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Udon Expat Club

Udon Expat Club By Steve Graham

The offer of free coffee and snacks on the 4th floor of Panyavejinter Hospital was too much of a temptation for this sad man to miss, so I took my sorry self to a recent meeting of the Udon Expats Club with a view to finding out what was on offer.

Udon Expat Club

Udon Expat Club Meeting December 2011

Personally, I am not really into this sort of thing; however, a club that helps its fellow members to fit into a new lifestyle in Thailand away from their country of origin could be something I would be interested in, especially if there’s lots of coffee!

This club has been running for about three years with the idea of helping expatriates with advice on immigration, finances and visits for those who are in really isolated areas.

At the beginning of this meeting, new members introduced themselves before moving onto details of a DVD and book exchange system that had been proposed in the agenda and also a discussion on how best the club could give charitable donations to worthy causes in the Udon Thani vicinity.

To liven up the monthly meetings, there is a presentation by an individual or group connected to Udon Thani or on a subject that would interest the members attending. I was fortunate enough to listen to a group from Udon Thani’s Air Traffic Control, who spoke in English about their duties and were prepared to answer questions from the audience once they had presented their presentation and short video.

Of particular interest to me was the fact that charter planes from China, The Philippines and Switzerland use Udon Thani airport for freight. In addition, the air traffic controllers have been working round the clock during the recent floods last year.

Udon Expat Club

Guest Speakers at the Udon Expat Club Meeting

One question from the audience concerned the amount of training that an individual would receive to do the job. We were informed that after four months of tests, candidates would spend a year training, followed by the completion of one year of work experience before being qualified. Starting salaries are around 15,000 baht a month, so is above the average wage for Udon Thani, but doesn’t really blow your socks off!

Once the lecture was finished, members discussed the possibility of having a future presentation by a teacher explaining how to learn the Thai language and various entertainment ideas for the future enjoyment of the membership.

Before the meeting closed, there was a heated debate concerning administrative matters that seemed to have been outstanding for a considerable period of time; however, this did not detract from the obvious will of the membership to have a club that was for the benefit of all members and one that would also benefit the local community as well.

If you are interested in joining, application forms can be found on the internet www.udonexpatclub.com and at the time of going to press, membership costs 600 baht a year or 3,000 baht for life membership. So, if you are interested in keeping up to date with all things ‘expat’ that are going on in and around Udon Thani, why not take yourself to the monthly meetings which is on the last Sunday of every month (usually) at the Panyavejinter Hospital. I believe that you will get out of it as much as you put into it!