"School in America Versus School in Thailand" by Chavisa Thaveesupsoonthorn

Before coming to America, someone told me that the Thai and American education systems are fairly similar. They begin with pre-school and kindergarten, then move through the 12 grades of study over 12 calendar years of primary and secondary education before graduation. Students are required to take different subjects from English and Thai to math and science. However, after I have been in America for four years, I have noticed that the two education systems are extremely different. Going to school in America has proven to be quite the unique experience for me.

1. The concept of lateness and absence.

Most of the classes in American college have an absence policy. In most cases, students are only allowed 3 classes missed in the semester. Most of the professors are quite in favor for the students to use their three absences wisely in sickness. On the other hand, most school in Thailand, especially at the college level, do not require attendance. Nobody cares if you are coming to class. I personally like the way it works in Thailand because sometimes we all need to miss more than three classes for some accidental event, or even for our own mental wellness. I also believe that if you are a college student, you should have the responsibility to take care of yourself. It is your own choice either you want to pass or fail the class. You pick!

2. Works load and hands-on experience is highly valued.

Something that has always bugged me about the American schooling system is that our grade is based heavily on homework assignments. Experience and actual hands-on work also ranks supreme in American education system. Students are required to do actual reporting and  interviewing. In contrast, in Thailand, a  grade is typically based on performance tests and exams. Eighty percent of our course grade is based on mid-term and final exams. Only five to ten percent is based on homework assignments. In my opinion, studying in America is easier than in Thailand, but sometimes it can also be frustrating due to the work load, especially when I have to practice at the same time.

3. There is an obvious small community feel of the school.

The University of Nevada is “small” enough that you will see at least one or two familiar faces while walking to class. The universities in Thailand, however, have approximately 25,000 students in total. Classroom in Thailand also are huge because there are approximately over 200 students per classroom compare to classroom in America that only have about 40 students in each class. In fact, while studying in America, I have found that having such a small community makes it easier for me to create friendships and bonds with classmates.

4. School uniforms

There is more freedom in America where schools have no uniform policy. Students can wear whatever they like to school. In contrast, in Thailand, all students look identical as all students are required to wear a school uniform. A collared white shirt and black skirt or black pants are the uniform for every college in Thailand. The only difference that can distinguish each school is the pin containing the school logo that the students have to attach to their shirt and the belt. Thai students, in fact, grow up wearing uniforms to primary school, secondary school, and even in college, so wearing a school uniform is no big deal.

© 2012 by Chavisa Thaveesupsoonthorn. All rights reserved. Do not reprint without permission.

Hi! My name is Chavisa Thaveesupsoonthorn. I am the author of Chavisa's Journey Blog. I was born and raised in the beautiful country of Thailand, which is located in the South East Asia. There are five members in my family and I am a Wednesday’s child. Something that I enjoy doing is swimming. Yes, I am a swimmer! I have been swimming since I was eight years old. Swimming is basically my life. I participated in many competitions not only at the college level but at the international level as well. I have been representing my home country for almost ten tears and my career highlight is that I have competed twice in the Olympic Games (Athens Games and Beijing Games).

Throughout my swimming career I have learned many qualities such as teamwork, team cohesion, high responsibility, and dedication. I am an extremely motivated and hard worker. I always dedicate myself for all the works and always put a lot of effort into getting work done. But these aspects are not the only advantages I acquired from swimming; I also get many good opportunities to travel around the world. I have been to Canada, Japan, China, Singapore, Taiwan, England, Greece, Malaysia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and more. But the best thing that has come from swimming is to that I get an amazing opportunity to come to the U.S.

Now, I am a senior studying to earn a degree in Business Management from the University of Nevada, Reno with a full scholarship. So, this makes me fluent in Thai and English. Yet, I personally believe that the opportunity to study abroad at the University of Nevada allowed me to not only gain an education in a different culture, but also to live within and experience that culture as well. 

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