I’m going to add pictures of the routine at some point, but I’m leaving for an AFS cultural enrichment camp tomorrow and felt inspired to write this post before I go. Here’s a rundown of the schedule on a regular school day (Monday- Friday like in the US).
- 6:30 am: I wake up to my alarm and proceed to turn it off and wait for my host sister to yell at me to take a shower.
- 7ish: I go take a shower. Thailand has what are called “wet bathrooms”, which means that the shower doesn’t have a curtain or anything. You just lock the door and basically monopolize the bathroom until you’re done showering. Thai people also take 2 showers a day, due to the extremely hot, humid climate.
- 7:20-7:40+ : We leave the house. My host parents drive my sister and I to school. On the way we stop and get breakfast (a wax paper bundle tied with a rubberband from a street side seller. It contains rice and either friend chicken, fried pork, sausage, or some combination thereof). My host parents give my sister and I each 100 baht for lunch/snacks.
- 8 am: Morning assembly. The entire school sits in this huge outdoor gathering area (an enormous roof with a concrete floor underneath to hold the 3,000(ish) students. We stand to sing the national anthem and the school song, and to pray. We then sit down for the rest of the assembly, which consists of a 5 minute meditation and a lot of Thai speeches I don’t understand.
- 8:30: Classes begin. Each period is about 50 minutes (I think) and we have a different schedule every day. I still have no clue what class I’m supposed to go to unless I follow my group (seniors in the green color group). So, basically, I follow them everywhere. There are some classes I do on my own…on Tuesdays I have a Thai language lesson along with two other foreigners (a teacher from Germany and a student from France). On Thursday I have Thai cooking class, with the same people plus another exchange student from Japan. Most classes are in Thai, so I sleep and mess around on my phone. I help out with the English classes, and I participate in art class as well.
- 11:50(?): Lunch. The school cantine is epic compared to American high school cafeterias. There are about 8 different shops which serve different meals (chicken and rice, various kinds of noodles, other things with rice, etc. etc.). Lunch costs 20-35 baht (1$=34 baht). Then we go get snacks and drinks. The snack shop has a huge variety of cakes, chocolate bars, nori, Thai stuff I don’t know the name of, ice cream, donuts, and different flavors of milk and green tea. I spend most of my money on drinks because it’s so hot here, plus I’m already gaining exchange weight. There’s a place go buy hot snacks like hot dog things and Chinese buns and stuff. There are also other shops that makes special snacks like thin pancake things full of chocolate and fancy drinks. My favorite drinks are green tea (it’s not healthy, unfortunately. It’s super sugary, comes in lots of flavors, and has given me a raging caffeine addiction) and strawberry juice.
- 4 pm: School ends. I either wait for my host sister to call me and get picked up by my host parents or I go have dinner with my friend (who studied in the US for a year!) and his father and then go home.
- 5: I get home, usually, and chill in my room until my host parents and sister come back from sports and work.
- 8 pm: Dinner. My family and I go get Pad Thai or other food from a nearby restaurant. These aren’t like restaurants in the US. They only have outdoor seating and you fill your own water from a cooler thing and so on. But the food is awesome. Generally for noodle dishes you have your own bowl of noodles, and for rice you have you own plate of rice but take spoonfulls of the various dishes from the center of the table. Noodles are eaten with chopsticks (and a spoon if it’s noodle soup…chopsticks in the dominant hand, spoon in the other). Rice dishes are eaten with a spoon (dominant hand) and a fork. You use the fork to push food onto the spoon. Occasionally we will get dinner from 7/11 instead. 7/11s are so amazing that they deserve their own post, so I’ll talk about them more later.
- 8:30-11 pm: Everyone stays in their room doing their own thing. My host parents watch TV, etc. People take evening showers and I eventually get tired enough to turn off my phone and go to sleep.
The basic routine is pretty boring. However, it is punctuated by fun stuff like various camps, day trips, and week exchanges (hopefully soon, fingers crossed). But there you have it. A day of life in Thailand