Hello! My name is Ashley; I am 23 years old and from North Carolina, United States. When I graduated from college in May of 2014 I just couldn't figure out what to do next in life. Even though I knew it wasn't what I wanted to do, I ended up spending the following year working a desk job. I worked in a wonderful office environment that was full of great people, but still the tedious 9 to 5 just wasn't for me at this point in life.
In college I always dreamed of traveling abroad to teach in Thailand, so I decided there was no better time than the present.
I spent the month of October training to teach in Thailand in a Thai school system and learning about the Thai culture. I had done a bit of research before coming to Thailand, but all of the things I learned in and out of class during my month of TESOL were things that could not be found in a book or on a website.
The part of the TESOL course that I valued the most was the friends and network of teachers I gained.
Even though we are all separated now, we share experiences, lesson plans, and classroom advice constantly. I can't forget to mention that during this month I got to play with elephants, feed monkeys, climb a waterfall, paint in an artist village, take Thai lessons, lounge on the beach, visit a temple in a cave, and even work up a sweat in Muy Thai!
After the TESOL course, I was placed in North East Thailand in a town called Bandung. I am the only western teacher in the entire town. On the day I arrived, I first felt very lonely and began to wonder what exactly I had gotten myself into. That feeling did not last long at all.
I have never met anyone as friendly and as welcoming as the Thai people.
The Thai teachers here have shown me around town, invite me to lunches, are constantly feeding me snacks, and asking if I am okay. I am even going out of town with one of the Thai teachers and her family this weekend. The more I have been teaching in the classroom, the more comfortable I have become. The Thai students are eager to learn English and love to participate in games during class. While I teach in Thailand, it's the first job I have had in a long time where I am not constantly watching the clock urging the day to be over.
In the last two months I have learned so much about myself. I have done so many things I never imagined I was capable of doing.
So far my experiences in Thailand have been beyond amazing. I know there are many more incredible experiences to come as well. I was able to spend a month learning more than I ever imagined and making friends that will last a lifetime. I am experiencing Thai culture in a way I would never have been able to had I just vacationed through Thailand. I also have been able to travel as well in my off time. As I continue on this journey, I am beyond confident I made the right decision to teach in Thailand!