Interview with our Thai students; Chapter one (by Petra Zrůstková and Aleš Bartoš)
5. červen 2014

Přinášíme velký rozhovor se studentkami z Thajska, které s námi strávili prakticky celý školní rok. Mnozí jste je potkávali na chodbách, snad i tápali odkud se vzali. Rozhovor je z praktických důvodů celý anglicky, s minimálními úpravami, aby zůstala zachována atmosféra a záměr autorů rozhovoru.

Interviewed students: YOK– Bangkok, 16 y.o., BELL – about 2 hours from Bangkok, 18 y.o.
Authors: Petra Zrůstková – od Novýho Boru, 19 let, Aleš Bartoš – Liberec, 19 let

What are you doing here, in the Czech Republic?
Yok: I came for an exchange to get to know the culture and to study.
Bell: Europe is very interesting in my point of view, because everything is different from Thailand here. I feel that all I need to know I can also find in here, which could help me to improve something in our country, you know, to make it better.

Why did you choose the Czech Republic?
Yok: Before I came here, I had known the CR from different TV series which take place in Prague. The Czech Republic is a beautiful country. Mostly, I like the local architecture, because I want to become an architect in the future. So, I just look around and it’s awesome to learn something. The other thing is a countryside which is very different, like many other things between the CR and Thailand. And I want to be different from others.

Were there other options where to go except the CR?
Yok: In our program we had to choose 3 countries. I choose CR as the first and the others were Germany and Italy, but in fact I only wanted to get to the CR.
Bell: As the first I choose Netherlands and the CR as the second. I didn’t know much about the CR.

Could you tell us about your program that allowed you to go abroad?
Yok: This agency is called AFS. It is a program for students in Thailand that allows to travel to almost 50 other countries all around the world. I had to pay 30% of the expences and the insurance and the rest has been paid by the government or AFS program. Before I was chosen, I had do pass 2 exams – written and an interview in English.
Bell: I didn’t choose the CR but the Netherlands at first. The CR was my second option. I’ve always wanted to go to Europe. It’s true that I hadn’t known much about the CR before I came the first time, just a little; thanks to the TV series, but I found your country very nice. Everything is different, you know, I mean the nature for example– in Bangkok we do not have the nature and the countryside like you have. Buildings there are tall, but not so nice and fine like in here. It’s just beautiful here!

How long have you been there?
Almost 8 months and we’re going to stay there until June.

Eight months it is such a long time so what about your Czech, are you able to communicate?
For example I’m able to say ‚Mám hlad?‘ or ‚Kde je jídlo?‘. And then the things like ‚Ahoj‘, ‚Jak se máš?‘ etc.

Have you been somewhere else except the CR?
Yok: In Austria. In the CR, I visited Prague, Český Krumlov, Červená Lhota, Kutná hora, Hluboká etc. These places are awesome.
Bell: Before I came to Liberec I had been in Špindlerův Mlýn and studying in Vrchlabí. I visited Brno, Praha and that’s all. I had to move from Špindlerův Mlýn because of the wheater in winter, because everything is covered by snow and we don’t have it in Thailand. It wouldn’t fit me. But it was the first time I saw the snow!

That must have been exiting! And what about the wheater all together, did you get used to, isn’t it too cold for you? Wouldn’t you like to go back?
Yes, it is much colder than in Thailand but we like it here, so no, we wouldn’t like to go back.

Yok, you said that you had known little about the CR before. Do the others in Thailand?
Many people know the CR from footwear stores Baťa and the popular TVseries. We know that the CR is a beautiful country and we know its capital Prague with its monuments – Charles Bridge and Prague Castle. But these things are not taught at school, we learn about the whole Europe, not particular countries.

How do people act with you? Do you feel welcome and accepted in the CR?
Czech people get along with us very nicely from the first moment we arrived. For example when I try to speak Czech they are friendly and kind. Even though I found that people in the CR don’t smile a lot – of course they do, but in comparison with Thailand – we smile all the time.

Does it mean that the people in Thailand are happier?
Yok: In my opinion it is caused by the working attitude in there. We do not work so much as you, you are very active. In Thailand we have much more free time and we have time for travelling that is not expensive. It’s called ‚Top-top‘ and it’s a taxi but with no air-condition. In Bangkok there may be some rickshaws or you can ride a bike, but it is too slow and there are no cycle lanes so it can be dangerous.

When you say‚ Thailand‘ in the CR, we usually imagine its countryside, seaside and thai food. Are we wrong?
It depends on where you are. In Bangkok there are lots of traffic jams, houses and people and it’s polluted but at the seaside it is something else.

To be continued…