The overall goal of the Youth in Development Project is to empower Thai youth to develop skills and attributes that prepare them to become healthy, engaged citizens who are catalysts of change in their communities. Most Volunteers teach conversational English; life skills such as critical thinking and decision-making; and leadership skills. Volunteers also support extra-curricular activities for youth such as after-school clubs, youth leadership councils, health education campaigns, community service projects, and sports and fitness events. Upon arrival in their community, Volunteers will work with school staff and youth to assess the needs of the community and identify the areas of the greatest priorities and interest.
While Volunteers will be assigned to local government offices where they work with staff devoted to education or community development, Volunteers must be able to independently seek out and engage with many different members of the community to make a sustainable impact. The government office will serve as a coordinating unit and Volunteers will assist the office with some youth-oriented campaigns and projects led by the office. However, Volunteers will devote most of their time to working in primary and secondary schools with youth between 9-15 years old. Volunteers will identify promising work partners in their community to co-plan and co-lead activities with. These partners may include Thai government staff, health center staff, teachers, or older youth.
Qualified candidates will have an expressed interest in working with Youth in Development and one or more of the following criteria:
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any field
• 5 years' professional work experience
Experience in the following areas is strongly preferred:
• Working with youth in after-school clubs, tutoring, summer camps, or other extra-curricular activities
• Teaching English, training youth in life skills, leadership development, youth reproductive health, sports/fitness, and/or drug/alcohol prevention
There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position.
All Volunteers will be provided with comprehensive and intensive Thai language training during their 10 weeks of Pre-Service Training (PST). Trainees will dedicate four hours a day, 5-6 days a week to language learning as well as informal learning with host families and community members. Trainees will be placed in a small language class of up to 4-5 trainees who are at a similar language level to themselves for focused learning. The Peace Corps Thailand staff will assign you to a language group at the beginning of PST taking your skills and knowledge in your primary assignment area into consideration. Trainees must demonstrate intermediate proficiency in Thai by the end of PST. Periodic language training is offered throughout your Peace Corps service as well as tutoring as needed. Language learning is critical to your success as a Volunteer as there will be very few English speakers in your community and speaking Thai facilitates your successful integration. Showing that you are making an effort to learn the language both shows respect and goes a long way towards earning respect in your community.
Nearly all Volunteer will be working and living in rural Thailand. Some communities will be quite isolated and others closer to larger towns. All Volunteers live with a Thai host family during Pre-Service Training (PST) and for the first month in their community after PST. After the first month of service, Volunteers may rent a house on their own or continue living with a host family, depending on what is locally available. Volunteers’ houses typically are small 3 room homes in a compound near other community members. Volunteers' housing conditions will vary depending on the site and availability. Volunteers will live in communities where electricity and indoor plumbing (bucket showers and squat toilets at a minimum) are available. Drinking water must either be boiled or purchased but is readily available. Most towns have internet cafes and schools and offices are very likely to have regular internet service. Volunteers are strongly encouraged to bring a laptop because it will facilitate accessing information, email, and reporting to Peace Corps.
The primary mode of transport within and around communities is by bicycle. All invitees must be willing and able to ride a bicycle for at least 6 miles in very hot conditions. Be aware that some individuals will find the heat and humidity in Thailand to be a difficult adjustment, especially during the first few months in country.
While it is possible to maintain a vegetarian diet, strict vegetarians may find it difficult to maintain diets that don’t allow for flexibility, especially within some social contexts. The most successful Volunteers are those who are flexible and open to accepting the culture where they will be living.
Thais take great personal pride in appearances so dressing professionally as a Volunteer will increase your effectiveness and credibility. Volunteers will be seen as a community leader and role model for youth. Appropriate professional dress for men includes slacks, collared short-sleeved shirts and neat shoes. For women, collared blouses, slacks and skirts or dresses reaching below the knees are appropriate. Some schools where Volunteers work may prefer skirts or dresses only be worn. Volunteers should understand that many Thai schools and offices ask their staff to conform to certain norms of dress and appearance. For example, for both men and women, often tattoos are required to be covered and body piercings besides in the ear lobe must be removed. Also they may prefer that males not have long hair, beards, or earrings. As one of Peace Corps Thailand’s core expectations is to respect Thai culture, it is important that you are willing to learn about and follow the norms of your work place. You may find that these norms differ from community to community so you will need to learn the particulars of your work situation and adjust accordingly.
Thailand is known as "The Land of Smiles" and Thai people are generally patient, tolerant, warm and friendly. Social norms promote harmony and the preservation of Thai values. Importance is placed on hierarchy, status and position, and respect for those who are older or have seniority. Concepts of time, punctuality, and communication styles may be different from American cultural perspectives and norms but with patience and flexibility, Volunteers find they are able to adjust and work successfully with their communities.
Regardless of where they live and work, as a foreigner in a small community, Volunteers will get a lot of attention. This attention is often seen in both a positive and negative light. It is usually the result of genuine and positive interest, but it can be taxing and challenging to manage on a daily basis.
- Thailand may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: ongoing counseling.
- The following medication(s) are not permitted for legal or cultural reasons: none identified.
- Volunteers who should avoid the following food(s) may not be able to serve: gluten, peanuts and shellfish.
- After arrival in Thailand, Peace Corps provides and applicants are required to have an annual flu shot, to take daily or weekly medication to prevent malaria, and to receive mandatory immunizations.