Alumni Spotlight: Jakub Krajewski

Jakub is a BSc Chemistry graduate from the University of Sheffield, UK. He came to Thailand through TravelBud and taught English for 9 months.

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Why did you choose this program?

I chose this program because of the 24/7 support offered. I was apprehensive about moving across the world just in case I mess something up and I have to pay extra money once I am there; that's why having guidance was very important to me.

I also chose this program because of the in-country TEFL course and 2-day work experience at a local school.

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

TravelBud assisted me with every aspect of the preparation process. Everything from Visas to document authentication and budgeting. They offered help 24/7 and contact me via WhatsApp, so I was supported with everything.

I had to figure out my own flights and getting my visa in time so that I am ready for the program as soon as I arrive in Thailand.

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

Be open-minded! By going abroad, you have a chance to do everything you have always wanted without the fear of judgment from other people or lack of belief in yourself. It is important to try as many things as possible, meet new people and take up new responsibilities because memories and new skills will be the main things that you will bring back home.

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

My days usually started very early. Most days I was in school at 7:30 am, as I had a lot of work to do. I usually taught 4/5 classes a day and had 3/4 planning hours a day. I was always determined not to bring my work home, so I made sure to get my planning, grading and class preparation is done in those planning periods.

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 to make Thai friends. I was really afraid of the awkward silence I may face when going out with Thai people because of the language barrier; however, I found that limited or simplified verbal communication does not stop you from starting close friendships. I overcame that fear but just giving it a go a few times. My Thai friendships were some of the hardest things to leave behind.

What is the most important thing to do before I chose to do this program?

The most important thing to do prior to starting the program is understanding the role, the program and the commitment you have to make.

Some people go into the role thinking it's a vacation with a little bit of teaching on the side and they quit after a few weeks after realizing that it's not the case. High staff turnover in Thai schools is a very big problem, so it's important to understand the commitment.