Jeff is an English teacher living in Bangkok, Thailand. He graduated college in 2015 with a degree in Communications. After working full-time for a few years and still unsure about a prospective career path, he chose to pick up and move to the other side of the planet for an entirely new experience.
Why did you choose this program?
I was inspired by a cousin of mine who had been living and teaching in Thailand for a few years. Anytime I would ask questions and try to understand the experience that turned his initially planned three-month program into a three-year stay he would always give me the same short answer, "Just go."
At the time I believed I was in need of a life-changing adventure so, much to my own surprise, I took that advice and slowly but surely identified and followed the steps to arrive here in Bangkok.
What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
Greenheart Travel was an incredible source of help and information. Corresponding with their very knowledgeable staff through emails and phone calls over the course of a few months leading up to the move they helped me organize and obtain all the necessary documents, provided plenty of information and stories about living and working abroad, and walked me through the steps of leaving home and arriving in Thailand.
Being someone who has a habit of spending too much time planning and analyzing, having the help of Greenheart Travel was exactly what I needed to make the process easier to understand, get started, and quiet the fears that come with making such a drastic change.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
Don't fool yourself into thinking coming here will solve all your problems. Seeking a change and a life-altering experience, as I'm sure you are if you're reading this, can trick you into thinking this experience will just kind of happen to you. However, you will very clearly experience the change happening in everything you do, every new interaction you have, each moment.
It is difficult to explain just how much an experience like this will shift your perspective and even your behavior.
To be perfectly honest, that is in large part due to the fact when you first arrive feels like a new challenge. However, with that comes the incredible sense of accomplishment in attempting, and hopefully, eventually, succeeding in every task from ordering your own dinner, to seeing students score well on your exams at the end of the semester.
This journey is hard but absolutely an irreplaceable and invaluable experience. The best I can say for you is that if you're reading this you've accomplished the hardest part. Going from looking at a program like this in the mindset of "I don't think I'm the type of person that can teach kids and live in a foreign culture on the other side of the world" to "Well, let's read a little more and just see what this is about" is the biggest step you'll take, and you've already made it.
Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?
I had plenty of fears coming in. How will I interact with kids? How will I become a teacher? How will I learn Thai? What will I eat? How will I get around? The process of getting here and living here will seemed overwhelming.
However, I found as I slowly started this journey that I just took each new question or challenge as it came. There are simply too many unknown variables in every future situation for to possibly worry about all of them, so I began to adopt a "one step at a time" mentality. That made all the difference in turning what seemed like an overwhelming journey into just another day in the life in Thailand.