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2 years, 3 months
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Youth in Development Volunteer

Project description

The Kingdom of Thailand, “the land of smiles,” is home to a population of approximately seventy million. Peace Corps has been in Thailand for over 60 years and during this time our projects have evolved to meet the needs of our partners. Volunteers should expect to work in rural communities, not in big cities or sunny beaches. Every day will be dynamic 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 with others.

The overall goal of the Youth in Development Project is for Thai Youth to develop strong leadership and life skills, in order to be able to reach their personal goals and contribute to the development of sustainable communities. Volunteers will 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, camps, youth councils, community service projects, positive youth development, and sports and fitness events. Upon arrival in their community, Volunteers will work with local government 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, community development, or social welfare 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. Moreover, Volunteers will also devote much of their time to working in primary and secondary schools with youth between the ages of 9-15. 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, teachers, or youth leaders.

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

• Bachelor’s degree in Social Work, Psychology, Education, Youth Development, Applied Behavioral Science or related field.
• Working with youth in after-school clubs, tutoring, summer camps, or other extra-curricular activities
• Teaching English, training youth in life skills, leadership, Positive Youth Development, and sports/fitness

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 10.5 weeks of Pre-Service Training (PST). Trainees will dedicate 4 hours a day, 5-6 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 5-6 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. 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 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. During Pre-Service Training (PST), Trainees will stay with Thai host families identified by Peace Corps staff. Once at their two-year assignment, Volunteers will live in one of the villages in their assigned municipality. Volunteers will live with a host family, and situation dependent, might live independently. All Volunteer housing must meet Peace Corps’ safety and security requirements. 

Volunteers typically live in a basic single house, school dormitory, two-floor house, or one-story house. The bathroom may have a squat toilet and a cold-water shower. The kitchen area is usually partially open-air. Volunteers who stay with host families have their own bedrooms and share common space in the house. All Volunteers in Thailand have electricity and some form of running water. While it is possible to maintain a vegetarian diet, strict vegetarians or vegans may find it difficult to maintain diets that don’t allow for flexibility, especially within some social contexts.

Most towns have internet available at schools and offices. Volunteers are strongly encouraged to bring a laptop to carry out reporting requirements.

While Peace Corps prohibits you from driving vehicles and riding on motorcycles, you can use a bicycle or travel by car with. Public transportation is sometimes inconsistent, so you will need to be patient and flexible. All invitees must be willing and able to ride a bicycle for at least six miles in very hot conditions. Trainees will be provided a bicycle for the entirety of their service. Be aware that some individuals will find the heat and humidity in Thailand to be a difficult adjustment.

Thais take great personal pride in appearance so dressing professionally as a Volunteer will increase your effectiveness and credibility. Appropriate professional dress at school 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, and it is often gendered. For both men and women, tattoos are often required to be covered and body piercings, excluding the earlobe, may need to 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 workplace. 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.

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. While this is usually based in ignorance it can be taxing and frustrating. During Pre-Service Training (PST) and well into your two years of training, multiple sessions will be held to discuss safety, security, diversity, inclusion, and how you can stay safe, find common ground with people different from you, and serve as an ally for your peers and community members.

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

Medical considerations

Before you apply, please review medical clearance and legal clearance to learn about the process.

Couples information

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

• English Co-Teacher
• English Co-Teacher and Teacher Trainer
• Youth in Development Volunteer

Couples live and serve together throughout their service. This includes living with a homestay family during the 10.5-week Pre-Service Training, as well as with a Host Family in a village for the 2 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.

The Peace Corps works to foster safe and productive assignments for same-sex couples, and same-sex couples are not placed in countries where homosexual acts are criminalized. Because of this, same-sex couple placements are more limited than heterosexual couple placements. During the application process Recruiters and Placement Officers work closely with same-sex couple applicants to understand current placement opportunities. For more information please visit: https://www.peacecorps.gov/faqs/lgbtq/.

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