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Old 01-06-2007, 11:57 AM   #1
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Default living in bangkok?

I just got a job offer at Bangkok law firm for this summer, and I was wondering if any of you have any thoughts about what it would be like to live (as opposed to just travel/pass through) there. I imagine I would be working 40-60 hour weeks (I don't know yet), so it wouldn't be as though I was traveling the country, at least during weekdays. I think it could be a really great experience, but I don't know if it would be a better option than, say, working at a US firm most of the summer (and making much more money), then taking some of that money and doing a shorter trip to Thailand where I have all my time free to travel around.

Some concerns I have:
* I speak no Thai, and while I probably could learn some useful phrases before June, it looks ridiculously hard. Do many people in Bangkok speak English?
* How are women (and in particular, foreign women) treated?
* I would be staying in an apartment a fifteen-minute walk (I don't know which direction) from the office, which is on Sathon Rd near Lumpini Park. Is that a safe area?

Any advice appreciated!
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Old 01-06-2007, 12:33 PM   #2
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That sounds like an incredible opportunity! I didn't have any trouble with the language when I was there. Especially in Bangkok, you'll find most people know at least a little English. Learn the basic greetings and you'll be fine. I can't answer from a woman's perspective, but I never felt unsafe walking around. I stayed in a mostly residential area, and sometimes walked for blocks without seeing another expat. I felt like I was three feet taller than everyone around me, but that couldn't be helped...

Living and working there will give you much more exposure to the local culture than a short trip, even if it means less sight-seeing. I guess it depends on what your interests are, but I'd go for it!

Good luck, whatever you decide!
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Old 01-06-2007, 02:00 PM   #3
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What a great opportunity!! I think you should take it!! Even though you might make more money in the US the experience you'll get just by living in Bangkok will be much more valuable!!

And besides, it's just for the summer, so you won't be away from home for too long if you start missing (which I doubt!!) Thai food is to die for!!
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Old 01-06-2007, 06:05 PM   #4
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This has the making of one of those stories that I'll hear from time to time that goes, "I went to another country to work on a contract for one summer...and stayed for 7yrs!"

Ditto what Flo said about money vs the experience. Money is easy make, but the experience can be priceless.

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Old 01-06-2007, 07:46 PM   #5
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You should definitely go for it so you can tell stories that start like "Back when I was living in Bangkok..."

Flo is right, Thai food is fantastic!

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Old 01-06-2007, 09:33 PM   #6
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I am in Bangkok now.

English is not a problem here. As said above everyone knows at least the basics. Good news is that even in Thai writing they use our numbers so there is no mistaking prices. I have never seen any foreign women here treated badly. There are tons here that are teaching English full time.

If you come here you won't regret it. That much I can tell you. And yes I had some amazing food last night that set me back about US$2. That was at a restaurant with a beer!

So go, enjoy, and keep us posted! The weather is always hot here so you have no need for a jacket or any sort of winter clothes. Maybe work and stay an extra month to travel as well?


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Old 01-07-2007, 08:12 AM   #7
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Wow! What an opportunity! I say to definitely take it! I've never been to Bankok, but from what I've heard about that part of the world, the people are so friendly and helpful...and the sights are breathtaking. If you stay in the US and simply take a trip for a week or 2 chances are you'll be dying to stay longer and kicking yourself for not taking the summer and fully immersing yourself in the sights and culture. And if by the end of your trip you dont feel like you've seen enough, you can always take some of your vacation time to tour the area and see the sights. Good luck with whatever you decide!

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Old 01-07-2007, 12:27 PM   #8
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thanks for all your advice! living in bangkok is sounding more and more exciting... it is good to hear that it could be a good place to spend time as opposed to just passing through on the way to see other things in se asia, which is what everyone seems to do.

the money is mainly a concern because i have two more years of law school at $50k apiece. (my summer salary would go towards tuition.) it's just a matter of having about $15,000-$20,000 more debt at the end of it all.

on the other hand, i'm sure that once i graduate i'll pay my loans off eventually, and with starting salaries these days probably sooner rather than later. this is also the last time in my life i could do something crazy like this. my job next summer should be with a firm i want to work at permanently, i probably won't be able to practice abroad, and new associates at law firms aren't known for having much vacation time.

anyways i don't have to commit right yet, so i'll continue to mull it over... i'll keep you posted on my decision!
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Old 01-07-2007, 09:26 PM   #9
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It sounds like a wonderful opportunity. I love Thailand and if I had the opportunity to work there, I would. However, there are a few realities about Bangkok. It is a very polluted city, with horrendous traffic. Many parts of it are dirty. It is a city very much in transition. Some streets, such as Suhkumvit Rd has malls and restaurants as nice as any in the west. Other parts are very much third-world. You just need to be aware of these things before you go. I love the vibrancy, the fact you can get street food 24 hours a day for pennies and the general craziness that exists there. It is a far cry from the rules driven society in the US. There are things that WILL drive you nuts....but I say go for it. If you have an open mind, I think you will greatly enjoy the experience and there are plenty of things to see on the weekend.

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Old 06-06-2007, 11:36 PM   #10
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Dude, if I landed a job there, I'd take it! Plus, you could actually use that experience in future resumes, as the skills you'll develop in dealing with a completely different culture will look good! Not to mention all the fringe benefits like awesome food, new experiences, cheap massages, and "extracurricular" fun, should you choose to pursue it.
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Old 06-07-2007, 02:08 AM   #11
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i wonder if she did move there or not. grrr i want to know the ending.

but id love love love to get offered work abroad, it will never happen as i dont work in business or finanance or law or anything where you get chances like that...
Up next...

Euro trips for gigs and festivals as usual...
Then heading east to NZ & Aus for a few years! Via Abu Dhabi, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.

Time to get out of the UK for a while!!
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