A dinner scene is Chiang Mai, ThailandThailand

YES Students

Some students from Thailand are Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program scholarship winners. Click here to learn more about the YES Program.

Country Information

Thailand, “the land of smiles,” and the gateway country of Southeast Asia, is one of the most visited countries in Southeast Asia thanks to breathtaking natural beauty, ornate temples, robust cuisine, and ruins of ancient kingdoms. Buddhism, which places a high value on hospitality and kindness, is the dominant religion.

Lifestyle and Family

Thais are generally respectful and reserved. They are also caring, warm-hearted and sensitive and they find it difficult to say “no.”

Extended Thai families are very close and are customarily patriarchal. Both parents usually work. Caring for the children and managing the household are generally the responsibility of the wife. The father is more involved with work outside the home.

Families are protective. Children ask permission from their parents before going out and teenagers have less independence than those in Western countries. Families enjoy spending weekends together at home, and Thai families are still bound by a colorful tradition with a long history.

Teen Life and Sports

Movies and television are the most popular forms of leisure entertainment. Soccer, table tennis, badminton, and volleyball are the favorite sports. Thai schools are the center of the community and a teenager’s life revolves around them. Young people normally do not drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes.


Rice is the staple food of Thailand. It is often served with meat, fish, vegetables or egg dishes. Curry, peanut and pepper sauces are popular. Typical meats include pork and chicken. A wide variety of fruit is available year-round. Most Thai families share the evening meal together.

Language and Religion

Thai is the official language with dialects spoken in different regions. In some cities, English is understood. 95% of the country is Buddhist but freedom of religion is protected under the constitution.

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“The year in USA during the AFS Program was one of the best moment in my life. When I first met my host family they hugged me and suddenly I felt the warmness and cheer from them. We became bonded into family. I call my host parents Mom and Dad. I think I’m a lucky person to have 2 families live across the world and I thanks AFS for the experience of a life time that even millions of dollars can’t buy it.”

–Thanut Pimhataivoot, student from Thailand to USA

If you have not had the pleasure of hosting a Thai student, you really should consider this wonderful opportunity. Since we have been involved with AFS, my wife and I have hosted students from nine different countries. All of them brought unique experiences to our lives; but the Thais were special. What sets them apart from the others is their unconditional love and kindness... Honor and respect are the core value of their lives. Read more...

– Bob P., Host Dad