Highlights: Living abroad was such a great all around experience that it is nearly impossible for me to pick one highlight. From learning the language to starting a business, my two years in Asia was completely life changing.
If I had to choose, I would say that my school was probably the best part of living in Thailand. I had a ton of fun with the kids and loved every minute of it. The school was very supportive and helped with everything, from visas to travel. Up until that point, I had never considered teaching as a career but after the amazing time I had at my school, I have decided to pursue a career in education. Working abroad was truly a life changing event for me, and I encourage everyone to get out there and try it for themselves.
While I was living in Thailand I had the opportunity to meet several interesting journalists and photographers. One in particular, taught me to use a camera and create professional photos. We both traveled around Thailand photographing events, religious ceremonies, and documenting the different types of foods around our province. Eventually, I signed on as an intern with a news company and learned all about traveling as a journalist. I had a fantastic time, and have since sold many of my photographs from my internship. (My photography portfolio can be accessed at: (www.sojourn-foto.com). Overall, Thailand was an amazing experience for me and I encourage anyone who is interested to take a chance and get out there!
Morning: I loved to get up in the morning to go to school. I would leave my apartment at around 7:00 am and walk the 5 minutes to our main campus. Students and their parents would already be arriving at school, and on certain days I would be required to stand at the gate for “duty” and greet everyone. The students would line up in the main school courtyard for assembly and say their Buddhist prayers after the flag was raised. Classes began at 8:00 am. The students (and teachers) were always very sleepy for first period. Usually, I would have two periods to teach and one “free” period in the morning. During the “free” period, I would either grade homework, write lessons, or go out for a coffee. My last semester I had a lot of freedom, and could generally do anything I wanted during the morning.
Afternoon: The afternoons were always very hot, though typically, the students were all awake by then and the classes were more fun. Typically I would have between 1 and 3 periods in the afternoon and one special kindergarten lesson. For lunch period, my friends and I would go out into town and shop for food. We always had lots of break time and could eat lunch anywhere we wanted. After lunch/break the kids would often have sport competitions or extra curricular activities. Joining in was a lot of fun, and the kids were always happy to have me play basketball, Frisbee, soccer, or simply practice English.
Evening: In the evening before dinner, my Thai friends and I would usually head out to do Judo or play badminton. Communication was a bit difficult at first, but I eventually learned the language by spending so much time with the locals. For dinner, we often went to the local evening food markets. Dinner was always a big event and very exciting for me because there was so much variety. I had something new to eat almost every night for the first year. Sometimes, we would head out to a local bar for a drink or head home for a movie. On Friday evenings, we would go to the mall or get ready for a trip over the weekend.