People all over the world travel to new countries to teach English. And while each country has lots to offer, one of the best places to teach English abroad is definitely Thailand.
This small but beautiful country deserves consideration if you are wondering whether or not to teach English, and where exactly you should go. Here are just some of the reasons that Thailand might be the ideal place for you.
1. Work Experience
Teaching abroad in any new country is great work experience. It looks wonderful on a resume, and can improve your chances of getting work in related fields in the future.
Teaching in Thailand, which has a unique education system, will give you the chance to try teaching in a new way, and evaluate your own approach to teaching. As such, teaching in Thailand will broaden your horizons as a teacher, and give you a feel for alternative education methods.
You'll also get to work with children of all ages, and develop a sense of what age group you most prefer to work with.
2. Beautiful weather
Much of Thailand is tropical rain forest, and the country is famed for its hot, sunny weather. If you live in a cold climate and just can't imagine living through one more winter, then maybe teaching in Thailand is a good alternative option.
The warm weather means you can leave your parka and boots and home, but don't forget that it does rain sometimes in Thailand! Mostly, though, the weather is idyllic, hot, and beautiful.
Thai culture is unlike any other in the world. The food is amazing and very affordable. The country boasts Buddhist temples, bustling cities, beautiful countryside, and gorgeous beaches.
Thailand is known for its culture of dance, as well as hospitality, and there are dozens of annual festivals and holidays to take part in. Thai art and architecture is also fascinating and unique, and deserves attention: get familiar with Thai sculpture, wall-painting, and amazing temple architecture.
4. Meet new people
Most institutions that hire English teachers in Thailand do so through group programs or schools, so you'll likely be working with lots of other English-speakers in Thailand.
You'll get to know these colleagues well, and spend lots of time with them. They'll become fast friends, both during your time in Thailand, and even after you return home. And you can be sure that they are just as adventurous and curious as you are - they're in Thailand too, after all!
5. Opportunity to Travel
Thailand is the central hub of Southeast Asia. This means that once in Thailand, it's a cinch to travel to other fantastic destinations, like India, Cambodia, Vietnam, and China, to name a few. So not only will you be living in an exciting new country, but you'll also be able to visit other fascinating places during your time in Thailand.
It's a perfect location for world travelers who want to really explore many different countries and their cultures. And because Thailand is so affordable, you'll be able to justify treating yourself to a few excursions outside of the country as a break from all your hard work.
6. Wonderful students
Thailand boasts some of the most hospitable, friendly people in the world, and your students will be no exception. Thai children start school at a very young age, so most students are very familiar with the routine of school and know exactly what is expected of them.
Respect for elders is a mainstay of Thai culture, so you likely won't spend much time on discipline: instead, you can get down to the fun stuff, like exciting activities, new lessons, excursions, and games.
7. Public holidays
Thailand has nearly double the number of public holidays that the UK has, so when you're feeling in need of a break, you will have plenty of opportunity to take off for a little vacation to a neighbouring country, or kick back and relax in
Thailand while you enjoy the local celebration of a festival or holiday. This way, you can work hard during the school year, knowing you'll have plenty of holiday time on your days off.
8. Island paradise
Thailand has mile after mile of gorgeous beaches, beautiful tropical rain forest, and stunning mountain vistas to enjoy. Elephant and tiger sanctuaries make for a fun trip. You can take in beautiful scenery just about anywhere: even in Bangkok, the country's bustling metropolis, the countryside is never too far away.
Thailand is also full of rivers, which offer a relaxing and lovely way to travel and see the sights: rafting or paddling down one of Thailand's many waterways is an ideal way to spend an afternoon.
9. Good job market
Teaching in Thailand gives you experience in a good job market, where there is plenty of demand for your skill set.
Being able to teach students from all different backgrounds and experiences set you up for success in future career goals, whether as a teacher or not. You can work hard and be creative in your job, knowing that you have security in a sometimes unpredictable world.
English teachers with experience teaching abroad have good chances of landing good jobs in countries outside of Thailand as well, but you'll definitely be in high demand in Thailand, as much of the country is eager to learn English.
While most English teachers living abroad make a reasonable living, those living in Thailand are especially lucky.
Thailand is one of the most affordable countries to live in when it comes to housing, transportation, and food. On a teacher's salary in Thailand, the average person can live very comfortably, and still come home with savings in their pockets.
Working in Thailand is a great option for those looking to make a good living and have a fair bit of extra left over when all is said and done.
11. Good preparation for careers
Anyone keen to work in the fields of education, international affairs, diplomacy, or international aid would do well to spend some time teaching abroad.
Thailand is an excellent location for this preparation: upon learning about your time teaching English abroad, future employers will see that you're adventurous, hard-working, open-minded and proactive.
It will give you plenty of experience in learning to adjust to a new culture, language, and country, and that flexibility and resourcefulness can serve you very well in a wide number of career options.
12. Have a positive influence on others
Teaching in Thailand allows you to have a positive influence on your students, no matter their age. Your kindness, enthusiasm, hard work and creativity will encourage your students to do their very best. You'll set them up for success in their futures as bilingual students and employees as they enter the workforce.
Who knows where their love of learning and knowledge of English could take them? It is a significant responsibility, but it's also deeply satisfying to know that your work has a positive impact on the lives of others.
13. Learn a new language
The language spoken in Thailand is Thai, and it uses its own unique script. While this is sometimes difficult to work around, in time you'll develop good fluency in language, and be able to engage with your neighbours, your students, and new friends you meet with ease.
Any language student can tell you that learning a language in a classroom is a lot harder than being immersed in the language everyday for long periods of time, so in no time you'll be comfortable conversing in Thai, and navigating restaurant menus, bus schedules, or street signs.
14. Live outside your comfort zone
It's true that the first few weeks of living in a new place can be scary, and sometimes downright stressful. But in just a little while, you'll come to feel right at home in Thailand, thanks to the hospitable nature of the locals. Besides, it's good for us to live outside our comfort zones and push ourselves to try new things. When you look back on your time in Thailand, you'll marvel at all the things you achieved and accomplished that you never thought possible.
15. Friendly people
I've mentioned it several times already, but it's worth mentioning again: the Thai people are among the world's friendliest folks. Meeting new people is easy in Thailand: your neighbours will greet you, your fellow teachers will be welcoming, and most of the people you encounter day-to-day are equally friendly and hospitable.
In no time at all, you'll have lots of new friends and acquaintances to help you feel at home in Thailand.
So while at first it might seem like a pretty serious change (and yes, it is) and an impossible transition to move to Thailand to teach English, you may find that it's one of the best decisions you ever made. It's a big decision, and deserves careful thought and consideration, but teaching English in Thailand is definitely one option worth really thinking about to set yourself up for a great future, to learn a lot, to push yourself and boost your confidence, and have the adventure of a lifetime.
Kevin Aguirre Rodriguez