About Thailand

Quick Facts.
Official Country Name: Kingdom of Thailand
Head of state: Prayut Chan-ocha
Capital: Bangkok
Population: 66.86 million
Area (km²): 513,120 km2
Major Cities: Bangkok, Samut Prakan, Phuket, Pattaya, Chiang Mai
Major Ethnic Groups: 34.1% Central Thai, 24.9% Thai Lao, 9.9% Khon Muang (Northern Thai), 7.5% Southern Thai 14% Thai Chinese, 12% Other
Major Languages: Thai (90.7%), Burmese (1.3%), Other (8%)
Main Religion: Buddhist (official religion) 93.6%, Muslim 4.9%, Christian 1.2%, Other 0.2%, None 0.1%
Currency: Baht
GDP: US$330.8 billion
GDP per capita: US$5,908

  • Why Study in the Thailand
  • About 54% of U.S. study abroad students choose a European location. With only 11% of the study abroad population going to Asian destinations, you’re sure to have a unique experience studying abroad in Thailand. Non-traditional locations such as Thailand offer students myriad opportunities and experiences that you won’t get at home or in other Western countries. Step outside of your comfort zone for a culturally immersive study abroad experience.
  • With most meals ranging from $1-4, you will have plenty of money in the bank to eat your way through Thailand and maybe even save a few baht! Coffee in Thailand also falls into that inexpensive range, depending on the type of drink and where you go. Cafe culture is huge in Chiang Mai where TEAN’s programs are located. You won’t run out of hip, affordable cafes with free WiFi to hang out and study in. Transportation is also inexpensive in Thailand, so you won’t have to worry about hefty cab fares or expensive bus/train tickets when getting around town.
  • It’s no question that Thai cuisine is some of the best around. You may think you love phad thai in America, but just wait until you have fresh, hot-off-the-wok pad thai in Thailand. Nothing can compare! From spicy noodle stir-fries, to savory curries and sweet milky teas, you’ll definitely find a new favorite dish when you study abroad in Thailand. With TEAN’s semester in Thailand program, students also try their hand learning how to make classic Thai dishes during a day-long cooking class in Chiang Mai.
  • One of the most challenging yet rewarding parts about studying in a foreign country is learning the language. You will have the opportunity to take Thai language classes, which will not only help you in your day-to-day life while living in Thailand, but help better connect with local Thais. Whether you’re ordering dinner at the food stall down the road from your housing or buying a bus ticket for a weekend getaway, you’ll be sure to put a smile on people’s faces when you make an effort to speak a little Thai.
  • Put those language skills to the test with real-life practice! Thais are known for their politeness and, particularly in Chiang Mai, you’ll have plenty of times where you want to strike up a friendly conversation, especially if you start frequenting the same coffee shops or fruit shake stalls. TEAN students enjoy even more immersive opportunities throughout the program to connect, including with local students through the Thai buddy program where you get to meet and hang out with local peers through informal events. Additionally, at least 70% of the Thai population still live in rural villages, so what better way to immerse yourself in Thai culture than to participate in a homestay? Students on the TEAN semester program experience a 4-night homestay in a Northern Thai village during their orientation for an insider look at real Thai life.
  • With thousands of temples dotted across the country and a population that’s 95% Buddhist, Thailand is an excellent place to get a firsthand introduction to the ancient belief system. Here Buddhist practices permeate Thai culture and society even out of the temples. You can also take the Buddhism in Thailand course with TEAN’s semester or summer program, where you’ll explore the temples of Chiang Mai, meet with monks and spend the weekend staying at a forest temple in rural northern Thailand, to learn even more.
  • Another great way to experience a new culture is through its holidays. The country’s two main holidays are Loi Krathong/Yi Peng, which is known for its floating lanterns and occurs during the fall semester, and Songkran, the Thai New Year, which falls during the spring semester. Songkran is essentially a 3-day nationwide water fight – what’s more fun than that? Both holidays are filled with rich traditions that bring people of all ages and demographics together to celebrate. In addition to the main holidays, while in Thailand you’ll also get to experience special Buddhist holidays throughout the year
  • From temple-hopping to 3D art museums, luxurious massages to rustic jungle trekking, there is always something to do in Thailand. Put your newfound knowledge of Buddhism into practice by going on a meditation retreat. Plan a weekend getaway to the tropical islands. Wander through sprawling street markets. Hike through the woods and find a forest temple. Listen to live music while getting to know your new study abroad friends…the options are endless and often easily accessible.
  • Of course, images of turquoise waters framed by palm trees and pristine white beaches probably first come to mind when imagining Thailand, but the country is actually home to a wide range of climates and landscapes. In fact, some of its greatest geographical features can be found in northern Thailand where jungles, fields and forests cover rolling mountains and rivers meander through picturesque rice fields. When you study abroad in Thailand you can hike through hill-tribe villages, play in mountain waterfalls, snorkel through tropical seas, float down a river on a bamboo raft and more.
  • Thailand’s central location in Southeast Asia makes it a perfect hub for travel. The TEAN semester program includes a two week semester break perfect for exploring other Southeast Asian countries and on long weekends you can easily explore other parts of Thailand or jump over to a nearby country without spending a fortune. Many students also stay on after their program ends to continue exploring this incredible country and region.
  • Living in the Thailand
  • Unlike what some expats-to-be might believe, living in Thailand as a traditional ex-pat is not always the same as settling for a relaxed life in a beach resort. After all, lounging under palm trees and planning a stroll to the nearest wat(Buddhist temple) is rather different from hurrying to business meetings.
  • Of course, elderly retirees and young work-and-travel backpackers indeed go for a more laid-back life in Thailand. The holiday settlements on Phuket or exploring the country’s north, e.g. the regional metropolis of Chiang Mai, are valid options for such foreign residents.
  • Expatriates, however, are more likely to accept an intra-company transfer or a career opportunity. These usually take them to Bangkok or the industrialized Pattaya-Chonburi Metropolitan Area on Thailand’s eastern seaboard. For these foreigners, living in Thailand often means urban sprawl, traffic chaos, and air pollution.
  • Expat life in Thailand definitely has its downsides, but it is also an excellent occasion to familiarize oneself with the culture of Southeast Asia’s most important nation.

·       Population

  • Almost 68 million people are currently living in Thailand. Most of them belong to the four ethnic groups of Thai people, who came from southeastern China about a thousand years ago. However, apart from demographic minorities such as the Khmer or Hmong, there is a sizable Sino-Thai (Thai-Chinese) community living in Thailand, especially in Bangkok.
  • Many Sino-Thai identifies as multi-racial, with ancestors from both groups, having adopted Thai surnames as well. The ethnic Chinese in Thailand also tend to be bilingual or trilingual — speaking Mandarin Chinese, the respective Chinese variety from their family’s former home region, and, of course, Thai.

·      Languages

  • Thai — or, to be more precise, the central Thai dialect — is the official language for all people in Thailand. It is a mandatory subject for all schoolchildren, too, including expat kids living in Thailand and attending an officially accredited school.
  • English is also an obligatory foreign language taught at all Thai schools, and many street signs are bilingual (Thai and English). However, as in so many other countries, do not necessarily expect the average person on the street to communicate fluently with foreigners.
  • While living in Thailand, you will certainly meet plenty of businesspeople, academics, students, or front-desk staff in the tourist industry who can speak fluent English. Among the older population, the urban working classes, or the rural populace, though, it wouldn’t do to rely on English.

·        Studying Thai

  • When you prepare for relocating to Thailand, consider attending a Thai class. Admittedly, Thai may be a bit tricky for expats whose native languages are not tonal or who do not distinguish carefully between various registers, such as street Thai and religious Thai.
  • But you are bound to make a better impression as a foreign resident living in Thailand if you try to pick the basics of the local language. Expat children are obligated to take Thai classes in school. This rule applies even if your children attend a private or international school during their life in Thailand.
  • To find appropriate housing for their new life, most expatriates enlist the services of a relocation company or a real estate agent. Some foreigners specifically search for furnished or serviced apartments rather than compound villas or normal flats.
  • In any case, since there are no multiple listings for property ads in Thailand, it’s recommended to get in touch with several realtors. That way, you can choose from a wider selection.
  • Expats who have been living in Thailand for some time are a valuable source when looking for recommendations of reliable estate agents. If you embark on life in Thailand, your employer’s HR department or your colleagues may also be able to help you.
  • Expat parents at your kids’ school(s) can be of help as well. For example, the International School in Bangkok publishes an online contact list of Thailand realtors. In that way, they help foreign families find a home.

·         Renting Recommended

  • There are certain legal restrictions on foreigners buying a property in Thailand. They are allowed to purchase flats, condominiums, and houses, but not the plot of land on which the building stands.
  • People looking for a holiday home or retirees wishing to immigrate to Thailand often make use of special tenancy agreements instead. These rental contracts or so-called “land leases” can be valid for up to 30 years. In some cases, they can even be renewed for another 30-year period.
  • However, most foreign employees simply rent rather than buy property, with rental agreements of far shorter duration. Sizable Western-standard flats and houses are not that hard to come by in major cities and specific expat neighborhoods. However, they are anything but cheap.
  • In some parts of Bangkok, such as an expat compound with family villas, accommodation may cost up to 100,000 THB per month, or even more. On the other hand, you can spend about 10,000 THB on a decent, but rather basic one-bedroom apartment for singles.
  • Most accommodation is partly furnished with basic items, a fridge, and a stove that runs on bottled gas for cooking. (Gas connections in the home are rather uncommon in Thailand.) Costs for utilities and phone bills are not included in the basic rent. You may pay the rent for several months or even up to one year in advance, and have to hand over an additional one to three months’ rent as a security deposit.

·         Health Advice: Avoiding Unwelcome Ailments

  • In addition to housing, healthcare is a vital component of expatriate life everywhere. In preparation for living in Thailand, you should make sure to get all necessary immunizations at home and to gather information on taking precautions against common diseases.
  • Recommended vaccinations for Thailand include tetanus, diphtheria, polio, pertussis, MMR, influenza, and hepatitis A. Moreover, for longer stays, you should also get immunizations for hepatitis B, rabies, typhus, typhoid, and Japanese encephalitis.
  • While some institutes of tropical medicine have issued a swine flu warning for Thailand, and there have been occasional reports of avian flu in the country, it’s insect-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, and chikungunya that are actually a greater risk for the average resident. You should make sure to wear light, but long-sleeved clothing, use anti-insect repellants daily, and hang up mosquito nets at night.
  • Moreover, in order to avoid diarrhea, pay attention to proper food hygiene, and never drink any tap water. Don’t even use it for doing the dishes or brushing your teeth.

·         How Thai Healthcare Works

  • Since the 1990s, Thailand has had a national public health insurance scheme. However, so far the Social Security Scheme mainly covers employees aged between 15 and 60 years in private companies with more than ten staff members. Their contributions are deducted directly from the employee’s salary and paid into the Social Security Fund.
  • There are other public healthcare policies as well. The Civil Servant Medical Benefit Scheme covers public sector employees and their dependents, and since 2002, the Universal Coverage Scheme provides for poorer families. The latter, though, does not always cover the same treatment that the other two plans provide.
  • Thailand’s national health insurance plans do not always include expats, and they don’t cover high-quality private healthcare, either. Therefore most expats take out a private insurance policy.
  • These healthcare plans are often provided by multinationals or US American companies. Of course, there are Thai insurance companies with private healthcare plans as well. However, the language barrier with its resulting problems of getting an English-language policy and contract deter many expatriates from making use of this possibility.
  • No matter where you are insured, make sure to have your insurance papers and enough cash at hand when you go and see a doctor at a clinic. Unless it’s an emergency, you are usually expected to pay upfront and be reimbursed by your insurance later.
  • While merely consulting a doctor costs at least 800 to 1,500 THB, a private clinic with an international department may require you to make a large deposit in advance before staying for stationary treatment.

·         Medical Facilities: Public Hospitals vs. Private Clinics

  • Despite the higher expenses, expatriates indeed prefer private medical services providers, the quality of whose care is often excellent. Public hospitals, on the other hand, tend to be understaffed and underfunded.
  • When you choose a clinic, ask whether they have a family doctor for consultations. There is a shortage of general practitioners in Thailand, but you may prefer not to consult a specialist for every complaint.
  • You can find a list of clinics (including dental clinics) in Bangkokvia Allianz Worldwide Care.
  • If you need an ambulance and would like to avoid a government clinic, do not phone 191 (the general emergency number in Thailand). Instead, call the hospital of your choice directly. Below, there’s a contact list of four local hospitals that are especially popular in the expatriate community.
  • Cost
Cost of Study for non-Thai students in Thailand (as of August 2018)
Degree LevelThai BahtUSDEuro
Bachelor Degree Programs   
Starts at141.0004.4473.712
Up to3.264.70098.12783.563
Master Degree Programs   
Starts at100.0003.0052.543
Up to2.170.00065.26055.456
Doctorate Degree Programs   
Starts at234.0007.0295.950
Up to1.484.00044.61837.890

Visa Processing
When a student enters Thailand with a Non-Immigrant Education Visa, or the Non-ED Visa, issued by a Thai Embassy outside Thailand, you will be granted 90 days duration of stay, and NOT 1 year. Approximately 60 days after your arrival in Thailand, or 30 days before your student visa expires, you are required to submit your original passport to the Webster University Thailand (WUT) Visa Officer. The Visa Officer will first check whether you have fulfilled the full-time student criteria as follows:

– Must register for at least 12 credits in a semester for Undergraduate students and at least 9 credits in a semester for Graduate students.

– Must have registered every semester (Summer term if optional).

– Must not be on any Academic/Admissions/Financial/Disciplinary hold.

If you have fulfilled all of the above criteria, the Visa Officer will prepare the necessary documents and accompany you to the Thai Immigration Office to extend your student visa for up to one year. Please note that some students may be given a shorter visa extension than one year depending on each individual student’s registration history, passport validity, etc.

If at any time after the student visa extension, you no longer meet the above criteria for any reason, WUT will notify the Thai Immigration Office that you no longer meet the requirements for the student visa, which will result in an immediate cancellation of your student visa sponsored by WUT.

Students are responsible for all fees and fines related to the student visa. The following fees and fines must be paid directly to the Thai Immigration Office.

– Visa extension fee: 1,900 THB

– Single re-entry permit: 1,000 THB

– Multiple re-entry permit: 3,800 THB

**A multiple re-entry permit is recommended only if you wish to exit and enter Thailand on multiple occasions during the period of your student visa validity.

– Visa transfer fee from an old passport to a new one: 500 THB

– Certificate of residence to apply for a driving license: 500 THB

– Overstay fine: 500 THB per day, Maximum 20,000 THB

– 90-days report’s late notification fine: 2,000-5,000 THB

– Change of address late notification fine: 2,000 THB

Student Visa for Graduating Students

The Thai Immigration Office requires all educational institutions to report and cancel student visa extensions as soon as their students graduate. The student visa becomes invalid once the student graduates even if the visa expiry date is several months later. Graduating students are advised to prepare to leave Thailand within two weeks after their final exam or the day their thesis receives its final grade. In addition, all graduating students are required to submit their original passport to the Visa Officer two weeks before their departure date or during their final exam/thesis defense, whichever comes first. The Visa Officer will prepare a letter requesting that the student visa extension sponsored by WUT be cancelled as the student has graduated. The Visa Officer will then go to the Thai Immigration on the graduate’s behalf and get a visa extension cancellation stamp in the student’s passport. In some cases, the graduates may be required to visit the Thai Immigration Office with the Visa Officer. Failing to do so may result in an overstay fine of 500 THB per day if the graduate continues to stay in Thailand after the graduation date. Webster University Thailand will not be responsible for any fine or inconvenience if a graduate fails to comply with this requirement.

Please be reminded that maintaining your permission to stay in Thailand is your responsibility and a privilege granted to you by the Royal Thai Government. All foreigners residing in Thailand must follow the Immigration Act of Thailand and fulfill the requirements for permission to stay in Thailand. For more information, please visit the Thai Immigration Bureau’s website at: www.immigration.go.th/index

The Visa Officers of the Student Affairs Department are here to support you and will do everything to make the processes as smooth and hassle free as possible. You, however, have an important role to play in meeting your visa requirements. If you have any questions about your visa extension, the 90-day reporting requirements, plans to travel outside of Thailand, or a change of address notification, or if you require any visa assistance, please contact the Visa Officer of the Cha-am Campus or BKK Center.

Important Notes:

  • It is your responsibility to ensure that the Student Visa (NON-ED) is up to date and valid in order for you to remain a student in Thailand.
  • You are NOT allowed to work while on a student visa in Thailand.
  • Do NOT leave Thailand unless you have a re-entry permit OR your student visa will be cancelled.
  • Keep the Departure Card in your passport at all times as it must be returned to Thai Immigration when you depart Thailand.
  • There is a weekly trip to the Thai Immigration. A prior appointment is required.