One would be hard pressed to find a city that could even compare in the world. Bangkok is an over populated village with modern conveniences, it does not sleep. Even though Bangkok has westernized throughout history, it still holds onto its traditional rustic Thai way of life - tight roping a delicate balance of both old and new - encrusted in a tourist destination and village for many Thai families.
That 17-hour flight to may not come cheap—but your time in Thailand need not break the bank. Many study abroad program providers have scholarships for participants, but here are a few more options to browse!
Planning Your Trip
Choosing a Program
Though Bangkok is a major city and more westernized than some of the other cities in Southeast Asia, it is always good to remember that it is not the USA and there will be a major culture shock that one will inevitably undergo. For this reason, it is highly recommended to find a program that offers many opportunities for one to meet with locals and other international students.
One should consider programs that provide abundant support. Programs offering student housing or shared accommodation are highly recommended. This may prove beneficial for both meeting new friends and helping to smooth the lows. It is always a great idea to begin ones quests for information by asking peers or former alumni, and checking GoOverseas to view others reviews on programs and what they have to offer.
Living in Bangkok
It is highly recommended to study in Bangkok with at least basic Thai language skills or the intent on gaining them - this will not only ease the bumps along the road while studying, but also reduce the strain on your pocketbook. It should be mentioned that there is a dual pricing system in effect in many stores. This system consists of prices for the local and prices for tourist.
Like major metropolitan cities in the world, the cost associated with living will be more expensive than living in a rural village. That is the bad news, but here is the good news: one will quickly find the US dollar stretches, even in Bangkok. You can find inexpensive housing throughout Bangkok.
Bangkok has a very good public transportation system which one will need to master if planning on getting around, because traffic is notoriously bad in Bangkok. Here are some common ways to get around the city. Getting around in Bangkok.
- Cooking classes – learn how to cook delicious Thai food
- International School of Massage
- Royal Palace Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha)
- Royal Barges Museum
- Beaches – Koh Sichang and Pattaya just to name a few hours outside of the city
- Chinatown and Paruhat
- Jim Thompson’s House
- Khao San Road - backpacker central - a colorful mix of East meets West
- Lumpini Park
- Red Light Districts - infamous districts of Patpong, Nana Plaza
Culture Shock and Support
One will find that Bangkok definitely is not the USA or any other western nation for that matter. Some of the cultural norms can take time to get use to, but be patient and take your cues from the locals before going bull headed into an unknown situation. If you are ever in a situation where you are too lost, then speak with local Bangkok students - one may find that locals can be very helpful.
Thailand known as the “city of smiles”, making Bangkok the capital of smiles, but why exactly do Bangkokians smile so much? Two reasons: Thais are just very happy people. The other, well, without over dramatizing the situation, just be careful with overly friendly people or situations that seem too friendly or good to be true. Though not the norm, there are some well crafted scams one should be aware of before studying in Bangkok.
One should always work with their school representative in-country or domestically, depending on the structure of your study abroad program.
The truth is, student visa and immigration laws can change at a moments’ notice so always consult with Thailand’s Immigration or the Thai US Consult for updates and status of any new regulations you should be aware of.
Bangkok displays traditional and international influences simultaneously making for a very unique but complex tight roping act that foreigners fall in love with, and Bangkokians call home.
Bangkok or “Krung Thep”, as the locals typically call it, is an amazing city. Not one of the most gorgeous cities in the world, but the city of Angeles definitely contains a vibrant energy hard to find elsewhere. Bangkok has some history behind it. So go out there and explore it! This large village cannot be divided and conquered in one day, or one week worth of exploration. It is best to treat it like fine Thai cuisine – eat slow and enjoy the rich various flavor. Bangkok is definitively a tropical destination that will make for an Epic Study Abroad.