Why did you decide to teach abroad with Xplore Asia in Thailand?
It is through Geovisions that I became part of the Xplore Asia family. After I completed my TESOL course with Xplore Asia, I remained friends with them. I did not have a preference of where I wanted to be placed, fortunately, Xplore Asia matched me with the perfect school in Bangkok. When my teaching contract ended, I interned for XA in Hua Hin.
What made this teach abroad experience unique and special?
- Location: I hate winter. There is no such thing as winter in Thailand. I loved wearing flip flops and shorts all day, everyday. Bangkok is a big, big city with lots to do, and lots to explore. I was never bored.
- Polite and Respectful Children: I never taught in The States, judging from my high school classmates… most American highschoolers are disrespectful brats. Sure, some of my students were “trouble makers” - however, all of my students greeted me with the proper wai. I always heard my students say: Thank You, Teacha. Good morning, Teacha. How are you? Hello, Teacha.
- Fame: I was considered Beyonce in my school. I was the only foreigner on my block, which meant that I was a pop star. From the moment I stepped out of my building, people initiated conversations (in broken English) with me. Where you go? Sing a song.
I fell in love with my students, they made my whole teaching experience special. Living in Bangkok made my experience unique and truly memorable.
How has this experience impacted your future? (Personally, professionally, academically, etc.)
A lot of people saw it as the “traveling”, “she will grow out of it” phase. I, too, thought it was a phase. But – after 16 months on the road, I learned that traveling had become a way of life. I found myself teaching without lesson plans and thinking quickly on my feet. Some days, I was singing Lady Gaga songs at the top of my lungs to get my students’ attention. While other days, I was doing the Gangnam Style. I was not afraid to make a fool of myself. I learned that awkward moments lead to great stories.
My resume reflects my experiences abroad, teaching is a big bullet point. Interviewers are both, curious and impressed, when they ask about my time in Thailand. I love what traveling has done to my life. I have decided to make traveling a career. I am still not over it. I don’t think it will be over for a long time...
What is one piece of advice you would offer someone considering teaching abroad in Thailand?
If you are committed to doing it, you will find a way to raise funds for your trip. Research. Read blogs, ask questions, reach out to people. Don't wait for your friends to make up their mind about traveling. Do it solo. The world does not look like the movie TAKEN. Don't be scared to travel alone, you will make tons of new friends. You can skype your parents everyday, there is WIFI! Allow yourself to experience new places. Get out of your comfort zone and fall in love with the world. :)