Meredith is a young professional who decided to leave her job to travel and have new experiences in the incredible country of Thailand. She loves exploring and trying new things!
Why did you choose this program?
I choose this program because I wanted to give back to a local community while also exploring and learning more about a new culture. Greenheart helped provide a lot of great options before I ultimately chose Thailand. Thailand offered a lot of flexibility with start dates, and also seemed to be a well-structured, fun program.
What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
Greenheart helped to facilitate the process from initial inquiry all the way I arrived! They helped me with my visa paperwork, school resume, and introduction video. They also helped offer advice on the process at each step. I was responsible for filling out my visa paperwork and scheduling travel, but they were always available to provide additional support.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
My best advice for Thailand is to go with the flow! This is an incredible country with so much to offer, but you will be tested in different ways during the TESOL course, teaching, and beyond.
It's not uncommon to be asked to give a performance at school or prepare a dance with the kids with very short notice, so try to be as laid back as possible. The favorite phrase here is "mai bpen rai", which essentially means "it's no problem, don't worry about it!"
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
I completed the TESOL course through Xplore Asia, a partner of Greenheart Travel, which I recommend to any new teacher. The course was about one month long and was an intensive, full-time learning experience.
As a teacher, I teach for about 25 hours a week and lesson plan and grade papers for the remainder of the time. Teaching is a full-time position, so expect to stay on campus for about 8 hours each day. I teach Kindergarten to age 12, so my day varies quite a bit depending on my class schedule!
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 coming abroad was feeling homesick and missing my friends and family.
The first few weeks are challenging, but you will be so immersed in the culture through an amazing orientation week with Xplore Asia that it will be easier to manage homesickness.
I made a ton of new friends during the course, and we all continue to support each other despite being spread out all over the country. I also received incredible support and made new friendships with the Thai teachers and community I teach in, which has been a huge help. I still feel homesick from time to time (Christmas was hard) but it's worth it to be able to experience this phenomenal country.
Any last advice?
Be flexible with your teaching preferences!
I was placed in Isan, which is a region of Thailand that is huge and pretty far from a lot of the main attractions like Bangkok. I was nervous to go to such a far location with few Westerners, but I am so glad I was open to it.
I teach in an incredible school and love the town that I have been placed in. It has been easy to make friends and meet people, and I love that I am exploring an area of Thailand that few tourists travel to. Be open and flexible and you will see incredible things in this country!