STUDENT REPORT FROM THAILAND
Name of the University: Chulalongkorn University
Names of the students: Ola Frugaard
Exchange semester: Fall 2010
I GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE SCHOOL
Chulalongkorn University is located in the middle of Bangkok. It has a large campus on both sides of
Phaya Thai Road and is easy to access through public transportation. There even is an own bus
system within the school area which costs 2 baht (40 øre) per trip. Next to the Faculty of Commerce
and Accountancy where I had most of my classes there is a shopping mall called Chamchuree
Square which is very popular among the students, under the mall there is also a metro station.
Chulalongkorn, or just Chula for short has faculties for anything ranging from art to economy and the
campus is divided so that each faculty has it’s own building(s). North of Campus is the Siam area,
one of the busiest areas in Bangkok with the biggest shopping malls.
The school has about 30000 students (19000 undergraduates and 11000 graduates). During my
semester we were 70 exchange students.
II PRACTICAL INFORMATION
Information before you left
I received the information package from Chulalongkorn on time, and the student advisor, Thirawut
emailed me updates with impressive frequency. There is no lack on information, rather too much I
Visa Procedure and travel experiences
The visa process is a bit time consuming and it’s necessary to do this as early as possible, but not
before 3 months before your departure to Thailand. You will then receive a 3 months single entry visa
that you need to either renew or go to the immigration office where you could buy a multiple entry
visa. The other possibility is to cross the border and receive a tourist visa on arrival.
The initial visa that you buy in Norway costs 400 kroner if I can recall and has to be paid in cash at
I bought the tickets to Bangkok through finn.no, which in my opinion has the lowest price options. It’s
a good idea to check different dates to find the cheapest tickets.
The semester starts in beginning of August, in my case it started 9 , but I arrived 2 to get used to
everything and I advise others to do the same. First day of semester is also first day of study, and the
welcome party will take place the following week.
There are two exam periods, one for midterms in the end of September and one for the finals in
November/December. There are no set holidays, but if your midterms are within a week, you might
get a week off. The same counts for the end of the semester when you might get a week or two off
before your finals. If you arrange courses in the according to what day of the week they fall you could
end up with a long weekend. Many students do this.
Last day of the semester is in the beginning of December and depends on your exam schedule.
The reception at school is over all expectations and everyone is very welcoming, the Thai students
tend to be a bit shy in the beginning, but if you take the initiative and seek contact them, they will not
hold back. The administration at the BBA office will know your name and your origin by the second
time you meet them, and they are very easy going and social. They will also help you with everything,
and if you have a problem, you will leave the office without one.
The BBA office has contact with two serviced apartment buildings, where most of the student lives in
hotel like environment. This is Chong Nonsi Residence and Evergreen Residence. Both places have
swimming pool, gym and cleaning girls. At Chong Nonsi you live in apartments for two and have your
own bedroom, while at Evergreen you stay 4 in one apartment, and two and two have to share
bedroom. Evergreen however is more central, where most of the exchange students live. The BBA
office will support you with the rest of the information. To stay at Evergreen cost you 10000 baht a
month (40000 baht for the whole apartment).
I myself wanted something even more luxurious and rented a condo just up the road from Evergreen
in a condominium called Villa Rachatewi. For 26000 baht (4800 kroner) I got a 60 sq. meter
apartment on the 26 floor, with awesome view of the city. The building is brand new and also has a
swimming pool and a gym on the 7 floor. Porters will help you get in and out of the building and the
security and service is top notch. There are tons of these condominiums in Bangkok and at
prakard.com you will probably find the cheapest deals, even though most of the ads are in Thai.
The cost of living in Thailand is insanely low, books is about 500 baht each (100kr). Even though the
exchange rate now is at 5,4, I will use a rate of 5 here. A meal in the school canteen is about 20-30
baht (4-6kr), this will make you more than full. If however you want some more exclusive food, you
could go the mall and pay between 50-150 baht for some good food, most of the restaurants there is
Japanese or fusion. Food elsewhere is so cheap that you will never have to cook yourself. There is
restaurants all along most streets (street food is extremely popular in Thailand) and it will cost you 40-
200 baht per dish. International restaurants are a lot more expensive, but still cheaper than in
Norway. Also McDonalds is quite expensive for Thais, but at 120 baht, or just over 20 kr for a Big Mac
menu, it’s still cheap. Thai’s like to drink whiskey, and when they go out they usually buy a bottle to
share, and buy mixers on the side. A bottle of whiskey would cost 300 baht for the local, 450 baht for
100 pipers, which is the cheap, but still good scotch and 1000-3000 baht for the different blends of
Johnny Walker, the most popular in the upmarket nightclubs. A big bottle of beer starts at 60 baht in
restaurants and bars, but in nightclubs it could be 200 baht just for a small bottle.
Because Bangkok is such a big city, you will have to use transportation to get most places. The traffic
is furious most of the day time, but there is easier way to get around. The BTS Skytrain has two line
and cost from 15-40 baht per trip. The MRT Subway has one line and cost between 20-40 baht per
trip. If you are more than 2 persons, it is usually cheaper with a taxi meter, which starts at 35 baht,
and get you around most off the city for less than 100 baht. In the morning and evening you it is
nearly impossible to get around this way though. A bit more dangerous, but faster way to get around
is with a motorbike taxi. They are a bit more expensive than a taxi, but can get through traffic a lot
faster. If you are late for school, it’s a good alternative. There are also tons of buses, but they are
even slower. A bus with fan is sometimes free of charge, or costs a max of 8 baht. Air conditioned
buses costs between 11 and 25 baht per trip. TUK-TUKs are a bit faster than taxis, but many of the
drivers will try to rip you off, don`t get into one of the without agreeing a price in advance. They are
usually a bit more expensive than taxis.
Shopping is a big hobby for many Thais it seems, and you can find things to buy everywhere. Some
places you need to bargain hard, while other places it`s not usual to do so. Try not to shop too much
at places with a lot of tourists, because there the prices are naturally put higher. Shops around Khao
San Road can be cheap though. The weekend market, Chatuchak is one of my favorites. Here you
can find anything and the prices are not too bad. Some shops you can bargain some, while in other
shops you cannot. For girls, Platinum fashion mall is a big hit, there are hundreds of small shops
there and the prices aren`t bad. The upmarket shopping malls like Central World and especially
Paragon is for the rich, or HI-SO`s as the they are called in Thai. Prices here are mostly on the same
level as in Europe. Other markets not to miss are the night market at Saphan Pud, and the gaming
market at Saphan Lek. MBK is the most popular shopping mall among tourists, but here it`s easy to
get tricked, and the prices are almost always higher for foreigners. Pantip is the big IT-mall in
Bangkok. Here you can get all electronics and contrabands, but some sellers are a bit aggressive.
Expect from the contrabands, there is not much to save on brand named electronics.
While in Thailand it`s essential to travel around the country. Best way to get around is by bus or
plane. AirAsia is definitely the cheapest airline. A bus ride to the southern part of the country, like
Krabi is around 500 baht, and to the islands on the eastern cost you will need to pay about 150-300
baht depending on the class of the bus. VIP is the best class, with good seats and TVs. The basic
bungalows could go from anything between 300 and 1500 baht depending on the season and the
The International Office
There is a BBA office at the faculty of Commerce and Accountancy. It`s open from 08.00 to 17.00
Monday to Friday. There is several persons working there to assist you, Thirawut Sutabut is the
contact person for the incoming exchange students. If there is anything you want information about
just ask there.
At the welcome party all incoming students will be asked to make a presentation on stage about your
country and university.
The relationship you get with the other exchange students is truly amazing. You get to know people
from all over the world. There was not any special ‘click’ among the students so everyone hang out
with anyone. We often went out eating, drinking or traveling together.
You are free to join organizations at school such as football, aerobics and other cultural things. Not
many exchange students attended this kind of things as far as I know, but we arranged a football
match against the Thai students which was quite fun.
At school we used a lot of time to discuss theory and cases. This is not so normal Norway, but I liked
it a lot. Most of the professors at school are really nice, and some of them were not afraid of sitting
down with you for lunch. One professor even invited his class for an evening with winetasting and
socializing at a 5 star hotel.
Culture and Language
Everything related to school will be in English so language is not a problem at school. However, when
going to a market or trying to tell the taxi driver where to go, language could be a problem. Trying to
learn some basic Thai words will make this a bit easier. Body language is universal, and if you try to
pick up things as you move along language will not be a big problem for you. Thais are very helpful
and will try to do as best they can to make you happy.
The culture will be around you all the time. Bangkok is called City of Life and on every corner there`s
something to look at. The city is vibrating 24/7 and you can do whatever whenever. If you really want
to experience culture, I suggest you get to know someone who live outside the city and is willing to let
you come and stay with them for a few nights.
Cultural and Social Effects from the Exchange Experience
The exchange has definitely affected the way I think in many situations. First of all I have learnt how
to deal with a different culture on a daily basis. To live in Thailand, you get a deep understanding of
why people act in a certain way. I also started to notice what I like and not about Norway. All in all, I
like the way life in Thailand makes you interact with other people in so many occasions.
I believe companies, especially the once with international interests is interested in students who
have done an exchange semester. I have always wanted to work in an international environment and
that hasn`t change after this semester.
III ACADEMIC INFORMATION
The Teaching situation
All the teaching is done in English which is fluently spoken by professors and students.
Compared to BI there is more case work and presentations. The final exams are usually not counting
more than 25-30 %. This makes you work more evenly throughout the semester rather than just the
last two weeks before the exam. Teaching is as much practical as theoretical and perhaps not as
academic as at BI. The cases and presentations will be done in groups, so pick a good group to work
with early. There`s usually a lot of humor and goodwill in the classroom, so don`t be scared to take
The literature is in English and on pair with the one you find in Norway. In some classes, handouts
are the only required literature though.
There is both midterm and final exams, where the curriculum is split in two. Exams could be both
written or given as a multiple choice.
Just by attending classes one should be able to pass the exam.
The library is easy to access and open for exchange students, but you need to login before entering.
Same counts for the computer rooms. Remember to wear full uniform when going to the library.
All information from school will be sent by mail, so there are no use for IT programs such as
Description of Courses
Please list all the courses you are taking in the form below:
Course number: 2604472
Exam form: Written.
This course is relevant for those who want to get a deeper knowledge of how international markets
intervene. It`s in many ways a mix between micro economics and international macroeconomics. It`s
one of the harder subjects, but also interesting.
Course number: 2602416
Prerequisite: This is a senior year subject. Normally students will need to have completed all basic
Exam form: Written
Interesting subject that is based on the strategy of new business ventures. A lot of the work is done by
case works and discussion in class. It`s relevant for those interested in innovation and how to organize
new projects for companies.
Course number: 2605425
Prerequisite: Basic marketing
Exam form: Written
This course is basically about how marketing is used practically. There will be a lot of cases on how
to market products locally and internationally. There is a strong focus in how to build a brand, both
existing and new ones.
Course number: 2602417
Exam form: Written, business venture
This is a straight forward course about entrepreneurship. It`s really popular and almost 100 students
attended my class. Professor (Ajarn) Chavapas has some really good connections with Thai
entrepreneurs. We had guest speakers coming to almost every lesson. You will also have a midterm exam
which is based on making a business venture, where you have 6 hrs to sell your product. You will start up
with 1000 baht, and whoever gets the most money gets the best grade. My group came second and we
made 13000 baht in 6 hrs.
Names and e-mails: