In 2009, Prof. Dr. Sompong Wittayasakpan acknowledged that there were a lot of people interested in studying the Thai language. Formerly, Chiang Mai University once accepted foreign exchange students to study in class with Thai students. Unfortunately, they were unable to study together smoothly because international students did not understand the lesson contents thoroughly due to language and communication barriers.
Therefore, Thai as a Foreign Language Program (Thai As a Foreign Language or TFL) was established and developed to suit foreign students. TFL is a 4-year program focusing on learning the Thai language by natural approaches like native speakers. Our goal is to help foreign students achieve their academic accomplishments in Thai language skills, including listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in order to communicate with native speakers effectively.
The Popularity of Learning Thai Language Among Foreigners
Currently, there are many educational institutions, both domestic and international, offering courses in Thai as a foreign language. According to a survey conducted by the Office of the Higher Education Commission in 2013, it appeared that international students chose to study Thai as a foreign language, second only to the Business Administration Program. Most of the students who attend higher education institutions in Thailand are Chinese because the Chinese government has the policy to increase its economic growth called "One Belt One Road." Besides, Thai is one of the most significant languages in ASEAN. As a result, foreigners from many countries are choosing to study Thai in Thailand as well.
ASEAN Community and Educational Adaptation
At present, Thailand has a high economic expansion as a result of switching from the agricultural sector to the industrial and service sector. Consequently, there is more investment from other countries, especially from China, which has a huge influence on ASEAN countries in terms of economy, society, military, and diplomacy. Hence, Thai language is one of the most popular languages among Chinese students and also students from ASEAN countries.
TFL Program focuses on the enhancement of Thai language ability as a research tool for Thai studies, area studies, and international relations and development studies in politics, economics, society, and culture at the regional and international levels.
The Program aims to produce graduates who have Thai language skills and can demonstrate an ability to use the Thai language effectively and appropriately. It provides students with an integrated knowledge of Thai language skills, life skills, and social skills. These skills can be applied to self-development as well as in career and organizational development with a focus on quality, morality, and ethics. Program graduates will be aware of the value of the Thai language, society, and culture and will be eager to serve as social and cultural representatives of Thailand.
Students who graduate from TFL Program will be able to communicate in at least two languages: their mother tongue, English, and Thai. These are some examples of potential future careers for students with a Bachelor’s Degree in Thai as a Foreign Language.
- Tourism Industry: Tour Guide, Customer Service Agents and Representatives - Education: Language Teacher, College Professor - Public Relations and Communication: Public Relations, Advertising - Translation: Interpreter, Translator - Business: Business Owner, Administrative Assistant/Secretary, Sales Representative - Other professions related to Thai language
Bachelor of Arts in Thai as a Foreign Language (International Program) Department of Thai, Faculty of Humanities, Chiang Mai University 239 Huay Kaew Road, Muang District, Chiang Mai, Thailand 50200 Tel. 053-943244 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org