Same same but different

My exchange semester in Thailand, Phuket.

Monthly Archives: January 2015

Orientation week

So the school started 5.1 (have been busy :P) with a orientation week. On Monday 8 am sharp I was standing in PSU Lodge feeling nervous. There was a loads of other Finns, handful of Germans, couple of Sweds and the minority were presented by USA, Czech Republic and Philippine. If I forgot a nationality, I’m truly sorry. The heat melts my brains and I’m getting way too chill here. HELP! Anyways, we’re all together about 40? people so not too big or small, just perfect. And I have to admit, they all are quite all right.

So there we all were looking at each other and thinking who’s who and what’s their deal. From the Lodge we got a busride to a resort hotel called Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort, must say: quite fancy! There we had a “welcome meeting” with loads of speeches (yep, maybe way too many) and some videos of the PSU (Prince of Songkla University) but got pretty helpful info too. Rest of the day we spent on the beach playing team building games. I was part of the winning team ( GO PIZZA/ MARIO TEAM!). That was great fun!

IMG_1508 IMG_1512

On Tuesday morning we went to Phuket Town to purchase our uniforms. We’re supposed to wear a white collar t-shirt and a black (knee-lenght) skirt with PSU’s own accessories (buttons, pins and a belt). Boys wear trousers, of course. Now the question comes: why we need to wear a uniform in university?! Simple: they want us look equals. No poor or rich, just the same which is quite nice. I bought 3 shirts and 2 skirts for 1000 baht ( about 25‚ā¨) so it’s quite cheap.

Looking smart ;)

Looking smart ūüėČ

The afternoon we spent on campus and got to know different buildings. The campus area is huge, compare to JAMK and have to admit that I still get lost.

Day three was the most boring day of all week. Morning we spent in the computer room practising all PSU’s “programs” relate to Optima, Elmo and Asio. Well still don’t know how to use them all but I’ll learn. I also finished my course selection and I must say that my schedule is looking good: Monday is the worst because I start 9 am and finish 16.30. Subjects are painful too: convention & event management and marketing for tourism and hospitality. On Tuesdays I have only morning class: intercultural communication which is quite useful. And my week ends with a fun class of thai language so I have only school from Monday till Wednesday, AWESOME! I have so much freetime to do traveling around. Cannot wait! But back to the orientation week: In the afternoon Ajarn Nu (one of the teachers) told us about the policies, expectations and procedures during the semester and Ajarn Colin introduced us different activities which we can do on our freetime. For example: homestay which I’m going in Feb, clean the beach, cooking class and charity “work”. Excited!

On Thursday we had whole day learning about Thailand, culture and language. It was fun and I felt that I will never learn this. There are so many different tones and it just sounds funny. Sawatdii-kha!

The weekend we spent in beautiful Koh Phi Phi. We had to fix our own accommodation, but Asia Exchange bought our ferry tickets. There was no much planned program: only ice-breaking party in Ibiza club and clean the beach- bootcamp on Saturday morning. Well what you can do and what you’re supposed to do in Phi Phi is party. I looooove beachparties because first of all: you don’t need shoes, you dance on sand. Second of all: there’s the sea just next to you. No need to say more! I had a great weekend and I got to know more of my fellow students. Thanks guys!

Koh Phi Phi

Koh Phi Phi

On Sunday morning I spent my time in a toilet vomiting non stop ( yeap, great ferry ride back to Phuket) and next days having a diarrhea and fever, but most of us got sick after Phi Phi because of the icecubes there. Happy days!

Popping pills!

Popping pills!

That’s about it. Well this time I got the photos but I’ll try to be more active with this: pinky promise! ūüėČ

Let’s get started…

I know I’m a bit late to write my first post, but better now than never!

This blog is going to include massive amount of spelling mistakes, cruel truth about my exchange semester and bad writing. I’m not a blogger.¬†You have been warned so no complains allowed.¬†And why I’m writing in english? They made me to. Also it’s good for my friends who don’t understand finnish.

Let me start telling you about the process:

I always knew that if I get in ANY university of my life time, I’ll spend one or two semesters abroad. I browsed different options and none of the locations didn’t seem good enough. My ultimate dream would have been California or Miami, but those semester fees are ridicilous so had to bury that thought. Winter, including coldness and snow, is definetly not my thing so some place warm and tropical climate sounds great. Then I found www.asiaexchange.com/fi- website and found the answer! Next problem was which one to choose: Bali or Phuket? Been in both and LOVED Bali and didn’t like Phuket that much. I made a list with pros and¬†cons and some how Phuket won?! I was suprised too…
 
Well then started the loooooooong process of paper work. Sending¬†papers here and there and asking signings here and there. Booking¬†flights, applying visa and all the other stuff.¬†MAKE A TO DO- LIST! Helps a lot and you won’t forget anything. I applied visa very late because I was in Mexico (awesome place, highly recommend) so I was stressing way too much about it. APPLY VISA IMMEDIATELY WHEN YOU CAN. Anyways I got it, even though I had wrong size passport pictures!
 
I think browsing the flights was the most fun part in this process (and of course the approval letter). Flights between continents can be very expensive so my tip for you is: go as many sites you can, compare and search from different cities from Europe. Also very important for long flights: a good airline. I was flying from Helsinki to Budapest (had a small city break there), from there to Bangkok via Doha with Qatar Airways. Great airline with good food, great service, nice entertainment and spacious seats. Then I had booked a flight to Phuket but missed that one because of delay. Well thank god I had this whatever- attitude and went to AirAsia service desk and bought a new flight. Checked in, went through security control and bought a sandwich. I landed to Phuket 6 pm, though about catching a bus, which never came so took a taxi for 650 baht (45min ride) and found my apartment.
 
I had contacted a finnish realtor before I came here and she found me an apartment here. It’s really near the school and has it own gym and pool. You¬†can find ¬†cheaper places and I recommend to come couple weeks earlier and find a place by yourself. But I didn’t have that much time. I just arrived two days earlier and that’s why I arranged my living advance. Anyways when I arrived here, there was no one in the office who could give me the key and so on. Found a security guy who called for me ( of course he didn’t speak ANY english, suprise suprise) and the renter told me that I was supposed to come next day?! I was like ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! Well never loose your face in Thailand, keep calm and smile! :))))) Then the call just ended in between me asking how this is possible and I think I talked like 5 minutes even not noticing that the call has ended. Then I looked like a big question mark and didn’t know what is going on: should I go to hotel or will I get my apartment or what on earth?! Security guy was just smiling to me and kept his arm up showing me 5 minutes or something. After 10 minutes a small man or boy (yes, very hard to say in Thailand) came with a scooter and gave me a key. Hallelujah!
 
When I opened the door, I was thinking nonononono, tomorrow I go to office and ask for nicer one. I cannot stand the red leather sofa, small kitchen without any equipments (I love cooking, I have to have a nice kitchen) and wet toilet/shower. I was tired and cranky and everything seemed so bad. I went to tiny market or more¬†like a kiosk¬†next to the flat and bought necessary things like bugspray ( i don’t want any kind of small living thing coming under my door), hangers, toilet freshner and -paper. Went to bed and slept million hours. Next day everything was okey again and went to shopping mall neaby to buy more essentials like a dress from Guess and Victoria’s secret perfume. Such a happy day!
 
I will try to take some pictures so my posts won’t look this boring! I’m also very nervous about tomorrow ’cause my school will start with a orientation week. Wish me luck and fingers crossed that my schoolmates will be fun!
 
By the way, don’t take my blog too serious ūüėČ