From France to Thailand – My Study Abroad Experience

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“During my master’s degree, I studied one semester abroad and want to share my overall experiences with you in Thailand and South East Asia!”  

Jean-Vianney is a French student (24) from Paris who decided to study abroad in Bangkok at Kasetsart University. He did his Bachelor’s in Finance before attending a business school in Lyon. For his last semester at the Emlyon Business School, he wanted to have a great experience discovering new cultures, being alone in a new place completely different from Europe, and going out of his comfort zone. Find out about Jean-Vianney’s travel tips, greatest learnings and study experience in Thailand in this interview!

Why did you choose Bangkok as your study abroad destination?

Because it is the center of Thailand and where you will meet the most international people. Moreover, traveling from Bangkok is quite easy. For instance, we could easily visit Malaysia, Laos, and Vietnam. Also, I heard many good things about Thailand’s culture. For example, people are super friendly, always smiling, and very welcoming. Consequently, this was a culture that I wanted to live in for a while and see how it is. Well, Bangkok is Bangkok, so it’s a city with many people and high tourism. Therefore, I think witnessing a country’s culture in such a big world city is hard. But when we traveled to places where tourism was less present, you could meet people who were really like I’ve heard: very welcoming and genuinely wanted to help you with nothing to expect from it. Traveling off the beaten path was the perfect opportunity to explore the culture. In general, Thailand has a great culture and is a good place to live.

You might also be interested in: Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Study in Thailand!

Why did you choose to study abroad with Asia Exchange?

It was quite an opportunity for me to go abroad. Since I wanted to go to Southeast Asia to discover this part of the world, I only had the possibility at my university to study abroad as a “freemover”. Consequently, I had to find a partnership with another university on my own. So, I reached out to many universities, but it’s tough to come into contact with them and be accepted afterward. You get discouraged when you have been asking several universities for two months and have always been refused with the same process. That’s when I stumbled across Asia Exchange and found this fantastic and easy opportunity.

Asia Exchange was always available for me, which was quite helpful for all my questions. The whole procedure was very smooth and easy compared to what I tried before. Asia Exchange supported me in the entire process. For example, they helped me to switch from the Bachelor’s to the Master’s program. They even support you during your studies abroad, but I had no contact with Asia Exchange then because I had no troubles. Additionally, the Kasetsart University also offered me a lot of support. They were helpful when we had issues with courses or needed more information about something. 

What expectations did you have before studying at KU? Were those met?

I didn’t have a lot of expectations before going there. I was like, okay, show me how Thailand is, and I’m just going with the flow. In the end, I had good experiences at Kasetsart. Overall, I had three courses. They had good teachers, it was very interesting, and we had a great time at the university. We were close to Thai people because they were in the same classroom with us, sharing ideas, and we were having a lot of discussions with them. The courses were the same good level, similar to what we had in France. However, almost all the cases discussed in class were from companies in Asia offering different perspectives and problems. Quite interesting! 

How did the experience in Thailand influence your career aspirations or your goals? 

You arrive on a completely different continent and in a city that is so chaotic compared to France, where the rules are different. If you can easily adjust and enjoy your time in Thailand, it shows that you can adapt to various situations. And that this is something that recruiters look for in someone when hiring. Nowadays, adaptivity is essential because everything is rapidly changing. I also truly believe that studying abroad will be a huge advantage for finding a good job later. Especially in the times that we live in, being flexible to changes is the number one thing that can lend you a job. Therefore, it was necessary for me to make this study abroad experience in Thailand to show recruiters that I  can adapt to other countries and new, challenging situations. 

If you’re interested in another life-changing student experience from Thailand, click here!

What advice would you give further students who want to go to Thailand?

Well, definitely to go for it! Bangkok is an amazing place to live. Studying in Bangkok allowed me to visit many beautiful neighboring countries. Additionally, I traveled through Thailand and explored stunning places. I would recommend asking locals which places they love, where they would go, and what they like to do and just start from there. Then, keep in touch with people who know the local insider tips. That’s the best way to find out about hidden gems.

I recommend staying out of the usual tourist places and things to do and embracing that you are in Thailand in a completely different culture. The locals are always so happy to talk to you. When we arrived in Kasetsart, all the Thai students talked to us and invited us to grab a drink and have lunch together. And they wanted to show the culture and share places we should visit. They were so happy to have us in their school. 

Finally, What did you learn by studying abroad in Thailand?

It just made me want to go abroad more than before. Consequently, it made me sure that I would be happiest just being overseas, discovering and immersing in new cultures, and not just traveling around. Therefore, studying abroad was the thing I needed. You cannot really have the same experiences solely being on holiday. I really want to work abroad later to catch this feeling again that you can only experience abroad. For instance, I felt similar during my semester abroad in Greece. And now, in Thailand, I felt this unique feeling again. Finally, I started feeling at home, appreciating cultural differences, and meeting people with different mindsets and fresh perspectives. My study abroad experience in Thailand showed me that I need to keep on exploring. 

Do you want to know more about being an exchange student in Thailand? Find our more here!

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.