D.C. Fifth Graders Got a Taste of Thailand Without Jet Lag


“Sawaddee Krap. Pom Cheu David.” (Hello. My name is David.), said a fifth grader from Truesdell Education Campus, who visited the Royal Thai Embassy along with his classmates on January 12, 2017. David and his 21 friends, class of Ms. Kristen Paonessa and Mr. Bryan Hill, this year participate in the Embassy Adoption Program (EAP), which is a partnership between the Thai Embassy, District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), Washington Performing Arts and Truesdell Education Campus.

The Embassy’s engagement with D.C. students in the past



Benefiting from having a number of foreign embassies in Washington, the program has long helped expose American students to global education and knowledge about other countries. While the program will celebrate in 2017 its 42nd anniversary, the Thai Embassy is proud to have been an EAP partner since 1983. A series of activities will be organized with Truesdell students this year to let them learn about Thailand and its rich culture.

This is the second activity between the Embassy and the class after the Embassy staff visited Truesdell in November last year. This time, the students virtually traveled to Thailand through the story of Mr. J.M. Ascienzo, who served for three years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand from 2012 – 2015. Now a government relations officer at the National Peace Corps Association, J.M. still dedicates himself to strengthening the bond of friendship between Thai and American peoples.


J.M. with his students in Thailand (Photo courtesy of www.friendsofthailand.org)


J.M. with Thai Ambassador Pisan Manawapat at a Songkran Thai New Year reception for friends of Thailand at the Capitol Hill last April

The students learnt from J.M. how to say hello, thank you, and introduce themselves in Thai, which they quickly adopted to use with the Embassy staff throughout the visit. They asked J.M. many questions about the Thai culture, religion, food, way of life, including his impression as an American volunteering in Thailand.

When asked to name a favorite Thai dish, surely many will say “Pad Thai” (stir fried Thai noodle), which was what the class enjoyed during lunch. Fried chicken dumplings with sweet and sour sauce and sweetened sticky rice with coconut milk and Thai custard (Sang Kaya) were also big hits. The class also had a first-hand experience making “Som Tum” (papaya salad), another famous Thai dish, using a mortar and a pestle.

mortar somtummenu somtum2



Playing a game on Thai culture


Learning how to greet properly in Thailand (“Wai” gesture)


Enjoying a Thai lunch


Everyone got a tote bag from the Embassy, with an elephant and an eagle symbolizing Thailand and the U.S., as a keepsake.



See you at our next activity!



Thanida Menasavet