Many parents would like to send their children to study in private schools in a foreign country to learn a different culture and lifestyle, and to develop lasting foreign-language skills.
Many Thais, after they complete their studies abroad, return to Thailand to work in the family business or in global corporations. They often enjoy a good life and are well received by the local society.
The US is widely perceived as being the country that tops the list of countries considered by most parents when they think of sending their children overseas because it has the largest number quality institutions at all levels. The education system in each state has its own method of quality control, and education planning does not depend on the federal government.
Each state has its own board of education that sets rules and standards and distributes education subsidies to its schools from state and federal funds.
In the US public school system, all education is compulsory and free up to Grade 12.
Many Thai students contemplate continuing their high school education abroad after finishing Grade 9. Thai students who want to study in US high schools will be enrolled in private schools only. There are many boarding and day schools, and homestay is available, where a volunteer host family shares their home with foreign students during their studies in the US. When comparing the cost of tuition in the US, Thai parents may find that it is comparable to that of international schools in Thailand.
Studying for three to four weeks during school holidays in the US, gives students a unique opportunity to prepare for and learn US local culture before continuing their high school education.
Punnarungsi Temsweanglert, aka "Sarar", finished Grade 9 in Thailand before becoming a Grade 10 exchange student in a public school in Mississippi with the assistance of International Education Services (IES).
"In my second year in the US, I became an F-1 student with IES, and now I'm studying at Timothy Christian High School (TCHS), which is a private Christian school in Elmhurst, Illinois," says Punnarungsi and concludes that, "[the school] is a great experience and constantly challenges me."
"The reason why I chose TCHS is that it offers many classes to international students, it's small, students are very friendly, and the teachers are helpful and nice" Punnarungsi says, adding that, "Whenever I have a language problem, the teachers always help me."
Timothy Christian is different from the Thai school that I attended previously. Students at TCHS don't have to wear uniforms, and they are allowed to put on make-up and dye their hair.
Compared to Thai schools, Timothy has a lot of extracurricular activities for students to choose from. Schoolwork here is really challenging. When we are in class, everyone listens carefully to the teacher, and students are not afraid to ask questions.
"We work hard to get good grades so that we can further our education in a good college, says Punnarungsi.
"I live with an amazing family, the Bosmans," Punnarungsi says. The Bosman family consists of the parents and their seven children.
Punnarungsi says that her host parents are wonderful to her, and that the mother loves to knit, cooks great food and packs Punnarungsi a lunch every day.
Punnarungsi is very close to the Bosman daughters - Leah, Tessa and Hannah. All the girls shop and watch movies together.
"I share a room with Tessa, who is 15 years old, and we go to the same school. She is very funny and clever. She teaches me the US lifestyle and helps me with homework," Punnarungsi explains, while noting that the family is really helping her to improve her English. "I'm so lucky to be staying with the Bosmans, she exclaims.
Punnarungsi muses that she is very gratified that she came to Elmhurst, Illinois because she learns new things every day; and because living there has made her more independent and mature. I have had great experiences and I am looking forward to continuing next year in TCHS, she says.
Eligible candidates are those who have passed the Secondary Level English Proficiency (Slep Test), and they must undergo an interview conducted in Thai and English.
The test measures the listening and reading comprehension skills of non-native English speakers and is mostly used in secondary schools.
For more information on how to prepare to study abroad, call 02-512-6022 - 4 or visit http://www.ies-education.com.