About AFS Thailand
AFS Thailand or American Field Service Thailand was established in 1962. It is an organization that gives scholarships to Thai students for one year’s study abroad but mostly in America. The organization accepts foreign students, mostly from America to stay in Thailand as well.
In 1970, AFS Thailand became an international organization and the number of its member (AFSers) has been dramatically increased. Nowadays, AFS Thailand has over 200,000 students participated in the program and the number is continue to grow.
How is this related to the practice of communication management?
It is crucial for AFS Thailand to equip their students with cultural knowledge to avoid cultural problem that they might encounter during their stay. With 98 years of experience, AFS knows that most of those cultural problems caused by miscommunication and cultural differences. Hence, the knowledge of “intercultural communication” is to be provided during the AFS orientation for every soon-to-be exchange students. For example, culture shock is one the first challenges for every exchange student upon their arrival in another country. Delia Flanja, a Ph.D. candidate in philosophy mentions that “Culture shock is the state of discomfort experienced by the intercultural traveler, in a more or less profound way, once he or she is placed in an unfamiliar environment” (Flanja, 2009).
What research have you been able to uncover?
Delia Flanja defined “intercultural communication” as the way to imply an intercultural knowledge. She also mentioned that nowadays the numbers of people come into our contact are enlarging. Therefore, we need to develop the certain way of communication so that we can respond them effectively (Flanja, 2009).
Most of the AFS exchange students from Thailand are going to America. The main purpose is that their parents want their children to improve their English skills. Therefore, in this essay I will focus on intercultural communication between Thailand and America. However, America is one of the most obvious multicultural countries in the world. Hence, as a member of AFS exchange student, I found it very challenging for the organization to try to manage and minimize cultural problem using communication strategy.
Although AFS Thailand has a long experience of sending Thai exchange students to every state of America and provides a lot of solutions to survive, the cultural problems often occur. Due to the differences of individualism and collectivism, high/low context, self-construal and etc. many Thai exchange students cannot adapt themselves and live happily in America. When dissatisfaction occurs, Thai students who are collectivists tend to be “silence” rather than talk about it with their host families (Suraj Kapoora, 2003).
Considering that exchange program require money, most of the students are from middle to upper classes families (Mendez, 2009). It is without a doubt that many of them were spoiled back at their...