longboat docked in phuket

Frido in Phuket (Prince of Songkla University)

I like the country, the climate, the people and culture…everything!

Frido from Vienna, Austria studied process engineering at the Technical University of Vienna. He decided to spend a semester at Prince of Songkla University in Phuket, Thailand in autumn 2011. You can read his interview below.

Frido, Asia exchange student in Prince of Songkla University

Where are we and what kind of accommodation is this for living?

Patong Traveller’s house which is a hostel in Patong. Simple yet convenient rooms include a fridge, microwave, TV, bathroom, internet, AC, a fan and a balcony. I know the Irish owner who is a very nice person. There is also a kitchen downstairs that I can use. The location is nice because it is next to a small street and I can watch the city life from my balcony. There are also many restaurants and shops nearby.

What made you to decide to come and study in Phuket?

Because of my previous experiences in Thailand. I wanted to meet the people I met during that trip again. I like the country, the climate, the people and culture, beaches, nightlife…everything! It is nice that so much things are always happening here. I also like the Thai language and the food and is really cheap. I also wanted to improve my English skills and experience studies at a respected Thai university.

How was the application procedure?

It was very easy and convenient to apply online. The initial acceptance came fast. I got all the information I needed fast from the friendly staff of Asia Exchange.

What have been the best things about your exchange experience so far?

I have been here for a month now and the greatest experience has been the trip to Hua Hin with a Thai family. I’ve also liked surfing and everyday studies at the university. The classes are small with not too many people and this helps to follow the lessons. The classes also include a lot of conversation especially David’s class on marketing. Interactive learning methods are very good.

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

Depends on how much courses you take, sometimes the mornings are pretty early. But there is also enough free time and a lot of things to do.

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

Principles of Marketing is a nice course. We have group works with the local students and this way you get to mingle with them also inside the classes. Working and discussing with the local students can be lots of fun!

Where would you like to travel during your study abroad period?

I would like to travel to Singapore, Myanmar, Laos and maybe Cambodia. I’m going to travel after the school ends and stay abroad until the end of March.

Did you experience any culture shock when arriving to Thailand?

No I haven’t experienced it. The only thing that has scared me a little bit was the “meat market” in some tourist areas, which are luckily also very easy to avoid. The traffic is also very different so you have to be careful and pay attention.

Has your conception of Phuket and Thailand changed so far?

I’ve been once here before. Patong has been ok with not too many tourists right now, will see how it is during the high season.

Why is Asia suitable exchange destination?

It is a good option because it is a upcoming area in an economic sense. It’s also really different from western culture. It’s beneficial to experience it and to learn the culture before entering to job market.

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

It is good a thing. I think that every western company here should do something similar!

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

Studying abroad is much better because you stay for a long time in one region and you get to familiarize with it. You really take part of the society. You understand more of it and get more out of the experience abroad. It gets you little bit deeper and you will have chances to broaden your network and get new friends for a lifetime.

What have you learned in Thai language?

I have learned greetings, how to introduce myself, numbers, asking how much things cost and how to order food. The Thai language lessons have been good and the teacher is nice.

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

I can recommend it. You should be open-minded, curious and interested about the culture. It also helps to be informed about the culture before coming here.

Any other comments in mind?
Sabai sabai! (means a bit like take it easy in Thai!)

Find out more about studying abroad in Phuket