Summer High School Program — 2019
Jul 1-4, 2019 → Aug 22-25, 2019
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. 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.
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.
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 in particular. 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 steeply sloping roofs of Buddhist wats (temples) are often the focal points of Thai communities.
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, whichmeans they endeavor to show generosity without expecting anything in return – though it never hurts to reciprocate.See where past AFSers have lived
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.
While in Thailand you might be invited to sing karaoke or go shopping in 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.
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 might discover that Thai food in Thailand is different than what you’ve tasted in the US—and certainly more spicy. No matter what, you can expect to try some delicious new dishes!
"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, if you’re like most AFSers, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and feel like you can do anything you set your mind to. That transformation isn’t visible only to you, though - others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers, ranging from language fluency to intercultural competence and critical reasoning. "Life-changing" means it’s only the beginning.
Please Note: Travel date ranges are meant to help with general scheduling and are subject to change; please don’t book any travel based on these dates until you’ve received confirmation from AFS. All programs, prices, and travel dates are subject to change without notice.