January 23, 2015 at 1:04 pm

Six Thai Students Join OPIE for Spring 2015

Thai students join OPIE

Thai students join OPIE.

By Tanya DovbnyaTanya-Dovbnya
Ohio Program of Intensive English and A&S International Academic Adviser

Six Thai students arrived in Athens to study English in OPIE (Ohio Program of Intensive English) and pursue their undergraduate degrees in engineering at Ohio University.

The newly arrived students are all recipients of the Royal Thai Government Scholarship, which aims to help students master English as a second language and earn a bachelor’s degree in engineering at Ohio University. This scholarship is originally granted for five years and covers the students’ tuition fees, books and supplies, room and board, health insurance, recreational expenses and other related expenses. This initiative in OPIE started as a result of Dr. Gerry Krzic and Jeff Shane’s collaboration with the Thai Embassy in 2014.

The students are 18- to 19-year-olds and recently graduated from high school. Some of them were freshmen or sophomores in Thai universities. They come from different regions in Thailand and are all excited about the upcoming semester. At home, they studied various fields: computer science, veterinarian science, chemical engineering, physical education, and aviation. What unites them now is their affiliation with the engineering field and their desire to earn an undergraduate degree in it unless they decide to change their majors.

Among the things which have impressed them the most so far is the snow, they say. They comment that “It looks better when you look at it from the inside rather experience it outside.” Although Athens’ winter challenges them, it does not prevent them from engaging in a purely winter activity like ice-skating for example. Another striking thing for Thai students are mixed-sexes dorms. Apparently, in Thailand the dorms are generally single sex ones; moreover, most of the newly arrived students used to live with their families before. Therefore, this is the first time in their lives they live by themselves without their parents’ supervision, with roommates from different countries. They all smile and add that although they miss their families, they enjoy the freedom. English, according to the students, presents another challenge, but they are excited to get a better grip of the language to be able to understand American culture better.

Since arriving in the United States, they have been exploring Athens in spite of the unfavorable weather. Just like students from the United States and other countries, they like doing various things—listen to music, play guitar, play computer games, read, and watch TV shows. Hence, it should not be a problem for them to relate to their American roommates and find some common topics for discussions.

Among the things that draw their interest in the United States are Cedar Point, Disneyland, New York City, San Francisco, and generally traveling throughout the country and seeing as much of it as possible. OPIE has prepared many interesting and engaging events for its students, and we welcome Ohio University faculty and students to join them and meet our new cohort from Thailand.

OPIE offers a series of extracurricular activities for the students in Spring 2015. All A&S faculty, staff, and students are welcome to join them and engage in a multicultural dialogue!


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