Thammasat University - Fall 2013

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Name of the University: Thammasat University, Bangkok, Thailand
Exchange semester: Fall 2013
Before leaving Norway
I received my letter of confirmation by mail in mid-June and the official letters came shortly
after to BI. This letter gave me all the information necessary when it came to what I had to
prepare before I left for Bangkok, and a bit about what I had to do the first days after arrival.
The university had an exchange guide with help when it came to finding an apartment, how
the dress code was, and any other practical information.
Applying for a visa
When it came to applying for visa this was a simple process. I had already received a letter
from Thammasat which I should bring to the Thai embassy in Norway, which worked as an
official letter to state my purpose of travelling. The visa process consisted of filling out a form
and paying the visa fee of NOK 500,-. From filling out the application till getting the final
visa took about 5 (five) working days.
Travel
I travelled to Bangkok with a direct flight, costing me approximately NOK 3000,- flying with
Norwegian. As far as I know this was the cheapest travel expense of all the international
students.
Housing
When it came to housing I travelled to Bangkok with a hotel reservation for 2 (two) days. The
first day I arrived I called one of the landlords suggested by the exchange guide. The process
was simple, all thou not provided by the university. The contract was similar to those I have
seen in Norway, and I could move in on the day. I never heard of any international students
having trouble finding a place to live.
Costs
Rent
Books*
Food
Transport
Other
NOK 1500
NOK 1000
NOK 10002000
NOK 500
NOK 5002000
* One time occurrence, not monthly.
Culture and language
When it comes to the language barrier, most employed at school was decent to good at
English. I never had any problems with the faculty, but some of the students where either to
shy or unskilled to engage in conversation with the international students.
When it came to the cultural aspect of my exchange I had the possibility to experience the
culture and country of both Thailand and the surrounding countries. Travel expenses in southeast Asia is cheap and convenient due to the large scale of backpackers travelling around.
II. ABOUT THE SCHOOL
Please describe:
Thammasat University Campus Thapra Chan is located in the older part of Bangkok. Right
next to the Royal Palace and Sanam Luang Park. It is 5 (five) minutes of walking from
Campus to Khao San Road. On campus one can find several faculties, office buildings, a
soccer field and cafeterias with view of Chao Phraya River. With its utilized space of
approximately 103.000 square meters, it’s a decent size campus.
Most mentionable, the school is known for its education when it comes to political science
and economy, but it also offers a faculty of law and some other programs.
When it comes to the study structure of the university they are generally using class rooms
and class participation is both mandatory and evaluated as part of your final grade. They
operate with different forms of evaluations ranging from class presentations, term papers,
midterms and finals.
Course registration
Course registration on the school was a bit of a hectic period of the introduction week because
it is first come first served. Due to the fact that one have to be in contact with the home school
and the host university at the same time and get it approved from both it makes it a slow
process. So it is important to start early and be quick before the classes’ runs out of seats. One
starts register for the classes after the information day, and the add/drop period lasts for two
weeks after semester start.
Academic calendar
Arrival date:
First day of the semester:
Last day of classes:
Examination period:
Any special events/holidays:
Aug. 05
Aug. 12
Nov. 30
Dec. 05-20
Some celebrations of
the Royal Family
Other:
Arrival
Introduction week basically consists of one full day of welcoming and practical information at
the school, followed by contact information for a buddy that you can ask to show you around
both at school and elsewhere in Bangkok. This week does not really involve any “afterschool” activities, but the internationals all meet every day for socializing over some beers
etc. Since the school only uses one day to show you around at school (which in my case was
far from enough to learn my way around), it is quite smart to get in contact with as many as
possible to help you around. This is simple and fun as everyone starts at the same level
knowing few or no one else around.
The International Office
The International Office have long opening hours, are efficient on answering mails, and keeps
you informed of whatever is going on at all time. They will help you with any questions and
they are great at helping you with both school related issues and others one might stumble
upon. They would organize cultural trips to help the exchange students get together, all of
which was for free.
Social activities
Exchange students and Thai students is often put in project groups together at school in order
to get several perspectives on the different topics. This also ensures that exchange students
and Thai students have to do things together. When it comes to relationships between the
international and the native it is mostly good. There are some cultural differences, and the
Thai students do not party as much as the western people do. Some however do, and they tend
to hang out with the internationals a lot. All in all I would say the relationship between the
international and the Thai was really good.
The school have teams for both soccer, volleyball, basketball, Thai boxing etc. These
activities are participated by both Thai students and international students. There are cups
between different schools with a lot of audience to the matches.
III. ACADEMICS
In the classroom
The teaching style of the classes depended on the class more than anything. In general it was
around 30 students in all classes. It would be either lectures similar to those of most classes at
BI, or it would be in computer labs practicing different programs like excel or matlab.
The level of workload at Thammasat University is similar to that of BI, but one is forced to
work with consistency due to quizzes and mid-terms.
Course materials
In most classes the course materials are a book as main literature, combined with PowerPoint
presentations from the professors.
Exams
When it comes to the exams they were mainly based on the lectures. The lectures were tightly
following the course materials thou, so if you missed a lecture it wouldn’t be too hard to catch
up again. The courses were evaluated based on:
o Final exam (include form: written, oral, home assignment, presentation, etc.)
o Mid-term exam
o In-class quizzes throughout semester
o Small assignments and/or papers
o
o
o
o
Presentations
Group work
Class attendance
Class participation/debates
Library and technology
The facilities at the school were all pretty modern. All rooms had air condition, which is of
mass importance in Bangkok. The computers around the campus were all pretty new. The
furniture’s was all nice and the classroom had all the technology it needed. The library was
huge and the system used to administrate the library was top modern.
Description of courses
Course code & name
BA401
Strategic Management
IB323
OM313
Quality Management
OM311
Management Science
FN241
Risk Mng & Insurance
Master/
Bachelor
Bachelor
Exam form
Prerequisites
None
None
Elective
None
Elective
Bachelor
Based on class
presentations
3h written exam
and presentation
3h written exam
and presentation
3h written exam
Approved
as
Elective
None
Elective
Bachelor
3h written exam
None
Elective
Bachelor
Comments
On a final note, how will you sum up the exchange experience?
Trying to sum up the exchange experience in words is harder than expected. Starting off with
the easiest - the academic point of view. I would not say that the academic aspect of the
exchange experience is what makes exchange incredible. It is hard to stay focused on the
academic level when so much is going on around you that you want to take part of.
The cultural aspect of my exchange was unreal. Living in Bangkok is far from anything I have
ever experienced. I don’t even have the words to describe such a difference from our western
living style. It definitively put me out of my comfort zone to begin with. But I think it is really
healthy striving to find your peace outside of your comfort zone.
The most indescribable experience of the exchange was by far the social aspect of it. Going to
the other side of the world without knowing anyone, having to rely on people you have never
seen before, is probably the most mention worthy experience of the exchange. Getting friends
from all around the world, hanging out with them on a daily basis for a semester really brings
you close to them. I believe it is something you cannot grasp the majority of, before you do
something similar.
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