Why did you decide to teach English abroad with GeoVisions in Thailand?
Jeffrey: It all started with the curiosity to see what I could in a different part of the world. I stumbled upon GeoVisions while just searching for an English Teaching program somewhere abroad.
And I decided to go with Thailand as it seemed the most far-flung part of the world that you could be in. Having the insatiable appetite of always wanting to travel Southeast Asia, I signed up for Thailand for a length of 4 months.
What made this teach abroad experience unique and special?
Jeffrey: Just being immersed in a totally different culture and residing in a completely different part of world was unique in itself: Learning about the religion, culture and how the people of Thailand lived throughout their daily lives was very unique.
I have met so many amazing people I have worked with inside and outside of the school. While teaching, I never knew how much I was actually learning while teaching the material to my very own students! I was re-living my time as a young student in a classroom myself.
Tell us about one person you met you will never forget.
Jeffrey: The one person I will never forget is connected to how much Thai I have learned which is the security guard at my apartment complex. The first day I started teaching, I locked myself out of my apartment complex late at night having an already rough day.
The first person I have ever attempted to talk Thai was this security guard. Ever since he helped me, I have always greeted him every day which gradually led into longer conversations about anything that I could come up with and I would just listen to his responses as carefully as possible to understand him.
Over the past months we were just having decent conversations that spanned a half hour or more, again, about anything! By the time of my departure back to America, I told him I would be back. I did not realize until then how much he had helped me getting the Thai language down by just talking to him.
What were you most proud of accomplishing during your time as a teacher?
Jeffrey: What I was most proud of accomplishing was learning how to speak, read and write Thai close to fluency by the end of my 8 months stay. I thought this would not be achievable as the language was quite hard to learn and study, but by talking constantly to locals, the language was developing much quicker than I thought.
The whole immersion in a completely different country to learn that specific language really does accelerate your ability to learn that language.
Another accomplishment that I was most proud of was gaining the experience to teach at a school from the ground up. I never knew I would become an English Teacher in a foreign country or even become a teacher anywhere!
Ever since I stumbled upon this opportunity, it’s hard to say when I will be back “home” since the opportunities I have come upon while teaching have spread quickly!
How has this experience impacted your future? (Personally, professionally, etc)
Jeffrey: This experience has impacted my future completely. Over a year ago, I had a completely different mindset on what I wanted to do in my life: I wanted to become either a GIS Technician, Geographer or Map Technician, but then I realized majority of those jobs require years of experience on top of experience I could not get easily obtain because the demand for internships were so little.
I wasn’t going to sit around. I felt that I needed to change paths as I felt lost and confused with my future. I turned to the rest of the world and their opportunities. Ever since I discovered many jobs as an English Teacher in Southeast Asia, I knew this was an opportunity that may help me get to where I need to be.
Fast-forward a year later, I’m sitting here constantly looking at plane tickets to destinations I have always wanted to go to. I’ve taught in a classroom for the past 8 months which I never had in the past.
After teaching for that long, my communication skills are better, I feel more confident when I talk, I felt that I left a huge impact on the students I taught and that my creativity has been boosted.
I felt really important as the opportunities for a lot of things: tutoring students, parents, anybody who wanted to learn English, and other teaching positions, all of these opportunities were coming to me. I don’t know if I want to pursue a path I once wanted in the past because of how this part of the world made me grow as a better person.
Better yet, the job opportunities have expanded to a few countries: China: working as a transportation planner in Beijing, Japan: continue working as an English Teacher at an International Arts School, Mexico: Working as an Urban Planner in La Paz.
None of this would have happened if I decided to take the opportunity to go abroad, teach and develop everlasting connections with people.