5th Graders from Grover Cleveland Elementary School Visit Embassy to learn about Thailand from Returned Peace Corps Volunteer
21 fifth graders from Grover Cleveland Elementary School, Washington, D.C., visited the Royal Thai Embassy on 12 January 2016 to learn about Thailand beyond their classroom from a returned Peace Corps volunteer from Thailand.
The Embassy is paired with the School under the Embassy Adoption Program (EAP) this academic year. The program is a partnership between the Embassy, District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) and Washington Performing Arts. The visit was the second activity between the Embassy and the School after an embassy representative visited the class in November 2015. Ms. Trisha Taylor, Education Initiatives and Curriculum Manager, Washington Performing Arts and Ms. Aisha Randall from Grover Cleveland Elementary School also joined the visit.
Mr. J.M. Ascienzo, National Peace Corps Association’s Advocacy Fellow and a returned Peace Corps volunteer from Thailand, told the students about his experience teaching English in Nan and Nakhon Sri Thammarat provinces from 2012 – 2015. The students learnt about the hospitality of the Thai people in the community, religious harmony in the southern part of Thailand and Thai culture such as Thai food and kickboxing.
Mr. Ascienzo’s story drew much attention from the students who asked enthusiastically about his life as a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand. They learnt about the Thai way of life and the close ties between Thailand and the United States. They were also inspired by Mr. Ascienzo’s work and expressed interest to be a Peace Corps volunteer when they grew up.
To get a hands-on experience on Thai culture, the students learnt how to make “Luk Chup”, a Thai dessert made of mung bean, coconut milk and sugar. The whole class was also treated with Pad Thai and crispy chicken wanton for lunch. The Embassy is pleased to see the students left with smiles on their faces and look forward to the following activities to learn more about Thailand.
Peace Corps has long contributed to the people-to-people ties between Thailand and the United States. More than 5,270 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Thailand since the program was established in 1962. Around 100 volunteers are currently working in Thailand on education and youth development.
In 2012, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn graciously presided over the 50th Anniversary Celebration of Peace Corps Thailand at the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Returned Peace Corps Volunteers from Thailand have formed a group called “Friends of Thailand” in 2004 to provide a forum for Peace Corps volunteers in Thailand to share their experiences and life stories. (Source: www.peacecorps.gov and www.friendsofthailand.org)