Courses: Beginner Level 3 (a 5 weeks course completed in 4)
>> Why do you want to learn Thai?
I grew up in Sweden and after finishing high school I started to work at different warehouses. I made good money but the working conditions took their toll on me. I worked nights and in 21 degrees (C) below zero and after a while my body reacted to the stressful environment and I became a zombie.
That was my wake-up call, I didn't want to live like that. As my mother is Thai and I have many relatives in Thailand I decided to see if I could start a career in the tourism business. I applied to a vocational school with a lot of workplace training that I spent on my relatives resort on the island Koh Samui.
The experience and knowledge acquired have helped me and my family to start our own resort - Don Sak Garden. It's an amazing place to find peace and mindfulness. If you like spending time in nature you can go hiking in the jungle or kayaking in the ocean, you might even see pink dolphins!
While in Thailand I also visited my uncle who works as a movie director. He told me that if I want to live in Thailand and if I am ready to work hard he could help me get a job in the film industry. But I would have to learn Thai first. A life and career in Thailand requires Thai language skills. So that's why I'm learning Thai.
>> Did you know any Thai before starting your course at LILS?
Yes, my mother had taught me the basic structure of the Thai language. I had also been staying at the home of two teachers in the national park Pala-U in Hua Hin studying with them. So I could definitely make myself understood but I couldn't write much.
>> How would you describe your Thai language skills today?
My reading and writing skills have improved a lot! The Thai teachers in Hua Hin used the traditional Thai style of teaching reading and writing which is based mainly on rote learning. Before starting at LILS I couldn't figure out the tones while reading, but the teachers here explained it the special LILS way which made me understand it all really fast. Now I know how to read and why the consonants and tone marks are put together the way they are.
My listening and speaking skills have improved as well. The teachers here are great in encouraging everyone to speak Thai. The humorous atmosphere made it fun to speak during lessons. It was more like we were all sitting in a coffee shop chatting away like friends. I and my classmates had a really good time while learning.
>> How would you describe the Beginner Level 3 course you just finished?
The teachers have been very accommodating and flexible in making sure that I would get as much as possible out of the course even though I hadn't studied with the group from day one, and my prior knowledge didn't match the Beginner level 1 and 2 course content exactly.
But I think the three month course would have been better to join. During the first two weeks on this tropical island I enjoyed the beach life so much that I almost forgot to do my homework. After that I got settled in and started a better routine of making time for everything. If I would have continued like this for another two months I think my Thai language skills would have gone through the roof.
>> What do you think about Koh Lanta as a place for studying Thai?
Koh Lanta suits me perfectly, even in the quiet low season. I like the relaxed atmosphere here. It makes it easy to maximize my days. If I can include learning Thai, go for a swim, do some exercise, have a good meal and see friends in one day, that day is fulfilled in my opinion and couldn't be better. Here I can have many of those days.
>> Is there something special you would recommend visitors to do while on Koh Lanta?
Play beach volleyball during sunset, and go for a morning jog in the sunrise. It's a great feeling to just immerse oneself in the beauty around you. While you are at it practice your language skills by starting conversations with the people you meet.
>> What would you say to someone who is thinking of applying to a course at LILS?
Take the opportunity! Think about what you want in life. Would learning Thai benefit you and get you closer to self-fulfilment? If it would then Koh Lanta is a great place for you to pursue the Thai language part of your goals. Many students at LILS have very clear dreams and goals in life. I have learnt a great deal just by talking to my school mates. They have given me motivation and ideas which steps I need to take to get where I want to be.
And everyone at school is friendly and helpful. For example Henrik in Intermediate, that I had just briefly met, offered me to borrow his car when I mentioned that me and my friends wanted to go to Krabi for the weekend and teacher Prae helped us get a good deal on the hotel. There's a lot of trust and good feelings here. That's one of many reasons to why I'm already planning on coming back to take another course later. So see you at LILS!