Student Exchange: Week 1 – My Thai School Experience

IMG_1679Friday, February 20 was my date of departure from Montreal to Pattaya, Thailand. I could hardly contain my excitement during dinner with my family earlier that night. I was driving my mother crazy by talking and acting like I had drank ten cups of coffee! I am still consumed by my passion for planes, although a bit less than when I was younger; when I wanted to quit school to become a pilot to fly all over the world, so the thought of flying alone on an airplane was very exciting.

After a long twelve-hour flight to Doha, a three-hour layover, a six-hour flight to Bangkok, and an hour and a half drive to Pattaya, I arrived to an empty school, with an empty stomach. After a snack, the head of boarding, Mr. James Grey, told me that the boarders were still on break, and they were going to come back in a couple of hours, before supper (6 pm). After learning that, I fell asleep, as it was 4:00 am in Montreal, and I hadn’t slept in a day.

I woke up to all the boarders and my roommate Osman returning. The Regent’s School Pattaya consists of 100 boarders (boys and girls from year 1 to year 12 (kindergarten to grade 11 in Canada)), and 900 non-boarders.

At dinner (and breakfast and lunch), we had the choice of Thai food or Western food. Of course I opted for the Thai food because I wanted a taste of what I spent a day travelling for.

My year (year 10, which is grade 9) consists of mostly Russian, Thai and British kids. I was the only Canadian in a grade of 100 kids. Everyone greeted me and treated me well on my first day, and if I got lost, there was always someone to show me around. They are also one year ahead of us, because next year (our grade 10 and their year 11) we get to choose our courses, and we have career fair. They do it this year.

The rest of the school days were uneventful as my schedule consisted of:

6:45 am – Wake up and complain to Osman that it’s too early to wake up!
7:20 am – Eat breakfast
8:20 am – School
3:30 pm – Go back to boarding
5:00 pm to 6:00 pm – Homework
6:00 pm – Dinner
10:00 pm – Lights out and complain to Osman that it’s too early to go to bed!

On Friday nights, the boarders go to Central – a big six-floor mall in downtown Pattaya. It is so large I would have gotten lost if I had been by myself!

On Saturday we got to sleep in until 9 am (yay!), then we went for a fifteen-kilometer bike ride to Horseshoe point, and went swimming there.

On Sunday we got to sleep in until whenever we wanted to (yay!), so I slept in until noon. Sunday is a relax day, so I spent all day with my friends having fun.

Some facts that you should know before coming here:

  • Soccer is football
  • Supper is dinner
  • We are allowed phones in class
  • Spicy for Thai people is killer spicy for normal people
  • Thai people drive on the wrong side of the road – or do we drive on the wrong side…
  • There are a lot of motorcycles
  • Water is non-potable, so you must buy water bottles which are very cheap: 10 baht ($ 0.39)

So far, Thailand has more than lived up to what I expected it to be in terms of people, food and how can I forget about the temperature? It is always around 30˚C – 35˚C, but it feels much warmer with the humidity and in the sun. I bet everyone in Montreal is jealous. Thailand is amazing and I can’t wait until this Saturday, when we are going paintballing! – Eli Samuel ’17, Exchange Student at Regents International School Pattaya

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