Bangkok, Thailand Report of what it's like to live there - 04/19/19
Personal Experiences from Bangkok, Thailand
1. Are you the parent of a child(ren) attending this school? A teacher at the school? Or both?
2. What grade or grades do/did your children attend at the school? During what year(s) did they attend the school?
Year four, five, and six, from 2016-2019.
3. What was your reason for living in the city where the school is located (e.g., government, military, corporate, NGO, retired)?
4. Are other schools available to expatriates in this city? Why did you choose this particular school?
Yes, many. I liked their large curriculum and ECAs provided. I liked the caring teachers, large campus dedicated to Primary and buildings for each specific year group, open friendly school environment, multicultural and traditional school uniform environment. I really appreciated the good communication and frequent newsletters from the school.
Admissions & Welcome:
1. Are the admissions and placement procedures clearly stated to prospective families, either on the school website or through other means of communication?
Yes, and easy to follow.
2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?
Clear and concise. Very professional and friendly to answer all your concerns.
Administration & School Procedures:
1. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?
Communication through newsletters, emails, website, and phone calls on occasion were great. They left messages/emails, if they needed you to call back.
2. Aside from school fees, are there required expenses such as uniforms, laptops/tablets, musical instruments, or field trips that parents are expected to cover? What are the approximate costs?
Uniforms, year five needs to provide their own laptop, some ECAs, some instruments, and field trips. Uniforms are inexpensive compared to other places in Europe or the US. Field trips are also inexpensive, perhaps because we are in Thailand.
Academics & Resources:
1. What personal or academic counseling resources are available at this school? Is there a dedicated college counselor at the school? Is he/she familiar with universities worldwide?
There are personal and academic counseling, but I do not have experience with them.
2. Is there before and/or after-school daycare available? What are the costs?
ECAs are available. Costs vary from 0$ to $150 USD. ECAs for horseback riding is usually on the higher-end, middle would be cooking class, music, or Taekwondo, and for regular gymnastics or tennis it would be free.
3. Does the school have a library? How large is it? How updated are the books? Can students borrow books to read at home?
Large library for each school, there is primary and secondary libraries. Each are well-equipped with plenty variety of books, authors come to visit with the kids, and there are dedicated librarians to help. Facilities are really clean, A/C, comfortable lounge areas and table areas to read at.
4. What are the technology requirements for students? Do they need their own laptops/ipads? How is technology integrated into the classroom and homework?
They need to bring their own laptop starting year five. Technology is integrated, as their home learning is on a schedule; set-up is on the school website and teachers can send emails to the students. Students can log into the Patana school website and check their Outlook emails from the cloud.
5. How are information technology resources at the school. Are they up-to-date? Is there a computer lab?
The IT department is up to date on everything and has good support. There are computer labs and regular computer courses they must take every week.
6. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?
Multiple gyms indoor and outdoor, multiple swimming pools, many playing fields, basketball, t-ball, football, and tennis courts. School is facilities are the best in Bangkok, that I have noticed compared to ISB, NIST, and St. Andrews Sathorn.
7. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?
One teacher to twenty students, at the most. There are six classes for each year group.
8. Are Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses available in upper grades? If this is an IB school, is the full diploma required of all students?
Yes, but we have not experienced it.
9. Are students generally challenged appropriately by the curriculum? Please describe any particular strengths or weaknesses in this area. Do you have any thoughts how the curriculum is applied and implemented at this school?
10. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?
Yes, although for my child, I supplemented with additional exercise books and that worked out well. The homework alone was not enough from my child.
11. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?
Music, drama, dance, art painting, clay, crafts, choir, and many more like t-shirt tie-dye, jewelry making.
12. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?
13. What services are available for gifted/advanced students at the school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
Gifted programs were available.
14. What services are available for students with learning disabilities at this school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
There appear to be services.
15. What services are provided for speakers of English as a second language at this school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
Mandarin Chinese was available and the teacher spoke Mandarin, Cantonese, and English (quite well). She truly cared for each child's learning levels, and challenged them to improve. She was a good Chinese teacher compared to previous ones my children had at other schools. She spoke well, and was not afraid to communicate her concerns to the parents on how the kids can improve.
16. What extra-curricular activities (including sports) are available at this school? Have your children participated in these activities? What activities do you feel are missing at the school?
The school ECAs were all great. Participated in choir, tennis, robotics, water color painting, dance, clay works, gymnastics, pencil drawing and others like cooking. We are sorry they never brought back the Shaolin Kungfu program, as that was a good program. My understanding is it was taken away due to parental complaint.
Social & Emotional Well-Being:
1. Do expatriate students socialize with local students at the school? Are both groups successfully integrated into the school culture?
Yes, there were local children in each class, and they all got along well.
2. Are there are any problems with exclusionary behavior, cliques, or bullying at this school? Please describe any problems your children may have experienced in this area.
There was a little cliques, but just once or twice issues came up, and the teacher had a sit down with the girls and was able to manage it. The cliques are just normal part of growing up, and we didn't see it as a problem and the girls all got along well after the talks.
1. What letter grade (ranging from A, excellent, to F, fail) would you assign to this school based on your overall experience? Would you choose it again?
A, the school met my expectations, but the online work at home could have had some more exercises for the children; perhaps that is the new way of teaching in IB schools? Patana was the best experience for my child compared to schools in Virginia. She enjoyed her time at Patana, and does not want to leave. Patana also had a lot of school spirit.
2. Please describe some of your child's/children's highlights and challenges during their time at this school.
She learned about school spirit through her time at Patana, and learned how to make friends in the international school easily. The first three months were difficult after the move from the USA. However, now she doesn't want to leave Bangkok, because she loves her school so much.
3. Please tell us anything else you think prospective parents and students should know about this school. Thanks for your contribution!
Originally we applied for NIST as we live in downtown Bangkok, but missed the deadline, due to arriving in October. NIST was the largest city school near us, and then Patana was bigger but it was further towards the edge of the city. We are glad we went with Patana.
NIST parents have told me that NIST had major bullying and clique issues, and besides that it would take almost 2 hours sometimes for a child to get home from NIST on a bus transport due to traffic congestion, and they lived fewer than two kilometers away. Some parents from NIST moved their kids to Patana. Patana had occasional traffic as we lived in the City Center, and the latest we had her home was about 30 minutes late (that happened twice during our three years), but never more. The Patana commute was normally about 30-35 minutes in the morning, and 35 minutes in the afternoon on the bus from the City Center to Patana. So the kids could relax/sleep during these commutes.