How is it to be an exchange student in Bangkok during Covid-19?
During this pandemic, Asia Exchange wants to try and help you to continue your plans to study abroad. At the moment we have a few destinations that accept students to come and join their university for a semester abroad. One of these destinations is Thailand. Our student Nani from Germany is following our MBA program in Bangkok at the moment. In this interview, she will share her experience of her quarantine, her online courses, and the way things are going in Thailand right now.
First of all, how are you doing?
I’m doing good! I finally got out of quarantine and I am excited to get out of my room and meet up with other students to discover more of Thailand. All according to the current regulations of course.
What made you choose to go to Thailand during the COVID-19 pandemic?
When I was doing my bachelor’s, I left to Bali for a semester abroad. I had such a good experience studying abroad back then that I wanted to do the same during my master’s. When I saw that Asia Exchange is allowing going abroad with them to Thailand, I decided to follow the MBA program with them in Bangkok. Especially because right now in Germany, where I’m from, there is not much to do and everything is online. Here in Thailand, things are much more ‘normal’ than in Europe, of course, we still have to follow the regulations from the government.
How was it to be in quarantine in Thailand?
I spend 16 days in total in quarantine in Bangkok. It was very boring. The first 3/4 days I was mostly trying to find something to do, to keep myself busy. You’re constantly in your room without any connection with other people. When I was halfway I got more used to it and I found myself a routine. After day 7 they allowed us to go outside for 30 minutes.
What would be your advice for other students that have to go in quarantine?
I would advise them to find yourself a routine and a lot of activities to do. For example: learning the language of the country you’re in, read books, watch movies, and exercising. I was also calling a lot with my friends and family back home, as it can get quite lonely. At least it’s important to stay positive before you know it time has passed.
Where did you spend your quarantine and did you had the option to choose your location and accommodation for yourself?
I was very lucky because I was able to choose my hotel myself. There was a Facebook page ‘alternative state of quarantine’ where I could find different hotels to stay at. I was located 40 kilometers east of Bangkok.
What are your thoughts about the organization of the quarantine when you arrived?
The quarantine system plan was all very well organized. Everything at the airport was already set up when I arrived. When you get out of the plane people are waiting for you with a name list. Right after that, I got in a car and they drove me to my hotel. Everything went very smoothly.
How is the situation in Thailand right now?
It is quite empty here at the moment. Besides that, everything seems to be ‘normal’. All the bars and restaurants are still open, there are just less tourists and empty streets. It seems all a bit more ‘normal’ than in Europe. We have to wear face masks everywhere we go and they check your temperature before you enter a bar, restaurant, or store. There is also police checking for people wearing masks.
What are your expectations for this semester abroad in these circumstances?
These are very untypical circumstances at the moment, so I don’t have a lot of expectations. I don’t know what to expect, but I am looking forward to all the empty beached and being able to enjoy Thailand differently.
What are your thoughts about the online course set up?
At the moment it’s not completely sure if we will follow all our courses online or just a part of them. I would love to follow more courses on campus, so I can meet local students too. We already had some zoom classes and they all worked well. In Thailand, we use an app called ‘line’ where we can connect with other students and lecturers about different topics and questions. Tomorrow we’re having our first event on campus, so I can’t wait for that!
What are your thoughts about the preparation that Asia Exchange gave you before going abroad, during the COVID-19 pandemic?
I think that Asia Exchange did a really good job preparing us. The webinar we had before leaving for Thailand was very helpful because it offered us a lot of information. They are very approachable to the students, whenever I have a question about anything they answer fast.
Was your home university and government supportive, even though there were travel restrictions?
My home university was not an obstacle. I just had to do some paperwork and show them I was going to follow courses that added up to my current studies. The government made it a bit more difficult because everything went through the Thai embassy in Germany and this made it a bit unclear sometimes. There was a waiting list and they would call you whenever you were allowed to leave for Thailand. I was expecting to leave in mid-August, but I ended up leaving the 19th of September. This is different for every country, so I would advise students to check this with the embassy.
Do you have any more tips you would want to give to other students?
Yes, I would advise them to book their accommodation in Thailand through Airbnb. A lot of accommodations don’t offer short term stay, but Airbnb offered more options and for a cheaper price too.
Soon Nani will do a takeover of our Instagram account where she will take you along with her on her time there! So keep an eye on our Instagram if you want to know more about studying in Thailand during COVID-19.
Are you interested in going abroad with us to Thailand? Click here to find out what you need to do and to apply for your semester abroad with us!
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 our marketing inter Nadia!