Monday, May 23, 2011

Learning Thai

I enrolled in a class to study the Thai language.  Now, I haven’t studied a language since college which was a long, long time ago.  Needless to say, I was a little bit nervous but I knew I had the time to devote to studying and learning it as well as the desire to be able to communicate with all the people around me.  Many people in Thailand can speak English to varying degrees but I feel that to not learn the language of the country that I am staying in would be disrespectful and serve only to isolate me from so many people and experiences here.
A friend from my TEFL class had researched a bunch of language schools in Bangkok and Bill recommended Unity Thai Learning School (UTL). Thai Unity Language School . Bill’s friend Dave said that Bill does not commit to anything without doing extensive research and that if Bill thought UTL was the best school; Dave thought that it’s a safe bet that it would be.

Each “module” lasts a month and class is Monday-Friday, 1pm to 4pm.  So, this was no easy undertaking.  Sixty hours of in-class study each month is about what a semester-long class would be in college.  This first three months are spent learning conversational Thai while months four and five focus on reading and writing. 
As it turned out, the class has been extremely good and entertaining as well.  The students are a mix of ages, cultures and personalities but all fun people, striving (and some, like me, struggling) to learn a new language.  Most of the students in my classes have been Japanese of Korean with a smattering of other Asian ethnicities and the rare farang (Thai word for white foreigner).  Some of my new friends include Khun Hata, Khun Meena A and Khun Toni.  

Hata is a Japanese guy who has become my partner in crime in Thailand.  He's funny and a really good guy.  Hata does not speak much English.  I don't speak any Japanese.  So, when we hang out, we practice our Thai!.

Meena A is a wonderful, stunningly beautiful Korean woman.  Her husband is working in Bangkok and she is biding her time with Thai studies.

Tony is of Laos descent but was raised in France.  He speaks great Thai and French and English.  Tony owned a clothing store in Bangkok with his Thai girlfriend.

Why does Hata keep showing up in every photo...hmmmm??????

The teachers are understanding, patient and good-natured….oh, and not so hard on the eyes also.  Khruu Kitiya and Khruu Suwajee are my two favorites.  Khruu Kitiya was even kind enough to invite me to her wedding in December.  More on that to follow.  :-)  Khruu Suwajee has become a good, dear friend.  She's an awesome gal and just received a visa to teach Thai at a Thai wat in America in, of all places, Houston!  Good luck, cowgirl.  :-)

This is Khruu Kitiya.  :-)

And, this is Khruu Suwajee.

The school has been a good way of helping to integrate myself into the Bangkok community and meeting a few good friends along the way. Our class also went out to dinner to celebrate the end of one of the courses at the Oriental Hotel on the Chao Praya River.

Beautiful hotel with a great dinner and some traditional Thai dancing for entertainment.  (I said "Traditional" Thai dancing, folks)

I  don't think I would be having nearly as good of a time if I hadn't decided to study Thai.  Stay tuned for the next should be a good one!