Moving overseas to teach English abroad is something that most people often dream about — and taking a TEFL certification course is an easy way to get you started. But with so many options available — like getting certified online, or at home, or in your country of choice abroad, it’s hard to narrow down your decision. I’ve been teaching English in Thailand for the past year, and I love it! But narrowing that down wasn’t easy. Deciding you want to move overseas to become a teacher is hard enough already; now just imagine deciding WHERE you should go. The world’s a big place, and picking a destination can be very overwhelming. Which is why I’m here to tell you that teaching English in Thailand should be at the top of your radar, and it starts with taking a TEFL certification course in Thailand! Here’s why…
1. Learn about where you want to live
While you’ve narrowed down your country – it’s time to figure out where you want to live in the country you’ve chosen. In Thailand, there are so many different environments you can find yourself in. Do you want to be near the beaches down south? Or would you prefer the cool vibes of the jungle up north? As someone who loves the beach, taking my TEFL certification course in Krabi was a no-brainer, but I eventually wanted to be working in Bangkok, as I’m a city girl at heart! However, after working in such a big metropolis, I decided to move back down to where I did my TEFL training for the laid back lifestyle of living by the beach.
The view from my apartment.
2. Get accustomed to the culture
You’re in Thailand and everything is new and exciting, but for many that can also come with a big culture shock. For starters, you’re giving your body time to adjust to the time zone, the food, and everything else that’s different from back home! But also it’s great to get to know the people and their customs in a relaxed environment, rather than when you’re juggling your full time teaching job and getting used to your new home. This way, once you get placed in a school, you’ll already know a thing or two about how to live in Southeast Asia.
3. Immersive experience
You can essentially immerse yourself in the lifestyle that you will be living in. By doing your TEFL certification course in Thailand, you’ll have trainers that can give you first hand advice on their experiences as teachers; you’ll start picking up the language by interacting with the locals; and you’ll truly be able to take in how this is your new reality.
4. Make friends/connections
Taking a three-week TEFL certification course isn’t just about the books, but also about the connections you’re making. You’ll have people from all over the world in your course, and you’ll be living with them as if you were in a dorm room at college. Not only will you make lifelong friends, but also after you’re all scattered around Thailand or the world, whenever you do travel somewhere new, chances are you’ll have a friend whose couch you can crash on! Free couches all over the world! You guys are all in it together, so it’s a great way to make new friends in a foreign place.
Take excursions during your TEFL!
5. Good way to start your travels
Taking your TEFL certification course in Thailand is a great way to jumpstart the traveling you’re going to be doing during your time in Southeast Asia. You’ll likely have some downtime during the three-week program, and you and your new friends might decide to take the opportunity to go to a neighboring island or city, allowing you to start seeing the country before you even start working.
6. Practical study
Most TEFL training courses include practical experience as a part of their programs, whether it be through English Camps or demo classes in a real school. This will allow you to practice with Thai students and help you get a feel for what it’s like to teach English in a Thai classroom before you even get your first ESL job.
7. Cost of living is low
Not only does Thailand offer some of the most affordable TEFL programs in Asia, it’s also great because everything is so cheap compared to back home. Cost of rent is a fraction of the price you’d be paying in a Western country, and a meal can cost you as little as a dollar. And if you’ve had a long day at work, a massage should only set you back about $5 bucks (USD)!
Tuk Tuk in Bangkok.
All throughout Thailand you’ll never feel disadvantaged because of language or cultural difference. No matter where you go there are such large communities of expatriates (people living abroad) who at some point decided to make Thailand home. People from all over the world have settled here for various reasons, so making likeminded friends should never be a problem. And they’ll be the best people to show you the ropes in your new home!
9. Easier to get into a job once you’re done
If you want to become a teacher in a beautiful, tropical Asian country, Thailand is the place for you. There is no shortage of work for foreign teachers all over the country. While peak-hiring season occurs around May and October, it’s not difficult to find a job at any point in the year. Thai people are often enrolling their children in English programs and extra lessons, so there is a high demand for qualified TEFL teachers anywhere you go in Thailand.
10. The living in Thailand is easy!
It’s no surprise that Thailand is a top vacation destination for all types of people — from budget backpackers to luxe travellers — everyone loves Thailand! Mainly because the Land of Smiles, as it’s commonly referred, provides the laid back lifestyle that makes you feel like you’re on vacation every single day. The weather, the people, and the lifestyle make this a place where you won’t mind waking up to go to work each day.
Words and images from Patricia Roque, a participant in our Thailand TEFL Program.