Thai Schools In Bangkok: An Absurd Reason To Study A Language

All of the best memories I’ve ever had of school have been in language classes. They are always jovial and full of enthusiasm, with everybody in the room sharing the same passion for learning the language, each for their own reasons. In my opinion, this is easily the best way to begin learning a new language; using the energy and gusto from your classmates as motivation you to memorize vocabulary – the first step before you can do anything. Granted, some people are dedicated enough to do that on their own, but if you can mingle with like-minded people in the process and end up at the same goal, then why not have some fun?

Once you have the basic foundation of the language you will typically hit a ceiling and the classes no longer help. Some will stay to be entertained, but you’ll know when it’s time to move on.

For the past few weeks, I have been studying Thai, rather feverishly, at a language school near my place of work on Sukhumvit Road. It is a goal of mine to be fluent enough to conduct business with locals – a goal that I actively monitor on a daily basis. Needless to say, I am still far from reaching that goal, but with some determination and an open mind should get there in due time.

I understand that the term ‘fluent’ is somewhat obscure and is defined differently from person to person. To me, language fluency is not defined by proficiency tests, but rather by the confidence in ones eyes when they speak it. If you don’t have confidence when you speak, then you can’t get what you want, and in extension, are not really fluent.

One of the first things that immediately stands out about Thai language schools in Bangkok is the fact that many students enroll in schools simply for an education visa, ergo they are not serious about learning the language. This is both unfortunate and somewhat curious, transforming classrooms that should be lively and vibrant into rooms filled with people, both young and old, sitting there and staring into space in order to get visas. I understand this experience may vary from school to school, but nevertheless is my vantage point on this subject. I have seen students sitting in on the beginner level classes for months, or even years, and for reasons unbeknownst to me still cannot put 2 words of the language together.

It often baffles me to see people living overseas, for elongated periods of time measured in months or years, that cannot or do not have interest to at least learn the basics of the language of the place they live. Learning languages are fun, as it entails developing a new personality and expanding your common sense through cultural understanding. It is never a wasted investment in time, and ultimately pays dividends in more ways than expected when done properly.