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Katie’s Thai Adventure

Katie’s Thai Adventure

After graduation I had no idea what I wanted to do. Having just completed a degree in Business Management, the thought of joining thousands of eager new graduates in fierce competition for a corporate graduate scheme didn’t appeal to me. Completely fed up, I trolled through what felt like hundreds of career websites when an advert featuring a stunning picture of Thailand caught my eye, ‘Get paid to travel with TEFL!’ Initially, I was hit by a wave of excitement, picturing myself strolling down the beach in my sunglasses, lapping up my exotic, chilled new lifestyle. This vision was then plagued with negative thoughts as I thought I really ought to be building a career related to my degree, and that making new friends would be hard.

After a few moments of deliberation, I just thought, Phuket, I’m coming for you! (Pun absolutely intended). The next couple of months were a crazy frenzy of activity; I completed a 120 hour TEFL course with TEFL Org UK, including a weekend practical course in Edinburgh, plus a 100 hour online course. Being unemployed and determined to get away, I powered through the course in just a few weeks. The next thing I knew I had a job lined up, a work visa sorted and I was cramming everything into my massive backpack!

I won’t lie; being in Thailand was quite a culture shock at first. I didn’t know a word of Thai, couldn’t read a signpost, hated spicy food and wasn’t used to the heat. Gradually though, it all became normal and I happily settled into the more laid-back approach to life. My students were of primary school age and adorable, but they were often late for class! At first, I found this frustrating as in our culture, this isn’t allowed. I soon realised that it wasn’t a problem for Thai people and went along with it. I’ve never felt as content and relaxed as I did in Thailand; the wonderfully friendly locals, beautiful beaches, delicious Thai food (not all spicy as I later discovered) and a rewarding job teaching the most charming children. The pace of life was so peaceful and much slower than home, not focused on tight deadlines or targets. Appearing to be angry or upset in public isn’t accepted in Thai culture which contributed to a wonderfully tranquil way of living.

One of the most beautiful aspects of TEFL is the sheer variety of people who do it. I met people from all over the world from all kinds of backgrounds. There were other recent graduates, a man who was an engineer in the UK but decided he wanted a change, and a retired secondary teacher who was just looking to travel and volunteer in one of the more disadvantaged local schools.

Would I recommend teaching English abroad? In a heartbeat. In fact I’m already planning my next adventure. It’s perfectly possible to get paid to travel the world, meet new exciting people, all while inspiring others to learn! If you can speak English to a native standard and you have the right TEFL qualification, there is nothing stopping you. I didn’t have any teaching experience or foreign language skills and I still managed to have the time of my life. Ultimately I’ve realised, and here comes the horrifically cliché ending; life is short. My advice is to travel as much as you can, and enjoy every moment of the journey!

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