Emilia Sörin, Nursing programme, Chiang Mai University, Thailand
Hi! My name is Emilia Sörin and I am studying nursing at Jönköping University. I decided to spend my fifth semester (spring 2019), in Chiang Mai at Chiang Mai University (CMU). The university is located in the northern (and most beautiful) part of Thailand. I studied abroad together with my friend Annie, whom I also study with in Jönköping. I chose to study abroad because I was up for some adventures and in need of an environment change. To do a semester abroad would combine adventure and study which sounded perfect in my ears. So, I just decided to go. It was scary when I applied and when we started all the processes that needed to be done before we could go (which is a lot, but do not be scared, everything works out in the end). I thought several of times that this is not for me, but I just told myself that I am going. That I should take the opportunity and embrace the challenge. Do not think, just do and I do not regret it.
In Thailand me and Annie read 75% at CMU. We complemented with a 7,5hp course, about crisis management on distance from Jönköping University, which equals the missing 25%. Unfortunately, we did not have any practical courses at CMU. The courses were very interesting, the tempo was high, and it was a lot of content during very few lectures. It is needed to study on your own and the English has low quality sometimes. We felt like we learned a lot but mostly from studying on our own. In Thailand all courses are read parallel to each other and ends with final exams. All the exams have multiple-choice questions. Which is different compared to Sweden. The courses also include different kinds of assignment and midterm exams, but the kind depends on the course.
The courses we read during our semester was:
- Pediatric nursing 2 – medical conditions in children and how to perform appropriate nursing care.
- Disaster nursing 1 – medical conditions and general guidelines during disasters and how to manage a disaster as a nurse.
- Nursing management and leadership – how to develop a good leadership as a nurse and good relations with subordinates.
- Business and entrepreneurship – introduction in analysing a company from different financial statements and ratios.
- Lanna culture – introduction in the culture of the northern Thai people including history, belief system, rituals and religious feasts.
In the beginning it was hard to keep up with all the courses and due dates for assignments. But after a while you get used to the system. You also learn very quick that new assignments and things to do will show up during the semester unexpectedly. In the beginning you get stressed out but after a while you get used to it. An important Thai expression is “sabai” which kind of means “relax, everything will work out”.
Me and Annie stayed in a dorm on campus for Faculty of Nursing. It was very convenient- close to the school restaurants, classroom and the city. Both me and Annie were very pleased with the accommodation. We paid 5500 TBH for a room with toilet and shared refrigerators. Unfortunately, there is no opportunity for cooking, but it is possible to find cheap food around campus. In school we bought lunch for 25-35 TBH which equals 7-10 SEK. We ate out at restaurant at night and paid around 40-80 TBH. Thailand is much cheaper than Sweden. But of course, as everywhere in Thailand, the more touristic it gets the more expensive it gets.
The biggest development I have achieved during my semester abroad is the individual. I have grown as a person and realised that you can live a life outside Sweden. I have realised how small the world is and how amazing it is to meet new people with different cultures. My English has developed because I have been speaking so much, but the academical English have not improved very much due to the low English standard in school. I have learnt a lot about nursing care for children and disaster which have been very fun. It has also been a challenge to be in Thailand. The school system is very different. The lectures are mandatory, new assignments shows up all the time, the teachers are sometimes hard to understand, and the hierarchy makes it hard to discuss things with teachers and professors. It can also be hard to find information since everything is on Thai, but there is always someone to ask. To study abroad in Thailand is a challenge but a fun one.
For students who wants to go abroad I think you should just accept the challenge! It is very fun, and you will develop as a individual. But you also need to be aware of that you are going to another country and the culture may be very different. You need to go abroad with an open and accepting mind. Also be aware of that it takes a lot of energy to go abroad but it will all be worth it in the end. I would also recommend going with a friend or someone you know when studying abroad in Thailand. Last and the most important thing is that you are not going on vacation so do not be disappointed for lost sun hours when you have to stay inside studying! But there will be some opportunitys to travel around Thailand. Me and Annie went to: Krabi, Koh Larn, Pai, Bangkok, Koh Samui, Koh Samet and some other places. Chiang Mai has a lot of things to do as well, for example Elephant sanctuary, Sticky waterfall,, Doi Ithanon and lots of temple to visit. Thanks for reading and I really hope you enjoy tour time at CMU in Thailand. I loved it! If you have any questions you can email me on: email@example.com.