Alumni Spotlight: Hayley Stainton


Hayley is a university lecturer specializing in the area of TEFL tourism. She started her career as a TEFL Teacher in Thailand and has since taught in FE and HE colleges and universities, whilst undertaking research into the area of TEFL. She now runs the website

Why did you choose this program?

I loved the security of travelling in a group and the idea of it being in 'Heaven' – the name of the company was 'TEFL Heaven'. I'd always wanted to travel to Thailand, too.

The website was really well-designed, and I liked the structure of the program. I have since kept in contact with everybody including the owner of TEFL Heaven, which is great!

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

They organized the TEFL qualification, pre-departure assistance, a social media group so I could meet other TEFL teachers, pick-up from the airport, accommodation during training, and a guaranteed job. They were also there to help if anybody needed it and have since sent out e-mails about relevant job opportunities.

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

Make friends before you go! I felt so much happier knowing that I already knew people, and that we were flying out together. We met through the social media program that the company put together. You can also read people's blogs and reviews to know what to expect. I've written a few posts on my blog

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

We learned about TEFL whilst overlooking the ocean on Koh Chang – it was amazing! We studied in the day and then relaxed with a beer or two in the evening while planning our teaching sessions for the next day. There were also a few practical days at a local school. The teachers were experienced which was great, and the practice teaching sessions were really helpful.

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 that I wouldn't know anybody! The social media program really helped with this, and everybody was actually in the same boat! I ended up making life-long friends on this program. It is lovely how we still keep in touch with one another even when some already stopped teaching, and even if we live in different places around the world!

Where will I be based?

This is something that we were all dying to find out in the lead up to our TEFL course, so a little bit more information on local areas and accommodation options would be useful! Sometimes people are given accommodation, and other times, people have to find it themselves. A bit more guidance on this would be useful for prospective teachers.