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Raising Expat Kids In Thailand | Hua Hin International Schools | 8+ Years Later

Raising Expat Kids In Thailand | Hua Hin International Schools

Raising Expat Kids In Thailand | Hua Hin International Schools | Photo Credit: Peter Bakker

Raising Expat Kids In Thailand | Hua Hin International Schools

Raising expat kids in Thailand? | Where do they go to school?

If you’ve found this article and are tempted to continue reading, it’s probably because you’re curious about what Hua Hin or Thailand in general has to offer your family and you’re wondering what to expect as you ponder the thought of raising expat kids in Thailand.  Perhaps you and your family have been living in South East Asia for years already, and are considering Hua Hin as your next place to put down some “expat” roots.  Or maybe you’ve never lived outside of your home country, and the idea of moving to a foreign country and raising kids in Thailand is terrifying to you.  If you’re interested in further reading on tips for childrearing, check out this useful blog on raising kids.

Whatever your reason for considering the expat lifestyle, we affirm that life in Hua Hin, Thailand is a pretty good choice for parents and kids alike.  You can be reassured knowing that there are lots of expat families living in Thailand.  Many families have been here for decades and have raised their kids as toddlers all the way to sending them to university back in Europe, North America, or throughout South East Asia.

Maybe you have younger children who you’d like to enroll in school.  Most likely you’ll want them to go to an international school that meets a certain academic standard.  For more information on international schools in Hua Hin, please see our article about international school options:

If the international school options don’t suit your or your children’s needs, there are many expats and Thai nationals who choose to homeschool instead.  There are homeschooling groups in Hua Hin and throughout Thailand that help share resources as well as the workload of teaching different subjects.  Some parents have better skills than others, so they divide the teaching of the core subjects to give the children an opportunity to experience learning from more than just Mom or Dad.  The homeschooling network can also provide kids with the socializing that they need.

Raising Expat Kids In Thailand | Hua Hin International Schools

Raising Expat Kids In Thailand | Hua Hin International Schools

Raising Expat Kids In Thailand | Don’t Worry, You’ll Find Your Community

A great aspect of being an expat is the tight knit community of foreigners that brings families and individuals together who have similar experiences and struggles within the foreign country.  Sometimes it’s just nice to have someone to commiserate with who understand your frustrations about living in Thailand.  The culture shock and frustrations usually go away with time, and as your experiences here grow, you’ll ask yourself why you didn’t choose this life sooner.

In fact, we’ve seen several expats move back to their home countries, only to return to Thailand a year or so later–sometimes as little as a few months.  Some expats say they miss the freedom they’ve become accustomed to as an expat, or they forgot the heavy tax burdens of the west, the high cost of living, the constant daily stress, or the western culture that encourages our kids to grow up faster than we or they are ready to.

While some expats “go native” and learn to speak the language fluently (I’m super jealous of people who can do this), this is pretty rare.  Some Westerners learn to speak Thai adequately, but the majority tend to socialize within expat groups.  These groups are usually of mixed nationalities, which makes living in Thailand more exciting.  You have the opportunity to meet people from all around the world.

It’s not uncommon to host a dinner party with friends from France, Belgium, Holland, the UK, Germany, Azerbaijan, Russia, the USA, and, of course, Thailand.  I love learning about everyone’s different world perspectives and their unique experiences and what brought them to Thailand in the first place.  I may not always agree with everyone, but I certainly love hearing their opinions, and often, I find myself learning new things.  And I think this is so important for our children to be exposed to so many different cultures.  This promotes tolerance, acceptance and education, as they learn that at the end of the day, we all have our differences, but we have more in common than we thought.

Raising Expat Kids In Thailand | Hua Hin International Schools

Raising Expat Kids In Thailand | Hua Hin International Schools

Raising Expat Kids In Thailand | You’ll Have More Time To Be With Your Kids & Each Other

Another huge benefit of raising children in Thailand is that generally we have more time to spend with them.  In general, we’ve found that the pace of life in Thailand is slower than back in our Western country, and we are so fortunate to be able to spend more quality time as a family.  The frenetic, stressful lifestyle that so many westerners face on a daily basis takes a huge toll on families and individuals, and most people are not even aware of this insidious, constant stress until they move away from it.

Another great aspect of living in Thailand is that kids, in general, don’t feel the overwhelming pressure to grow up before they’re ready to.  So many children in the west are exposed to precocious behavior and are encouraged to dress provocatively and behave like adults when they’re still just little kids.  Our experience of raising a child in Thailand was that her childhood innocence was preserved for a longer time than it would have been in the West; of course, all kids grow up, but what is the huge hurry?  Kids only have the chance to be children once in their lifetime, and this is a special time that should be cherished and enjoyed.

Families with children are also generally more accepted throughout Thailand, especially at places that have traditionally been “adults only” in the West, like nicer restaurants.  That’s not to say a parent should bring a child to Soi Cowboy to revel in the hedonistic varieties on offer there, but in general, kids are welcome everywhere.  And Thais generally love children.  When our daughter was young, it was not uncommon for strangers or employees to come up to her, compliment her, and offer to carry her around the restaurant while we were eating.

Childcare for young children in Thailand is also a lot more affordable, and it can be a wonderful opportunity for your children to learn Thai without even realizing they’re learning a new language.  There can be a language and culture barrier between parents and caretakers, but in general, having a Thai nanny or babysitter can be a fabulous experience for children and parents alike.

Raising Expat Kids In Thailand | Hua Hin International Schools

Raising Expat Kids In Thailand | Hua Hin International Schools

Raising Expat Kids In Thailand | What are the dangers?

Of course, not all aspects of life in Thailand are perfect with regard to raising a family.  A big feature that Hua Hin lacks is the presence of communal spaces, such as parks and playgrounds; public libraries; community centers that offer opportunities for kids and adults to play, exercise, learn new skills and hobbies, etc.  There are also a lack of teenage-focused activities or organizations (independent from school programs) like science clubs, sports teams, theater, etc.  And driving–especially motorbikes–is extremely dangerous throughout Thailand.

Teens in small towns across the globe who don’t have enough stimulation or activities to keep them busy, can fall prey to bad habits or behavior simply out of boredom.  This is something we are actively trying to work on with some friends and colleagues who want to initiate some teen-centric groups and events to bring older kids together and involve them in positive activities and behaviors.

Overall, our experience with raising our child in Thailand so far has been a hugely positive experience.  Our daughter has made wonderful friends here; she loves her school; and is generally a very happy, well adjusted kid.  I definitely feel that our ability as parents to spend more time with her has helped our daughter grow into a confident, positive individual.  If you are planning a move to Hua Hin or Thailand in the near future with your family and want to ask us for any recommendations or any questions about our experiences here, we are happy to share as much information with you as we can.  Good luck and embrace the adventure waiting for you!

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