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Thailand’s emphasis on friendliness, fun (sanuk), and tranquility make it a wonderful place to spend your summer. With this six-week program you can have an international high school experience without missing any classes back home. During our summer programs in Thailand, you’ll live with a Thai host family and attend a local school in order to learn the language and become a part of the community. Not only will you get a life-changing study abroad experience, you’ll be able to see the full spectrum of Thai culture by engaging in daily customs. You may also have the chance to participate in cultural activities like cooking, Thai handicraft, and Thai boxing.

Things to know

Thai people greet each other with a wai (pressing their palms together as they bow or curtsy) in order to show respect. You raise your hands higher and bow lower when you encounter someone of high stature, like a Buddhist monk. In Thailand the king and royal family are highly respected and it’s actually against the law to insult them! Thais try to live with a jai yen (a cool heart), so you won’t usually see them expressing extreme emotions. They also value the Buddhist principles of acceptance and detachment, which means they tend to be non-confrontational and easy-going.  Because of the country’s Buddhist history, many Thai people understand and accept dietary restrictions like vegetarianism.

What's included in your experience

  • Airfare


Graduates Eligible? No, participants cannot have graduated high school prior to program start
Minimum GPA 2.0
Age Range 15yrs, 0 months to
17yrs, 11 months at start of program
Language Skills No language requirement

Arriving in Bangkok

Your journey to Thailand will begin in Los Angeles, where you’ll meet your fellow AFSers from the US. Together you’ll attend an overnight orientation and then travel to the city of Bangkok where you’ll be met by AFS staff and volunteers.

Soon you’ll be ready to head to your new community. Along the way you might pass rainforests, coconut plantations, or sandy beaches with cerulean waters. No matter where you are, you’ll likely catch a whiff of the spicy and sweet flavors drifting from local food markets and street vendors, punctuated by coconut and basil, especially. Around these markets you’ll also see Thai teenagers zipping around on motor scooters, their school uniforms billowing behind them. And keep your eyes peeled for some ancient, ornate architecture, as the golden stupas and steep roofs of Buddhist wats (temples) are often the focal points of Thai communities. There are over 40,000 wats in Thailand!

AFS student in Thailand with Thai host mother

Living with a host family in Thailand

AFSers have lived all throughout Thailand, from the northern teak forests to the southern tropical beaches. You might end up in a regional capital or a small town, and your host family could live in a traditional rural home or a small city apartment.

Most Thai families are close and caring, with several generations often living in the same house. Young adults usually stay at home until they marry, so you could have host siblings in their twenties or thirties.  Your host family is likely to have namjai, which means they endeavor to show generosity without expecting anything in return—though it never hurts to reciprocate.

AFS Thailand Host Father and Host Sister riding bike

Settling into daily life in Thailand

You’ll likely be enrolled in a public secondary school. Your typical day will begin around 8:00 am and finish around 3:30 pm. In addition to subjects like math and science, AFS students will be offered Thai language lessons free of charge. Other activities such as dancing, sword fighting, boxing, music, cooking, meditation, and arts & crafts might also be available. As authority figures are highly respected in Thailand, you can expect to greet your teachers with a traditional wai.

Buddhist Monks in the streets of Bangkok, Thailand

Exploring Thailand

Anyone who goes to Thailand is sure to see spectacular Buddhist temples. But there’s so much more to this friendly country and its culture. While in Thailand you might be invited to sing karaoke or go shopping at night and weekend markets. Many people enjoy dancing, and American-style breakdancing is getting more and more popular among teenagers. A lot of students participate in sports like soccer, table tennis, badminton, volleyball, and basketball. They might also like playing Mahruk (a game similar to chess) or watching Muy Thai (Thai boxing) on TV. Other common activities include Tai Chi and aerobics, with people gathering in parks at dusk and dawn to practice in groups. Some teenagers in Thailand even like to hang out in Internet cafés to meet people and play games.

Thailand floating market

Food you'll Encounter in Thailand

Thai cuisine is often a combination of sweet and spicy flavors, with kao (rice) served at every meal. Families eat in the communal style; each person has their own bowl of rice while other dishes are placed in the center of the table and shared by everyone. Some popular foods are pad Thai (pan-fried noodles), satay (pork or chicken on a stick with peanut sauce), yam (spiced salad), and tom yum kung (lemon-flavored soup with shrimp). For dessert you can try khao niew mamuang (coconut sticky rice with mango) or bua loy (rice balls in sweet coconut milk). You’ll also find that fresh, tropical fruit is available year-round. You’ll likely discover that Thai food in Thailand is different than what you’ve tasted in the U.S.—and certainly more spicy. No matter what, you can expect to try some delicious new dishes!

Available Scholarships

What's Included

  • 70+ years of experience delivering high-quality programs through a worldwide network of 50,000 dedicated volunteers
  • Accommodations
  • Round-trip international airfare for the designated program dates
  • Program activity fees
  • Worldwide, 24-hour emergency assistance
  • Access to an in-country support team and network, as well as our Participant Support Department based here in the U.S.
  • International secondary medical travel coverage
  • Visa support and guidance
  • Inclusion in a worldwide returnee and alumni network of over 1,000,000 people

Returning Home

“Life-changing” is hard to describe, yet it’s nearly always the first thing that AFSers say when asked about their experience abroad. “Transformed” is another one.
When you return home from your summer study in Thailand, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and developed the confidence and resilience to accomplish anything you set out to do.
That transformation isn’t only visible to you, though – others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers. Second language fluency, intercultural competence, creativity, and critical reasoning will help you succeed, whatever path you take. “Life-changing” means it’s only the beginning.
It’s not just an adventure abroad; it’s a whole new reality. The perspectives and personal connections you gained will stay with you and likely draw you back to the second home you found in Thailand.

In fact, our alumni reviews have made AFS one of the top-rated organizations in the study abroad industry.

A new you awaits.

Apply for Summer High School in Thailand!