Alumni Spotlight: Nicola Ellar


Nicola has been living in Thailand for 4 years and teaching English as a foreign language since completing her internship with SEETEFL in 2014.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose this program because SEETEFL had been recommended to me by others. I chose the internship course in particular because I liked that you were guaranteed a job at the end and for me it was also more cost effective to take the internship option.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

They assisted me with all my paperwork, visas and a Thai bank account. They also provided course materials and equipment and introduced us to Thai culture and basic Thai language.

The accommodation was included in the price with free buffet breakfast. They also transported us to the school on the first day so we knew where to go (it's only a short walk so we walked the rest of the time).

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

One piece of advice is to take as much advantage of being around the SEETEFL course leaders and you can. They have all had years of experience teaching ESL and living in Thailand so are a great resource for any questions you might have.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

An average day was to arrive at the SEETEFL center before 9 am and grab a quick coffee, make your way to the classroom and settle in for some lessons on classroom management, grammar exercises or teaching theory. We'd usually have a break mid-morning and put what we learned into practice with an activity. An hour for lunch and then some more lessons or a Thai language lesson, sometimes a presentation activity.

In the second week, we would spend the morning being briefed on what lesson we needed to prep, we would take notes and then prepare our lesson plans. In the afternoon we would have our teaching practices and be graded by one of the course leaders.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear was standing up in front of a room full of kids and having a memory blank.

Over the course we took part in a lot of activities that involved speaking in front of others, then we had the teaching practices. By the end, I was much more confident and classroom ready.

How has this course helped you with your future plans and/or career?

This course has given me a teaching certificate that has opened a lot of doors for me. There are TEFL jobs available worldwide plus opportunities for online teaching. This certificate has helped give me the edge for a number of job opportunities and really helped get me started in my teaching career. It was also a great opportunity to meet people from different backgrounds and learn more about Thai culture.

It was also great going into teaching with an agency like SEETEFL as they are well recognized in Thailand and it was nice knowing you had support with any problems or queries throughout your teaching placement and afterward too.