Thailand - #BIMdannmalinThailand

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Podcast #BIM dann mal weg


In this episode, Lydia tells us about her adventurous semester abroad in faraway Bangkok. As the only international student at Rajamangala University of Technology (RMUTP), she had the opportunity to get to know the culture very intensively and really made the most of this chance. Besides wild motorbike-taxi rides through Thailand, she also reports about her travels in and outside of Thailand, so that wanderlust is guaranteed. You want to dive into the culture of Asia? Then listen to the new episode. Let's start the journey!

Contact details:

E-Mail:  bimdannmalweg.fwiwi[at]

Instagram: @fwiwi.fhws


Moderated by Lara Yargiman

Produced by Lara Yargiman and Paula Kroemer in cooperation with the economics student body of FHWS

Sound and editing by Paula Kroemer


Lara: Hello and welcome to our podcast of the FHWS #BIMdannmalweg. Yeah, in this podcast we talk about experiences of students who have been abroad for a semester and this project is supported and promoted by the Faculty of Business and Economics.

Yeah, today we finally have a new guest here, after a long winter and Covid-19 break. Today in the studio sits Lydia, nice that you are here!


Lydia: Hi Lara!


Lara: Would you like to introduce yourself?


Lydia: Yes, with pleasure! I'm Lydia, I'm 24 years old and I'm studying international management at the FHWS and I'm already in my 7th semester.


Lara: Well, we are almost finished with our studies. Only the bachelor thesis is still missing. Lydia and I have a very funny story of getting to know each other, because we probably met at an aupair meeting in Auckland before we started our studies. So, Lydia it's nice that you are here, would you like to tell us where you were?


Lydia: Well, I was in Thailand in Bangkok during my semester abroad. And I wasn't just there for one semester, but I registered for the double degree. This normally goes for two semesters, but I had to shorten it to eight months because of Covid-19. Still, it was beautiful there.


Lara: You chose Thailand, Bangkok. Why exactly? Was that always your first choice? I remember - not really (laughs). Tell me about it!


Lydia: Actually, it wasn't my first choice at all. I had actually considered staying in Europe. Then it was quite spontaneous that I decided to go to Thailand and that was only when we had to make a final decision. Then I suddenly thought to myself "Asia would also be really cool" and that's why I spontaneously decided to go to Bangkok.


Lara: And would you say that was a good choice?


Lydia: Yes, definitely! That was a great choice!


Lara: Okay, you decided to do that, and what happened next?


Lydia: I got the contact person of the Thai university and was in contact with him. Then I had to fill out my learning agreement and see when I would fly to Thailand and collect information about how I would live there, for example.


Lara: Okay and when did you start? I think a little later than us, right?


Lydia: Yes, for me it started in November, so I flew to Thailand in October.


Lara: You arrived there and how did it continue? Did you have an introduction week or were you still traveling before the semester started?


Lydia: I still had about 2 weeks until the semester started and then I found an apartment relatively spontaneously. That's why I had some time left and flew to Cambodia for a week. Otherwise, I "just arrived" and got used to the people, the climate and the culture.


Lara: Would you say you had a culture shock?


Lydia: Um, well, at the beginning I didn't really prepare myself for what I might come across. That's why, in retrospect, I think there might have been some culture shock here and there. But it was all in the framework and it was nothing totally extreme I would say.


Lara: Okay, and you also had a relatively special living situation. Maybe you want to briefly describe where you lived and how long you lived there.


Lydia: Well, I spontaneously moved into a room with a Thai girl. We lived together in a 1-room apartment and shared a bed together. Compared to Germany, it was very cheap, and it was also in a great location close to the university. I was of course never alone, because my roommate was almost always there and so I also met many other Thais. I lived there with her for about 6 months, but I was also traveling and on the road from time to time.


Lara: Okay and how would you describe it in retrospect? Would you recommend it again or did you find it exhausting at some point?


Lydia: Yes, at some point it was a bit exhausting, because you don't have much privacy. But it was definitely a good experience and you could get to know the Thais much better than if you had just stayed in a hotel. Of course, you could make it a bit shorter like I did, but for me the time was completely ok.


Lara: And there you also cooked in the apartment or did you always have to go out to eat?


Lydia: Yes, there was not really a kitchen. And the Thais have more of a culture of going out to eat or getting food and then eating it at home. That's why we usually ate somewhere outside in a mall or on a market.


Lara: And then the university started. Were there a lot of internationals there or were you like one of the only ones?


Lara: And then the university started. Were there many internationals or were you one of the only ones?


Lydia: I was the only one. In fact. There were no other internationals to my semester.

Lara: Sounds totally crazy, but I can imagine that you were really immersed in the culture.


Lydia: Yes, totally. The Thais were also super nice and always asked me if I wanted to go somewhere with them when they did something in their leisure time. This allowed me to get to know the Thais much better, because you did a lot more with the local people.


Lara: How was it with the language? Were the lectures in English?


Lydia: Yes, the lectures were in English. Sometimes it was a bit hard to understand because the English level is not that good, but it was definitely doable.


Lara: And did you also learn Thai?


Lydia: I took a Thai course and also bought a Thai book and tried to learn the language. I struggled a bit with the pronunciation, but I was able to learn a few words for everyday life relatively quickly. And the Thais also knew what I meant when I tried to say something in Thai. And I also learned to count.


Lara: You went to university there and what did you do on the weekends? Were there buddy programs or anything like that? Or did you travel with the Thais or did you see the countries by yourself?


Lydia: It's like that, on the weekends on Saturday you sometimes have university, that's relatively normal there. That means that you also have to attend the lectures, because you have to be present and that's why I was there on Saturdays for the lectures. But when there was no lecture, I either did something with the Thais or I traveled. If I traveled, then mostly alone, because I knew in Thailand are many internationals anyway and I will get to know new people for sure.


Lara: And where did you travel to? What can you recommend for weekend trips, but also for longer trips?


Lydia: Well, of course Bangkok itself has a lot to offer, it's a very crazy city, where you can see a lot and also explore on the weekends. But for a weekend trip, I think it is also quite cool in the Bangkok area. There is e.g., a national park in Kanchanaburi, which is quite nice.


Lara: What kind of animals did you see?


Lydia: All kinds of things: Scorpions,…


Lara: And snakes?


Lydia: Yes, snakes too and there were also huge lizards running around all the time.


Lara: Okay, so a colorful animal world I would say. Sorry I interrupted you, where else did you go on the weekends?


Lydia: Exactly, for weekend trips it is always good in the Bangkok area, because in Thailand you can't get from A to B so easily. You have to use public transportation to get back and forth. But for further away it is super nice in the north and also in the south on the beach with the islands. There are so many places you should go to when you're there.


Lara: Did you travel by bus or by plane?


Lydia: Well, for longer distances there is a night train or a night bus. Partly I also flew. I also took a night bus once, which was a wild experience, because it was so crowded and it was very uncomfortable, there were so many people, and it was so warm. But it was quite funny, so we made a fun time out of it. But it was 16 hours in that bus, so you were happy when you were able to get off again. And then I also took the train, that was also quite cool, but that wasn't overnight. So, it was just in one of those rattle trains for a few hours through Thailand.


Lara: I imagine that would be really exciting, too.


Lydia: Adventurous in any case.


Lara: Just like all the documentaries (laughing). At the beginning you said you have been to Cambodia; did you travel to other countries in Asia during your stay there?


Lydia: Exactly, I was Singapore but that was rather conditioned by my visa. One must pay attention there on which visa one gets. For me, I had one for 3 where you either had to leave or reapply for the visa. That's why I chose this way and left the country.


Lara: Okay, but is that normal or is there usually a visa that is valid for a longer period?


Lydia: No, the visa is actually valid for one year. I already had it for one year, but then it was just a little special thing where you had to make sure that you chose the right visa. Yeah, but you always had the possibility to go to the authorities for assistance. But then I thought to myself, this way I can also see another country.


Lara: Of course, why not? Before you flew there, would you say you had any fears or did you have any respect for it or did you think 'I'm actually completely open, let's go there'?


Lydia: Yes, actually I did, because I really have to tell you, I decided so spontaneously, I didn't even think about it. I was happy when it finally started. When I got there, I realized that I should have done a little more research. For example, how I can live there, although I didn't know yet that it would then solve itself so easily with the roommate. Yeah, that was one of those challenges, I would say. But I didn't really have any fears, no.


Lara: Okay, that sounds quite good. Did you have expectations and were these expectations fulfilled?


Lydia: I had expectations, for example, that I would get to know the Thais. That was definitely fulfilled, more than I had hoped for, I think. And that I can also travel a lot, meet a lot of cool people and that was definitely fulfilled, yes.


Lara: Okay, that sounds cool. How would you describe your time there and what are your insider tips? Well, of course, you know all the sightseeing spots, but maybe something else where you would say 'Hey guys, listen to me, I thought this was really cool'. (laughing)


Lydia: So, the time itself was just super super cool. I would definitely do it again and again and recommend it to everyone. Thailand is just a super cool country, you can see so much, even in Bangkok. It was so adventurous, I experienced so much. I met so many cool people, so the time itself was just cool. And a secret tip I have, would be that maybe you go away from all the tourist spots. Especially in the north of Thailand, in the tropical forest to go there and explore it. Because there are a few small places that are so beautiful! And they are not so well known, I think now because of Corona it has become a bit better known, because many tourists explore the country more. There are really beautiful places, also on the islands of course, that have a lot to offer far away from the tourism and that you can explore well.


Lara: Perfect, do you have some pictures for us that we can post on Instagram?


Lydia: Definitely!


Lara: Very cool! I can imagine you've been partying in Bangkok a lot too, maybe you can talk a bit about the party scene. But before that I wanted to ask you about safety? Generally, Thailand, Bangkok, but also because you once said you were traveling off the beaten tracks?


Lydia: Exactly, so I think you always have to be careful, Thailand is of course not such an organized country like Germany, even the police and military can be relatively corrupt. That's why you should always try to get along with them and not start a fight or something like this. I think it Is not too bad in Bangkok, because at my time there were still so many tourists and you were never alone. But yes, you should have been careful, and I probably should have been a little more careful concerning drinks and making sure nothing was mixed in. But when you are having a cool time, that's often not the focus. Outside of Bangkok it is of course different, you have to be careful. I did not think about it too much, but of course you should not necessarily do stuff with strangers, but rather in groups like in the hostel where you are then together with people or so. Just always be a bit careful.


Lara: Okay, that means you went partying alone or rather in groups? And how was it when you went partying, so okay you watch your drink, but in general you would say you felt relatively safe?


Lydia: Definitely, especially where I was partying, there were a lot of tourists, and you were never alone. Because either I knew some who was then in Bangkok or I just met groups, or I was traveling with a few Thais who then had friends again and then it was completely fine.


Lara: And is it more of a bar culture or more of a club culture?


Lydia: I would say both. In Thailand it's very warm, so people like to sit outside all the time and there's Khao San Road, which is the famous party street in Bangkok, and there it goes off every night. It was insane, so there are many bars, but also clubs. There were always, like here in Würzburg, the well-known clubs, but also many bars and also in the side streets you always had many bars where you could go in and out.


Lara: And you also visited a lot of rooftop bars, right?


Lydia: Exactly, they are also really nice, because you have a great view over Bangkok. Both at sunset and at night.


Lara: Oh, how beautiful! I think you almost only had warm weather?


Lydia: Yes exactly, it's permanently humid and warm (laughs).


Lara: If you were playing, I'm packing my suitcase, what would you say should definitely be taken?


Lydia: Flip flops, sunscreen and a bikini or swimsuit.


Lara: Okay, would you say you have some funny story or something totally weird that happened because of maybe also the cultural differences?


Lydia: Uh there are a lot of funny stories I could tell. But I always remember this first story that I often tell when I talk about the time there. And it may not sound so blatant now, but in Thailand there are so many motorcyclists on the road, and you can also take a motorcycle cab.


Lara: Yes, that's right, you sent me a video like that.


Lydia: Yes, exactly. And in Germany it's like this: You wear a helmet, you have protective clothing, you hold on tight and the first time I took a motorcycle cab, I got on and held on to the driver. But that was very uncomfortable for me and for him too, because he's not used to it. Then I didn't hold on there anymore. Then I don't have my helmet on and I was like, "Hey, where's my helmet?" Then he told me, they just don't have helmets on there. And then during the ride he handed me a mandarin behind at some point. And then I saw that the guy in front of me was eating his fruit with pleasure. And I just thought to myself, dude, put your hands back on the wheel. I don't know, just drive the bike. In fact, I ate with him, because I thought it was delicious.


Lara: It was a comfortable tour.


Lydia: It was great! So, over the course of time, I've always caught myself on my cell phone or snacking or something during a ride, because it's just normal.


Lara: But it's already so full of busy traffic, isn't it?


Lydia: Yes, it's also very dangerous in some parts. So, you have to be careful that you don't get knocked down.


Lara: Anything else? Okay, all right.  Um, how would you describe your semester abroad in three words?


Lydia: Warm, adventurous and hot.


Lara: Yeah, spicy is what I would say about Korea. Would you say that there was the most glaring or the most beautiful moment?


Lydia: There are many. But I think a very, very beautiful moment was when I was actually on a rooftop bar, where you have a view over the whole of Bangkok. That was a super beautiful sunset that day and it was just a really awesome view at the moment. It was really cool.


Lara: Something that you definitely remember. Yeah, then maybe again on the topic of food. Maybe also for those who are vegetarians. Would you say there are options or rather not? And in general, what did you eat the most? What was maybe your favorite food as well?


Lydia: Exactly, the Thais just like to eat very, very spicy and also a lot of meat actually. Um, I would say there are alternatives with tofu and so on or also a lot of fruit. But you should be aware, I think, that a lot of meat is eaten. So, in almost every dish I think there is meat, but of course you can always cancel it. And I actually tried a lot and I like curry the best. That's red curry, that comes from Thailand and also Pad Thai, although it's such a standard food. But that just tasted so good there.


Lara: I love that, would you say it tastes different there than it does here?


Lydia: Definitely.


Lara: I can imagine. Okay, Lydia, then finally I want to ask you on a scale of 1 to 10, where would you rank the semester abroad?


Lydia: Definitely 12!


Lara: Awesome, that's what Pia said earlier, really cool! So, it was really that outstanding?


Lydia: Yes, it was super cool.


Lara: I'm glad to hear that. Do you have anything else to say to our listeners? Anything you'd like them to pay attention to? Or would you just say go with the flow? And off we go?


Lydia: Yes, I would say: “Just pack your bag and get on the plane and off you go.”


Lara: Off into the sun. Yes Lydia, that's actually it from my side. Thank you for being there. And if you have any questions, feel free to contact us at the or via Instagram @fwiwi.fhws and on that behalf, thank you for listening. Have a great day. And until next time! Thanks, Lydia!