Far from Thailand, a Student Hopes to Indulge Himself with American Life


Photo by: Layton Brandt

Layton Brandt and Ryan Foucault

8,874 miles — the distance between Thailand and America. That is how far Thatchapon Panyajamorn, who prefers the nickname of Captain, traveled to come to Neenah. He traveled this distance in hopes of enriching himself in travel and exposing himself to new cultures. He came to NHS to further his education. Captain is a lion. He is brave and ferocious, knows what he wants to do in life, and is not afraid to do what it takes.

Captain with his black hair and black eyes projected confidence.  He modeled a calm collective when he spoke. His voice was quiet but commanding.

Captain originates from Hat Yai, Thailand. Hat Yai is a large Thai city, consisting of 156,000 people, and is known for its street food. Enjoying the various street foods in Hat Yai has is Captain’s go to activity in his free time. “My favorite activity is eating street foods with friends.”

According to Go World Travel Magazine, Kanom Tokyo is a Thai street snack consisting of a light buttery pancake filled with sweet custards and it is his favorite. (Learn more about Kanom Toyko from World Food Atlas.)

Food, however, is not the only thing he misses from his home. In Thailand, Captain lives with his parents, his brother Tent, his sister Yaya, his grandparents, and his three cousins. Family is a big part of Captain’s life. He looks forward to eating dinner with them every night after school.

Even though he does not have his family with him in Neenah, he has his host family. He lives with the Engelke’s, who treat him like another family member. Just like he does with his family in Thailand, he eats dinner with them every night, keeping on the tradition he did in Thailand.

While he may be on the opposite side of the world, his days are not that different. Every day he goes to school, comes home and indulges himself in his hobbies. 

Captain’s main hobby is cooking. The kitchen calls him. He enjoys challenging himself there and enjoying the fruits of his labor. His favorite dish to make is fried rice with an omelet. One day he hopes to make Beef Wellington. 

He also thinks he could turn it into more than a hobby. “Maybe a second income,” he said reflectively.

The constant between Thailand and America for Captain has been coding. One of the main reasons he became a foreign exchange student was because of a social media influencer, 9Arm. 9Arm is a Thai YouTuber that lives in California that specializes in programming content. Captain wanted to follow in his footsteps and come to America.

Captain hopes to work in programming in the future. Every day after school, he practices coding. His favorite class at Neenah and his school in Thailand is Computer Science. 

Although his new life in America is only beginning, Captain says he would do it again if given the chance. He enjoys being open to new experiences and loves the land of opportunity.