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Name: Veronika Persson
Age: 19
Nationality: Swedish/Thai
Courses: Intensive - Beginner Level 1 to Proficient Level 3 (One year)

>> Why do you want to learn Thai?
It all started when I watched a video blog of a girl who was going to Japan to study Japanese. I really wanted to do something similar and as my mother is Thai it was easy to pick Thailand as the destination
of my language year. My mother on the other hand was skeptical to my decision to begin with. I think she was worried about me as this was going to be the first time I would leave home to live in another
country. But she came with me to check the school and as Koh Lanta is a safe place and the school passed her inspection she agreed for me to start. Now, a year later, she is proud of me.

>> Then you knew some Thai before you started the course?
Yes, I could speak like a Thai child but I couldn't read or write. Even though I knew the basics I chose to start in Beginner Level 1 as I had  many gaps in my Thai and I didn't want to rush through learning how to read and write. After completing all courses I can speak and discuss like an adult. I have visited my Thai relatives every three months during my year in Thailand and every time they are so surprised of how much my Thai has improved. They say I use such sophisticated language.

>> Have you learnt more about the Thai culture?
My mother has kind of brought me up in a Thai home but in the Swedish society so I already knew quite a lot about the Thai culture before coming here. I have always tried to take the best parts of both cultures. I like the Thai way of taking care of your family and respect your parents. My Swedish friends sometimes use very impolite and disrespectful language to their parents but I could never do that. It would feel very wrong. I try to help my parents as much as I can. For example I cook dinner to my father every day.

Another thing that I like about the Thai culture is the importance of dressing and behaving well. Here it's not cool to be rude or to not care like many young people in Sweden believe. On the other hand it's easier to talk and joke about sensitive topics in Sweden as it's ok to talk openly about everything. In Thailand I have to be more careful.

>> How would you describe the courses?
The Beginner course, all three levels, give you a good foundation of the Thai language. You can have simple conversations in many various topics. The Intermediate course deepens your knowledge. This is when you really learn how to express yourself. In the Advanced and Proficient courses you need to study and speak like an adult.

>> What is the best thing that has happened during this year?
My personal development. I used to be very shy but now I dare to do much more. I can speak Thai with anyone and it doesn't bother me if I make mistakes. In the beginning I missed my home and friends so much. I was constantly homesick and I realized how much I depended on them. But then I got really good friends here who helped me to feel at home on Lanta too. If I'm sad there is always someone to talk to which feels great. Now I know I can feel at home in more places than one.

>> What is the worst thing that has happened during this year?
My visa run to Singapore. It was the first time I was completely alone in a foreign country. The staff at the embassy were really unfriendly and I felt uncomfortable the whole time.

>> What do you think about Koh Lanta?
It's a great island for learning Thai as there are not too many distractions. Still, there are plenty of things to do. For example you have to visit the national park and the beaches in the south, they are gorgeous. Another must-do thing is the snorkeling trip to Koh Haa, don't miss that one! And when you're done go to Lanta Seafood in Saladan and munch into their fabulous seafood dishes. They cook fast so it's the best place to go when you're really hungry.

>> What would you say to people who are thinking of applying to a course at LILS?
Even if you are hesitant about applying - just do it! It's always good to know another language. Every week you'll learn so much and the school is small so you'll never feel alone. Don't worry about not getting friends.

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