To be honest, I’d never heard of this phenomenon before, so I thought I’d better share it. It seems that young Thai university students pay $3,000 and up to come to the U.S. and work in a fast-food joint for the honor of listing “foreign work experience” on their resumes.
Now, $3,000 in Thai current is a huge sum, but listen to Jiratchaya Intarakhumwong: “Honestly, if I had the money, I’d go back.”
Back to what? Jiratchaya and two friends spent the summer cramped in a Best Value Inn, the cost of which wasn’t included in the $3,000 work-travel package, and each morning donned McDonald’s uniforms and took the shuttle bus to the Pittsburgh International Airport to begin their 6 a.m. minimum-wage shifts.
It paid off. Jiratchaya is now 22, a university graduate, and works as a service representative for the deluxe Sofitel Hotel in Bangkok.
The Thai language book Go Work, Go Study, Go Vacation in America: Don’t Think You Can’t is part how-to guide, part memoir about a Bangkok college student’s stints at McDonald’s and Whattaburger franchises in the Florida panhandle.
The author, known only as “Baeya,” explains in detail the concept of a “drive-thru,” her no-nonsense manager named “Diamond,” and the persistent customers who tried to woo her.
“We were all very excited,” she wrote of her first day at McDonald’s. “I tried to tell myself and all my friends that we don’t have to worry. Even if they scold us, we won’t understand anyway.”
Even former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra once worked at a Kentucky Fried Chicken in the U.S.
Many of the young women report being hit on by farangs, the Thai term for white-skinned foreigners.
Welcome to America, the land of McDonald’s–and horny McDonald’s customers.