Youth in Development Volunteer

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact Peace Corps domestically and internationally.

The information provided for each assignment is subject to change, including the tentative departure date.

Project Description

The Kingdom of Thailand, “the land of smiles,” is home to a population of approximately seventy million. One of the world’s top tourist destinations, its climate is hot and humid year-round. Buddhism is the pre-dominant religion, but many Thai’s practice Islam, Christianity, Hinduism and more. Communication is very contextual and social relationships exhibit high power distance, meaning many Thais will give great deference to those with higher authority. It is important to know that wealth inequality in Thailand is among the highest in the world. Despite systemic inequality, Thais continue to smile, in fact, despite many feelings, Thai’s often smile through it, an important component to the culture of social harmony in Thailand.

Peace Corps has been in Thailand for 60 years. Our projects have evolved to meet the needs of our partners. Volunteers should expect to work in under-privileged, rural communities, not in big cities or sunny beaches. Every day will be an adventure and the more you are able to let go of your expectations, the more you will be able to contribute to Thai communities in the spirit of service to others

The overall goal of the Youth in Development Project is to empower Thai youth to develop skills and attributes that prepare them to become healthy, engaged citizens who are catalysts of change in their communities. Most Volunteers teach conversational English; life skills such as critical thinking and decision-making; and leadership skills. Volunteers also support extra-curricular activities for youth such as after-school clubs, youth leadership councils, health education campaigns, community service projects, and sports and fitness events. Upon arrival in their community, Volunteers will work with school staff and youth to assess the needs of the community and identify the areas of the greatest priorities and interest.

Volunteers will be assigned to work with local government offices, specifically the education and community development units. Volunteers must also be able to independently seek out and engage with many different members of the community to make a sustainable impact. The government office will serve as a coordinating unit and Volunteers will assist the office with youth-oriented campaigns and projects led by the office. However, Volunteers will devote much of their time to working in primary and secondary schools with youth between 9-15 years old. Volunteers will identify promising work partners in their community with whom they will co-plan and co-lead activities. These partners may include Thai government staff, health center staff, teachers, or older youth.

COVID-19 Volunteer Activities

In the past year, the world has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a Volunteer, you will be trained in how to best protect yourself from COVID-19 exposure and understand the impact of and steps to reduce stigma related to COVID-19. You may also have the opportunity to engage with your community on implementing or enhancing COVID-19 mitigation activities, such as COVID-19 prevention and risk reduction strategies including social distancing, hand washing, mask wearing, addressing myths and misconceptions related to these practices, and vaccine hesitancy. Activities will be tailored to address the COVID-19 circumstances in the communities where you will serve.

Required Skills

Qualified candidates will have one or more of the following criteria:
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any field
OR
• 5 years' professional work experience

Desired Skills

Experience in the following areas is strongly preferred:
• Working with youth in after-school clubs, tutoring, summer camps, or other extra-curricular activities
• Teaching English, training youth in life skills, leadership development, youth reproductive health, sports/fitness, and/or drug/alcohol prevention

Required Language Skills

There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position.

All Volunteers will be provided with comprehensive and intensive Thai language training during their 10 weeks of Pre-Service Training (PST). Trainees will dedicate four hours a day, five to six days a week to language learning as well as informal learning with host families and community members. Trainees will be placed in a small language class of up to four to five trainees who are at a similar language level to themselves for focused learning. The Peace Corps Thailand staff will assign you to a language group at the beginning of PST taking your skills and knowledge in your primary assignment area into consideration. Trainees must demonstrate intermediate proficiency in Thai by the end of PST. Periodic language training is offered throughout your Peace Corps service as well as tutoring as needed. Language learning is critical to your success as a Volunteer as there will be very few English speakers in your community and speaking Thai facilitates your successful integration. Showing that you are making an effort to learn the language both shows respect and goes a long way towards earning respect in your community.

Living Conditions

Nearly all Volunteers will be working and living in rural Thailand, located in all provinces except the southernmost four where there is unrest. Locations include islands, mountains, flat areas, and everything in between. Some communities will be quite isolated and others closer to larger towns. During Pre- service training, Volunteers will stay with Thai host families that prepared by PC staff. Once at their two year assignment, Volunteers will live in one of the villages in their assigned municipality. Volunteers will either live with a host family or independently, depending on the current COVID-19 situation. All Volunteer housing must meet Peace Corps’ safety and security requirements. 

Volunteers typically live in a basic, three-room house. The bathroom will have a squat toilet and cold-water shower. The kitchen area is partially open-air. Volunteers who stay with host families have their own room and share common space in the house. All Volunteers in Thailand have electricity and some form of running water. Some Volunteers cook for themselves while others eat with their family or at local street vendors or restaurants.

Public transportation is sometimes inconsistent, so you will need to be patient and flexible. The primary mode of transport within and around communities is by bicycle. All invitees must be willing and able to ride a bicycle for at least six miles in very hot conditions. Be aware that some individuals will find the heat and humidity in Thailand to be a difficult adjustment, especially during the first few months in country.

While it is possible to maintain a vegetarian diet, strict vegetarians may find it difficult to maintain diets that don’t allow for flexibility, especially within some social contexts. The most successful Volunteers are those who are flexible and open to adapting to the cultural norms of their communities.

Thais take great personal pride in appearance so dressing professionally as a Volunteer will increase your effectiveness and credibility. Volunteers will be seen as a community leader and role model for youth. Appropriate professional dress for men includes slacks, collared short-sleeved shirts and clean neat shoes. For women, collared blouses, slacks and skirts or dresses reaching below the knees are appropriate. Some schools where Volunteers work may only prefer skirts or dresses be worn. Volunteers should understand that many Thai schools and offices ask their staff to conform to certain norms of dress and appearance. For example, for both men and women, tattoos are required to be covered and body piercings, excluding the ear lobe, must be removed. Also, they may prefer that males not have long hair, beards, or earrings. As one of Peace Corps Thailand’s core expectations is to respect Thai culture, it is important that you are willing to learn about and follow the norms of your work place. Concepts of time, punctuality, and communication styles may be different from American cultural perspectives and norms but with patience and flexibility, Volunteers find they are able to adjust and work successfully with their communities. You may find that these norms differ from community to community so you will need to learn the particulars of your work situation and adjust accordingly.

Volunteers who are of an American racial, ethnic, or national minority or whose religious or spiritual beliefs differ from the majority of their country of service may find they experience a high degree of curiosity or unwanted attention from host country nationals. Please be aware that American concepts of politeness and appropriate behavior are not universal. Ethnically, nationally, or racially diverse Americans may be asked where they are “actually from” or if they are “really” American. Many Volunteers have been able to turn these encounters into learning experiences, share American values, and deepen local community members’ understanding of Americans.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Thailand:
Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, and safety (including crime statistics) in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.

Couples Information

Peace Corps Thailand can accommodate couples teaching the same or different subjects. Therefore, your partner must apply and qualify for one of the following positions:

• English Co-Teacher
• Youth in Development Volunteer

Couples live and serve together throughout their service. This includes living with a homestay family during the 10-week Pre-Service Training, as well as in a village for the two years of service. Housing requirements stipulated by Peace Corps for couples are the same as those for single Volunteers because it would be unusual to find houses that are much larger than the standard small house.

Medical Considerations

Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the clearance process and other health conditions that are difficult to accommodate in Peace Corps service.


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