There’s a reason, or thousands of reasons, actually, why Thailand is one of the most visited countries in Southeast Asia, and perhaps in the world. It’s a nation rich in culture, food, friendly smiles, outdoor adventures, white-sand beaches and so much more. Because of this, many find it hard to leave. Luckily for fluent English speakers, you don’t have to. One way to stay in any country you love is to teach English there, and teaching English in Thailand is ever-increasing in popularity.
There are undoubtedly 100’s of benefits to teaching English in Thailand. Here are our Top 10:
1) Teachers in Thailand are highly revered.
Most Thai teachers are government employees and thus highly respected by their students, their coworkers, and people in the community. There is a respect system in place, where the lower ranked must wai (place both palms together and bow) to the higher ranked in a formal greeting, and so it is not uncommon to see student after student waiing a teacher on campus. As an ESL teacher in Thailand, this ritual extends to you, plus you’ll get celebrity status for being culturally, ethnically and physically different.
2) Thai people are friendly.
It didn’t earn the well-known slogan, “Land of Smiles,” for no reason. Thai people here are genuinely happy beings. They’re welcoming, encouraging (especially if you’re trying to learn Thai language!) and excited that you’re teaching English in Thailand, taking an interest in a country they’re proud to call home.
3) Thai culture is relaxed and rich.
Since more than 95% of the country identifies as Buddhist, you can see this laid back mentality in every aspect of the culture. It will make you realize that the time clock you’re likely so attached to back home has little relevance to matters of life, and what’s really important are the people and experiences around us.
4) The holidays are awesome.
Imagine a nationwide water fight, or lighting lanterns and sending them with wishes into the sky. In Thailand, both are witnessed yearly, from the Thai New Year each April (let the water war begin!), to Loi Krathong, or Festival of Light, in October, where many gather to celebrate with paper lanterns (see all 2018 Thai holidays here). While teaching English in Thailand, you’ll get to take advantage of these special occasions because they fall on your breaks from public school. The month of October is a holiday, as well as mid-March to mid-May, allowing you to see and do all the great things the country has to offer.
5) The pay is liveable.
Most teachers start out earning about $1,000 USD per month, which is more than enough to live comfortably in Thailand. Many manage to save between $2-300 each month, and many others teach private lessons or teach online on the side to add to their salary/savings. Numbeo.com is a great site to get up-to-date cost of living information.
6) There’s a lot to see.
Every region of the country has something special to offer, and each is significant in its own way. Once you’re settled, you’ll likely rent a motorbike and be free to roam around on your own. Plus, Thailand is well connected by bus and plane, making it easy to travel on weekends and holidays to other parts of the country you want to explore. The bordering countries like Laos and Cambodia are easily accessible by land or air as well, creating an endless playground for teachers like you.
7) You’ll learn Thai from your students.
It’s almost impossible not to learn at least a little Thai if you’re teaching English in Thailand. Even though you’ll be expected to speak only English in the classroom, your students will frequently default to their native language and you’ll undoubtedly start to catch on. You’ll even learn from taxi drivers and food carts owners and anyone else you encounter and try to speak with.
8) The food is absolutely delicious.
From their famous pad thai to the more unique khao soi curry and other specialties, like meat on a stick and amazing rice dishes, there’s no shortage of delicious cuisine. And the best part? Most can be had for about $2 USD!
9) It’s tropical. Enough said.
The seasons in Thailand are often referred to as hot, hotter and hottest, though sometimes you’ll hear, hot, dry and rainy. All are true. As in any tropical country, there are a few rainy months that remain hot and humid, but for the most part the country remains a constant average of 80 degrees F (27 C), which means you can leave those heavy coats and pants behind.
10) You’ll become a part of the community
Perhaps the best part of teaching in Thailand is the chance for an immersion experience like no other. Not only do you get to learn and grow along with your students, but you’ll become an integral part of the community, allowing you to gain an insider perspective on local culture and traditions.