When you think or hear of Thailand, you probably think of it as a destination for adventurous backpackers or modern day hippies who continually insist that expensive Thai food in the West doesn’t compare to the street food you can buy in Bangkok for a measly 70 Baht ($2). In fact, it is hard for many Westerners who grew up in the 80s, 90s and early 2000’s to even see the word “Bangkok” without the song “One Night in Bangkok” running through their heads. It’s a catchy song, indeed, but it paints the city as a place of such stunning beauty and such frightening sleaze that it distracts from one of the best reasons for you to go to Thailand: to work as a teacher.
Maybe you insist that you’re not ‘teacher material’, or don’t have the right credentials, major or work experience to teach in Thailand. Guess what? If that’s what you think then you’re totally wrong! Native English speakers who have graduated from western universities in America, UK, Canada, Australia, Ireland and South Africa are automatically qualified for many English teaching jobs in Thailand and throughout South East Asia.
Save on a wide range of TEFL certification courses: TEFL Store
You may be sitting at home despairing of how many qualified applicants there are for relatively few desirable jobs. In Thailand and other teaching abroad destinations, there are more and more schools in which native English speakers who hold U.S. university degrees are the preferred candidates for Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL). You have a college degree, and you have been speaking and reading English your whole life, so you are already qualified to teach English in Thailand.
If you go into teaching right after graduating from college in the U.S., you are likely to be given a very difficult teaching assignment and few resources to help you succeed in your new career. Conversely, when you are teaching abroad in a high demand area such as Thailand, you have a lot of choice over which position you accept. You can choose the city where you want to be and the age group of students you want to teach. English speakers have a lot of choices in Thailand, because there is so much demand for TEFL.
If you choose to teach English in Thailand, you will benefit financially, because the cost of living is low and the pay is more than enough to cover your expenses, so that you can teach and travel for a year and still have some money left in the bank when you return home. Programs that recruit TEFL teachers from abroad often also contribute a lot toward their living expenses, sometimes providing free lodging. You will have enough money and enough free time to teach and travel in equal measure during your stay in Thailand.
Because Thailand Is Awesome
It is for good reason that Thailand has become such a popular tourist destination. It has dazzling city lights and gorgeous rural landscapes. It is a friendly, safe, and affordable place to spend a year, full of both history and modern conveniences. When you apply to teach English in another country, you ae not going there just to teach. You are going there to teach and travel.
And there is so much to see when you teach and travel in Thailand and the surrounding areas. From the nightlife of Bangkok to the quiet farming villages and fishing villages to the ancient monasteries, there are so many beautiful and welcoming places to see in Thailand that your year of teaching abroad will pass by quickly, and you will want to come back again soon for another visit, or maybe even to teach and travel for another year.
Thailand may seem like it is worlds away from the United States, but it is very close to many other countries that are also great places to visit and maybe even to take your next TEFL assignment. Thailand shares borders with Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, and Malaysia, and it is very easy to visit these places on weekends during your teaching assignment. Your salary from teaching abroad will be more than enough to cover a trip to other places that are easier to get to from Thailand than from the United States, such as Vietnam, Indonesia, India, or even China, Australia, or New Zealand.
Making Human Connections
The best thing about traveling abroad when you are young is getting to meet people you never would have met in your home town. Thanks to social media, you can stay in contact with all your former students after you travel back to the U.S. You can see their English continue to improve beyond what they learned from you. Your students and the other students you will meet when you teach English in Thailand will become friends and professional contacts of yours for years to come.