Welcome to Thailand, the land of ancient cities, delectable cuisine and colorful outdoor markets.
Thailand is home to friendly and strong-willed people who are proud to preserve their spirit of independence. The country boasts a rich culture of renowned cuisine and a legacy of sculpture and architecture dating from the 6th century. Thailand is famous for its beaches and the vibrant, urban activity of Bangkok. In almost any town, one can find outdoor markets and glorious temples that are hundreds of years old.
Thailand today is a parliamentary democracy headed by a constitutional monarchy. They have a close political relationship with the US. Thai, a difficult and tonal language, is spoken widely throughout the country.
Families in Thailand are much smaller than they used to be, with an average of two children in each family. It is common for both parents to work and for the extended family to live in the same home or compound.
Buddhism is a central part of Thai life, and each village contains a monastery, called a wat. The wat is the social and religious center for the village, and a gathering place for events such as festivals or council meetings.
A typical Thai meal consists of rice with fish, chicken and vegetables. The seasoning is zesty and aromatic, heavy on the garlic and chilies, often with accents of lime and coconut juice.
Six years of education at the primary level are free and compulsory. Three years at the lower secondary level, three years at the upper secondary level and four years at the tertiary level are optional.
Students in Thailand attend 9 classes per day and have a rotation of 13 subjects per term. In general, they spend two hours per night studying and tend to study quite hard, due to the number of subjects per term. School uniforms are generally worn.
Most teens in Thailand play a sport or musical instrument. Basketball, volleyball, soccer and muay thai (Thai boxing) are popular. Guitar is a favorite musical instrument among teens.
Teens also enjoy camping, going to the beach, movies, parties, picnics and shopping. Indoor activities include listening to music, reading, cooking, and watching TV.
Dress is casual, with t-shirts and jeans worn when not in school uniform.