Jaruwan, Thomas and I met during a seminar we attended together. During a speed networking session on day 2, we happened upon each other in the same group. I was very impressed to know that so many people flew in just for the seminar, so many people are hungry for networking and business growth! Jaruwan and Thomas flew in from Bangkok. There are a lot (at least 20 out of 200+) Thai people who flew in too. I was really curious to find out why they were all willing to fly in just for the seminar. Jaruwan said something that I took a while to digest, “In Thailand, out of 10 men, half are married, 2 are insane, 2 are probably lady boys and 1 is jailed. Women have got to be very entrepreneurial as we cannot depend on men!” Okay that was of course a joke! Haha! Half joke, half truth – But Thai ladies are very entrepreneurial for sure!
Co-Founder, KRE Living
Co-Founder, KRE Living
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Miserable Student Life in UK
Growing up as an all-A student, Jaruwan was always at the top of her school with exemplary academic records and curriculum activities. After graduating with a law degree from Chulalongkorn University (regularly ranked as the no.1 university in Thailand), with her academic excellence, she was shortly admitted to King’s College, London (KCL), a world-prestigious university in Law. Jaruwan was thrilled! She was looking forward to a new life overseas and full of longing for the future. After arranging all the logistics to move overseas with an agency in the UK, Jaruwan bid farewell to her family, and boarded the plane to London with two suitcases. An exciting life will soon be upon her!
Indeed, an “exciting” life began after Jaruwan departed the plane. As it’s not convenient to move around London while carrying two large cases, she decided to hail a cab to her hotel. During her initial visit she wasn’t aware of black cabs and their extortionate prices, the ~40-min ride to her destination was approximately 100 pounds. 100 pounds! In 2008 1 pound was the equivalent of ~70 Thai baht, that one ride was almost as expensive as a one-month basic salary for someone in Thailand! She was certainly frustrated at herself for not researching alternative travel arrangements prior to arriving in London. But this was just the beginning.
It Really Wasn’t As Rosy As What She Thought
When Jaruwan finally arrived in the dorm provided by the university (student halls), one of the most memorable moments was the realization that there were 14 rooms with only 1 toilet. It was a lot of inconvenience – people were regularly physically sick, it was frequently blocked, and most often already occupied… In addition, it certainly wouldn’t be clean! Many times Jaruwan had to visit nearby fast food restaurants just to use their toilets, and guess what? In England (dependent on the restaurant) you require a pass code just to use their toilets! The passcode is usually only available to those on the receipt after a purchase. Enough is enough, Jaruwan couldn’t bear with it anymore and decided to move out from the University provided accommodation (student halls) and find new place to stay. She was assured a place in another dorm by the university but it wasn’t the case, the university didn’t deliver on their promise.
Jaruwan engaged a local agency to help her source new accommodation, but unfortunately she wasn’t receiving anything suitable. Most agents had their own agenda, instead of helping foreign clients resolve their issues, they only focused on closing deals. Sometimes they wouldn’t tell you the truth. She asked questions such as; is this place safe? Are all facilities well maintained? What are the terms and conditions on signing a lease agreement? They certainly were not concerned. Alone, she found UK agents forcing her to pay 6 months rent upfront without a guarantor. That’s a lot of money! Additionally, it’s often a huge hassle to retrieve deposits if tenants dislike the property and want to move out. Some unethical agents would even threaten that students would have their admission to university forfeited if they wanted to cancel their tenancy contract.
A very kind friend of Jaruwan let her stay at his place while she looked for accommodation, it took her almost 3 months to really settle down in London. She had a hard time juggling between studies and organizing her logistics, for the first time in her life Jaruwan felt overwhelmed. The whole experience since her arrival at Heathrow Airport was not the fairy tale as promised from her briefing in Thailand. The relocation process for students should not be as problematic as such. Jaruwan was just one of many victims, she also wanted to be the last.
Journey to Entrepreneurship
After graduating from KCL, Jaruwan returned to Thailand and proceeded to set up her own Relocation Consultancy to aid students wishing to study overseas. She didn’t want what she experienced in London to happen to anyone else. Thomas came into the picture soon after. A true blood of England, he too had previously witnessed the pain faced by foreign students. After meeting in Bangkok few years ago, he saw the value in what Jaruwan was embarking upon and joined her on the journey. They had found their calling.
Today both Jaruwan and Thomas run KRE together, a true consultancy which eases the relocation process for Thai students (primarily focused on the UK, however, KRE is currently expanding to other European countries). They help students to negotiate a better tenancy contract, ensure amenities are well-maintained for tenants, environments are safe for foreigners and many more to ensure the well-being of the students. Additionally, they personally interview local agencies wishing to work with KRE, to ensure they provide top notch services to their students. No more unpleasant surprises, no more experiences like Jaruwan’s.
“Everything happens for a reason. This happened to me so that I can make it better for others, that’s why we are here.” – Jaruwan.
Sharing for Students Going Abroad
- Be careful about what you sign for, whether it’s a lease agreement or other contracts
- There are many things that are very different from one country to another, for example in the UK you pay for a TV subscription regardless as to whether you watch it or not (some restrictions apply). And utility payments can be very confusing if they are not explained properly!
- Be aware of the cultural differences
- Don’t be afraid to speak up, in Jaruwan’s case, she expressed her disappointment at the way the issues she encountered were dealt with to the university authorities, and had her tuition fees returned!
Krung Thep Real Estate (KRE)
One-stop-shop for Student Relocation
- One-Stop-Shop facilitates in relocation for students moving abroad for further studies
- Students can choose their ideal accommodation and simply let KRE do everything else
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