19 Apr 2022
Truffle cheese, inexpensive premium wines, and meeting “Prince Charming” Sasin recently interviewed some of our outbound exchange students about their experiences studying in France. We connected on Zoom with four exchange students, Pimnicha Paisithmongkol, Wirakarn Tativechakul, Chotiga Chotisorayuth, and Prich Virojvatanakul, who are all currently studying in the suburbs of Paris at HEC, one of the world’s top business schools. Q: What do you enjoy most about your exchange experience? Chotiga: All our classmates are from diverse backgrounds. In one of my classes, I am the only Thai so we share a lot of experiences, cultural differences, and everything together. Wirakarn: Another thing I enjoy is that there are many clubs provided in the class where we can choose what we are interested in and do activities with groups of people who are on the same team. Prich: I enjoyed the companions here. They are from different countries like Germany, Russia, and Italy. We also have students from America and Ireland. It’s the cultural differences and the mix of friendship that makes it enjoyable. Q: What is it like studying with French students? Prich: At the school’s orientation, the international students were warned that the French students won’t talk to them. The French students worked really hard to get here so they feel like they don’t have to study much but the international students have to study harder. Chotiga: The French students are equally as shy as international students so when the professor asks a question, a lot of times, she’s met with a blank stare. The facilities are much smaller than Sasin, and the teaching is lecture-based, so not a lot of the students get to interact with professors. Sasin’s professors engage with students more than the French professors. Prich: The French students are expressive in their opinions. If what you are providing to the group [for group work] is not in the right direction, they will point it out to you straight away. Q: What are some of your favorite subjects in school? What new things did you learn? Chotiga: One of my favorite classes is behavioral economics. The course is about psychological biases that happen in everyday life and I think it’s applicable to the marketing world or the business world in general. Another course I like is Living and Working with French People. I have to live with French people for many months, so I want to learn about their culture. Prich: I joined the French Debate Association. The French love their debates. Their emphasis is on the style of the debate more than the substance of the debate, and they make fun of the topic they’re debating but in a polite way. Wirakan: I took courses like UX/UI experience and Python, an introduction to coding. They partner with a school called Le Wagon, so it’s something new and in trend. It’s not a technical course but more business-oriented, so you know what UX/UI is and how you can manage people in the field. Pimnicha: In Thailand, there are no courses that deep dive into finance, so I took more advanced finance courses like innovation and digitalization in finance, application in finance, blockchain, robotic processing automation, high-frequency trading, and the courses have many cases related to blockchain in finance and other fields. Q: Have you learned anything innovative that you would like to apply to Thailand or in your future businesses? Pimnicha: I learned how to apply blockchain in the dog breed industry, like when you sell the dog, you can make sure that the dog’s parents are from the same breed or that they are the same pedigree. Using blockchain applications can solve this problem. Wirakan: I learned how to apply Artificial Intelligence (AI) in art fields like in music, dance, choreography, and songs. Prich: In France, they have a questionnaire via mobile phone to ask questions like what type of clothes you like to wear, what is your height, what color you like to wear, and what clothes you have in your wardrobe. It then gives recommendations of what you should be wearing. If you apply the right technology to this, it can go somewhere. Q: Have you felt like you have changed as a person during your time abroad? Pimnicha: I noticed an improvement in soft skills like time management skills and multitasking. I had to check the schedule and check which bags I have to carry to go to the grocery store as it takes an hour for me to travel around in Paris. Prich: I learned that I am an alcoholic! I’m joking, but it’s true that the alcohol tax in Thailand is astronomical. In France, it’s almost cheaper to buy alcohol than water. Q: Do you miss Thai food? What are some of the foods you love to eat in France? Chotiga: Five-year-old truffle cheese. In France, they protect each region’s specialty products, kind of like Thailand’s OTOP, but more regulated. You have to travel to Dijon to have mustard. I also bought 15 kilograms of Lobo (Thai curry paste and seasoning mix) and as business savvy as Sasin students are, if I don’t finish it, I sell it to my French friends. Q: How is Sasin better compared to HEC? Wirakan: I like the facilities at Sasin more as HEC doesn’t have plugs at every table so you have to charge your laptop before class. Q: Would you recommend the Sasin Exchange Program? Prich: Paris is full of culture, and you get to meet people from all over the world, sit in class with students from Spain and Italy. You can travel and go to museums like the Louvre, and soak up all the culture. Chotiga: Absolutely, it really widens your world academically and socially. You make friends all over the world that you can visit after you graduate. And if you want to work abroad, you have friends and professors who can guide you. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience for sure.