January 13, 2016

A Young Thai Student Visits the U.S. for the First Time.

1. Before you came to the U.S., what were your hopes, expectations, fears and wishes for your trip?

Before I visited America, I felt worried about my mother because I never have traveled for a month. I worry that my mother would be lonely or her health symptoms reappear or not. Before I came to America, I talked to neighbor to assist with care of my mother. When I go back I’ll buy chocolates to their children.

Before I came to America I imagine there are a lot of people, cold. I was hoping to collect experiences of living abroad that open my world to the knowledge. I wanted to meet Chantal’s mom.

I think food and things will be expensive. I feel concern every time Bill and Chantal have expenses for me. But I had no choice because I did not have enough money.

Shortly after arriving, I hoped to visit attractions such as the UN, White House, capital city, Empire Building, but beyond that I can go anywhere.


2. As you left the airport in Bangkok to fly to the U.S., what were you feeling and thinking?

I always worry about my mom, I thought she would be lonely, who will have dinner with her and I was nervous to transit at Beijing because I had not did this before. But I think I need to develop this knowledge to pursue a dream of mine to work with the UN so that I will not be discouraged.

The feeling of concern for being away from home for a long time and traveling alone. Fear of missing the aircraft and fear of cold.

3. What was your very first impression of the U.S. within the first few hours of your arrival?

I appreciate Chantal because the second I left the immigration, she rushed out with sweaters, scarf and food for me. Because she was worried. I am very impressed. Bill drove and waiting for me.

4. What does it feel like to live in a house with two people who have a very different culture than your own?

I felt that they were like parents to take care of me.  The house is very big and modern so I was afraid to break anything but they made me feel like I was at home with my parents.

No matter the culture, I can learn and adapt including how to eat, say goodnight at bedtime and morning greetings.

5. Share with us some of your funny experiences in the first few days of becoming acquainted with living in the US?

First, I like to take a tour around the city and I was impressed. It’s very cold weather. It’s very strange for me.

One day, they took me to the French restaurant but I cannot read the menu. When waiter ask me to order I said “Ask Bill.”

After that I had deep sleep and wake up at noon. I rush to take a shower, dress up because it’s not proper to wake up late. Then I look for Bill and Chantal but I don’t see anyone. It’s very dark outside so I look at my phone Oh, it’s midnight! Thus, I have to adjust many things.

They took me to their friends’ house and they cooked grilled cheese and watch football. Football is very complicated and I fall asleep because of jetlag.

They took me to the Nutcracker Ballet and on stage the mouse soldiers fire cheese from cannons. So cheese everywhere in this country.

I like that they are trying to explain America’s lifestyle and landmarks. It’s like a whole new world for me. I am like newborn. I like all the activities such as kickboxing, cycling, seeing Grand Central Station and Illusionist show in NYC and the Nutcracker Ballet.577662_1069199203119721_4570690232499125997_n

7. You celebrated your first Christmas. How did you like it?

I like it because I met a lot of people, eating together sharing a gift and told jokes and stories. There are many good experience for me. I still remember the taste of lobster for my first time in my life on Christmas day, very fine.

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It was a happy day because the friends like family. They come and meet me and everyone together talk, eat and play. A warm family that I never experience before. This day I liked very much. Everyone use different strategies to get the gift they want in the exchange of gift game.

8. Tell us about your experience of visiting New York City. What impressions did you have? Did you find the people there different? Was the City different then you expected after seeing it in so many movies? What was your favorite experience there?

I have a dream to visit NY and then it happen already. It’s quite different from movies because in the movies it’s peaceful but really it’s busy.

I liked the magic show because it’s my first time to see something on Broadway. I did not know that they have so many tourists to vacation time in NY. It is good place to travel because there are many entertainment, shopping mall, restaurants etc. but it’s very busy city and high cost of living.

I love view at the top of Empire State Building, very nice and cold. Bill and I must take photos fast and go down because my hands cannot move from being frozen.

I love to visit the UN, to encourage me to make my dream come true. I’m very surprised with UN Headquarter, very different from UN Thailand offices with decoration and security system. So I really want to work with UN someday.

9. You have been trying many different types of food, not only American but Italian, Mexican and others. Which has been your favorite? Why? Which one did you like the least?

I like all food because it’s my first time to try and to eat such luxury food particularly lobster. My first time eating lobster it’s like heaven! Also I like Chantal’s spaghetti and fist time that I have double dishes in dinner, appetizer and main dish.

I like the diversity of food such as French, American, German, Russian, Mexican but lobster is my number one and spaghetti and French dishes. German is quite strange for me. I love all the different foods.

lobster joined


10. You spent a few days in Washington? What did you think of our capital city?

We got on Hop on Hop off to visit around city and landmark. I saw the Lincoln Memorial that is very huge and beautiful. After that I went to capital city and feel the politics. I feel Iike I am a politician in the US. I went to White House – amazing and huge as in the movies that I have seen before.

They took me to a luxury restaurant and I feel nervous to order. My choice is soft beef with red wine. Chantal teach me a little about wine and let me try it. I like sauvignon blanc from New Zealand.

We went to Spy museum because I am interested in spy movies.

11. Do you find any similarities between your country and the U.S.?

People in Pennsylvania are good persons, they smile to everyone and greet each other.

12. What are the biggest differences between your country and the U.S.?

Traffic is good, cars let people cross street first. No power cables all over street. It is expensive for parking. They consume a lot of cheese. It’s cold weather and the snow is the most different thing from Thailand.  that I have never touch

13. You attended a university basketball game at Drexel University. How was that different from sports events in your university?

It’s similar because we also have cheerleaders. The most different is students who throw sandwich to the audiences. It’s very much fun.

14. You saw snow for the first time in Denver, Colorado, can you describe your experience to us?

It’s very cold and my hands cannot move from holding snow. It’s like ice that we put in the coffee. I never touch snow before. I can make a ball and throw to somebody. The definition is “Cold”!!!

I was very excited and took photos to send to my mom. I touched and smelled the snow.

15. How did you enjoy skiing?

I loved it and enjoyed. I never had thought that it be so much fun before. The teacher teach me very easy, so I understand but still I fall more than 10 times. But it begins to feel familiar and  had very much fun with it until they closed. We have to leave so I walked as a duck with those boots. I’d like to thank Bill and Chantal for taking me to ski lesson.


16. You participated in a book signing for “The Boy with a Bamboo Heart” and made a presentation about your life’s journey as a graduate of FORDEC. How did you enjoy speaking publicly to an American audience? How is it different from when you give speeches in your country?

It is the story of my life, I felt confident so I dare to tell what happened to me. I’m glad to inspire the students there who also want to work in UN.

The challenge is speaking in English. I was excited and nervous, afraid people will not understand me. I practiced hard to deliver the best results. The difference with speaking in Thail and English is that when I speak in Thai I practice a little bit, but I can speak smoothly.

The audience was foreigners to my country so I have to help them imagine what I talk about. I did my best. I am proud to tell the story of my adventures for everyone.

17. What have you learned during your trip?

I learning to live with culture of Americans, French, and even Russians. As well, I practice to socialize because they took me to meet many people. And they teach me the importance of the connection between people.

I learned about the history and politics of America. I speak English and practice with lessons.  I’ve done things that I’ve never done before such as skiing, socialize with people I don’t know, white elephant gift exchange and celebrated Christmas. They teach me how to write a resume, how to socialize and how to dress up.


18. Anything else you want to share with us about your visit to the U.S?

I appreciate that I was living happily during my university holidays. Thank you for taking care of me for one month. I have enjoyed every minute during my stay in America because Chantal and Bill care for me in all aspects and also because they support my education.

I do not know how to return their kindness. I’d like to thank them from my heart for their hospitality.

19. You only have a few days left before you return, what do you still want to experience?

They took me to do almost everything. If possible I‘d like to learn how to drive a car. If there is something more, I am open to suggestions.

20. What are your goals for your next experience to continue your global education?

I’d like to have an internship in marketing overseas between August and November 2016 to complete my undergraduate degree. After that I’ll apply to work with the UN and also I want to run my own business. I want to find a scholarship for an MBA in the US to develop my skills and have more knowledge from the US to help achieve my goals.

I would love to travel abroad to makes speeches at conferences or summits to have more experiences and connections with people. I want to develop other languages such as English, Chinese, French or German. Finally, if I have stable work and income I’ll support poor children in Thailand and lead them to success as FORDEC did for me and take care of my mom the way she does for me.






  1. William says:

    It’s been a pleasure to see ‘Top’ experience so many things for the first time. He will return to Bangkok with an expanded view of the world and the opportunities it offers.

  2. Jonah Tisam says:

    Great writing and photos nicely placed. Needs a little editing and proof reading and all good to go to publishers?


  3. Chantal Jauvin says:

    Hello Jonah, Thank you for your comment. It was intentional to leave the responses in Top’s words. He was interviewed over a year ago and my hope was to share the progress he has made with the English language. Chantal

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