In search of better opportunities, sophomore Dow Kaenpracha moved to America


PHOTO Katelyn Wallace

Sophomore Dow Kaenpracha poses with each of her passports, one from Thailand and the other from the U.S.. Also with her, is her aunt’s homemade Thai food which replicates the food she would have in Thailand.

Tess DeGayner

Cami Tieman, Fentonian Writer

Only eight years old at the time, sophomore Dow Kaenpracha, prepared to leave everything she had ever known behind. She gave an emotional goodbye to her mother and brother and boarded the plane with her aunt and uncle. Filled with mixed emotions as she got on the plane, Kaenpracha left Thailand behind and prepared to start her journey toward her American dream.

“I fantasized about going to America as a child,” Kaenpracha said. “I was most excited to see the snow because it doesn’t snow in Thailand. It was also a dream of mine to be able to go to Disney World; my friends had gone before and I just knew that I had to go. However, leaving behind my mother and brother was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.”

Because America and Thailand have very diverse cultures, Kaenpracha’s family tried to incorporate both into their daily lives at home.

“We try to keep our Thai traditions alive so that we don’t lose touch with our heritage,” Kaenpracha said. “My grandma will sometimes make us a traditional Thai dish called pad thai for dinner. Also when we are at home we only speak in Thai.”

A big difference between America and Thailand was that in America, every child had the right to a free education.

Kaenpracha was middle class which allowed her able to go to school in Thailand.

“At home we only speak in Thai,” Kaenpracha said. “We include American culture into our lifestyle by celebrating holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving which you would not normally celebrate in Thailand.”

While Kaenpracha’s mother did not want her to abandon the Thai culture completely, she knew that moving to America was the best decision for her future.

“I love how America provides an education for anyone no matter their income,” Kaenpracha said. “This is one of the main reasons my mom wanted me to come to America, she knew I would be getting a better education than I would have in Thailand.”

Although moving to a new country for Kaenpracha was emotional, she said she was beyond blessed for the opportunity. Her aunt and uncle are like her second parents and America was the place she called home. She and her family arranged a trip where her American family would visit the rest of her family in Thailand. She plans to return to her home country to see her mother and brother for the first time in seven years.