WARNING - this post will be incredibly boring for those who aren't looking for a Thai Language course in Chiang Mai.
Since the slow and painful death of my Thai Language course I've been trying to flush out the best alternative over the Internet. I know, I know, all may not be what it seems, but, I've contacted a few via email anyway. I'm looking for an equivalent course = One Year Thai Language course with visa support.
First impressions go a long way, but they are by no means the full picture!
Walen - email response time, 2 days, both times. I questioned the need for an outbound flight (*an apparent requirement of entering LOS on a tourist visa) and also about their banner advertising, stating a "'free ED visa', does Walen pay for my visa?"
Pros -They provided clear and concise information, answering only the questions I asked and provided no extra information. Courses start every week.
Cons - I haven't read very positive reviews about their actual Thai Courses and no, they don't pay for the Ed Visa. Also, part of their banner advertising states 'unlimited stay in Thailand'?????
Website - well constructed, easy to navigate and multi lingual
Lessons/cost - 180 x 50 minute lessons for 24,960 Baht
Refund policy - '100% refund if your Ed Visa is denied.'
Class size - minimum of 5 students to open a class
Pro Language - email response time, same day. Extensive details provided, outlining the visa procedures, class hours and prices.
Pros - I have read positive reviews about Pro Language on the Internet.
Cons - none that I've found
Website - well designed, easy to follow and available in a few different languages.
Lessons/cost - 180 lessons x ? minutes for 25,000 Baht
Refund policy - No terms and conditions that I could find, although I was sent some by email. 'If MOE did not approve your documents, deposit will be refunded 100 %.'
Class size - 4-6 students
If you'd like to know a little more first hand, visit Talen's Thailand Land of Smiles. Talen is currently attending Pro Language in Pattaya.
The lesser known (to me) Cornerstone Coaching Centre - email response time, same day. Extensive details provided after asking for more, outlining visa procedures, class hours and prices.
Pros and cons - not enough information on the Internet to form any opinions, although I'm never keen on organisations that use hotmail email addresses. Having said that, their email responses were quick.
Website - menu links were broken, so very hard to navigate.
Lessons/cost - 'student who need a visa, need to buy 200 hrs @ 150.-baht for a whole course and the total is 30,000 baht for a tuition fee plus process fee 5,000 baht (for single)'
Refund policy - No mention of refund terms and conditions.
Class size - can't find it anywhere
Payap University - Unfortunately I have not contacted Payap, but have read good things about their course. I hope to pay them a visit next week.
Pros - none so far
Cons - Only term/condition I found was 'All fees are nonrefundable except when the course is cancelled'. A bit unsettling if your visa is rejected.
Website - easy to get around.
Lessons/cost - 'Two successive courses in one enrollment (120 hours), visa, handouts and application fees included 20,200 Baht'
Refund policy - couldn't find one
Class size - 6 - 12 students
AUA (American University Alumni) Language Centre. Sorry to say I haven't contacted AUA, but there is quite a bit of info out on the net. The Chiang Mai Centre has their own website, why, I'm not sure. Visit WLT for more info on their teaching techniques.
Pros - this language centre has been established for many, many years. In CM, since 1985.
Cons - see Refund Policy
Website - more than one?? one per location.
Lessons/cost - maybe you can work it out
Refund policy - Deposit the full tuition fee into our bank account. These fees are non-refundable and non-transferable.
Class size - at least 5 paying students to open
Well....I hope this has helped someone? If not, I'm sure all is as clear as mud by now! Hopefully I'll have made my choice by the end of next week.
*I was never questioned about NOT having an outbound flight at the Thai Consulate in Brisbane.
See what else we're up to at Cooee!