Thailand was my first experience traveling overseas. I attempted to prepare myself for any of the cultural differences I might find. I had no idea what I was expecting, but whatever it was, I certainly wasn't prepared. Having never been completely immersed in another culture before, I think the only reason I was able to enjoy and fall in love with Thai culture was regardless of my expectations, I went in with a completely open mind.
I had a willingness to try everything. I used my initially small, but ever-increasing, amount of Thai language I knew to attempt to communicate with Thai people. I ate various types of food which I could not fathom how it might be made, or what it might be made out of.
Thailand is a place where if you are completely acclimatized to the way things are done in the western world, you will find everything you know becomes irrelevant. You must start building your knowledge of how everything works from the ground up.
Different language (Thai, obviously), manners (shoes off BEFORE you enter the house!), religion (primarily Buddhism), politics (constitutional monarchy), food (you will recognize chicken and pork as staples, but beyond that, many things are foreign), transportation (drivers are horrendous by western standards, public transportation - tuk-tuks, songtaews, and taxis - are different from the bus and taxi system in the west and take some adjusting to) and recreation (activities and interests vary a lot in a country with such a different climate - certainly no interest in, or facilities for, winter sports). Those are just some things you will have to if not love, learn to accept are different in Thailand in order to survive there.
This characteristic of living in a different culture for a period of time is also one that is advantageous to anyone, no matter what their reasons for wanting to teach overseas in the first place since it requires a lot of self-reflection and evaluation.
In an environment where you have to adapt to everything around you being done differently, you will inevitably find out a lot more about your personal character based on how you react to new situations: whether or not you decide to try durian, ride a motorcycle, join in prayer at a temple, venture out and explore, or likewise willingly enter into a situation that you cannot go into knowing what your exact course of action is going to be when you get there.
Trevor in one of his classrooms in Thailand
You will truly realize which aspects of your home society you can truly live without once you start going without them cold turkey - junk food, air-conditioning, toilet paper area few that I observed. You will also find out which ones are more difficult to live without - your network of socially and culturally like-minded peers and collaborators in your long-term career efforts was the major one for me, which did not come as a surprise since my long-term goals were not in Thailand.
As I was a participant in the homestay program, my stay in Thailand was much shorter-term than the length of a typical employment contract offered by a Thai school. I opted for this program for time reasons. For career-based reasons, I was not able to spend a length of time in Thailand, but due to the overwhelmingly positive experiences reported by numerous friends who had taught overseas, I did want to experience it at some point.
Trevor enjoys traveling with new friends on his days off
I am happy to report my experience of teaching English in Thailand through GeoVisions was positive. However, I did not expect the way in which my experience would differ greatly from the typical teacher's. While I did teach in a school, I was also living with a Thai family, eating, sleeping, and traveling with them in their daily lives. This afforded me a much greater cross-section of Thai life than someone who must go out and discover these things for themselves.
I would definitely recommend the homestay teaching English in Thailand experience for anyone who is looking to challenge themselves on many levels and be rewarded for undertaking that challenge with a strengthening of character and a broadening of perspectives.
It's almost time for my journey of teaching English in Thailand to come to a close. I can’t believe it's already here! It seems like just yesterday, I was picked up from the Suvarnabhumi Airport to begin my six months of teaching English in Thailand. Where has the time gone?
In these final weeks, I find myself reflecting back on the moments that have past, and wondering about the future that is to come. It is hard not to wonder what lies ahead. But I really can’t worry about that all too much. If I have learned anything from teaching English in Thailand, it is to stop worrying! Stop thinking! Stop planning for the days to come…because right now, at this moment, the future is nonexistent.
Teaching English in Thailand is an adventure for the student and the teacher.
Easier said than done! It took some time to get used to this way of life. But in all fairness, is learning anything really that easy?
Whether it was a lesson plan that backfired, a miscommunication with one of my Thai teachers, or the struggle to find a feeling of content within myself, I always managed to get through.
What is real is this moment. You can’t plan for the future or worry about the past because you will miss out on what is happening right in front of your eyes. For the people of Thailand, this is the way of life. Not a care in the world about the future. Right here is the now. At times it may lead to a bit of disorganization, but that is part of the fun!
Some of Christina's students take a break from their lessons.
To the Western mindset, disorganization is the epitome of dysfunction, because it does not lead to success. To the people of Thailand, success isn’t really that important. They could care less about the rat race going on in other parts of the world. As long as things get done, it doesn’t matter how they got done.
At first I used to get so frustrated with the lack of organization in this country, but now all I can do is sit back and laugh: when the bus never runs on time, when a monk is taking a selfie, when I have to drop all my lesson plans and improvise right on the spot. Everything is unexpected! And when everything is unexpected, each new day is a surprise. Now isn’t that the way to live?
Teaching English in Thailand helped Christina make some life-long friends.
As I move forward from my journey teaching English in Thailand, I will truly miss this country- the amazing people that live in it, and the sights that are one in a million. I will miss my students, the smiles on their faces, and all the moments we shared. I will miss my co-teachers, the town I have called my home for the past few months, and the simplicity of life that came with it.
Thailand is a really neat place to be. The culture is so rich. Traveling is easy and inexpensive. You can take a bus or plane to pretty much anywhere in Thailand without having to spend much more than $50. You can eat a delicious, filling meal for under $1. A typical day teaching English in Thailand is lengthy depending on the schedule you create for yourself.
Erin loves teaching English in Thailand.
I teach Mattayom 4-6 (grades 10-12). Most schools require you be there from about 7:30 am until about 4:00 pm, but really you only teach about 20 hours per week (4 per day). The rest is time to grade and prepare lessons. Adequate prep time is one of my favorite parts of teaching English in Thailand.
My students challenge me every day. I had this image that all students would be perfect, eager to learn angels, and quickly learn. How wrong I was!
I love my students with all of my heart. I’d do absolutely anything for them, but teaching is not easy.
Erin takes time to explore while teaching English in Thailand.
There will be days where you feel discouraged, but along with those will be days where you feel on top of the world. A day where the one kid who has been too shy to even speak finally speaks something correctly, and it feels like you’ve just won the Superbowl. A day where your kids somehow find out about your birthday, realize how lonely it must be to spend a birthday alone and surprise you with gifts and singing. A day where they tell you how much they love you and beg you not to leave. If you’re serious about coming to Thailand through GeoVisions, be ready for your heart to be stolen by every single one of your students.
When you teach English in Thailand, you have to pet an elephant.
After school, you may choose to pick up extra work by tutoring. I personally tutor every day after school and all day on Saturday. Sometimes this stresses me out, but I love tutoring. Working with students individually, getting to know them very well, and seeing their growth makes it all worthwhile.
My experience teaching English in Thailand has been an unforgettable one. Through all of the amazing experiences, adventures, travels, teaching, and challenges I’ve had since I’ve been here, I’ve become a much stronger person. I’ve met like-minded friends from all over the world who share a passion for teaching, learning, and adventure.
Erin's students enjoy learning English.
Coming over to Thailand, I had all intentions of staying for six months. I’m in month four right now and have fallen so in love with everything, that I’ve decided to stay an extra year, this time in Chiang Mai.
If you’re thinking about coming to teach English in Thailand, don’t hesitate. Just jump! This GeoVisions program prepares you for everything and provides the opportunities to meet some of the most amazing friends you’ll ever have.
Important Items to Remember:
Monkeys don't have to worry about packing clothes. But you do!
Sizes in Thailand: The sizes in Thailand run very small. Westerners often have difficultly finding size XL and above. These larger sizes can be especially challenging to find in small towns but are more present in big shopping malls in cities at a higher cost (H&M, Forever 21, Zara, TESCO - the Thai version of Walmart). Large shoe sizes (Women size US 8/EUR 38, and Men size US 9/EUR 42 and above) can also be difficult to find for cheap.
You'll see things through a different lens while teaching English in Thailand. But be sure to bring the right clothes![/caption]
Other apparel to remember while teaching English in Thailand: Sandals, casual shoes, sweatshirt (bus rides can get a bit chilly!), hat, rain jacket, sunglasses, etc.
Toiletries Needs: Larger cities and towns in Thailand will have most toiletries that you will need. A few things that can be hard to find in Thailand include:
(If you are picky, bring extra toiletries as reliable name brands can be difficult to find and/or more expensive)
You'll meet fascinating people while teaching English in Thailand.[/caption]
Electronics: North America uses 110-volt outlets while Thailand uses 220-volt outlets. Bring a converter/adapter so your electronics don’t get fried. The plugin style is the same type you would bring to Europe and normally North America.
Gifts for the School: When teaching English in Thailand, bringing a small gift from your home country for your school makes a great first impression and starts the conversation about different cultures. Some nice gift ideas include:
Optional (but a good idea):
An elephant never forgets. Hopefully, you won't either, when it comes to bringing necessities to Thailand!
Avoid overpacking: While Thailand is still a developing country, you should be able to find most items or extra clothing in major cities. It is much easier and less stressful to travel with a manageable amount of luggage through airports and taxis. Our advice – don’t overpack!
It didn't take much for me to decide to complete my TESOL course in person. I learn better in the classroom compared to taking a class online, so the choice was very natural for me.
Amanda at dinner with a few of her classmates while teaching English in Thailand[/caption]
A typical TESOL day looked like this: the bus would pick us up at 9:30 am, and we would arrive at school by 10. The class would usually go until 5:30 or 6:00 pm. The days were long, but that's to be expected. I mean, we were training to be teachers in just three weeks. After our 120 hours were completed, we would be fully prepared to plan lessons, manage a classroom, and understand the structure of Thai schools.
Amanda with her friends that turned into family while teaching English in Thailand.
The course consisted of a lot of lesson planning and presenting. We would be assigned a topic, an age group to teach, and then would have to create a lesson plan to present in front of our classmates. Not only did we get ample practice presenting lesson plans as we would to a classroom, but we also got feedback about how we could improve our teaching. It's extremely helpful to be able to ask questions as to why an activity wouldn't work in the classroom, or how you can change something to improve your teaching in Thailand.
Our TESOL instructors really set us up for success. After preparing lesson plan after lesson plan, I can now prepare a lesson about anything at the drop of a hat. I have loads of English games in my back pocket and if something doesn't work out in the classroom, I know I always have a plan to fall back on.
Amanda with her classmates petting a friendly elephant while teaching English in Thailand.
My favorite part of the training was getting to practice our teaching skills in an actual Thai school. My program put on an English camp at a local school in Hua Hin, and for two days we got to see our lesson plans come to life. The camp was insane. It was one of the best, yet the most hectic days of my life. Even though the students were crazy, they loved learning. Seeing their smiles and being welcomed by their hugs was truly one of the best feelings in the world.
In six hours I learned the importance of keeping things simple, to prioritize fun over everything, and how much I genuinely loved teaching. This camp experience made me feel confident that yes, I had made the right choice coming to teach in Thailand. Yes, I could, in fact, be a teacher in a foreign country. Yes, I loved what I was doing!
English camp happened the first week of the TESOL course, and after that, lesson planning was a breeze. The final two weeks of the course we focused more on fine-tuning our lesson plans, creating lessons and activities for the first week of school, and fine-tuning our teaching abilities. The course ended with an exam (that everyone passed!) and then we were officially certified to teach English all over the world.
Amanda and her friends taking a break while teaching English in Thailand.
After the course was completed, my classmates and I all headed off to our placements. It was tough saying goodbye to the people I had spent every day with for the last couple of weeks, but we are always in constant contact.
I now have a free place to stay almost all over Thailand. I have people I share my frustrations and success with. I have people that get it. It's hard to try and explain to your friends & family back home because they aren't in Thailand. They aren't experiencing this. Things I see on a daily basis (for example, bugs for breakfast) are completely unheard of. It's refreshing to know that no matter what type of day I'm having, I always have someone I can listen and laugh with.
It takes a lot to move to a foreign country to be an English teacher. Even when we were scared, frustrated, or homesick, we knew we were in this together. We knew no matter what happened once we got to our placements, we would always have each other to lean on.
Trust me, you won't regret taking the TESOL course in person. The bond I've formed with these people is unbeatable, and the skills I've learned for teaching English in Thailand will last me a lifetime.
Sawadee ka! This is the formal hello in Thai. I have been in Thailand now for 5 weeks and living in the town of Phatthalung, which is in the southern provenience near Trang and north of Hat Yai. I am working as a kindergarten teacher teaching K-3.
Also, the feeling of being on the back of a motorcycle is exhilarating. I understand now why they call Thailand the “land of a 1,000 smiles” the people are very friendly and warm. I have even gotten rides on a motorcycle from my landlord!
Thai people often show affection through food. Since I have been here, I have eaten unique food like Duck soup, sala (snake fruit), dry noodles, and much more. At markets, they have insects to eat like silkworms and even crickets. The national sport in Thailand is Muay Thai and I have taken up that sport with a friend. We have been going three times a week, Muay Thai helps you gain strength and defense skills. I really enjoy my town of Phatthalung, it’s a perfect size and there’s a beautiful mixture of mountains, waterfalls, and greenery.
I am happy to see what the future holds and to be experiencing a true authentic life here teaching in Thailand. A couple of weeks ago marked the huge celebration of Loy Krathong. You may be wondering, “what is Loy Krathong?” The holiday is celebrated in November according to the lunar calendar. Lights from hundreds of candles twinkle on the water, as each one carries prayers and wishes sent off to float through the river or stream. You can put nail clippings, and a lock of hair inside of your Krathong. I cut off a piece of my golden locks with a pair of scissors I had handy. Some krathongs are made of bread and others made of flowers. This holiday is spent with family and loved ones and is probably the biggest celebration other than Songkran.
Songkran happens in April and its three days of non-stop water battles. I am really excited to be in Thailand for that. I feel so fortunate to have met a Thai family that’s like my Puak. Puak means your clan or family. So far the family has taken me to visit Krabi, Ao Nang, and lots of good restaurants. I would recommend coming to this country if you enjoy spicy food, Buddhism, and smiling a lot! You will not regret it, the moment I got off the airplane and got into the shuttle van I knew this was it!!!
Teach English in Thailand and live like a local for 1 to 3 months when you tutor English to a family in Thailand. Don't worry if you've never done this before! Your new host family is more interested in learning conversational English than they are grammar. You will have so much fun living in Thailand by simply speaking English the way you normally do at home. In addition, you also have a unique opportunity to learn or improve your Thai! In a matter of hours you are walking around your new community like a true Thai. It won't take long for the locals to start recognizing you and for you to consider your host community your new home. It's real and authentic. Get to know the locals. Wake up each day and feel a connection. Most of all, make a difference in your host community and host family.
Are you 18 years of age or older? Please join us! We also place a lot of mature travelers looking for a different way to travel and connect with new people and explore different cultures. All you need to begin is to be a native English speaker and hold a passport from the UK, USA, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa or Australia.
You have your own private room. We include 3 meals each day. Your host family asks that you set aside about 15 hours each week speaking conversational English with them. Weekends are normally free to experience the culture by traveling around Thailand.
Friendly and fun loving, exotic and tropical, cultured and historic, Thailand radiates a golden hue from its glittering temples and tropical beaches through to the ever-comforting Thai smile. Adored around the world, Thai cuisine expresses fundamental aspects of Thai culture: it is generous, warm, refreshing and relaxed.
You will live with and tutor a local family a few hours each week and also spend time at a local school helping teachers plan their lessons and speaking conversational English with some students. This program is 20 hours each week. You will teach English in Thailand to some students and tutor English to a family ... a great combination.
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The program fee for this experience covers our costs of placing you on the program in a safe host family and neighborhood. The fee helps us in providing your accommodation, meals, insurance, pre-departure & in-country support. We provide 24/7 emergency service, manned by real people. We update our tutor materials and tutoring aids constantly and provide a real ESL Teacher who is here via email to give you personalized assistance if you feel you need ideas. You are supported from the moment you contact us to the time you return ... and beyond, through our active Alumni Community. You're not a customer. You join our family.
Host families contact us because they want to provide room and board to a native English speaker who will help them with their conversational English. When there are children in the family, mostly they need help with their English homework, but many times the adults want to join in as well.
Families, like you, are screened. They have to show a need and a desire to host an English tutor. And they have to pass a background check, an interview by staff in Thailand and agree to a home inspection and provide photos of the home (inside and out). Tutors are promised their own private room but there are times a bathroom might be shared. Families provide meals except when the tutor is traveling.
Not only do we provide our own book, A Tutor's Guide--Teaching English to Families and Children (you download this document and take the parts you want with you), you receive hundreds of FREE materials through our ESL Lounge, and we employ a full time ESL Teacher, right here on staff. Betsy is here for you before you depart and while you're abroad. Email Help Me Teach and you are connected with Betsy who will answer your questions and provide detailed and personalized ideas to help you be successful.
For the most authentic experience living each day in Thailand, you cannot choose your exact location. What you can do is tell us the area where you'd like to be and whether or not you'd like a large city, a small town or rural placement. And we'll try our best. Remember ... the host families choose us when they need a live-in tutor and so timing is everything. There are many locations that you may not have considered prior to applying that are fantastic places in Thailand. (We can tell you about many tutors that have loved their locations!)
Before you depart, we connect you via email, phone and Skype with your new host family. You'll have all the details you want before you ever leave home. GeoVisions spends a great deal of time on match-making. There needs to be a "connection" between you and your host family.
After you arrive if you begin having issues with your host family, we have a way to start the process to fix things or, change your placement, if necessary. This is extremely rare, but we've done this long enough to know things can come up on all sides.
Unfortunately, host families needing a tutor generally have the room for one extra person in the home. So we are unable to provide a homestay for anyone except the tutor. If you want to apply with someone else, they would be placed with another family. We would try hard to find a host family so you would be close to one another, but we could not guarantee that. If you're set on traveling with someone, take a look at our other program types, because we do have those kinds of placements. Give us a call and ask.
Find out more by reading some posts written by our own participants in Thailand on our SeekExperiences Blog.
2017: May 1, May 29, June 26, July 31, August 28, September 25, October 30, November 27, December 27.
20 hours/week. Some of your time is spent tutoring the family, and the rest of your time is spent at a local school.
Included. For 5 days, learn about Thai society, geography, politics, culture and language. Some vocabularly for shopping, and communicating with your host family. Your accommodation during Orientation week is included.
"Survival" Thai is provided at orientation.
Placements are in the Hua Hin area of Thailand, a beach community about 2 1/2 hours south of Bangkok.
2 meals per day are included when you are with your host family. Many Thai families do not have a formal breakfast, but other meals are included. When you are traveling on your own, you will need to provide your own meals.