Six tips for expat teens in Bangkok

How do you keep busy in Bankok if you're an expat teen? From surfing at Flow House to making new friends to keeping safe on public transport, we have the answers.

Expat teen on ride in Bangkok

KIS International School

Being a teenager in Bangkok can be an exciting and exhilarating experience. The city is a vibrant and crazy metropolis offering something for everyone, but also requiring some skills to navigate. Below are 6 characteristics of Bangkok from the perspective of teenagers aged 12 - 18. 
  1. Bangkok is full of exciting activities for teenagers. Whether it’s going to the movies, shopping, playing a sport in one of the many parks, surfing at the Flow House, playing paintball at Combat Zone 62 or even Ice skating, teenagers have a multitude of activities to choose from. There is something for everyone - from adrenaline pumping extreme sports to cultural shows and classes.
  2. Teens can engage in one of many volunteering opportunities. Schools usually provide a connection to a range of initiatives that address various social or environmental issues. Otherwise there are many organisations in Bangkok that welcome volunteers. It’s a great way to meet new people, help the community and broaden your horizons.
  3. There is also the paradox of living in a densely populated city, but also being in the bubble of your own community and school. Bangkok is massive - over a tenth of the population of Thailand lives here, and certain neighbourhoods and communities become their own little microcosms. There is exuberance alongside poverty, new developments alongside old districts. Overall venturing out of your comfort zone and area can be quite an adventure! One KIS International School student mentioned that there is a feeling of calm in the big city and people are helpful and trustworthy.
  4. The previous point connects with challenges in meeting new people, as other students have mentioned. With Bangkok being so large, where do you start? An advantage of being part of an international school is that this process goes a lot faster. Most students at international schools, such as KIS International School, are used to welcoming new children into their class and they eagerly look forward to meeting them. While it may not be easy for newbies to jump straight in, it’s always helpful to join as many activities and clubs as possible! Another advantage of being in an international school is all the inter-school activities like sports or tournaments, where kids get to meet other local and expat students.
  5. There are language barriers and cultural differences when teens venture outside of their school environment, but it’s fun as you pick up a bit of Thai straight away. Students say they also go through a wealth of new experiences, from interactions with others, foods, celebrations, to interesting new customs. Some students mentioned that they feel living in Bangkok has given them an international and diverse lifestyle.
  6. An important part of being a teen in Bangkok is learning to be safe and navigate the city. One student said that she became more safety conscious after moving to Bangkok. She says the MRT and BTS are always safe options, but taxi’s can make you feel uneasy at times, especially in the evening. There can be parts of the city that aren't easily accessible and transport options vary. Once you get here it’s good to have a look for the best ways to reach your destinations, whether it’s on the skytrain, by boat or in a taxi.

International Guide to Education & Schools 2017
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