Remarks to Chiang Mai University Students, Chiang Mai Thailand
As Prepared for Delivery
Remarks to Thai Students at the University Student Forum
American Corner, Chiang Mai University, Thailand
Friday, February 6, 2009, 3:00 p.m.
I’m pleased to be here to talk to you about studying in United States. I want to tell you how we welcome students and other international visitors.
There has been a long history of deep, lasting ties between the United States and Thailand. The closest relations between countries are people-to-people, and international exchange is a great way to build people-to-people relations.
If you’re considering study abroad, the United States is a terrific choice. We value the contributions of foreign students, and hope to see more.
There is a tradition of strong educational links between Thailand and the United States. With approximately 9,000 Thai students in the United States in 2007/2008, Thailand was ranked tenth among countries sending students to study in the United States.
Our countries share a belief in the multiplier effect of education. Education is the surest method for personal advancement. An international education will provide you with an enriching and rewarding experience that will benefit you for the rest of your life. International students widen their horizons, improve their employment prospects and build friendships and contacts across cultural and national boundaries. Studying in America can alter your life permanently; you will gain confidence and become an open and knowledgeable citizen of the world.
In the United States you have choice. There are over4,000 educational intuitions with immense variation in size, location, type, programs offered. There is something for everyone. The quality of an American education is unparalleled. Our universities boast world-renowned programs, top-notch staff, and the brightest minds from around the world. We have state-of-the-art research, academic, athletic, and library facilities.
U.S. universities and colleges offer flexibility in choice of courses, but more importantly there is also the option for students to move from one institution to another. Completing the first two years of a degree at one institution, usually a community college, and then moving to another, is very common.
A U.S. degree offers excellent value for the money. A wide range of tuition fees and living costs, plus some financial help from colleges, make study in the United States affordable for hundreds of thousands of international students each year.
The best ways to get to know America is to live, work, play, and study with Americans. Studying abroad is a great way to do that. I hope my message is clear: the United States welcomes international students. There are currently more than 600,000 international students in the United States, more than ever before.
It is critically important to foster understanding among the next generation from both of our nations. While in America, international students become ambassadors for their nation, broadening horizons of others as well as themselves. When Thai students return home, I hope they will think fondly of their time in America. This is how international understanding is born.
The U.S. government sponsors several exchange programs that enable Thai students to study at an American school or University. Such programs include the Fulbright Program, which, in partnership with the Thai government, funds approximately 40 Thai students and scholars to study and conduct research in the United States. The Global Undergraduate Exchange Program and the Intensive English Program send selected Thai undergraduate students to the United States for up to one year; and, the Youth Exchange and Study, or YES! program which each year pays for approximately twenty secondary school students from Thailand's southern provinces to spend a year in an American High School. To learn more about study in the United States, and about these programs, I urge you to check the Embassy's website, and to consult with one of the nine Education USA advising centers in Thailand. There is contact information in the handouts you received today.
Over the past year, there has been relatively no wait time and applicants are able to get a visa appointment in one day. I want to remind you that visa issuance is determined by law, not by luck. Students must show that they are qualified for their program of study; that they can pay for their education; and that they plan to return to Thailand after completing their studies.
Please do not be fooled by those who say fake documents will help get a visa. My advice is to check the website, apply early, and be truthful during your visa interview. In 2008, Embassy Bangkok processed over 67,000 visa applications, including over 10,000 J-1 exchange visitor visas and 5,700 F-1 student visas. Over 80% of applications overall were approved, and in the J-1 category, over 97% were approved.
Last year, nearly 7,000 Thai university students participated in the J-visa Summer Work Travel program. I hope you consider study in the United States. When you decide, we will support you with prompt, courteous, efficient customer service.
I wish you the best of luck!