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Name: Lieke Van Uhm
Age: 28
Nationality: Dutch
Courses: Intensive - Beginner Level 1 and 2, (2 months)

>> Why do you want to learn Thai?
My main reason for learning Thai is because I have a Thai boyfriend and I would like to be able to talk with his family and friends, as well as learn more about their Thai culture. Another reason is because I would like to find a job here, for example as a teacher or in the tourism industry, and then I will have a big advantage if I can speak Thai. I would really like to stay for a long time in this country. I love Thailand, the friendly people, the beautiful nature and the unique culture.

>> Did you know any Thai before the course started?
I knew a few random words, such as greetings and how to count, but I couldn't connect words into sentences. Now, after two months, I can create pretty long sentences, my Thai friends understand me much better and I understand them. 

I have always been interested in languages and Thai is a challenge because it is so different from the other languages that I know. The tones and the writing system were totally new to me. So I can hardly believe that now when I see written Thai I can actually read it! It is a great feeling but a bit risky because when I drive my motorbike I want to read every shop sign, which is not very safe.

>> How would you describe the course levels you have taken?
The first four weeks in Beginner Level 1 introduced a lot of new material but there was also a lot of repetition. The teacher used English quite a lot to explain the basics. We also learned the Thai letters and writing rules. During the next four weeks, in Beginner Level 2, the teacher used almost only Thai and we got to read and write words and full sentences. It felt a bit overwhelming in the beginning but I realized that I just had to start practicing and then I could do it. It is not only fun to study, you need some self discipline as well. But now when I can read, write and understand it feels very cool and satisfying.

>> What do you think about Koh Lanta as the location of the school?
The location is perfect! It's a great setting with the palm trees and the beaches. There is a good mix of quiet, chilled out places where you can relax and study but there are also many opportunities to have good parties. You can make your student life as it is supposed to be; a combination of studying and partying.

I like that Lanta is a relaxed island. Phuket and Bangkok are too busy for me and I could never study on Phi Phi Islands, it's too crazy over there. The locals are great on Koh Lanta. They are so friendly and want to help you practice your Thai. I get a lot of enthusiastic response from my Thai friends when I speak Thai.

The intensive course is demanding so as a compensation you need a quiet place, fresh air and some palm trees, it's a good balance. Lanta has everything you need - good restaurants, shops, beautiful beaches and a lot of things to do and see.

>> What would you like to say to people who are thinking of applying to a course at LILS?
I would definitely recommend this ideal setting and the school. LILS has great teaching and learning methods and it's very much worth it to study here.

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