In the Search of Truth in Siam Empire

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The infamous meditation hall of Vihara Rajadivasa (Wat Ratchathiwat).

Our contributor, David, shares his experiences of doing a MSc study in Mahidol University, Bangkok. David gives an overview of the application to the university, curriculum and daily live situation you could expect if you pursue your study there. Check it out to learn more about studying in Thailand!

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The Mahanagara of Deva, Krungthep Mahanakhon, this is how Thai people call Bangkok, the capital of Siam Empire, Thailand.

The forest monastery just next to gigantic mall Siam Paragon, Vihara Wadumvanarama (Wat Pathumwanaram).
The forest monastery just next to gigantic mall Siam Paragon, Vihara Wadumvanarama (Wat Pathumwanaram).

Before continuing reading this article, please remember that this writing contains no miraculous and superfluous things. Therefore, hopefully the readers can understand that in this world, in this life, we serve our own menu, we are the one who are responsible for our own happiness and suffering. So, let’s start to discuss about the process of applying for a master study in Mahidol University in detail.

It was around January 2019, there came an idea to this mind about, “Why don’t I try to apply for higher education in the second happiest country in Southeast Asia?” And there was no reason to reject that. To this end, first thing I did was of course searching for information about the list of universities in Thailand. After getting an idea which one to apply, I opened the campus official website to search for available scholarship.

Very high resolution yellow lotus image taken from Vihara Dhatu Dong (Wat That Thong).
Very high resolution yellow lotus image taken from Vihara Dhatu Dong (Wat That Thong).

Fortunately, Mahidol University has international program for M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Physics. You can read more about this program here. If you would like to know further, before applying for the program, remember that it is useful to send some emails to the faculty. In short, we will be given a test from which the decision of scholarship application will be made. And as we wait for the result of application, we must submit all of the required documents such as academic transcript, certificate of graduation, English proficiency (IELTS is recommended with minimum score 6.5 otherwise the application will be aborted), etc.

For the academic transcript, GPA will be the first thing to be in consideration. So, if you still have chance to improve it, don’t waste your opportunity by saying, “Ooowh, success doesn’t really need high GPA.” Because the truth is, if the one has high GPA may be miserable, it’s more likely to happen for people with lower GPA case.

After the administration process is finished, months later Mahidol University will announce the official result and if you are accepted, the acceptance letter will be sent via email and we MUST ask for a hard copy to be sent to our home. This copy is needed to apply for a student visa via Thai Embassy. The visa application process is very easy and not complicated. That’s all the process, not complicated at all right?

In short, I started the course in the late of August 2019. Since the master study must be finished in 2 years and the full scholarship (includes cost of courses + monthly allowance worths 10.000 THB = minimum wage in Bangkok) covers only 24 months, you have to start your research soon after the semester is started.

Practically, we must finish all the courses, around 8 subjects + thesis proposal defense (this one is actually just more formal form of discussion about your interest with 3 lecturers) within 3 semester with minimum score of B. Otherwise, you are violating the terms and conditions of the scholarship and responsible to pay back all of the scholarship you have received. The last semester will be the time for thesis defense. That’s all about the study.

View from the side of Chaophraya River, on the back side of the most beautiful hundreds-year old French-Srivijaya style temple named Vihara Rajadivasa (Wat Ratchathiwat).
View from the side of Chaophraya River, on the back side of the most beautiful hundreds-year old French-Srivijaya style temple named Vihara Rajadivasa (Wat Ratchathiwat).

And how about the Mahanagara of Deva itself? The city with size of 2 times larger than Jakarta, is a busy city where every place is well-connected by various types of mass transportation. On the sky, there is sky train (BTS); underground we have MRT. There are also hundreds routes of buses and van which serve passengers for 24 hours. Besides, there are also ships with a lot of stations, connecting both part of the megacity that is split by the Chaophraya River. These ships are pacing back and forth through hundreds-year old canals and are free from traffic jam. So, don’t worry about transportation. The price also is reasonable and there is a discount for student. About food, there is no doubt about Thai food.

Other nice things about this Buddhist Siam Empire are it’s easy to find places for stilling the mindand tasting serenity of silence. There are various temples from forest temples to modern style to be visited.

The author and Ven. Shih Chao Hwei (the lecturer from NTNU, also the first nun in Taiwan, blessing a same-sex marriage back to 2012 long before Taiwan legalized same-sex marriage) in Thammasat University when there was a conference about gender equality.
The author and Ven. Shih Chao Hwei (the lecturer from NTNU, also the first nun in Taiwan, blessing a same-sex marriage back to 2012 long before Taiwan legalized same-sex marriage) in Thammasat University when there was a conference about gender equality.

Lastly, Siam Empire similar as other Buddhist-majority countries, the second largest in Asia after Taiwan, is doing a significant progress in gender equality. For example, with same-sex marriage law that was just endorsed by the government last few months and now about to be voted in parliament. So, even if you are part of the sexual minorities which may be discriminated in your home country, if you are qualified, then the door of Thailand is always open for you regardless of your status.

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