YES Alumni lead the 10th anniversary with worldwide events throughout the year. read more >
YES Alumni lead the 10th anniversary with worldwide events throughout the year. read more >
Study in THAILAND with YES Abroad
If you are a secondary school student in Thailand interested in applying for the YES Program, please click here for more information.
Thailand, a constitutional monarchy, is the only Southeast Asian country that has never been occupied by a European nation. The population is mostly indigenous Thai, with a significant minority of Chinese. The majority of the country is Buddhist. The Muslim population is mostly comprised of the Malays, who live scattered across the nation. While Thai is the official language, English is the secondary language to the well-educated elite. Thailand is mostly a rural country, but the urban population has been slowly increasing—particularly in the capital city, Bangkok. Tourism contributes significantly to Thailand’s economy, which has seen growth over the past decade.
As with most countries, Thailand’s cuisine reflects its tradition and culture. Each dish tries to balance the four main taste senses: sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. It is known for being spicy, but varies significantly by region. Rrice, noodles, and vegetables, however, serve as staples throughout the country. Commonly, fruit will be served at the end of a meal.
Ethnic groups, religions, regional cultures, and tourists all collide in Bangkok. A famously unpredictable city, Bangkok is packed with cultural destinations like the National Museum, historical destinations like the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, and is overwhelmed with malls, markets, food and entertainment.
A more subtle shock to the senses, though a significant cultural difference from the U.S. nonetheless, is Thailand’s malleable sense of time. Rather than pressing the need for short-term results and instant gratification, Thais generally see success from a lifetime perspective, and set their goals for the future of Thai people and the continuation of goals from their ancestors. A meeting, an appointment, or getting together with a friend could begin an hour after the scheduled time. This tardiness is anticipated by Thais and is a natural element of Thai culture.
Students will live with host families in order to experience a true immersion into Thai culture. Families are selected based on recommendations from members of the local community, and each is carefully screened by AFS staff and volunteers. Many families hold a position of influence within their community, and all are highly regarded by their relatives and neighbors. Hosting communities exist through the presence of a strong volunteer support network, with a local volunteer, or “liaison,” available to each student hosted in the community.
Students are supported through a strong network of AFS staff and volunteers both in the United States and in-country in Thailand. Within the larger volunteer community, each student will have a local volunteer, or “liaison,” assigned to him or her, who is often either an alum of the YES program, a past host parent or a teacher at the student’s school. Each student will be given a cell phone after arriving, and will have the contact number for the AFS-Thailand office. In the case of emergency, a Duty Officer is on-call 24/7 in both Thailand and the US, and this number is made available to both students on-program as well as their parents.
YES Abroad students will attend four AFS camps throughout the course of the year, namely the Arrival Orientation, Cultural Orientation, Enrichment Camp and End of Stay Orientation. During these camps, a variety of enrichment activities in the form of community service will be offered, often including participation by Thai YES alumni. Past opportunities have included planting Mangrove trees in Samut Songkram and caring for animals in Chiang Mai. During the year, extracurricular activities will also be made available, including Thai arts, dance, cooking, boxing, and various musical instrument lessons.
Students will attend co-educational public high schools and will be placed in an upper secondary grade level. Like many American schools, the year is divided into two semesters; however in Thailand the breaks occur in October and April. The school day begins with morning assembly and singing of the national anthem with the entire school body, and continues on with eight periods, ending at 4pm. Students are expected to wear uniforms in all public schools. In addition to the core curriculum classes that are offered through high school, YES Abroad students will have the opportunity to take Thai language courses, as well as a variety of cultural-themed classes.
The Political and Security Environment
As an active member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Thailand has worked to promote economic and security stability throughout the entire region. The U.S. and Thailand enjoy a close relationship that dates back to 1833, when the U.S. signed its first treaty with an Asian country. The U.S. Peace Corps is active in Thailand and the two countries have worked extensively on public health and international law enforcement projects.
Basic Eligibility Requirements:
A limited number of applicants who are high school graduates at the start of the program will be considered for placement in the following countries: Ghana, Indonesia, Malaysia, Morocco, South Africa, Oman, Thailand and Turkey
For the following countries, prior French skills are required: Mali, Morocco, Tunisia
Additional Eligibility Information:
The Youth Programs Division of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) seeks to make youth exchange programs funded by ECA available to a wide and diverse American audience. Also, ECA wants to prevent conflict of interest issues from arising with regard to Department employees who are involved in particular scholarships and exchange programs. Therefore, in addition to the specific requirements for each program, an applicant for ECA-funded youth exchange programs must meet the following eligibility criteria:
Click here for more information on applying for the YES Abroad program.
Studying abroad in high school can benefit your child in a multitude of ways. The decision to allow your child to participate can be difficult. There are numerous factors to consider when deciding whether or not YES Abroad is the right choice for your child. We compiled the information below to help answer some of the questions you may have. For further information, e-mail the YES Abroad Advisor or call us at (800) 237-4636 x2151.
Who will support my child while abroad?
YES Abroad participants are supported in the host country by established and reputable organizations that have competitively been awarded grants by the U.S. State Department to implement the program. While organizational structures vary, field staff and/or trained volunteers in the host country and here in the U.S. support participants, host families, and natural parents. While on the program, your child will have regular contact with a trained coordinator in their community who will provide support, assistance, and guidance, and will be in regular contact with a staff member here in the United States. All YES Abroad students are provided a local cell phone for emergency use after arrival in-country.
As a parent, how can I help promote the well-being of my child?
One of the ways you can help YES Abroad plan for your child’s successful participation in the program is by providing all relevant information regarding your child’s personal health and family history in the forms provided in the application. This information will not be evaluated as part of the selection process, but is considered in making country and host family assignments. Relevant information includes, but is not limited to, a diagnosis of or treatment for an illness, a physical disability, a learning disability, a behavioral or emotional disorder, a dietary restriction, or drastic changes in weight. Recent traumatic experiences or significant changes in the student’s natural family, including serious illness, death, divorce, incarceration, or custodial changes, can also influence a student’s participation. Living and studying abroad can be a stressful and challenging experience for people of any age. These stresses can be compounded by any existing physical or mental health issues or concerns at home that arise prior to the start of the program. In order to help YES Abroad staff make appropriate decisions about your child’s experience, please inform us of relevant situations as quickly as possible throughout the application process and program.
What is the involvement of the U.S. Department of State and embassies abroad?
YES Abroad is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Communities where YES Abroad students will be hosted are selected in cooperation with the U.S. Embassies and Consulates in the host countries. The Department of State and implementing organizations continuously monitor current events in each of the YES Abroad countries. All YES Abroad students are registered with the Office of Citizen Services at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the host country. Students will only be placed in countries that have been approved by the U.S. Department of State.
Where will my child be living?
All YES Abroad students live with host families who have been carefully screened and selected. Host families receive formal orientation and training to introduce them to cultural differences and to prepare them for the hosting experience. These families may or may not speak English. Local coordinators, who are proficient in English, provide support to participants and host families throughout the program. Students attend a school in their community alongside local peers.
What happens in the case of an emergency?
YES Abroad implementing organizations are prepared to respond to emergencies in the host countries. Each organization provides 24-hour assistance in the event of an emergency and facilitates appropriate medical treatment, including evacuation, if necessary. YES Abroad consults with the U.S. Department of State and external risk management organizations to monitor the safety of U.S. citizens in the host countries.
Will my child have medical coverage while abroad?
YES Abroad participants are provided with secondary medical coverage to ensure that, in the case of an emergency, students will be treated as soon as possible in the host country.
What costs are covered?
The YES Abroad scholarship covers costs related to: room and board for the In-Person Selection Event (for semi-finalists); round-trip airfare, room and board for the Pre-Departure Orientation (for finalists); round-trip airfare between the participant’s home region and community abroad (for finalists); in-country support; cultural activities; school tuition (where applicable); room and board with a host family; secondary medical benefits; and visa fees.
What costs are not covered by the scholarship?
Some costs that you can expect to incur from your child’s participation in the program include: costs associated with obtaining a U.S. passport; required medical examinations and immunizations; and extra pocket money while on program.
How will YES Abroad help my child prepare to go abroad?
YES Abroad provides a wide variety of support mechanisms for students preparing to go abroad. Preparation for the YES Abroad experience begins shortly after the finalists are selected, with activities that may include online resources, handbooks, conference calls, opportunities to speak with YES Abroad and YES alumni, and local events with other exchange students. Participants are also encouraged to be proactive in engaging in their own research on the host country and its culture. Prior to departure, students attend a national orientation in Washington, D.C. that addresses how to stay healthy and safe while living in the host country.