Living as a foreigner in Thailand can come with many challenges, especially when working in the Kingdom and raising a child. While single expats may argue that the thrills and adventures far outweigh the hardships, those with kids in tow find that it’s a whole different story, working in Thailand with kids.
Meet Nina, a single mother working in Thailand and employed as a teacher. Years ago, she returned to her homeland to find the four-year-old daughter she left in the care of her aging parents. Now her daughter is already a teenager and currently enrolled in one of the Kingdom’s schools. Needless to say, mother and daughter are both happy to be together. Seeing her child perfectly adapted to Thai culture is now considered by Nina to be her greatest pride as a parent.
“I’m happy to have raised her well in a foreign country, and almost on my own!” she shines. âShe is happy to be here; she does well in school and has adapted quite well to the culture as she has many local friends in the neighborhood. She even knows how to speak the local language.
But not everyone is lucky with Nina. After all, she came from a country whose culture is not much different from that of Thailand. To a greater extent, those who come from Western countries find raising a child in Thailand a much more daunting task.
For Matthew and Giana, raising three children in Thailand is extremely difficult. âThe food, the language barrier, the heatâ¦ our kids complain about it all the time,â says Matthew, public relations manager. “The language was really the ordeal at the beginning”, continues his wife Giana. “Most of the time they just stayed inside because it was hard to find English speaking children to play with.”
International environment for your child
The presence of international schools in the country, however, relieved Matthew and Giana. Although tuition fees in international schools are expensive, their children feel comfortable in the international environment.
From preschools to Christian schools, boarding schools to special needs schools and everything in between, Thailand has over 150 international schools for the children of foreign expatriates. There are even schools that specialize in offering study programs native to other countries, such as Germany, Switzerland, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
Thailand is one of the safest countries for children in Southeast Asia, according to The Economist’s 2019 Safe Cities Index report. While many children find Thai food too spicy, there is also an abundance of fast food chains and Western restaurants in the cities. Thailand is also very child friendly; children are considered of great importance in Thai culture.
Naturally, kids in temperate countries find Thailand too hot, but what probably makes up for the heat is access to some of the world’s best beach destinations that kids enjoy.
Across the country, especially in the capital Bangkok, there is always something going on all year round, which means many great things and activities that kids of all ages can enjoy with their families. Amusement parks, zoos, aquariums and many other places of entertainment never run out of thrill and excitement, not to mention temples, parks and museums which can be both educational and entertaining.
Raising children, indeed, is a great responsibility, especially if it has to be done in a foreign setting. There will certainly be pitfalls sometimes. But, just like life in general, it all comes down to having a positive mindset in order to appreciate the discoveries and accomplishments that come with the process.
Independent and emphatic child
Nina’s daughter was just five years old when she was first brought to Thailand. Language was the big stumbling block. Yet it was Nina’s fearless decision to enroll the child in a mainstream Thai school that now reaped great rewards for mother and daughter.
âMy child is more than bilingual now. She accompanies me on my trip to government offices and is my reliable translator. I admire her independence and her great faith in humanity – qualities that she would not have acquired if she had stayed in my native country where independence is often misinterpreted as arrogance, âsays Nina .
For Matthew and Giana, they are amazed at how emphatic their children have become. âThey were able to develop a great tolerance for diversity, in addition to being adaptable and sensitive,â Giana shares.
Working with a child in Thailand, just like being a parent, is fraught with challenges. How we respond to these challenges will have a corresponding effect on us and the children for the rest of their lives. What becomes more important is how to positively approach the more difficult aspects of life in a foreign country and guide children through this experience in a way that will be of use to them in the future.
Source: Thai PBS