Life in Thailand

It is very hot. Don't bring too much stuff since you can buy almost everything in Thailand.Alvin from CA, Summer Community Service Program
Not expressing your anger and frustration in public as well as a much higher respect towards your elders was very different. Thai culture is so much different and if you truly try to adjust yourself, everyone around you will be willing to help.Hayley from OR, Year Program
For teens in Thailand, socializing mostly takes place inside of school. Make friends right away with your class by sharing information about yourself and your home country. Lucero from CA, Year Program
The most difficult thing to adjust to in Thailand was the indirect mode of communication. My host mother did not tell me the little things that I did that bothered her. I would ask if she needed help with things and she would say no, when she really wanted my help.Kayla from AZ, Semester Program
Thailand is the “Land of Smiles” and you will be expected to smile as well. Everyone at school and home will keep a happy face on no matter the circumstances. Kayla from AZ, Semester Program
How strict Thai people are really took a toll on me. I knew that it was something to be expected, a part of the Thai culture, but I still found it hard to adjust to. I kept reminding myself that it was a cultural difference and nothing personal.Catherine from NJ, Year Program
When you arrive in Thailand you will be overwhelmed with all the kindness and special attention you will get. The worst thing you could possibly do is to take advantage of the Thai people's hospitality.Nicole from CA, Semester Program
Family-wise I found it difficult being able to speak your mind. We as Americans grow up thinking to always speak your mind. But in Thailand it is considered impolite to criticize, especially people that are of higher status than you. Elvis from CA, Year Program
In Thailand, being an AFS host family is largely a status booster. Many families want students so that they can look valuable in the community. So be prepared to present yourself quite a bit to other extended family members and friends even at times when you might not want to.Maria from WI, Year Program
I was unprepared for the amount of my life that my family expected me to share with them. They always wanted to know what I was doing, even at times when I simply did not want to be social. Maria from WI, Year Program
I was having difficult time to adjust to the weather; it is hot and humid but some families, like mine, had air conditioning. Yesenia from CA, Summer High School Program
Definitely read up on the King and the political issues of Thailand before going. Also study some basic Thai phrases.Amanda from WI, Summer High School Program
Students in Thailand were very active in school activities and did well in school. What they call boyfriends and girlfriends are what we call close friends.Erick from CA, Summer High School Program

Digging Deeper

Language Resources
Cultural Resources
News and Media
Movies and Documentaries
  • Faen Chan (My Girlfriend) (2003)
  • Bang Rajan (2000)
  • Citizen Dog (2004)
  • The Overture (2004)
  • Syndromes and a Century (2006)
  • Sriracha (2013)
  • The Cheer Ambassadors (2011)
  • Wild Thailand (National Geographic) (2014)
  • Mekong: the Three Ancient Kingdoms of Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam (2007)
  • Kiss My Snake (2007)
Books
  • Fieldwork
  • Sightseeing
  • Jasmine Nights
  • Touch the Dragon
  • Southeast Asia: A Concise History
  • A History of Thailand
  • The King Never Smiles: A Biography of Thailand’s Bhumibol Adulyadej
  • Sacred Mountains of Northern Thailand: And Their Legends
  • Swearer and Sommai Premchit
  • A People’s History of the Hmong
LGBTQ Resources (Diversity) Heritage and Ethnicity Resources (Diversity)
Note: The links and resources listed in "Digging Deeper" have been provided to AFS by people involved with our organization, including alumni members, volunteers, etc. AFS has not reviewed the resources in their entirety and presents them "as is" for your own information. As such, the sites, publications, films, etc. do not necessarily reflect the approval of nor the views, opinions, and/or values of AFS.