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From Hungary to Thailand – Dóra Schlögl shares her student exchange experience

01 Jun 2022
Sanjeet Amatya

Stepping outside her comfort zone, Dóra Schlögl decided to pursue her higher education at the Asian Institute of Technology for her first exchange program in Asia. During an interview, the exchange student from Hungary talked about her experience coming to study in Thailand and discussed her college life, the cultural differences, and the local cuisine.

Dóra Schlögl is an architectural student at Széchenyi István University in Hungary. Being enthralled by Thailand’s beautiful landscape, culture, and educational excellence, Dora was inspired to pursue her dream of studying abroad. Her dream came true when she got selected as an exchange student at the Asian Institute of Technology. She is currently studying Construction Engineering and Infrastructure Management at the AIT School of Engineering and Technology.

Dóra talked about the difficulties of entering, her everyday life, and what it is like to live in Thailand as a European girl. Giving minute details, she talked about chaotic transportation in the Bangkok city, giant monitor lizards roaming around the AIT campus, local gastronomy in the land of the smiles, and many more topics. But let’s start at the beginning:

On Jan. 7, 2022, she began her five-month exchange program at AIT, and she will be returning to Hungary in the first week of June. Recalling her visa processing, Dóra said, “Because of the covid-19 pandemic, I had to make many pre-trip arrangements. In addition to the medical part, I had to contact the registration visa administration, book mandatory quarantine accommodation, process airfare, receive the immunization certificate, and organize travel insurance. Finally, I had to consult my home teachers to study abroad.”

First Impression arriving in Thailand

“Departing from a long winter back home, I was surprised by the scorching heat in the tropical country. When I first arrived in Bangkok, I was impressed by the order and discipline of people who stood in line for public transportation and other areas. Seeing the modern and upscale buildings on one side and the old neighborhood on the other side of the same street was fascinating.”

Explaining her first day at AIT, Dóra said, “After only one night in quarantine, I was discharged from AIT self-isolation as I had a negative PCR test. That’s when I got my first look at the campus, and it was beautiful.”

Away from home, Dóra met with welcoming international friends and faculties. “I was in Thailand for about a week or two when many Thais, Bangladeshis, and Nepalese invited me to play badminton. I’ve remained in contact with them ever since, in fact, we became very good friends. The instructors and professors also greeted me warmly. To be honest, as a blonde-haired European female, I am regarded exotic here. People have approached me with curiosity,” she said. She described the campus as “truly amazing” and “completely equipped” with awe-inspiring lakes, freely-walking monitor lizards, outdoor pools, sports fields, and a golf course.

Regarding the tuition fees, Dóra clarified that her 5-month semester would cost more than 2 million Hungarian Forint, but her expenses were entirely covered by the Erasmus scholarship program. Due to her summer job in California, the Hungarian girl also wishes to strengthen her English abilities through the exchange program.

For Dóra, weekends and weekdays are distinct. Her weekends were reserved mainly for leisure, entertainment, and sightseeing activities. On weekdays, she stayed on campus during the day to study, play sports, visit friends, and go on outings. Dóra has visited the floating market, Mahanakhon Skywalk, Ayutthaya historical park, and other southern places such as Koh Phangan, Pattaya, Krabi, Railay beach, Hua Hin, Koh Lipe, and Hat Yai. She wanted to discover Thailand’s natural beauty and unique culture.

Experiencing life in a new place and culture comes with its fair share of surprises. “Back home, my people wear sweaters when the weather drops to 30 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Here, in a country where the average temperature ranges from 35 to 37 degrees Celsius, I still need to dress up adequately not to catch a cold from the air conditioning”, Dóra exclaimed. She also added the gigantic monitor lizards at AIT made her jaw drop every time she saw one roaming around campus

Nevertheless, Dóra Schlögl has had a wonderful experience thus far and has no regrets about her decision to study abroad in exotic Thailand instead of some prominent European location. The Hungarian girl plans to return to Bangkok next year.