Since the teachers and the curriculum are the same for the intensive program and the regular, semester, program I can vouch for her statement that the only people who learned Thai were the ones who also studied elsewhere.
Enter Lani:It's the little things that wear you down like the wild inconsistencies of the internet, lack of personal transportation, the heat, the humidity, the dust, the hard bed, the barking dogs in the middle of the night, the screaming neighbor.
Thailand seemed like a smart decision when I moved here in 2009 but I sacrificed a little of my sanity. With that said, ignore the reverberating drill of the construction happening in your Thailand apartment and let's begin.
Thai language classes are offered by everyone and because someone at Payap University knows about the Internet, Payap will end up in your browsing selection.
For starters, Payap is the most expensive college in Chiang Mai. Now I'm not saying it's a bad school for Thai language learning, but my experience has been primarily a social one.
So my perception has been colored by a great class of mates. It did seem though that half the class liked the instructor's style and the other didn't. And I'd say this generalization can be carried to other language learning classes too. Since my first class at Payap, I've learned Spanish in Ecuador and Thai at another school in Chiang Mai.
What is not advertised on Payap's website is that learning reading and writing is entirely up to the teacher and class's discretion. Also we went on a couple of field trips like I imagine the Thai cultural classes do. We went to the Lampang elephant camp and a cultural activity center just outside of Chiang Mai.
These helped round out our experiences and was simply a lot of fun. However, I don't think Payap necessarily offers anything spectacular or unique. I don't think any Thai classes I've taken at any school offer anything spectacular or unique.
I enjoyed the teachers (for the most part) and this is important, as important as who you end up being classmates with. There is one school where a couple of my friends are going to that they hate because the teacher is old-fashioned but this is typical Thai style of teaching. Pedantic.
From what I have observed the students who do the best, aka the students who learn Thai, are the ones who participate in homestays, one-on-one tutoring and those who have Thai friends. They practice, practice, practice and study hard.
I'd recommend Thai classes for the social aspect. And if I had to do it over again I'd still take Payap's Thai classes because I made great friends and it did serve as a base for learning Thai.
Although if you plan on enrolling in the program, give yourself plenty of time to get your visa sorted. Get on campus and get face-to-face because emails tend to be ignored. Be patient and have fun. You're in Thailand, remember?