We have arranged home stays for students for about 10 years now. My wife Yupin and I assess a potential homestay as having a peaceful household, a good supply of washing and drinking water, a mosquito net and a fan. We have mosquito nets and fans to lend to families if they need them. Here are some of what some students had to say about their families:
Jana Black, Cal Poly 2009, Ban Mumon, Pa Prakob and Mae Ubon
My Thai Family:
Close knit family that is very kind and friendly. The father Pa Prakob is home quite often and is very funny. The mother Mae Ubon is usually home or at a neighbor’s house, and makes the most delicious food! The extended family is always coming and going from the house so it is like they have more than three children. Their children are about college aged. The youngest daughter Noom and her cousin Ming spent the most time with me and they are great girls. They tried very hard to use their English, but we had fun spending time together even though we usually couldn’t understand one another. Most of my time with the family involved sharing meals together, and a few outings to the local markets and events.
- • food palatablity/deliciousness: The food was delicious! Mae Ubon was an exellent cook, as well as Noom and the others that helped in the kitchen. There were a variety of new dishes every morning and evening which I was very grateful for because it allowed me to get a true “taste” of Thai/Isaan culture. The family was also very thoughtful in making some less spicy versions of the dishes for me to try, as well as encouraging me to sample the uninhibited ones.
- • food quantity: There was never a shortage of food, and at lunch I was given mangoes and other things to share with my friends
- • sleeping accommodations: I shared a room with Noom their daughter as well as Ming, Noom’s cousin. There was actually no mosquito net, but mosquitos didn’t seem to be a problem, so I was quite happy not to have one. The bed that I shared with Noom was a little bumpy, but I slept well, and it was very nice of them to insist that I sleep in the bed, as Ming slept on the floor.
- • bathing accommodations: Bathing entailed using a water pail to pour water over me from the large water bucket. It was a little tricky at first, but very refreshing after a hot day.
- • bath room facilities: Running water was only turned on in order to fill the water buckets in the house, so the bidet hose wasn’t very useful. There was a small bucket in the bathroom that is used for cleaning oneself by splashing water. One week was not enough time to perfect this, but I dried off quickly.
- • Comfortableness: I was very comfortable even though things were different than what I am accustomed to, such as sitting on the floor
- • Cleanliness: Very clean!
- • family life: The family was very friendly and eager to spend time with me, however the language barrier did make communicating very difficult. Most of our conversations involved a lot of guessing and assuming, which led to a few confusing circumstances, but emphasized the importance of a “mai phen rai” attitude. I think the homestay experience could have been better if I had learned more Thai or stayed there longer, or if the family had known a little more English.
- • any other aspect you'd like to comment on: It was a little difficult commuting to and from Bhan Mumon because it was far from the bus stop to Nong Khai
Danielle Vigent, Cal Poly, 2009 Kieow's Home
- food palatablity/deliciousness:
great taste and flavor. I definitely went out of my box with some snails one morning, but there were other things available for me to eat. I like the style of cooking and I wish there were some more vegatebles in my lunch.
- food quantity:
Plenty. A lot at each meal at home, but sometimes I felt the fruit and vegetable group was lacking at lunch
- sleeping accommodations:
Good I had a soft bed with a net and fan that kept me quite cool
- bathing accommodations:
First time that I ever bathed with a bucket it took a few times to get the hang of but the bathroom was clean and had a light.
- bath room facilities:
Clean and well lit
Sometimes the language barrier made things a little difficult but after a few day we figured out how to communicate.
Clean by my standards and they swept a whole lot haha
- family life
quite similar to my family actually. I felt at home. The son (lek) wasn’t home too much and the daughter (fuh) had orientation some days. Keo and Tai were so nice and went out of their way to make sure I had everything I needed. I spent the most time with Keo and I could tell she was down to earth and just was so happy with life.
Poborn Country House 11 km
Nakaburi Resort 15 km
You wrote, "Also I wanted to ask about appropriate dress for both the guys and gals. Is there anything that we should avoid bringing so as to not offend anyone."
Good question. Village women in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia dress modestly. We'd like women to stay cool with loose light clothing (Justin says that cotton or synthetic fabrics are both comfortable). Low necklines and short dresses or short shorts might make village men and women a little uncomfortable.
Dress for men can be modest too: regular shorts and T- shirts are OK.
If you visit temples, pants and at least short sleeves would probably be appreciated.
I'd say that clothing here is pretty cheap. There is a flea market in the next village every Monday afternoon. There are also local cotton and silk fabrics and clothing available nearby. Yupin and her sister would love to take you shopping.