supermarket as well as cosmetic or hygiene products. Make sure to buy products that you need regularly in advance. 

Shopping mall in Bangkok
Stay away from big shopping malls if you have a tight budget. The prices are usually the same as in Europe.   Photo by Jorge Fernandes Salas / CC BY

2. Lack of English

The lack of English is a fact I heard of before coming here. I assumed that communication in Thailand can be hard because it is common that most Thai people do not know English very well. After arriving I realized quickly that the situation was even more difficult than I expected. Even though I used the simplest phrases in English, it was a challenge to communicate. In the touristic areas you can expect the people being able to talk to you, but since I am not living in the city center it can get quite difficult. Therefore, I would suggest you to learn some Thai words and phrases. When you use Thai words, communicating can still be a challenge, but it is highly appreciated among the locals and they immediately try their best for you to understand them. 

3. Keep a good attitude in public

The thing I was not completely aware of is that you should stay calm and friendly in almost every possible situation. People here are in general friendly, but you can tell that the Thai people dislike when you have a different opinion. It is something I had to deal with once in a while, but you simply have to accept the fact that you spend one semester in a different culture and this also includes that you have to adapt to their behavior pattern.

smiling girl in Bangkok
Keeping a good and positive attitude in every situation helps a lot in order to adapt to the new culture. Photo By Fabio Spinelli / CC BY

4. Different understanding of organizing

My home country Germany is known for its great importance on punctuality and organization. To be honest, back in Germany I was not the most organized person, but suddenly here in Bangkok I am. I could feel a different understanding of organization right when I arrived in Thailand. It started with renting a condo and continued with the organization at the university. It is not necessarily worse, but just different. 

5. Get rid of old values

This point summarizes all of the topics above pretty well. Growing up in a western culture you have to change your usual way of thinking when coming to Thailand. Also, you should adapt slowly and accept a different way of behaving and thinking. After two months I really feel welcomed in Bangkok and I appreciate. I am highly appreciative of the opportunity of experiencing such a different way of life. 

Adapting to the new lifestyle might sound difficult, but you are going to grow into it. Sometimes you should remind yourself, that this experience will only last for a limited time and after all, you will look back and realize how much you have learned. 

Apply now to study in Bangkok and have the best time of your life

Asia Exchange is a Finnish company providing study abroad opportunities in Asia Pacific for students from all around the world. Want to get travel tips and new blog posts straight to your inbox? Subscribe to our monthly newsletter! If you have any questions about studying abroad, feel free to contact us! We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

This article was written by Siam student Maike! 

 

Latest in our blog

06.11.2019

What You Need To Know Before Starting Your Studies in Bangkok

Our Bangkok student Maike gives 5 tips on what you need to know before starting your studies in Bangkok My semester abroad in Bangkok is…

→ Read more

29.10.2019

An internship while studying

Karoliina is doing an internship while studying in Bali. Karoliina Rehnberg is a Finnish exchange student at Udayana University in Jimbaran, Bali, Indonesia. She has…

→ Read more

23.10.2019

“Yoga and Surf Are My Escape From Reality” – Interview with Sarah Hersping

Sarah Hersping chose Bali because of the yoga and surf scene. Sarah Hersping is a yogi and surfer currently studying at Udayana University, fall semester…

→ Read more

18.10.2019

Life As a student in Palmerston North, New Zealand

What can you do as an exchange student in Palmerston North? My first month at the IPU in Palmerston North has already passed. After I…

→ Read more

27.09.2019

Where to Live As a Student in Bangkok

Top 5 areas to live as a student in Bangkok As a new student in Bangkok it can get quite confusing and overwhelming coming here….

→ Read more

19.09.2019

A Masterclass With BaliTubes

BaliTubes will host the Bali Business Foundation (BBF) Program BaliTubes is one of the selected few successful companies who will give out a lecture on…

→ Read more

18.09.2019

Semester Start in Bali Autumn 2019

A look at the start of autumn semester 2019 in Bali September has come once again and in Bali that reckons the beginning of an…

→ Read more

13.09.2019

How to travel safely in Bangkok?

Tips on how to stay safe in Bangkok Bangkok, the lively capital of Thailand, is a central hotspot in Southeast Asia and one of the…

→ Read more

Get useful tips, inspiring stories and latest news straight to your inbox

Sign up for our monthly newsletter

We'll also send you a free 30+ page University Profiles Guide!
Join Our Newsletter

Your information is safe with us. Unsubscribe any time.

Asia Exchange, Vuorikatu 3 L 3 33100 Tampere, Finland
Email: info@asiaexchange.org
Tel: +358 45 322 1230, Mon-Fri, 8am-4pm (GMT +2)
WhatsApp: +358 45 322 1230

Privacy Policy

Site by Atomi

© 2007-2019 Asia Exchange

Dreamt of studying in South Korea? Apply now, deadline coming up on this Saturday!

local and international students at undiknas university

The deadlines for our partner in Seoul is ending this week. Don’t miss out on the adventure of a lifetime, apply now

See remaining deadlines for 2020