We have all experienced some significant changes to our lives in recent months, most of which haven’t been for the better. However, now more than ever might be the right time to start learning some more Thai. We appreciate that many Thais speak English, but if you can speak more of the native language, it will enhance your experience while you are in Thailand. This is true if you are working in Thailand, retired or visiting on holiday. Here are five reasons why:
1. Gain a better understanding of the people and culture
In a city such as Pattaya, it is often easy to forget that we are guests in the country and not the other way around. We complain that “Thais just don’t understand” but we have not taken the time to learn the culture of what the people are saying. It can make things extremely hard with plenty of confusion from both sides. When you understand the language, you will be able to communicate with the locals on a higher level which will put them more at ease. You may be surprised at how much things change!
2. Understand business associates and others better
Being able to understand and join in the conversations around you will improve your quality of life. You will be able to communicate with business associates without the need for an interpreter which will not only make doing business easier; it will earn you more respect – something which is vital if you are to succeed in a country such as Thailand. On a more personal level, you and your partner will have a better relationship if there is better communication – so this too is a huge positive.
3. Getting things done!
Getting things done in Thailand can be a challenge, and it is true that to a certain extent this is because of “Thai Time”, but often it is more down to misunderstandings. Workers often don’t know what is required and don’t want to lose face by admitting it and asking. It results in the job not getting done and even more frustration. If you could talk Thai, it would reduce (admittedly not eliminate) the chances of this happening and put the worker more at ease to be able to ask questions if needed.
4. Grow your circle of friends
As expats, we often stay within our own circle of friends – usually other expats and their partners. Very few of us have genuine Thai friends who we are close to, which is a shame seeing as we live in their country! Having Thai friends will improve your overall experience in Thailand, helping you to get more out of your time in the Kingdom. You would mix naturally in your “home” country, so why not here?
5. Improve your job prospects
It makes sense, that if you are working in Thailand, your job prospects are better if you can speak the language. The number of jobs which are “expat only” is reducing and the jobs market now has more local competition. In the past, expats may have been in pole position for jobs, but now, that is not the case. Speaking Thai would undoubtedly look much better on your CV and potentially give you an advantage.