Thailand has become quite an important center for education. Here are 10 reasons why Thailand is an ideal place for secondary, tertiary, and post-graduate studies:
By Imtiaz Muqbil,
Studying in a foreign country has always been a desirable pursuit for young people. It broadens the mind, expands the knowledge base, and exposes young people to different cultures and values. The globalization of education is one of the great benefits of globalization at large. Multinational companies have long known that multi-cultural employment and training facilities can be good for sales and profits.
In the past, most students headed for the traditional bastions of advanced education such as the United States and the UK. In recent years, competition has emerged from other places such as Australia and New Zealand. More recently however, Asian countries such as India, Malaysia, and Thailand are becoming increasingly attractive. Learning English, for example, is no longer an exclusive domain of the U.S. and U.K. Former British colonies such as India, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia offer equally good opportunities.
In Thailand, the globalization of the economy has led to many foreign companies setting up shop. In addition, the presence of the regional headquarters of the United Nations system, major international airlines and the diplomatic corps has led to a large expatriate presence. This has fuelled demand for a schooling system suited to the needs of individual communities.
In turn, young Thais, especially children of Thai business families, need an international education to better understand the dynamics of working in a global environment. At least part of this education can now be gained within Thailand itself. This is quite a change from the past when Thai students were actually banned from attending international schools.
Hence, Thailand has become quite an important center for education. Here are 10 reasons why Thailand is an ideal place for secondary, tertiary, and post-graduate studies:
1) Most countries in Asia have been colonized at some stage in their history. Not Thailand. This historical asset is a major point of pride for the country. The political, social and economic system provides for a liberal academic atmosphere that thrives on diversity of opinion, debate and discussion.
2) Thailand’s geographical location at the heart of the ASEAN and Greater Mekong Sub-region is a huge advantage. This proximity, along with good, year-round weather conditions, has attracted students from many of the surrounding countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Bhutan.
3) Young people seeking to pursue alternative paradigms of thought and human development can learn much from the “Sufficiency Economy” principles of His Majesty the King, the world’s longest reigning monarch. Over the long term, with the global scenario in such a state of flux, the “Sufficiency Economy” offers unique ideas for sustainable, holistic and grassroots-oriented solutions to many of today’s problems.
4) A number of universities and higher education institutions such as the Asian Institute of Technology, Mahidol, Chulalongkorn, ABAC, Thammasat and Kasetsart have proven track records of expertise in specific areas such as environmental studies, agriculture, law and energy. There is no better place to get a degree in Buddhist studies.
5) Nearly all the major universities have academic tie-ups with international universities. This facilitates exchange programs by both students and academics. A number of Thai universities boast high-level graduate programs in business and management. Nearly all of these courses are being taught in English.
6) In the travel & tourism industry, extensive opportunities exist to do internships with a broad cross section of hotels, tour operators, convention centers, etc. This is one of the advantages of having such a diversified economy. One of Thailand’s major homegrown hotel chains, the Dusit Hotels & Resorts, runs its own college which accepts international students. Mutual recognition schemes have been worked out amongst the educational authorities to raise standards and facilitate acceptance of local and regional qualifications.
7) Although the costs of international schooling are not exactly low by local standards, the cost of living certainly is. So, too, is the cost of having friends and families come to visit. Call it a “fringe benefit.”
8) There are a number of secondary schools from different backgrounds, for example, a Swiss German school, Chinese and Singaporean schools, British boarding schools, even Indian and Islamic schools with an international curricula. Many have broadened their curriculums to accommodate changes in demand. Several are located outside Bangkok, which adds to the pleasure as the campuses have a lot more space with plenty of fresh air and greenery.
9) All work and no play will make a Jack dull boy, but not in Thailand where it is easy to be spoiled by the choice of places to both work and play. During breaks and long holidays, seeing different parts of the country and even crossing the border over to a neighboring country is a real pleasure.
10) In addition to the normal curricula, Thailand offers extensive opportunities to acquire associated qualifications and skills. Young people can learn a new language, take classes in Buddhist meditation and Thai massage, even learn how to cook delicious Thai cuisine or become a master of Thai-style kick-boxing. One major university has started new courses in health and wellness management, a growing field of study to cater to growing demand by proliferating number of spas and wellness centers. Students can also pursue other activities such as volunteerism and poverty alleviation projects.
Foreign students will require special visas to stay in Thailand. In most cases, the respective educational institutions will get this organized, as it could involve a fair amount of paperwork.
Thailand is becoming a very welcoming country for foreign students, especially those who respect the country’s traditions and culture, do not become judgmental about its people, stay clear of local politics and are willing to learn from the country’s successes and failures. Follow these simple rules and the results will last a lifetime.
Telling prospective future employers about the uniqueness of a stint of study in Thailand will open the doors for jobs in many countries in the rising Asian Century. More information on the choices is easily found on numerous websites.