Quest Exchange in Thailand

The Kingdom of Thailand is known as the “Land of Smiles”, fine silk and golden buddhas. It is the gateway to Southeast Asia and draws more tourists than any other country in the region. Additionally, it is the only country in Southeast Asia that was never colonized by a European power. Thus, while other countries in the region have been influenced by colonial powers, Thailand prides itself in its authenticity and rich cultural traditions.

Thailand is an area of outstanding natural beauty, ranging from stunning jungle mountains to breathtakingly beautiful white sand beaches and turquoise blue waters. The wonderful, rich natural beauty is complemented by impressive architecture, including striking Buddhist Temples. The Thai people are also wonderful and are notorious for being laid back and friendly. The country is well known for its appetizing food. The delicious combination of sweet, savory and spicy flavors creates a number of delectable dishes.

Come be a local in a place where tourists only scratch the surface of this wonderfully unique and smiling land!

3 Fun Facts
  • Thailand is where you’ll find both the smallest and the largest creatures. The smallest mammal in the world, the bumblebee bat, calls Thailand home. You can also find the largest fish, the whale shark, in Thai waters.
  • Showing respect for another person’s head is imperative in Thailand. The head is considered to be the most important part of the body, and so Thai culture forbids touching anyone on the head (even a child). Should you meet someone who is older or more important than you, it is best to lower your head in deference to show proper respect.
  • Thai people have a deep respect for their King, an affection that reciprocates his many accomplishments and sacrifices for the country. Remember, respect for the King isn’t just polite, it’s the law.
 2018-19 Program Pricing

Year

Mid May- Late March
$10,500

Semester

Mid May- Late Sept
Mid Oct- Late March
$8,800

Summer

2 Months: $6,500

SCHOOL LIFE

The Thai school year runs from mid-May through late March. The Spring semester runs from mid-May through late September, and the Fall semester runs from mid-October through late March. There is a two or three week break between the two terms in September. The long summer break in April coincides with the hottest part of the year and Songkran, the traditional Thai new year celebrations. Schools respect all public and Buddhist religious holidays.

At primary levels, students follow eight core subjects each semester: Thai language, mathematics, science, social science, health and physical education, arts and music, technology, and foreign languages. At age 16, students are allowed to choose one or two elective courses. The science program and the mathematics program are among the most popular. Foreign language programs and the social science programs are also offered.

Uniforms are compulsory for all students with very few variations from the standard model throughout the public and private school systems, including colleges and universities. Exchange students are enrolled into a government accredited school. Numbers of the same nationality per school are kept to a minimum as we aim to place no more than two per nationality per school.

FAMILY LIFE

All families are assessed in their own home for their suitability to host. References are taken and accommodations are inspected. All families receive a welcome pack that contains a host family handbook and detailed program information. We match students and families based on the information they provide.

Families are required to provide a clean and comfortable place for the students to stay. Students will have their own bed and private storage space. Thai families will provide a basic breakfast and an evening meal, usually eaten together. All students will have access to laundry facilities as well as communal areas of the home.

Exchange students should be prepared to put their best efforts forward in learning Thai in order to communicate with their host family. The family often participates in hobbies, sports, and other popular pastimes.

Students will be placed in any region of Thailand, although it is possible to request a specific area. We appoint local coordinators who will contact students approximately every two weeks to offer support. Students will meet up with their coordinator on excursion days. Students can contact their coordinator at any time.

PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

There is no official language requirement for students studying abroad in Thailand. However, students and families should know that the official language, spoken by almost 100 percent of the population, is Thai. Thus, school and family life will be conducted in Thai. So, the student should be prepared to be immersed in and ready to learn the language in order to have a successful trip. Chinese and Malay are also spoken in some areas, while local dialects are common in rural communities.

VISAS

Students and parents should research visa requirements through the Thai consulate or embassy nearest to their home as soon as possible, as this is the most time-intensive component of the study abroad application process. It may take one to several weeks to obtain a Thai visa. As the details of this process vary greatly by location, neither Quest nor our Thai partner office can confirm the exact requirements. For this reason, Quest is not able to assist with legal visa documents. It is the student’s responsibility to research the current visa requirements and to obtain and submit the visa application.

Will students have access to Internet/WiFi at their home and school?

Yes, students will have WiFi access in their home and school.

Can students bring their own cell phones?

Yes, if students have an unlocked cell phone, they could use their personal phone with a Thai carrier/SIM card.

Can students travel without an adult chaperone if given permission?

Yes, students can travel outside of the host area as long as the required release form is signed by the natural parents, host family, local school, local partner office and Quest.

How much money should students have for spending money?

Students should budget around $200-$300/month for personal expenses, which include entertainment, personal hygiene items, long-distance calls, etc. Additional money should be budgeted for start-up school expenses, such as books and supplies. These fees are in addition to Quest program fees.

What are some cultural norms that describe a typical host family in Thailand?

Family time and communal eating are very important in Thai culture, much more so than in western cultures. Food is a massive talking point in daily life and students should be prepared to give food to monks as they pass the house around 6am in the early morning. Students must be prepared to actively involve themselves in various host family activities, but can expect to socialize with school friends on weekends. Additionally, some families may be very active or outdoorsy, while others may prefer to relax at home. Thus, students must be open-minded and ready to adapt to their new host family dynamics.

How are host families chosen?

Quest’s in-country partner is responsible for locating, screening and matching host families with our students. Host families go through a careful screening process, which typically involves in-person interviews, home inspections and references.

How do students apply for the visa and how long does it take?

Students and parents should research visa requirements through the Thai consulate or embassy nearest to their home as soon as possible, as this is the most time-intensive component of the study abroad application process. It may take one to several weeks to obtain a Thai visa. As the details of this process vary greatly by location, neither Quest nor our Thai partner office can confirm the exact requirements. For this reason, Quest is not able to assist with legal visa documents. It is the student’s responsibility to research the current visa requirements and to obtain and submit the visa application.

How will the student get to and from school?

The host family will arrange the student’s travel. It is very common for Thai teenagers to travel by moped, so the student may be a passenger on the moped with his/her host sibling.

Is it possible for students to get tutors during their program?

Yes, tutors are available and prices vary based on the subject and duration of tutoring sessions. Tutoring in Thai language, dance or cultural activities can be arranged for approximately $14-$20/hour.

Can students receive an official document with grades and completed classes after finishing their program? 

Yes, students are given a grade report, which includes their cumulative grade and attendance. This grade report reflects not only the student’s performance, but, even more so, his/her willingness to participate in learning native subjects like Thai culture. Thus, showing effort is very important in Thai school. In order to receive this grade card, students must complete all school assignments and take all exams. Students must be proactive about this, as obtaining this documentation is their responsibility before they leave Thailand.

Do schools offer different sports/activities? 

Thai schools offer Thai art and dance classes, but other enrichment activities like sports are offered in after school clubs.

THINK IT OVER

The rewards of life abroad are amazing and wonderful, but are you up for the unique challenges that come with this experience? You will be away from your friends, family and the lifestyle you are accustomed to. You will have to adapt to a new language, culture, school and family. You will have to make decisions on your own and make new friends. Think about it and do some research on the country you want to study in. There is a wealth of information on the Internet that can better prepare you for your adventure!

GET YOUR PARENT/LEGAL GUARDIAN ON BOARD

Your parent(s) or guardian(s) need to help you make your dream happen. The application process takes time and effort, so it is important, at this stage, to make sure your parents support your decision to study abroad and have given you approval to move forward. If they feel that you are prepared and understand what’s required from them, you are ready to move to the next step.

CHECK IN WITH YOUR SCHOOL

You may receive credit from your program, but it is your responsibility to make this happen. Only your U.S. school can decide which credits you can receive. You must approach your guidance counselor to determine if you can get the credits you are hoping to receive. Bring Quest’s Academic Guide with you, and be certain of what you will be responsible for.

CONTACT QUEST FOR PROGRAM INFORMATION AND PAPERWORK

Fill out our online information request form in order to receive important program information from Quest via email. This email will contain Quest’s Program Agreement and Program Guidelines for your review and signature. Carefully review all of this information with your parents and contact Quest if you have any questions. We are here to help guide you through the process so you can make decisions that fit your needs.

CONFIRM PROGRAM DETAILS

The Quest Program Coordinator will confirm with you the program details submitted on your original request form. If you’re unsure of your destination, we’ll help you narrow down your choices to the country and program season that works for you. We will speak with your parents and make sure that everybody feels informed and ready to proceed with the decisions made.

CONFIRM PAYMENT DETAILS

You and your parents will receive the online Payment Agreement, which states the total program price for your selected destination country and Quest’s payment process. Your parents will receive an invoice for the application deposit, which is due before you submit your student application.

COMPLETE YOUR APPLICATION

Quest will send you a full student application for the program you have chosen. This application can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to complete. Make sure you give yourself ample time prior to the application deadline to complete the application and supplemental documents.

SKYPE INTERVIEW

This is when you get to meet your Quest Program Coordinator and talk face to (virtual) face. During the interview, the Program Coordinator will assess your suitability for the Quest Study Abroad program. This call lasts 30-60 minutes. Parents will speak with us at the end of the call, but the first part of the interview questions must be answered by the student alone. There is no preparation needed other than to talk about yourself, your desire to participate in the program and why you feel you are ready.

WAITING FOR ACCEPTANCE

Your Quest Program Coordinator will review your application and interview documentation to determine acceptance. Our team members put a lot of thought into the decisions they make, and not all students are accepted into the program. In order to make our decision, Quest must review complete and accurate application materials. We choose students who are emotionally, socially and academically prepared for the study abroad program. We look at each student’s level of maturity, independence and ability to adapt to life in a foreign country.

ACCEPTANCE AND INVOICE

You will receive a letter of acceptance from Quest via email. Your parents will receive an invoice outlining the total cost with only the first 50% of the total due within 10 days. The final 50% of the remaining program fees are due within 30 days of the invoice date.

GET LEGAL – VISA AND IMMIGRATION

This is a very important step in the process and can be very time-intensive. We suggest that you get started researching the requirements as soon as possible with the nearest embassy or consulate for your destination country, as requirements vary by location. Because the process does vary considerably, Quest and our foreign partner office are not able to assist with legal visa documents. It is the student’s responsibility to research the current visa requirements and to obtain and submit the visa application. Start filling out all of the paperwork well in advance, as visa approval can take anywhere from a few days to a few months to obtain.

SCHOOL AND HOST FAMILY PLACEMENT

This is the hardest part: waiting for your school and host family placement information! Making quality placements takes time, and we will need your patience during this important step. Quest will notify you and your parents of a confirmed placement in a school and then again when you are placed with your host family. Write to your host family as soon as possible to introduce yourself, and let them know how excited you are to meet them.

BOOK YOUR FLIGHT

Working together with you and your parents, Quest will confirm your arrival date and book your roundtrip international flight to your placement area. We will also book your student travel and medical insurance for your trip, so you can rest easier while abroad!

PRE-DEPARTURE ORIENTATION

Your Quest Program Coordinator will help you get prepped for your trip with a pre-departure orientation prior to your departure. You’ll receive an agenda before the call. We encourage you to write all of your remaining questions down so that we can make you and your parents feel prepared for your trip abroad. We will go over the program rules, what to pack, what to do if you need support once you arrive, and more!

LIVE YOUR STUDY ABROAD DREAM!

Congratulate yourself and your family for making this happen. You are on your way to the study abroad adventure that you’ve earned!

Balance your time abroad — keep in touch with those back home, but remember that the point of studying abroad is to be present and active in your host country. Keep a blog or an online photo album so you can show all of the revelations you have had and the sights you have seen. On a rainy day, you’ll be happy to reflect on your growing experience abroad. Stay in touch with Local Coordinators and with Quest. We’d love to hear how you are doing!

Programs Available
  • Year
  • Semester
  • Summer
Application Deadline
  • Year/Fall Semester: April 1st
  • Spring Semester: October 1st
  • Summer: Variable

Quest International, a nonprofit organization, promoting international cultural awareness and compassion by providing educational programs for American and International students to live and learn together.

YesAsia is an exclusive U.S. partner with Quest Exchange. Check out their website for more information on programs and services offered by Quest!