Alumni Spotlight: Autumn Klesch


She was unsure of her abilities, but with an open heart, she learned she was quite capable!

Why did you choose this program?

After searching the reviews, I felt comfortable and confident that Greenheart Travel would be the right program for me. I began asking many questions via email, and they were quick and efficient in getting back to me! The entire process was easy even though I did the accelerated version and managed to plan my entire trip within 6 weeks!

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

Greenheart Travel assisted me with my multiple last minute inquiries. I was able to get a Non-B Visa Stamp (which saved a border hop), a sufficient packing list, and then made the transition into Thailand easy with the sister company XploreAsia.

They picked me up at the airport, and I spent the first week with a group of likeminded individuals (many stayed 3 more weeks to obtain their TEFL). I did not necessarily need to obtain anything on my own. Greenheart guided me along the process with gathering many documents to take along with me. Heads up: There are a lot of documents!

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

Expect the unexpected! The culture is bound to be very different from that of your own.

If you want to challenge yourself to see the world in a different perspective, get out there and do it!

The only regret I have is that I did not stay at least another semester! There is an entire foreigner support group who can turn into your close friends and travel buddies! In the most simple words: Do it! (I guess Nike said it first.)

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

The simplicity of life in Thailand is quite an adjustment. I rode my scooter to school; I taught 20 hours a week, and the rest of the time I was in the office making sure I had my lesson plans ready for the week. I would then grab my Muay Thai gloves and head over for a very fun but challenging workout.

Finally, I would get dinner with my foreigner and Thai friends. They loved taking us to try different food to see our reaction to some of the most delicious food, and well…some we did not try again! Ha! Simple easy life, and I miss it very much!!

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 must admit I’m not a fan of flying, but I don’t like to let things hold me back! Flying from LAX to Bangkok was nerve-wracking. However, you begin to realize (when you have time to process life) that most of your fears are formed within your own thoughts.

I was also afraid of living in a foreign country without knowing the language. You quickly realize that while it was sometimes frustrating, it was mostly entertaining to try and use your body language to communicate.

If you sit back and look at your life, you want to make sure you have lived a fulfilling life for yourself and no one else. You feel proud of facing your own fears (and hey you’re allowed to toot your own horn!) because you did it! You challenged yourself, and you’re a better person because of it!

What was your most embarrassing moment?

After a very minor incident on my scooter, two policemen who spoke very little English tried to help me find my way. “Where you go!?” “Oh, I’m off to Muay Thai.”

I saw them turn towards each other and giggle. So I said it again. They were trying so hard not to laugh and gave me very proud directions. “You go straight, and you go left! Then you go left!” In my mind, I’m not even sure he knows how to say the direction indicating “right!”

I got to the gym, and I told my Muay Thai friend my story. He said, “Wait, tell me exactly what you said.” I told him and discovered that in Thai, there are 5 tones. If a word is said with a different tone, you get a different word. Long story short: I said “Muayyy” which translates to pubic hair. So I told the police officers I was going to pubic hair boxing! Haha!

Traveling makes for the absolute best stories and that one is pure gold!