I wanted to give an insight on the more academic side of Thailand, especially now that I have experienced my midterms here.
It is to be expected that students here wouldn’t be the same back home. The fact that we have to wear uniform and have mandatory attendance would be a major indicator. Students are not allowed to miss more than 13 hours of classes or we would not be permitted to take the final exam.
During midterms, we didn’t have to attend classes either! Which was a blessing since I could spend more time focusing on studying for my midterms right?
Well, the way Thai students handle midterms is much different from how they handle the classes in general. For their classes, I see students on their phones and talking all the time, even when the ajarn(professors) are talking! They even come in late—like more than half of the class would be missing when the class was suppose to start 15 minutes ago! Yet, even though Thai people tend to be late and run on Thai time, the one thing they are definitely early for are their midterms! I remember coming to my midterm maybe 10 minutes early and already seeing students there and already taking their tests! There’s no ‘starting at the same time so everyone gets the same amount of time to work on the test’ concept here, basically you can start as soon as you get there.
Students don’t even bother buying a book for their classes either! I remember asking a couple of students where I could find the book in the first week of the semester only to be met with blank stares. They tend to just get notes from previous upperclassmen and photocopy everything. Literally, a student can check out a library book and get the book photocopied for a lot less than buying it at the book store—at least, that’s their philosophy. Why spend 1,000+ baht (roughly around $30USD) when you can get a whole book photocopied for like 700+ baht?
The classes are about 3 hours long and we get a break in the middle which most students take to get snacks or food to eat. Thai students are always snacking! It’s ridiculous how they can eat so much and yet stay so skinny. Also, you’d be surprised at how many Iphones, Ipads, and various smartphones the students at Thammasat have! They really love their Apple products!
Also, no one really carries backpacks here. The girls carry their designer handbags and that’s about it. Guys might carry their Ipads or maybe their packet of notes. But no one (except maybe me and high school boys) carries around a backpack. The subject of image is very important in Thailand it seems. It’s like what you carry tends to project the type of person you are, which explains why many of the girls carry around their designer handbags and will never be seen without makeup or their hair done.