Why did you choose this program?
Not only did SEE TEFL have awesome reviews, but when I emailed with questions, John, the Director, personally responded to me (sometimes within minutes). His responses eased mine and my husband's fears about going so far from home and doing something so foreign to us!
When all else seemed pretty up in the air in terms of our big move, SEE TEFL was the one thing that felt really trustworthy and secure. It made the whole process of moving easier, knowing we could ask them questions!
What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
SEE TEFL is a TEFL course -- while they don't get your visa for you, etc., they are super helpful in answering any questions you might have when coming out to Thailand and they also provide various recommendations for housing, food, and so on!
I emailed John regarding immunizations, SIM cards, and the visa situation! He was so helpful. But if you're looking for a company you can pay to DO everything for you, this might not be the best option for you. I, however, didn't mind doing that extra work as we prepared for our move.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
Regarding SEE TEFL, I wish I had prepared myself mentally for how challenging the course ended up being! The work is manageable; however, it's definitely time-consuming and takes a lot of energy to prepare your lesson plans and practice all of the material. With that said, it was SO valuable and I'm very thankful for all of the work we put in and the results we saw by the end of the course.
For moving to Thailand, I would just recommend that you make a good checklist of all the things there are to do before you leave. It seems intimidating to say the least, but when you break it all down, it's really just little to-dos. You'll be thankful you pushed through once you're here.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
The course really is 9:00-4:00 (sometimes starting earlier). For the first two weeks, you will be in class doing grammar and teaching inputs most of the day. You'll get a few small breaks as well as an hour for lunch.
After class those first two weeks, you'll have time to enjoy Chiang Mai!
The last two weeks are definitely more strenuous, but worth the time put in. You'll either be preparing and practicing lessons or going to schools for your teaching practices. After 4:00, you'll likely need to keep practicing and preparing!
Those two weeks consisted of a lot of ordering food in and late nights of preparation (think finals week in college!).
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 greatest fear was that I wouldn't be able to do some of the logistical items that seem important before coming. Some items, like the visa, ARE important and should be squared away. Other things -- like immunizations, shopping for "necessary" clothes and items, doctors' appointments, etc. -- I wish I had waited on. Thailand is very different from home, but they have everything you would need here, especially great and affordable medical care and a ton of shopping. You can find everything here that you would find back home, for a fraction of the price.
Is there any other advice for prospective travelers?
My advice to anyone considering this experience is: just do it.
Almost every day I pinch myself and wonder "Why doesn't everyone do this?" Several months ago, my husband and I were so nervous to quit our 9-5 jobs and move across the world, but now we're just wishing we had done it sooner! If there's any part of you that feels drawn to teaching English, traveling the world, and having new experiences, don't think twice!