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Disgruntled Student

Miserable Studying Thai in Bangkok

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I've just spent the past hour of my Sunday evening reviewing last week's Thai lessons in anticipation for my class tomorrow. I understand the material, more or less—I'm a good student, more or less—but the thought of going to tomorrow's class (and all the others) fills me with dread. Allow me to explain my situation.

 

Like many of you, I signed up for the ED visa because I wanted to stay in Thailand long-term without the threat of being denied entry at the border each time I came in as a tourist. But in addition to the fact that the ED visa itself has been far from a panacea on the immigration front, Thai school has proven to no cakewalk—and I'm not talking about the language itself.

 

I started studying in May as part of a small-group class of total beginners. Although I found it difficult at first, I attended every lesson and quickly became one of the strongest students in the group. My studies, combined with bi-monthly weekend trips to more remote provinces of Thailand, saw me master casual conversation within a few weeks. Unfortunately, over the course of these same weeks, my teacher had gone from arriving slightly late to each lesson to missing half (or more) of it. This stressed me out because it wasted my time; it saddened me because she was personable and easy to learn from, if not very by-the-book.

 

Weeks later, I learned that her tardiness had not simply been due to the fact that she was Thai. Her daughter, it seems, had a chronic medical condition, one that by the end of my second month of studies caused her to have to resign. An older, much more socially awkward woman replaced her. Not only was she a far less effective teacher; she was regularly an hour (or more) late to our 100-minute classes. Everyone but myself and one other student ceased attending before the end of her first full week as our instructor.

 

I was pleased, initially, when the school offered me private lessons with the teacher of my choice as a substitute for the group classes. I chose to study with a woman who'd substituted for my first teacher once and taught in a structured, clear-to-follow way that I loved. What I've found as I study one-on-one with her, however, is that without the presence of other students, this teacher has unrealistic expectations of me. She expects me to memorize every single vocabulary word and grammatical structure taught in each lesson before I return for the next; if I don't, she makes me go back to the previous lesson and re-learn it all from the beginning. She goes off on tangents with almost pathological frequency, introducing still dozens more vocabulary words and/or grammatical points at each turn.

 

The thing is—and I've expressed this to her and to the school, multiple times and with varying levels of diplomacy—I don't want or need to be perfect at Thai. I don't ever plan to have a job here, or to live here for more than the next few years. I have many Thai friends, but all of them speak better English than I could ever speak Thai. I simply want to become more comfortable listening and speaking, and to read and write more effortlessly than I currently do. Even more than that, I want to live in Thailand, and to come and go from the Kingdom more or less as I please, without the fear of being arbitrarily denied entry.

 

I feel like if I want to remain here legally and long-term, however, I have just two choices: Continue suffering through drill-sergeant private lessons that focus exclusively on the minutia of the Thai language; or waste my time in group classes that occur at the mercy of whenever the deadbeat teacher chooses to arrive at school. Or three, I guess: Forfeit the 50+ hours of Thai classes I'm still owed and study somewhere else, which might end up being worse than this place. All pretty shitty options, though, if you ask me.

 

What would you do?

 

Edited by Disgruntled Student

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Change schools if you insist on using "education" as your "excuse" to quote you " I want to remain here legally and long term".

 

You cannot have it all ways.  Stay on an "ED Visa" (sic) and abide by the rules or obey the other rules for trying to stay here long term.

 

You have not stated it but I assume you are not eligible for extensions of stay on marriage/retirement/etc long stay  criteria hence the ED Visa route.

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Come to Hua Hin. I'm really enjoying my time here studying Thai and the school is excellent, both the teachers and the administration. No drills at the immigration either and the pacing of the classes is really nice, allowing you to pick up everything as you go as long as you spend a couple of hours a week reviewing the classes at home.

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seems a lot of effort and money just to stay here longer, i'm assuming you don't like the idea of teaching...

 

you can get by just learning numbers in thai, or if you're interested in learning to listen, gin cow means 'eat'

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Can you tell the name of this school? Is in Bangkok?

Im sure some people will appreciate such a school where teachers and students dont have to show up!

 

As long as you get visa from them it sounds like a great deal to me

 

If its me and i dont like the private lesson then just go with the other class.

Any extra stuff you wanna learn can do easily yourself.

 

Many books, stuff on the net. even many apps that can put on your phone.

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i have a friend who 'goes to a school' hasn't attended in months and no issues with immo at all apart from the usual nonsense. those schools are still operating but the way i see it if you're going to pay then find a decent school and learn. i can give you the name of the school that requires pretty much zero attendance if you inbox me. cheap too he says. i've never had to use that route as married over 16 years now ; ) like the poster said above, find yourself a nice little wife an settle down 5555 that was a joke by the way, the bit about the wife not the school

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I love the place, but I think this is just another classic example of why one should be careful about paying for anything in advance in Thailand.  Even if they meant well, they tend to have a challenge following through, or maintaining things.  They take the money, then, well lots of randomness

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10 hours ago, tonray said:

If you have a successful business...then buy an Elite Visa and be done with the aggravation

Agree with this. Get the Elite Visa to avoid immigration hassles. 

A person with a successful business can avoid misery by promptly finding a decent school for learning Thai .

 

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Can you ask for a different teacher and remain at your school?

 

Not attending is a bad option, unless you teach yourself Thai. More and more immigration officers are quizzing you in Thai when you enter Thailand or renew your ED visa. They are also documenting your level of proficiency. 

 

If progress is not being made, you may find your visa is not renewed. 

 

I’ve heard some bogus ED visa holders are taking Thai cooking classes for this reason. It’s unlikely anyone is going to ask you to whip up Rad Na Moo at the airport.

  • Haha 1

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1 hour ago, Farang99 said:

When I first began to live in the tropics my then boss recommended a sleeping dictionary as the best way to become familiar with a language.

 

drop that boss opinions plse..... What he gave you, was insane many runs to the immigration, mostly in vain...

 

glegolo

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BANGKOK 22 July 2018 03:47
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