Well it all started three years ago, I graduated with my bachelor’s degree from the University of Surrey and I was unsure of what my next step would be. Whether to go straight back to University, get a full time job or to travel – and the choice to travel was probably the best thing I have ever done. With working with children already being a passion of mine I decided to combine this with travelling, so I completed a TEFL course online and applied for some teaching Internships abroad. A week into applying I got offered a position in Thailand, so a quick turnaround and I was off to live in Asia for the next 6 months.
SOLO in the time of YOLO – Traveling alone? I can only stress that when you go travelling alone, you’re rarely alone. I made some pretty awesome friends and met lots of interesting people. I have probably have shared my most favourable moments with those I met traveling and can safely say that they are friends for life.
Remember you’re only alone when you want to be.
Teaching English in Thailand;
Teaching in Thailand is quite possibly my favourite travelling experience to date. I had never really travelled much prior to this and it really made me grow as an individual. I remember being on the plane, not knowing what to expect, who I would be meeting and where I was actually going – I found this whole feeling thrilling! It turned out that Bangkok was hit with some pretty bad floods, so I didn’t actually start teaching at the school for a month, I used this time wisely and saw a bit of Thailand before I started working. Every cloud (even the extremely rainy ones) have a silver lining! I also got involved in the local Thai community and helped deliver food and resources to homes which suffered badly from these floods. On my second day of arriving into Thailand I was floating down the street in a boat with the Thai Army, most of whom did not speak a word of English, helping people evacuate their homes or giving them food and water. A surreal experience which you don’t get to experience everyday back in London.
I ended up being placed in a Thai Secondary school, RatchaDamri School, which was situated in Bangkok. I taught two year groups, year seven and year ten. The younger students had very little knowledge of the English language and could barely say hello, but the older students were quite capable of conversing. I had to prepare my own lessons plans and learning material to use in the lessons. Even though it was a lot more work than I anticipated, the Thai students were so willing to learn and get involved in the many silly games that I created.
With anyone in limbo of what to do, I would recommend doing a TEFL or TESOL and getting yourself to another country to teach. Whether it may be Spain, Cambodia, Thailand or South America, it gets you out of the mundane 9-5 job, you get to experience a totally different culture, live in another country and be rewarded everyday by the smiles of the children you teach. I honestly have not received that much love before, they will adore you!
Cost and Requirements?
There are different ways of completing your TEFL course and guaranteeing a job, but I went through a company to secure this position so the cost of my TEFL was included in the whole package. I initially found the internship advertised on Prospects website (www.prospects.ac.uk) and the company was ESL Starter and AYC Thailand. It’s a bit confusing but basically ESL Starter (www.eslstarter.com) is a teaching agency which offered the job from AYC Thailand. To apply you need a bachelor degree of some kind and preferably some experience working with children.
Cost: £545, which including the online TEFL course, Visa application and guaranteed me the job. Obviously by going through an agency it’s more expensive than doing it independently but as this was the first time doing anything like this I was happy to let someone else sort it all out for me. The cost of flights is not included in this price so you need to bare that in mind to. Return flights to Bangkok cost (£400 – £500). However, this was not a voluntary role, I was given a monthly wage of £300 and free accommodation. I know £300 doesn’t seem a lot of money, remember you’re in Thailand so your money goes along way. £300 equates to 15,000 baht so basically you are living like royalty.