From Prague to Bangkok

When University of New York in Prague student Jakub Slabina first arrived in Bangkok in January 2016, he wasn’t sure what to expect. The International and Economic Relations major had never set foot in Asia. His friends told him that he was going to have a hard time. Jakub was used to studying in Prague. He was too tidy and too organized to fit in with the city he had selected for his exchange program, they said.

“I was prepared for the worst, but what I found was a city unlike anything I had ever seen before,” he said.

From January to April, Jakub studied Communication Arts at Bangkok University, one of UNYP’s many international exchange partners. The lessons, while taught in English, offered an inter-cultural experience unlike any other. “Studying somewhere other than Prague was so helpful,” he said. “The different professors and different perspectives teach you so much about the world.”

During his four months of study, Jakub not only learned about the different cultural approaches to subjects such as human resources or the media, but also to education. For example, unlike many western European or American colleges, Asian universities focus much more on lecturing than on class discussion, he said. After several awkward attempts of trying to talk to the professor during class, Jakub said he also had to change his approach.

Luckily, Jakub wasn’t the only international student contributing a different cultural outlook to the lessons. While he was there, he was able to meet young people studying abroad from all over the world. “There were about 50 other exchange students there, and we bonded quickly,” he said.

Another perk of studying abroad is immersing yourself in a new country outside of the classroom. Before returning home, Jakub traveled to other Thai cities, such as Chiang Mai and Phuket, as well as the neighboring countries of Myanmar and Malaysia.

His advice to students considering studying in a foreign country: “Just go. People always talk about it as one of the best times of their life. It was for me.”

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