Chicago’s Thai Consulate staff at CCI’s National Office.

By Kat Kocisky, Work and Travel Administrative Assistant

On Thursday, February 18,  CCI’s Work and Travel team welcomed two members from the Thai Consulate: Deputy Consul General, Mrs. Varunnee Viraphat and officer Mr. Songsak (Nick) Yamkleeb to share their perspectives on cultural exchange and the customs and traditions of Thai students. Mrs. Viraphat is on her 4-year term in Chicago, while Mr. Yamkleeb is a local staff member, already serving his 9th year with the Chicago post.

After re-counting her own international resume with experiences in Malaysia, Europe, Australia, as well as a stay with a host family in North Carolina, Mrs. Viraphat explained how necessary it is for international students to have realistic expectations while working temporarily and traveling in America. She described Thai workers as being humble, non-confrontational, and needing personal space. Most do not have jobs while attending university in Thailand and generally live with their extended family for great portion of their lives. This information is invaluable to our Work and Travel staff as it helps employers understand what makes their foreign employees comfortable and prepares Thai students for differences in the American workplace. After the presentation, Mr. Viraphat and Mr. Yamkleeb were invited to stay for a lunch consisting of various Thai dishes prepared by our very own Work and Travel employees!