The First-Ever Expatriate Orientation Program in Review
On 26-27 April 2022, the Thailand Foundation hosted the Expatriate Orientation Program (EOP) for the first time at the Siam Society under Royal Patronage. The EOP aimed to enrich the expat experience of Thailand by providing a deeper understanding of Thailand, Thai people, and Thainess, and it also served as a networking event for expat professionals in the country. The event was well attended by representatives from embassies, international organizations, and leading Thai companies, including ambassadors, spouses of ambassadors, and businesspeople, among others.
There were 7 sessions as follows.
1. Chris Cross Culture: When Thai Meets World by Mr. Christopher Wright explained the Thai ways of life as well as the hidden meanings of the verbal and non-verbal communication of Thai people through cross-cultural perspectives. The talk also shed light on the uniqueness of Thai values in contrast to international ones.
2. Thailand in Historical Perspective by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Dhiravat na Pombejra described the synergized roles of the Thai monarchs, religion, trade, and diplomacy in steering the Kingdom forward. The lecture covered key historic events of the Sukhothai period up to the modern Rattanakosin period.
3. Access Thailand’s Regions Like the Locals by Mr. Jonas Anderson explored local cultures, lifestyles, and Thai language in regional dialects across the four regions of the Kingdom. The session highlighted the openness of Thailand and the resulting harmony in diversity.
4. Thailand in the Global Value Chain by H.E. Ambassador Nongnuch Petcharatana and Dr. Cholachit Vorawangso Virakul offered macroeconomic perspectives on key issues from the recent economic stimulus to the future direction of the government’s policy. Attendees also learned the role of Thailand as a strategic hub of Southeast Asia.
5. Decoding Bangkok by Mr. Philip Cornwel-Smith presented a refreshed perspective on Bangkok not as a city of chaos but rather a city with a unique urban structure which helps bridge the old with the new under a hidden order. The session also pointed out to such cultural hybrids as one of the reasons behind the vibrant lifestyles of people.
6. How to Make Friends with Thai people by Mr. Teeranai Charuvastra provided attendees with some social tips to break the ice and better connect with Thai people. These included Thai popular beliefs, obsessions, popular culture, and buzz words on social media, among others.
7. Experiencing Thai Cuisine with a Two-Star Michelin Chef by Chef Chumpol Jangprai embarked participants on a journey to the Thai culinary world and concluded the Program with an exclusive closing dinner at R-Haan, a two-star Michelin restaurant of Thai cuisine.
The event concluded with great responses of appreciation from participants, who deemed the program as beneficially informative with an honest and entertaining delivery and that the program should be held regularly. One senior diplomat along with his spouse has mentioned that “We are very pleased to have been able to do it so early in my four-year posting.”