Culture Quests

Thailand

Asia
Capital: Bangkok
Languages: Thai, English
Useful links: Kids Culture Corner: Thailand | CIA World Factbook

The following information is generalized and compiled from questions posed to the agents and interviewers in Thailand. Although au pairs from this country may or may not have had these experiences/beliefs, Au Pair in America wishes to share this general information with our families.

Au Pairs in General

  • The idea of being an au pair is uncommon but appealing.
  • Applicants from Thailand are motivated by the chance to practice their English language skills, to share cultures, to take a class in an American college/university, and to visit the U.S.
  • An au pair’s job potential is improved upon her return to Thailand.
  • Young people in Thailand generally have the freedom to socialize and date.
  • Curfews are common.
  • Young women are accustomed to sharing in household chores.
  • Nudity and kissing in public places are very prohibited and also unacceptable based on religious beliefs.
  • Thais are gracious, respectful, and patient. They are sometimes shy to speak up and share their ideas.
  • Most Thai women are non-smokers.

Child Care Practices

  • Children in Thailand are taught respect for elders, parents, teachers; they are taught to never say harsh or obscene words, to take care of younger siblings and to help parents with household chores and the family business.
  • Physical discipline is uncommon in Thailand.
  • Applicants obtain childcare experience through formal schooling or volunteering in an orphanage or as a teaching assistant in Kindergarten/nursery school. A lot of girls have been caring for younger family members for many years.
  • The trend of both parents sharing the responsibility of childcare together is increasing.
  • It is very common for both parents to work and be away from home during the day.

Driving Skills

  • Thais drive on the left side of the road, so au pairs will need practice in the U.S. to get used to driving on the right.
  • The agent in Thailand has each Thai au pair participate in a 7-10 hour pre-departure driving preparation course at a local driving school. The course consists of daytime driving, driving in suburbs, city and on country roads and driving an automatic vehicle.
  • The driver’s license in is available at age 18 and is not difficult to obtain. Approximately half of Thai women obtain a driving license.
  • To obtain a license, candidates must pass a written examination and a practical test.
  • The International Driving Permit is available.
  • Some families are able to provide a car in which to practice. It is uncommon for a young woman to have her own car.
  • Most cars have automatic transmission.

English Language Skills

  • English is compulsory in Thailand. City schools begin at the age of 6, urban schools begin at the age of 12.
  • Most of the courses focus on Grammar in writing and comprehension. Schools often have native speakers to teach English conversation courses.

Education

  • Approximately 30-40% of young women continue their studies at University. This applies only to applicants who live in big cities.
  • Others enter the workforce in agriculture or industry.
  • The academic year starts in early June and ends mid-March.
  • The educational opportunities of the program are very important to Thai applicants.

Health

  • The most common inoculations include JEV (Japanese Enceptalitis Vaccine), DPT (Diptheria, Pertussis, Tetanus), Hepatis B, MMR (Mumps, Measles, Rubella), BCG, Polio.
  • Young women are inoculated and tested for TB (Tuberculosis).
  • Thailand does not have a free health service.
  • Most young women do not visit the dentist on a regular basis.
  • “Eating disorders” are uncommon in Thailand.

Diet

  • Most young people in Thailand eat meat.
  • Vegetarianism is not common.
  • The Thai diet includes rice/noodles, vegetables/fruits, meat and seafood.
  • Special dietary practices include the months of fasting for Muslims. For 10 days around October observers of Chinese Buddhism fast. This activity is voluntary, and those who observe this practice eat only vegetables and fruits for 10 days.

Religion

  • The most common religion in Thailand is Buddhism. Buddhism influences people to live and think by themselves and to live by the principle of rules and consequence.
  • Most young people in Thailand do not practice their religion regularly.
  • A young person would rarely choose to practice a religion that is different than her family’s religion.
  • Eating meat is forbidden on some Holy days for some people.

Telephone & Internet

  • Most homes have a telephone. Almost every person has a mobile phone.
  • Family members may be able to take a message from a potential Host Family.
  • More than 50% have internet access at home. Otherwise it is a accessible in the university libraries or in an Internet café for a fee.
  • Skype has become a popular tool to communicate with friends and others.

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