Thailand, the gateway to Southeast Asia, draws more visitors than any other country in the region thanks to its breathtaking natural beauty, ornate temples, robust cuisine, and ruins of ancient kingdoms. You’ll experience an engaging unique culture, tasty cuisine, meditation, Buddhist temples and lively night markets.

Thai schools are the center of life for Thai youth, and their social lives revolve around school. Movies and television are the most popular forms of entertainment; soccer, table tennis, badminton, and volleyball are the favorite sports. Young people normally do not drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes.

People & Community

You may be placed in a regional capital or small town in any region of Thailand, from the northern teak forests, to the central farming plains, or the southern tropical beaches. Many families include several generations living together, and visiting relatives in different parts of the country is common. Families also enjoy spending weekends together at home, where you will experience how Thai families are bound by tradition with a long history. You should always ask permission from your host parents before going out.Thai people greet each other with a wai (pressing their palms together as they bow or curtsy) to show respect. Thais try to live with a jai yen (a cool heart), so you won’t usually see them expressing extreme emotions. 


Thailand has many different types of schools, which are usually the center of the community and you will most likely be placed in a public school. The school you attend and the courses you take will depend on your age and interests as well as on the area you live in. School year starts in May and ends in February (7.30 am to 3.30 pm), with a mid-year break in October. Students wear uniforms. Thai schools offer culture-related subjects such as Thai language, dancing, sword fighting, music, cooking, arts, history, Buddhism and meditation. There are academic, sports and recreational clubs that meet both after school and for one period a week during school sessions. 


Thai is the official language of Thailand and the language that will be spoken in your host community and school. All instruction, with the exception of foreign languages, is done in Thai. You don’t have to speak Thai before the program, and your host school, or local volunteers will help you learn the language once the program begins.

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Thai cuisine consists of rice, curries, fish and vegetables, mixed with spicy pepper and peanut sauces. Typical meats include pork and chicken and a wide variety of fruit is available year-round. Most Thai families share the evening meal together. Families eat in the communal style: Each person has a bowl of rice while other dishes are placed in the center of the table and shared by everyone. Popular dishes include pad Thai (pan-fried noodles), yam (spiced salad), and tom yum kung (lemon-flavored soup with shrimp).

Let AFS guide your intercultural adventure

Go abroad with AFS to discover who you really are, make new lifetime friendships and immerse yourself in a fascinating intercultural experience.

Our learning program will prepare you for an amazing AFS intercultural experience. The program begins at your home country with a pre-departure orientation and continues with orientations and other supported learning activities and facilitated conversations will help you maximize your experience, cope the challenges of navigating a new culture and community and gain knowledge, skills, and a global understanding, throughout your time abroad, and as you return to you home country. AFS volunteers will be there to support and guide you and your host family through your learning journey abroad.


The Global Competence Certificate (GCC) program will support your intercultural learning experience. This state-of-the-art program prepares you to successfully navigate new cultural environments—during your AFSNext experience and long after you finish the program. Online intercultural learning modules combined with in-person sessions help you develop practical and global skills, knowledge and attitudes that employers need and mission-driven organizations believe will help achieve their social impact goals. You will receive your certification upon completion of the training program.