Staff Member Spotlight: Laila Oskouie

Title
Overseas Recruiter

Photos

What is your favorite travel memory?

Thai people are so warm and welcoming that you quickly feel like you belong. My time in Thailand hardly feels like "travel" anymore, as much as it just feels like home now. The best part of being here is getting the chance to actually participate in the culture.

I was once dressed up in an old-fashioned traditional Thai outfit and led my school's parade through my little town for Loi Krathong Festival. The whole community came out and lined the streets to watch as the foreign girl paraded through the town all dressed up.

It was really funny, but also so touching to see how honored they felt that someone from the big country of the USA was there in their village participating and honoring their culture.

Other than within the country, teaching in Thailand has given me the opportunity to travel all over Asia. My favorite travel memory is from the time I went backpacking through Laos with one of my best friends from my GoTEFL course.

We decided to venture off the beaten path way up north to hike through the jungles and mountains and visit the villages. In one of the villages, the locals invited us to stay for the night. We slept in huts, watched the women hand weave scarves, played cards with a 4-year-old (she beat us), and drank homemade white whiskey all night while we clumsily communicated with the locals despite the total language barrier. It was an incredible and unforgettable experience.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

As an American, I am prone to letting the trials and tribulations of daily life control me. However, Thai people are not like that at all. In America, I was constantly stressed about work, and my life was driven by my career alone.

Here in Thailand, they value work-life balance and having fun even in situations that should be stressful. It's been a really transformative experience here.

I've embraced the relaxed nature of their daily lives, and I've even learned quite of bit of Thai! I've learned to go with the flow and to simply let things go. It's truly been a life-changing experience, helping me to be a better and happier version of myself.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

I've heard so many inspiring stories from GoTEFL graduates about their travels, teaching, and cultural experiences.

One of the girls who did the GoTEFL course with me trained at a Muay Thai gym right next to our accommodation during the course. She became close friends with the trainers, despite none of them speaking English.

She continued training in the town where she was teaching, but eventually moved back to Chiang Mai and started to seriously train at the same gym. She eventually went on to fight in real matches against great Thai fighters.

It's inspiring to see someone get so involved and push herself out of her comfort zone. I encourage everyone to get involved in the culture and the community to get the most out of your experience just as she did.

What makes your company unique?

There are many TEFL programs and job placement programs out there. But what makes GoTEFL unique is the combination of all the things you're looking for in a TEFL program:

  • Low upfront costs: 120 hour TEFL courses typically cost around $2,000. We provide the same course at a lower upfront cost ($1,200) to provide this teaching opportunities to more people. It's important to get teachers to come to Thailand to help improve students' English skills, and we don't want a high course fee to deter you from coming over.
  • In classroom training: most courses don't offer the opportunity to practice skills before you teach for the first time. Some programs do, but they are only within the confines of the TEFL classroom with only your trainer and peers in the course. We provide the opportunity for you to actually teach a full-length lesson with a classroom of Thai students at public schools in Chiang Mai. Most people get nervous about this, but that's ok! You'll have six practice lessons before actually going to teach on your own. You can hone and perfect your skills and figure out what your teaching style will be. Hands-on training is the best way to learn how to teach English as a foreign language.
  • Language and culture: We include Thai culture lessons as part of the course. This is especially important as the culture in Thailand and in the classroom are very different. Oftentimes, people fail as teachers because they don't know anything about working in Thailand and cannot adapt. It's proven that the teachers who receive practical Thai culture lessons are way more successful and happier in Thailand than those who come uninformed and unprepared.
  • Job placement: What makes GoTEFL particularly unique is the guaranteed job aspect. When we say "guaranteed," we really mean it. Before you even arrive to Thailand, we have a teaching job already reserved for you. Part of the interview process includes a chat with one of our placement specialists. They will ask you about your qualifications, your teaching preferences, your what your looking for in your experience in Thailand. This discussion helps us to find the perfect school and location for you. So there is no need to come to Thailand and compete with other teachers for interviews and teaching positions. We have that all booked and prepared for you as soon as you confirm your spot with us.

When were you especially proud of your team?

I'm especially proud of the team I work with because we have all worked in Thailand for many years and are dedicated to supporting you. While some programs are like a revolving door of TEFL students, we really take the time to get to know you personally and support you before, during, and after the course.