Why I started Thai & how I used it
I didn’t mention it to anyone, but I started learning Thai because I planned a trip to Bangkok for a week to see my favorite band Joan play live. I knew I would be able to get around easier if I knew how to speak a little bit of Thai, so it was my goal to become conversational as fast as I could. I spent nine weeks learning Thai in total before my trip, and it proved very useful!
I found myself using Thai to ask for directions (to the bathroom or a specific location), to call a TukTuk and negotiate the price down a bit, and to converse basically with my Thai friends over lunch or dinner. I also made a video with Polyglot Grace in which we converse in Thai a little bit, and that will be posted on YouTube soon!
Time studied so far
I studied 28 hours and 40 minutes of Thai in total. I know this question will come up, so the app I am using to track my time is called Toggl.
This is excluding passive learning like listening to music, podcasts and watching movies. This was over the span of 9 weeks, and I feel like it was just enough to help me for my trip to Thailand.
I am surprised at the amount of progress I made and I feel I did a decent job despite having mental health struggles and low motivation.
I just used five resources for Thai. First, I took lessons on italki and Preply (use code LINDIE50 for a 50% discount on your trial lesson on Preply, by the way!). I took lessons almost every day, because I knew this was a language I had little time to learn and a lot of pressure to get conversational in.
I also used Banana Thai‘s intensive Thai course online. I only managed to do 28% of the course and found myself struggling to stay motivated to study on my own – I found it better to learn with tutors facilitating the learning progress. Banana Thai’s course also came with a textbook and exercise book which I printed and used when I could. I also listened to Banana Thai’s podcast on Spotify, playing the same episode over and over until I understood everything.
Then, I used the app Drops to drill in vocabulary. This was usually before I go to bed and I learned a lot of new vocabulary from the app. I did drop off though and couldn’t motivate myself to continue using the app for some reason.
Finally, I made flashcards with all 44 Thai consonants on them and their names at the back of the card. I kept it on my desk and every day I would move a card to the bottom and have a new letter sit on my desk facing me. Each day I could focus on learning one character. This was because it was not my goal to learn how to read and write as I was just going on a short trip, but I wanted to help myself read at least a little bit.
Thai language progress journal
I use a language journal to track my listening, language lessons, things to review and a summary of how it went. Originally I had a goal and a goal tracker too but it was too abstract so I stopped doing that and just focused on the tasks at hand.
Snaps from my trip to Bangkok