It is hard to write about KPT Language School without sounding cynical. One glance at their website and you realise there is more information about the 1 Year ED Visa that they can get you then the actual language courses they offer. This is clearly their unique selling point: if you have a 1 year education visa you can get around the constant visa runs that come with a 1 year tourist visa or other types of visa. You can also extend your stay in Thailand without returning home.
Another curious thing about the KPT Language school website is that the home page has a pictures of a woman (students, I presume) revealing cleavage with an alluring look in their eyes. All sites selling services want ‘beautiful people’ images to increase turnover but education is traditionally seen as a ‘serious’ matter, not one tainted by sexual overtones.
There are a few testimonials from students on the KPT website. Naturally they all post glowing reviews. One woman mentions that she wanted to stay in Koh Phangan to learn kiteboarding; and obviously KPT Language School just down the road from KBA Kite School provides the ready-made solution to her problem to how to extend her stay.
The school requires 50% of tuition fees paid in advance. For this they will deal with the immigration services on your behalf to get the visa. You give them copies of your passport and then you leave Thailand (to Laos, Cambodia, Burma or Malaysia) and pick up your Ed Visa. At the end of 90 days you extend your visa at Koh Samui and then you have 12 months without having to do visa runs. The cost? For a year of classes the school charges 25,900 Thai Baht. That is under $1,000. The classes are 2 hours twice a week. It is a moot point whether they take registers for attendance and pass these on to the authorities, or whether they expect a high percentage of students to never make it to class once they have the new ED Visa in their passport.
Potential ‘Thai students’ should consider that a return flight home and a 1 year tourist visa is probably similar in price to the cost of tuition at KPT Language school. Some might think that it makes learning Thai virtually free, others might come to the conclusion that the dodge is pointless. Another consideration is that the present government has made plenty of noises about testing people’s Thai speaking skills if they are on an ED Visa. If they are patently useless at Thai the suggestion is that they will be refused re-entry to the Kingdom.
That is enough negativity. Learning Thai is a great idea. On the one hand you will enhance your experience of Thailand if you learn to speak a bit. It will get you discounts, smiles and a deeper understanding of the culture. Moreover, Thais frequently get annoyed with the way foreigners seem to blithely ignore they are guests in a foreign country. Learning Thai helps to redress this common grievance.
Needless to say you can learn Thai for a much cheaper price by just organising your own language lessons. It is possible to find a learning buddy – you teach them English and in return they teach you Thai.