Peace Corps Thailand

About Peace Corps

The Peace Corps traces its roots and mission to 1960, when then Senator John F. Kennedy challenged students at the University of Michigan to serve their country in the cause of peace by living and working in developing countries. From that inspiration grew an agency of the federal government devoted to world peace and friendship.

Since that time, 200,000+ Peace Corps Volunteers have served in 139 host countries to work on issues ranging from AIDS education to information technology and environmental preservation.

Today’s Peace Corps is more vital than ever, working in emerging and essential areas such as information technology and business development, and contributing to the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Peace Corps Volunteers continue to help countless individuals who want to build a better life for themselves, their children, and their communities.

Peace Corps Thailand

Since 1962, Peace Corps Volunteers have been serving in Thailand in a variety of capacities and numbers. In the second half of 1997, Thailand’s economy collapsed after a period of quick decline. The impact was extensive at the national level as well as on the quality of life for the rural population. Thailand has begun to make a significant economic recovery thanks to a number of government reform initiatives. The need for the Peace Corps to continue its service in Thailand is more apparent than at any time in recent years due to the important contribution Peace Corps Volunteers are making to the Royal Thai Government’s educational and economic reform initiatives.

Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues

In Thailand, as in other Peace Corps host countries, Volunteers’ behavior, lifestyle, background, and beliefs are judged in a cultural context very different from their own. Certain personal perspectives or characteristics commonly accepted in the United States may be quite uncommon, unacceptable, or even repressed in Thailand.

Outside of Thailand’s capital and other cities, many residents have had relatively little sustained exposure to other cultures, races, religions, and lifestyles, though they may have had some contact with the many tourists who visit each year. What people view as typical American behavior or norms may be a misconception, such as the belief that all Americans are rich and have blond hair and blue eyes.

  • Possible Issues for Female Volunteers

Even though a woman may think she is not especially attractive, she will find herself described as beautiful if she has fair hair and a light complexion. It is not unusual for a blonde volunteer to have strange women touch her hair as she rides on a bus. They are simply curious. However, be aware that Hollywood films have given the impression that western women are “easy”. If you date Thai men, this can possibly lead to misunderstandings.

  • Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color

In the early days, Peace Corps discouraged African American volunteers from serving in Thailand. However, when black volunteers were finally allowed, they encountered very little racial prejudice and were well received. There was even a female African American country director in the late 1970s. The only possible difficulty is of an African American volunteer being mistaken for an African (particularly Nigerian), since they have a poor reputation amongst Thais. Asian American volunteers may sometimes be mistaken for Chinese-Thais, which can even work to their advantage.

  • Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers

Age is respected in Thailand. Senior volunteers thus have an advantage. Any possible issues will probably relate to health, especially getting used to the heat and humidity of Southeast Asia.

  • Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers

Thailand is one of the most liberal minded countries when it comes to homosexuality. Nevertheless, volunteers must remember to conform to the accepted standards of conduct regardless of their sexual orientation. Public displays of affection are frowned upon. Thais will not say anything to an offenders face, but they will most definitely talk behind your back.

  • Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers

Thailand is a Theravada Buddhist country, except for the extreme south where Islam prevails. Thais are very tolerant of other religions. Be sure to respect theirs. Remember that you are not a missionary.

  • Possible Issues for Volunteers With Disabilities

There are schools for the blind and schools for the deaf. However, volunteers with movement disabilities will find there is little attention paid to their needs in Thailand. Handicapped ramps, restrooms and so on are not common even in Bangkok.

PEACE Thailand

PEACE Thailand

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