I worked for BFITS for two years. I was stationed to teach kindergarten in Buriram, Thailand. Teaching in Thailand has been a mostly positive experience. I love the kids in Thailand, they were my favorite part about working here. They are sweet, bright, and lively. Teachers are well respected in Thailand by their students, and communities. BFITS helped a lot with the daunting VISA and work permit process. BFITS offers help with finding housing
accommodations, and my head teacher and office manager were helpful with figuring out other day-to-day things. If you are not a qualified teacher, BFITS generally has a higher beginning salary than most other companies I’ve seen. BFITS is an established company, they were always reliable with fulfilling their contract agreements, and payed on time. The paid vacation was really nice, and I was able to travel when school wasn’t in session.
Working in a foreign country can be both enlightening and challenging. Thai schools are often unorganized and chaotic. Schedules get changed on a whim, and sometimes I felt like my free time was not being respected. You have to learn to go with the flow or it will be a hard adjustment. Foreign teachers are a status symbol for the school, and you will often be asked to do things outside of your teaching duties to “promote” the school. There were times when I felt like more of an ornament than a teacher.
I think that BFITS might be the best fit for someone who wants to experience a new place and who wants to get some classroom experience. I do not think BFITS was meant for career teachers. With that being said, my school, BFITS included, had a pretty high turnover rate which upset me. I hope that anyone who does choose to work at ANY school can commit to at least a year of time, for the sake of the kids. Their education is important and they deserve consistency. This is a real job with real responsibilities, not a temp position to fund a backpacking trip.
Living in Thailand is a mix of awesome and awful. I have been in the smaller city of Buriram. My living accommodations are nice. I managed to find an apartment with a separate kitchen space, which is not the norm in Thailand. I purchased a motorbike to ride to around town and learned how to drive it. In retrospect I maybe would have looked for job in a busier city. After two years in Buriram, I am ready to move on. However, I am thankful for my time here, and feel that my experience has been meaningful. Thailand has taught me to be brave. I am no longer scared of the unknown or to travel by myself to a foreign place.
If I had any helpful advice for future BFITS teachers, it would be to leave your ethnocentric views at home. You need to do your research and make sure that both teaching and Thailand are the right fit for you - before you commit.
*This review was obligatory, not voluntary.