Education Visa Information

 

Visa Information

Everything you need to know about Education Visas

We have put together some handy notes so you know exactly what you need for your education visa, how much it will cost, and how to get it.

If you would like more information, please contact us.

Interview with the school director

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MOE at KSTVS

An interview with Koh Samui Language School

Founder and Director, Dave Belcher, talks about Koh Samui, schools, and ED visas

 

“When did you first open the school?”

 

We opened the school in 2003 in Chaweng, Koh Samui. We were working in Samui’s first international school. We opened a Saturday school for children and ran summer camps for 2 years. We ran children’s classes on Saturdays and on week days. At that time there was no other international school or foreign language programmes in Samui. These classes were very popular. Particularly with children studying at the government schools in Samui, for example St Joseph’s and Tipparat.

 

“Where did you run these classes?”

 

Originally we used the classrooms and campus at Bencaja school in Chaweng. We used the classrooms on Saturdays and after school on week days. We built up a base of children and return students during this time.

 

“What was your next step?”

 

In 2005 we rented a building in Maenam and opened the school where it still is today.  We applied for and received Ministry of Education licenses to teach both Thai and English language curriculums.

 

“What is the most important demand, ED visas or education?”

 

Well, there is a demand in Samui for language lessons. Especially for foreigners, for example Italians, German, and French people. But the most popular thing is to get an education visa and study at the same time. So I would say that most people who come to the school are looking for an education visa and then they choose to learn Thai or English. Of these, English is probably the most popular especially with the Russian community. The majority of our students are Russian, as Russian people seem to want to learn English more than other nationalities and are most interested in an education visa.

 

“How important is the quality of education on Samui?”

 

Education visas are a great way to stay in Thailand over the long term, up to one year and then longer than one year. An Education visa is easier, less hassle, and better than tourist visas over the long term. The quality of language lessons to support education visas is important. Of course when people spend their money to come and learn they are looking for the best quality classes and teachers they can find. Since there are a number of language schools in Samui which offer classes and education visas, it is important to provide the highest standards, the best course, the best teachers, and the best facilities.

 

“How do you find teachers? How often do they change? How do you assess their suitability for the job?”

 

Firstly, we advertise for positions on websites for example ajarn.com. We find teachers who want to come to Thailand or that are already in Thailand, for example in Bangkok, and would be interested in coming to Samui. Secondly, by word of mouth; a lot of people write us emails or call us or come into the school because they heard from other people that we hire teachers. We have a good reputation and people know that we are a good school to work for.

 

Teachers do change quite a lot, it is the nature of the island that most people do not live here for a long time or permanently. Most people will stay here 6 months to one year, possibly a little longer. The nature of teachers who come to Thailand is that they want to move around and travel and see the world and different places. So it is a challenge to get teachers to stay. We have been fortunate and had a few teachers who have stayed long term, for example 2 to 3 years is not uncommon. But it is a challenge and we have to address it by trying to make a good team and a good working environment and paying a competitive salary. For example our Headteacher for corporate lessons has already been with us 3 years. In the past we were lucky to have a teacher called Rose who also stayed with us 2 or 3 years, and several teachers before that also stayed more than 3 years.

 

We always hire native speakers, even though they are more expensive, so most of our teachers come from the UK, USA, South Africa, and Canada. We look for people with degrees and qualifications in education; the best is a degree in linguistics or a diploma in teaching English as a second language, or another kind of degree in education. But other than that we also always look for a recognized TEFL certificate, for example Cambridge Certificate of English Language teaching to adults is the best in the world, or something of similar quality. At the moment we are lucky enough to have a Headteacher who has a degree in education.

 

“Who are your students? Why does someone want to come to learn English in Thailand?”

 

As mentioned most of our students are Europeans and Russians. I think that most people want to study English in Thailand because they want to live in a beautiful tropical island with a great lifestyle and beautiful place to live. And after that it’s a good opportunity to learn English or Thai. The prices here are very competitive and much cheaper than back home in Europe or Russia. And obtaining an education visa and studying is a very convenient way to stay in Thailand.

 

“There are 8 language schools on Samui, why someone should come to KSTVS? What are you doing to improve your school and ensure you are the best school available?”

 

We were the first school here, of course, but that does not mean that we don’t try to keep ahead of the competition and continually improve. We have the most experience and the best reputation. We’ve been here the longest and the reason for that is we’ve always been successful in supplying high quality language courses that customers are interested in. We are always looking to reinvest our profit in hiring better teachers and staff to improve the quality of our classes. We invest in our classrooms and resources, for example this year we have invested in projectors and tablets for providing eteaching material in the classroom, using a DVD version of our textbooks. We are now delivering lessons using an interactive format. In addition we are embracing technology by buying Active Teach student packages from the publisher Longmans, so that our students can complete workbook assignments online in their own time. We also invest a lot in our textbooks and research them carefully to ensure we get the best available. Our Thai text books come from England and are probably the best Thai text books you can find anywhere in the world. Our English textbooks are either Cutting Edge or New English File by Oxford University Press and Speak Out which we use for our conversation classes. In addition, we try to keep prices low and competitive as we believe it is better to have a wide range of students and a large body of students who are happy with the service and the value they receive than to charge people a lot of money and have unhappy customers.

 

“Do you have any plans for the future?”

 

Yes, we want to make online classes that would use the Longmans Active Teach online material and Microsoft learning tools like OneNote class notebooks. This would allow students to have an online tutor, use the same material, but study remotely from home and still have their work graded and reviewed by a teacher.

We would also like to arrange live internet sessions with the teacher using Skype and stream our classes live on the net for people to watch remotely.

We are planning to open a school in Krabi and Phuket, and possibly another branch here on Samui, perhaps in the south of the island in Lamai.

In the corporate world of teaching, we are working on our hospitality and hotels programs, which we are currently turning into e-learning material; both blended solutions for the classroom and apps that students can use by themselves if they are working in hotels.

Finally, we want to start Chinese classes in the school with ED visas.

 

Do you want to know more? Send us an email, phone us, or visit us in our office. We are always happy to answer your questions.

Changes at Immigration

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Over the past couple weeks I’m sure most of our students, in fact most of the students on Koh Samui have noticed a sudden change in the way the Royal Thai Immigration Department works. The management of Koh Samui’s immigration department has been changed, and so rules new to Koh Samui are now being enforced, rules which were recently were put into effect in Bangkok and Phuket.

This change has brought about many things, panic in both the students and the schools, un-certainty with regards to extension of many visas, a large question mark on the future of the Education Visa, and confusion on how the system is now actually working. I write this now to clear up the facts, put down miss-information and hope to reinsure many unsure minds.

Extensions

Contrary to general opinion, people are still allowed to extend their visa up to a maximum of 1 year. No official rule has changed in this regard. However, a couple changes have been implemented;

Extend in Person: Before, you used to be able to let your school go to immigration for you, now this has changed. You must go to the immigration department in person to extend your visa.

Cost: The cost of extending visas is 2,000 THB. You can no longer pay ‘extra’ to have to done right away, no questions asked. The cost is now transparent so people know exactly what is being paid for.

Interview: When extending your visa most students will be asked to interview. In these interviews the student will be asked a series of questions about the following;

  1.  Their stay in Thailand.
  2.  Their stay on Koh Samui.
  3.  Their reason for studying.
  4.  Their reason for being on an Education Visa.
  5.  About their financial situation.
  6.  And other general questions about their life.

 

Test: Students are now subject to be tested on their language of studying.

  1. English Students: Students studying English will have to write a short essay, A page of A4 paper at most, to demonstrate their English skills. The topic is your choice, but something about your stay in Thailand is always better to show immigration. Immigration’s ability to check the test is limited due to non-native speakers working at the immigration department.
  2. Thai Students: Students studying Thai will be expected to know some level of spoken Thai and be able to write all 44 consonants and 6 commonly used vowels. Their ability to check this test is far better when compared to the English test. As the staff can actually speak Thai they can assess fairly accurately the level of ones Thai.

Attendance: It is now required by law for students to attend school 4 days per week, 2 hours each day. Immigration will ask to see this when extending your visa, and expect to see your attendance above 75%. This is law and so the school can do nothing regarding changing it. However please ask in school for more details about the change in study hours.

Denial: While many students are worrying about being denied and told to leave the country, this has not happened yet. All students who have been to extend their visas have done so successfully. The few students who have been ‘denied’ at immigration have been so because of other issues, mainly behavior and attitude when at immigration.

How to act

When attending immigration please remember this simple rule.

  • Behave yourself – Do not become aggressive or rude with the staff. You are asking them to extend your visa, key word being ‘ASKING’. They DO NOT have to extend it, so if you are rude to them, they can simply say no. Almost 95% of all students denied by immigration have been so because they have been rude to the wrong person.

Be patient, they have a lot of work.

Be understanding, they are only doing their job.

Be calm, getting angry solves nothing.

Be respectful, they are an official government body.

Top languages to learn – From Russian to Thai

Choosing to learn a language can be one of the most beneficial and enriching experiences you embark upon in your whole life. It can challenge you in a whole new way, make you question concepts you never considered before and reward you with new knowledge and information. However, which language should you learn? With their being so much choice it can be a daunting question, as choosing the right language can determine whether you succeed at all. If you already have a favorite language then good for you, if not then this article will give you a short and simple shortlist of the top languages to learn.  The first one goes almost without saying, yet to ignore the elephant in the room would be ill-advised, so without further ado, I give you English.

 

English

The English language at the moment the largest international language, spoken around the world by an estimated 400,000,000 native speakers, 700,000,000 international speakers, in 67 countries, 27 non-sovereign entities and by countless international organizations & institutes. There is no doubt that learning English will help improve anyone’s ease of traveling, international relations & career prospects. Although as this is written in English, I assume most readers will already be aware.

Mandarin

                Otherwise known as Chinese Mandarin, with an estimated 960,000,000 speakers worldwide, Mandarin is another safe bet when it comes to choosing a language to learn. Respectfully similar to English with its career advancing prospects, Mandarin is always a safe bet to learn. While this language isn’t spoken as a second language by many people, in china itself almost 1 billion people live and speak it, making it ideal for those with traveling or working in China.

French 

                Judging which language to learn is always a complicated task, and while we should take into consideration how much you can use it, you can also let you romanticism guide you, and follow it towards learning a slightly idealistic language, French. While French only boasts an estimated 72,000,000 native speakers, it is considered to be the ‘language of love’, being a delicate lyrical language. And on top of being able to communicate inside arguably one of the must visit countries in the world, France, it is also spoken in a handful of North African and South & North American countries. Why not, ehy 😉 .

Thai

                Thai language is a must know if visiting SE Asia, especially Thailand. While it again it isn’t perhaps as widely spoken as its neighbor’s languages to the East and West, a cool 20,000,000 people do speak it, and it is recognized in Burma, Laos & Cambodia. Speaking Thai will challenge you in a totally new way, as the language is very unique in its own right. With its 6 different tone variations and a lack of any type of tense (past, present & future) it can prove tricky even for an accomplished linguist. This language is the language of choice if you want to challenge yourself with a different Eastern language, or if you simply want to visit or live in Thailand. Knowing how to speak Thai when in Thailand will open up so many more possibilities and increase your enjoyment tenfold.

Russian

Learning Russian is a handful, this complicated hybrid of Eastern & Western languages takes decades to learn and even longer to master. The beauty of Russian is often lost on un-familiar ears, with their million intricacies they miraculously & elaborately explaining the un-explainable. Their poetry is written in concise volumes and their novels have become legend amongst the scholaring community. Russian language is a counted as a top language to learn for both business and creative means, and with 260,000,000 speakers worldwide, you will most properly find a speaking partner no matter which corner of the world you find yourself in.

 

Koh Samui Tutor & Vocational School – KSTVS. Interested in traveling to Thailand? Considering to learn Thai or apply for an education visa? Then please contact us at http://kstvs.com/contact-us/. Or if you’re on Koh Samui, drop in, we can be found at 11/8 Moo 1, Maenam, Koh Samui, Surat Thani, 84330, Thailand. Want to speak to someone on the phone, no problem, call us on 077248228

How to find a quality Thai course

Finding a Thai course that’s right for you is a process which should not be taken upon lightly. To get the most out of your Thai course, you must beforehand check the most important aspects which together create a successful education, the school, the course & teacher, and the students. Using this short ‘how-to’ guide you’ll be able to feel more confident when making your choice of Thai language school. And so to the first aspect, you must choose a school.

 

Aspect 1- School

Do some research, ask your friends & family, and remember to check the internet for online reviews and other relevant information. You want to be sure you’re making the right choice in school, so try to firstly inquire how long the school has been open for. In most cases a longer running school will have more experience and had more opportunities to fail. If they have been open for so long they have to be doing something right, right? Also make sure you visit the school; checking the classrooms, materials and observing a part of a lesson is always a very useful tool in finding a good school. It’s important to check each of these features when picking a school, remember, you must make sure you are comfortable with them in order to benefit from the course, if you don’t like the school, you wont like the course.

Aspect 2- Course

Once sure that you’re happy with  the school’s physical materials, you need to check their Thai Language course is also up to par.  This should be easy, as most of the time the rule is that if the school in question has a native Thai language speaker as their Thai language teacher, then chances are that their course will teach you the most important aspects of Thai. However to go one step further, you should inquire about the teachers qualifications, as in most situations the higher qualified the teacher, the higher quality of the lessons. Try asking to sit in on a class just to get a feel for things, a good school should be confident enough with their classes to let you try it out.

Aspect 3- Students

Another aspect to consider before you enroll on your Thai course and begin your journey through this age old language, is ‘who are the students enrolled on the course’. Getting on with your teachers is important, liking your classroom is also advised, but not liking the other students can prove to be a massive problem for some classes. Try to visit the school just at the end of class time and speak with some of the current students; get their thoughts on the school and find out a bit about them. Remember, it’s not the be all and end all of learning if you don’t like your classmates, but it always helps to know they are nice people.

 

Above all, keep in mind it’s your choice, as long as you feel comfortable in learning in your Thai language school of choice then really, at the end of the day, that’s all that matters.

 

Koh Samui Tutor & Vocational School – KSTVS. Interested in traveling to Thailand? Considering to learn Thai or apply for an education visa? Then please contact us at http://kstvs.com/contact-us/. Or if you’re on Koh Samui, drop in, we can be found at 11/8 Moo 1, Maenam, Koh Samui, Surat Thani, 84330, Thailand. Want to speak to someone on the phone, no problem, call us on 077248228

Top Rules for Learning the Thai Language

Learning Thai can be a struggle, the tones alone can give any inexperienced student a headache. Individual study on your own may lead to confusion and miss-learning, a situation where you think you’re correct but end up being wrong, this can all be avoided if you study Thai in the right way. If you do your own research into the Thai language, language schools, or private Thai language teachers you will be able to find a method of learning perfectly suited to your needs. But in the meantime, here’s a few rules for the Thai beginner to remember.

Rule 1 – Take your time:

One of the most obvious yet most commonly forgotten mistakes for learning any language, take your time. To study the Thai language means commitment, ergo patience. There is no shortcut to languages, no easy way through or time saving mechanic; learning a language is no small task and one must understand this. Take your time with it, concentrate on the minute intricacies & understand the details, by doing so you will learn the language fully and go on to become a confident speaker.

Rule 2 – Don’t be afraid to practice:

Living in Thailand can be intimidating sometimes, especially if on one of the nicer islands in the South east, like Koh Samui. The local people can get passive to another farang making a vain attempt to speak Thai, after all, they got thousands of tourists through each year. Even having said this you must try to practice your Thai in real environments with real people. You may find yourself ignored because the Thai person had no clue what you were trying to say and shied away from a conversation, you may get it wrong but provoke a friendly response, or you may even be surprised to find you said it perfectly and even understood the reply. You will never know until you try.

Rule 3 – Don’t panic!

Sometimes you may find yourself confused, not sure how to say something, or totally lost after someone has just blurted some random Thai at you, the main thing to remember is not to panic. You’re a learner not a native speaker, be easy on yourself and if you don’t understand just say, people will be more than impressed if you can manage even the smallest bit of Thai, and most definitely not be offended if you can’t recite a Thai translation of some obscure Shakespearian verse.

 

Koh Samui Tutor & Vocational School – KSTVS. Interested in traveling to Thailand? Considering to learn Thai or apply for an education visa? Then please contact us at http://kstvs.com/contact-us/. Or if you’re on Koh Samui, drop in, we can be found at 11/8 Moo 1, Maenam, Koh Samui, Surat Thani, 84330, Thaliand. Want to speak to someone on the phone, no problem, call us on 077248228

Thailand 101 – A short guide to Thailand

Most people who visit Thailand do so without being fully aware of the dos & must dos and the don’ts & ‘really don’t even think about it’s.  Not knowing can sometimes act as a guard against your cultural faux pas, feigning ignorance can protect your pride, but it won’t erase the insult you have just stumbled upon. While saying this you may also miss out on the nice moments, you have inadvertently just shown great respect and have no idea you’ve done so. Don’t ruin your Thailand gap year or trip to Thailand’s Islands because of ignorance, use this short, do’s and don’ts article to get you through your trip.

 

DO’s

Do take off your shoes

When you’re in Thailand, traveling around, always remember to take your shoes off when entering almost anywhere. Apart from the actual shops/supermarkets that expect people to wear shoes, you should always remove your footwear. Be it houses, smaller shops, schools, temples, town halls or studios, on mats or in front of images of Buddha; if you don’t remove your shoes it can be seen as massively disrespectful.

 

Do remember to Wai –

When you’re speaking with local people in Thailand, upon greeting them, always try to remember to Wai. A ‘Wai’ is when you place your hands flat together, and raise them up to just in front of your face. This Wai is a sign of respect and is used when greeting and leaving someone, the higher the Wai, the more the respect.

Do attempt to speak some Thai –

The English language in Thailand is often widely known, in most areas of Thailand you will be able to find at least one person who can speak English. HOWEVER, and this is a big however, do not just assume everyone does, and more importantly do not get annoyed when no one does. Thai people are very proud of their heritage, including their language, so learning some Thai, just enough to get by, will go a long way when it comes to speaking. A couple phrases such as ‘hello’, ‘goodbye’, ‘thank you’, ‘can you speak English’ & ‘how much is that’ will massively help you out, as Thais will be more willing to help if they can see you have made some effort with their language.

Do try to keep calm –

Now depending on where you are traveling in Thailand, you may find yourself in a heated situation. You may have just insulted a local man, refused to pay for something because ‘no one told me I had to pay for this’ or simply be having a bad day, and all of a sudden you find yourself all pent up and about to start shouting. Remember this rule of thumb, do not get angry. When you get angry in Thai culture, you ‘lose face’, losing respect and any sense of control that you had, Thais will stop speaking with you and not reply to anything, or simply get angry themselves. The best thing to do, is take a breath, step back, try to explain again, or if all else fails, find an interpreter.

 

DON’Ts

Don’t disrespect the Royal family, or politicians for that matter.

Thailand’s political structure is a complicated and sensitive subject. Thai people do not like opening speaking about the Royals or politicians, especially if a negative aspect is in question. In the cinemas they normally play a short honorary video about the King before the film, it is respectful to stand, if you do not, you won’t be chased by an angry mob or anything, but people may get offended and even ask you to stand. Remember this isn’t your country, and even if it isn’t you king a little bit of respect goes a long way. If you have any questions about what’s going on in Thailand, take to the internet or read a Thai newspaper, actual news is a good source of what’s what in Thailand.

Don’t abuse your visa

Thailand immigration department can be a fickle bunch at the best of times, but one aspect which they are strict about is not taking the mick when on an actual visa. Be it tourist, business or education, don’t over stay nor miss your reporting in. They enforce penalties such as 500 THB fines per day over stay, cancelation of visas, or in rare cases, imprisonment. You’re in their country so play by their rules, you wouldn’t expect any less back in your motherland.

Don’t take Buddha images out of Thailand/ abuse images

This one is a bit of an all-round images of Buddha advice. Buddha is sacred, across most of the eastern world he is considered to be one of the most holy deities, and so should be respected as such. Laws in Thailand forbid any images of Buddha to be taken out of Thailand, although you will be sold images and may get them through immigration with no issue, but it is still law. Also never stand on, break, damage or disrespect any images. You would think this is obvious but you would be surprised about how often these rules are flouted by unknowing tourists.

Don’t be publicly indecent

This one goes over the head of many of a gap year reveler. You’re on the beach, suns hot and perhaps you ladies feel like topless sunbathing, don’t… Or maybe you and your girlfriend/boyfriend are walking through the middle of town and get carried away with yourselves, embracing each other passionately, don’t… In fact Thailand, despite its reputation is a conservative country, and so should be treated as such. Thai society is rooted down with their traditions and ways of life, which include no public indecency. With younger, internet based generations on the rise Thai culture is becoming more accepting of it, but still, as previously mentioned, a little respect goes a long way, as does the reverse.

 

Thai culture is as interesting as it is ancient, the old customs very much still thrive in much of the country as new ways to live are absorbed into the current paradigm. It’s a fantastic country full of great, friendly people, and all you need to do is remember a couple dos and don’ts (just like with every country) and you will have an experience to remember for a lifetime.

 

Koh Samui Tutor & Vocational School – KSTVS. Interested in traveling to Thailand? Considering to learn Thai or apply for an education visa? Then please contact us at http://kstvs.com/contact-us/. Or if you’re on Koh Samui, drop in, we can be found at 11/8 Moo 1, Maenam, Koh Samui, Surat Thani, 84330, Thaiand. Want to speak to someone on the phone, no problem, call us on 077248228

Learning English in Thailand

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Learning English in Thailand can be a great experience, from meeting new people of every nationality to interacting with native English speakers from everywhere across the English speaking world. Learning English in Thailand can be an eye opening, amazing experience, but why learn English in the first place? And why choose Thailand out of all places in the world? Well, in this short piece you’ll quickly understand why attending a Language School in Thailand could possibly be one of the best decisions you’ve ever made.

 

Why learn English?

Many people across the world wonder why English is so popular. They question the point of learning English and assume that they can get by with body language or gestures, as if life can be one big game of charades. However most of the time gestures lead to misunderstanding and confusion, taking 10 minutes to explain all you want is ‘a bottle of water’.

Why you should sign up for an English course and learn English is simple, it’s arguably the worlds international language. English speakers can travel almost anywhere on the planet and hope to find at least 1 person who can speak some form of English. English is spoken in every continent, and every country, from Kenya to India, speaking English can prove helpful no matter where you are. Even after your first set of English classes you will know enough English for the most simple, but real situations.

Why Learn English in Thailand

English classes in Thailand are dime-a-dozen, if you forgive the idiom, but, as with everything, there is a reason. Thailand, as well as being dubbed the ‘land of smiles’, has become synonymous with English classes & schools, causing a mass increase of competition. This increase in competition has resulted in the typical ‘supply & demand’ syndrome, decreasing the price and increasing in quality. From Language School’s in Koh Samui and Phuket to Language schools in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, top quality, professional, and not forgetting affordable, English Language schools in Thailand are the place to learn.

While the high standards of Thailand’s language schools are one of the main reasons people choose to study there, you must not forget that Thailand is also an amazingly beautiful country, with a massively varying landscape. In the north you have your higher, mountainous regions, which attract the calmer traveler, while the south boasts white beaches and blue seas. Tropical islands surround the southern stretching peninsula on both the east and west sides, presenting a wonderful choice of study locations 5 minutes from a tropical beach.

 

English Classes in Thailand have proven to be one of the most popular choices for non-native English speakers to sign up to. With the deadly combination of professional schools & teachers, cheap prices, and scenery that would take even the most traveled person’s breath away, it is no surprise that more and more students each year are choosing Thailand as their study destination.

 

 

Koh Samui Tutor & Vocational School – KSTVS. Interested in Learning English in Thailand? Then please contact us at http://kstvs.com/contact-us/. Or if you’re on Koh Samui, drop in, we can be found at 11/8 Moo 1, Maenam, Koh Samui, Surat Thani, 84330, Thaiand. Want to speak to someone on the phone, no problem, call us on 077248228