Differences between Bangkok, Thailand, and Virginia

How do Americans in the far east live compared to us?

Cole Starmer, Staff writer

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Living in America, sometimes you can’t help but wonder if the schools in foreign countries are similar, or even comparable to our school. More importantly, are American schools located in foreign countries the same as American schools here in the U.S? Living in Thailand for three years, I attended the International School of Bangkok, an American school founded in the 50’s which American students could attend while living in Bangkok. While the school was located in Bangkok, it hosted an American curriculum and also had a large American student body. Although it was intended for American students, as an international school, people from all over the world went to school there. So how was school life in Bangkok different than life in here in America? Let’s compare the two.

In terms of teachers, there were always two teachers in every classroom. With most of the teachers being American, and a large amount of the students being Thai, there had to be a Thai teacher’s aid to help manage all of the students that spoke Thai and English. With Thai teachers, came Thai culture introduced into the school. For example, one of the language classes was Thai, and other asian languages such as Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, and others. At lunch we could choose to eat Thai foods, which where very exotic to most new Americans. For fun, we could play soccer outside, as it is much more popular in Asia than football, which virtually doesn’t exist at the school. Overall, in day to day life at the school, there was a general fusion of western, American values, with Thai traditions and beliefs.

Despite all of the differences, the school was not as alien as it may seem to the average American joe. We still had normal sports teams like soccer and track, and we still had regular schedules with core classes, like math, science, English, and a language. The school was a mash up of elementary school, middle school, and high school, with three giant and elaborate wings of the school, each the size of Oakton. The children in kindergarten and preschool would still run around at the playground at recess and the high school students would have free reign of the entire campus for their free period. All in all, Thailand is an exotic country and the schools there feel like another world, but Oakton and schools there still have their similarities, which goes to show, no matter where you are on earth, you will always have familiarities reminding you of home.

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