If the mundane has left you with a bad taste in your mouth, spice up your days with an internship in Thailand. Uncover the complex flavors of Thailand’s cuisine with some fiery street food. With a full belly, dive into the culture (and coral reefs) or visit an elephant park. Despite the fun you’re sure to find, the real adventure begins with your internship. Not only will you gain valuable career skills, but you’ll also connect with Thailand’s people, history, and culture. Intern in Thailand and discover a whole world beyond your office desk!
Although Thailand’s reputation for beautiful beaches extends worldwide, the country’s geography also boasts mountains and rivers. Internship opportunities exist throughout the country, so you really can’t go wrong wherever you decide to set down roots; however, a few locales stand out.
The capital and largest city, Bangkok is a clear choice for interning in Thailand. Also a center for art, entertainment, and education, internship opportunities abound across a variety of fields and sectors. The street food here is stellar, and in addition to two-buck noodles or fresh tom sum (green papaya salad), you can also shop for flowers or clothes from a street vendor. The constant energy in Bangkok will appeal to those who seek the exhilaration of being in one of Asia’s most important urban centers.
Founded in 1296 as the capital, Chiang Mai’s nickname the “new city” has stuck around. Chiang Mai continues to reinvent the new, while also respecting the past. Although the city is tourist central, as an intern, you can enjoy the best of Chiang Mai as a resident, rather than a passer-through. Known for its yearly festivals, the citizens here like to find a reason to celebrate. In February, the Flower festival delights the senses as tropical flowers come into bloom. The November Loi Krathong festival lights the rivers and skies with small paper lanterns.
If a slow-paced internship setting floats your boat, the island of Phuket pairs business with pleasure. Many of the best-known beaches, including popular Patong Beach, line the shores of this island of the west coast of Thailand. After your 9-5, you can also shop or hit up the nightlife in the areas near Patong Beach. Or opt for sunset watching at the quieter Kamala beach. For a little inspiration, search for the Big Buddha, a 150-foot white marble sculpture hidden in Phuket’s mountains.
Internships in Thailand
You may not be a seasoned professional quite yet, but completing internships in Thailand will give you a taste of the real world, with a dash of experience to set you apart. Relationship-building and laughter are key elements of doing business in “the land of smiles,” so while you’ll work hard, you might have fun, too.
With the plethora of natural diversity and wildlife, internships for international students in Thailand in environmental studies and ecology are available in most areas of the country. Because there is plenty of shoreline, marine science opportunities also stand out. Spending days in the field, whether it’s a coral reef or an elephant conservation park, will not only be engaging and energizing, but it will also give you firsthand training in your field.
With over 20 million visitors a year, Thailand draws travelers like a magnet, making Thailand a top pick for hospitality and tourism internships as well. Speaking English is an asset for this type of internship, which could include anything from working in a tourism office to serving customers at a hostel. Or for something totally unique, try out a scuba internship.
Due to the nation’s status as a developing country, education and medical internships are widely available as well. Programs range from a medical volunteer and internship Program in Chiang Mai to a teaching internship program in Krabi or Phuket.
Salaries & Costs
Nope, interns won’t make the big bucks. Luckily, in Thailand, an intern can live an ample lifestyle on an affordable budget. And if you’re extra lucky (or savvy), you may land an internship that pays.
Salary depends on the field and sector in which you find internships in Thailand. Business internships may provide a salary or stipend that would cover your expenses and then some, but education and non-profit internships are less likely to do so. Still, housing, food, and entertainment costs will only set you back between $600 and $900 per month in Bangkok, depending on your spending habits. Monthly expenses cost even less in smaller cities.
For $300 or so a month, you’ll have a roof over your head, plus internet, cable, and air conditioning, in a standard studio apartment. You can guzzle down an entire meal for around 30 Baht, or roughly one USD. To keep costs in check, do as the locals do and shop at street vendors and markets. You’ll find more authentic products, cheaper prices, and have the chance to interact with Thai folks out doing their day’s shopping.
Accommodation & Visas
No matter where you live in Thailand during your internship, it’s sure to enhance your experience. Whether you live with a family in a homestay, with fellow interns and travelers in a hostel, or with local roommates in an apartment, all of the housing options offer their own unique benefits with an affordable price tag.
Depending on the length of your internship stay, you may choose a homestay, hostel, or apartment. Homestays make perfect sense of mid-length stays of a few months and also offer a glimpse into Thai life, a chance to pick up some Thai language with your host family, and often, home-cooked meals. Hostels, too, are ideal for a a few month stint and have the added benefit of helping you meet other travelers. For stays of six months or longer, an apartment may feel most like home and help you settle in like a local.
Interns in Thailand must obtain an education visa prior to entering the country. In addition to a valid passport, you’ll likely need to show proof of funds for the duration of your stay, a visa application, and passport-sized photographs. Valid up to three months, the education visa can be extended in Thailand to up to one year. View GoAbroad’s Embassy Directory for the most up-to-date requirements for visas in Thailand.
Benefits & Challenges
As with most things in life, an internship experience in Thailand brings with it both the positive and the negative. You’ll be challenged in some way likely every day but also learn more than you thought possible.
Language barrier. Although in many fields like business and tourism, you can get by on English, knowing a few key phrases (at least) in Thai will certainly help. You’ll be able to better connect with your co-workers, customers, and clients, and give you valuable insight into the culture that you may miss otherwise.
Navigating a new (work) culture. Adjusting to the heat and humidity while interning abroad in Thailand is one thing, but adjusting to a new culture and a new job all at once can be downright exhausting. Some sunscreen and plenty of bottled water will help you adjust to the weather, but what about figuring out the workplace habits? Don’t be afraid to politely ask questions in advance or on the job. Observing others will take you far as well. And after work, get out and explore your home away from home. You’ll soon settle into a new rhythm.
Learn about yourself, your field, and the wide, wide world. Meeting deadlines, getting up everyday to an alarm clock, navigating public transportation in Thai. Yeah, you’ll do it all, and you’ll rock it. Plus, you will earn more than a line on a resume. You’ll gain actual work experience that will give you knowledge and insight into your chosen field that you can only get on the job. All this, and you’re out there seeing the world, meeting new people, and making lifelong friends. The benefits totally make it all worthwhile.
So, with a dash of adventure and an ounce of fortitude, mix up the routine to create the perfect blend of sweet and savory. Tangy Thailand is awaiting for design your perfect internship menu. Order it up!