Year-round sunshine, postcard perfect tropical islands, divine flavours, warm-hearted and smiley people: this is what most people think about Thailand. However, besides being a dream laid-back holiday destination, Thailand is also a place for studying and getting ready for a promising career. There are many accredited programs in arts, business, education, economics, engineering, social sciences and a variety of others for you to choose from at an affordable price. It is also an exciting time to study and work in Thailand as the Thai economy is one of the strongest in the region and is fast growing.
So now you should learn some interesting facts about Thailand and what makes living there for work, studies or both an attractive choice.
1. Strong Economy & low cost of life
Sirocco Bar where the film Hangover was shot - Courtesy of AsiaWebDirect
According to the World Bank, Thailand is going through a great development moment with sustained strong growth. The country has made remarkable progress in social and economic issues, moving from a low income country to an upper-income country in less than a generation.
Yet, it still offers a good life at an affordable price. The low cost is one of the main advantages of travelling and living in Thailand. A small furnished studio apartment with free WIFI plus utility bills can cost you as little as $300 per month. Cheap and delicious food is always easy to find. A tasty Thai dish at a local shop costs only $2. In a fancy restaurant, $20-$30 is enough to get a scrumptious meal. In a bar, $2.00-4.00 is the price you pay for a 330ml bottle of beer. A sophisticated cocktail goes for under $5-7 in an average local bar and under $20 in a swanky sky bar with a spectacular view of the whole city, like that famous high-end bar in Bangkok featured in the film The Hangover.
2. An international atmosphere mixing a unique culture with modern interventions.
Skyscrapers and sky train line - Courtesy of Bangkok Post Thai temple in Bangkok - Courtesy of enjoyourholiday
Thailand is a very friendly place for tourists and is one of the most visited countries in the world. The country is ranked 7th in the world’s top destinations for expats, and ranked 1st in terms of affordable quality living, according to the HSBC Expat Explorer 2014 survey. Without a doubt in Thailand you can meet people from all over the world!
However, the country treasures its national traditions. For example, Thais greet each other with a wai, a gesture consisting of a slight bow with the palms pressed together in a prayer-like fashion. Usually, younger people wai older people, as a sign of respect for the elderly. In front of many buildings, even those sky-high and modern ones, you can see spirit houses where offerings of food and garlands are made to appease the spirits inhabiting the pieces of land on which the buildings are built. You will encounter many cultural traditions in Thailand.
3. From Thailand and in here, everything is accessible.
Bangkok Airport - Courtesy of Destination Asia
The Bangkok airport is one of the busiest airports in the world due to its strategic location and superb infrastructure. It is also the gateway to other Southeast Asian destinations. Thailand has many opportunities to offer and high-quality infrastructure. Bangkok, for example, has both an underground metro system and an above ground sky train system and they are both cheap to travel on. A return ticket for a sky train ride costs less than $2. Comfortable taxis are also reasonably priced. Aside from normal transport, they also have their famous tuk-tuks and motorcycle taxis. A tuk-tuk is a three wheeler that locals use for short distances. A motorcycle taxi offers you a motorbike ride especially when you want to avoid traffic jams and are in a hurry. The best way to travel from city to city is by coach. The road conditions in Thailand are great so you can rest assured of a peaceful journey to lush jungles and mountains in the north or pristine beaches in the south. Domestic flights are popular and cheap. You can reach the farthest north or south part of the country to admire breath-taking natural beauty and awe-inspiring architecture in just less than 2 hours.
4. Home away from home
A mix of local Thais and foreign tourists at the Floating Market – courtesy of OMG List.
Don’t worry about ever feeling homesick, Thailand will make you feel at home. Many tourists have decided to permanently leave their home countries and settle down in Thailand and they brought some of their home traditions. The funny thing is that a few of them have been in Thailand for so long that they know more Thai words than I do! In order to meet expats’ demands, a lot of shops and supermarkets in Thailand import groceries from other countries so you are sure to see brands that you recognise there.
However you should try to befriend local people as they are very friendly, easy to talk to and helpful. You will definitely be invited to many parties and will not feel lonely. As a part of Thai culture, Thai people call each other Brother, Sister, Uncle, Auntie, and such in Thai, followed by their names, even though they are not related. This indicates a strong sense of family that Thai people have.
5. Quality education at an affordable price
Thai and international students at Mahidol University International College (MUIC) – Courtesy of MUIC
The top universities in Thailand are ranked in the QS Top Universities, while other universities in Thailand offer a wide range of accredited international programs covering numerous areas of study from arts, business, economics, finance, engineering, law, medicine, science and so on.
Thai universities are well recognised around Southeast Asia, so if you plan on working in Thailand and in this dynamic region, a degree from one of the universities can be a real advantage. If you plan to work elsewhere overseas or in your home country, it can definitely help boost your CV, especially when your potential employer is a multinational company with worldwide operations.
Moreover, you can earn a degree there without running into debt. Working part-time while you are studying is feasible. You can teach English or a foreign language in a school, offer private tutoring classes or work in international conferences.
6. Great career and investment opportunities
A holiday villa in Thailand, courtesy of All Day Chic.
It is very common for people to come to Thailand to teach English or any other foreign language. A teaching career can pay very well if you teach at a top international school. There are also many other career options such as those in hospitality, technology, media, publishing industry and so on. Thailand is also home of numerous operations offices for a wide range of multinational companies.
7. You can get a bit of everything and more in Thailand
Phang Nga Bay, Thailand – Courtesy of Thailand Journey Adventures
Located in the heart of Southeast Asia, in Thailand you can experience all aspects of modern life; comfort, safety, global products and services, mixed with its local traditions. The influences of Buddhism and the exotic culture are an embedded part of society. It is busy but still boasts a laid-back, easy-going and welcoming atmosphere. It has a few concrete jungles but a lot more green, deep and lush jungles. It is also home to some of the best beaches in the world and other most striking natural wonders that simply take your breath away. It attracts investment and wealth, yet it is cheap to live and get around. It is where you can live in paradise for less. If you are still doubtful about what I just said, go there and experience it by yourself. Be prepared to discard your return ticket back home!