Saving for a RTW trip is no easy feat, particularly when you’re jetting off with your other half and you’re planning to spend a whole year on the road! We both decided to combine travelling with working for a few months so that we could settle in one place for a short time, enjoy exploring a new area and gain new and valuable skills. We also really needed a break from hostel/hotel bed hopping and the monotony of packing-unpacking and packing! Taking into account our careers and experience (I am a qualified Primary Teacher and Phil is a Youth Worker) we decided that teaching in a Thai school for a semester would be the perfect option. A semester would enable us to really experience life in a Thai School and enable us to save some money for the next stage of our RTW trip.
As I am a qualified Teacher back in England, I had some good experience behind me to ensure I would be able to get a job. Phil also has years of experience working with children as a Youth Worker but decided to do a 120 hour TEFL course to ensure he had the relevant experience and also to help him feel more confident in a school environment. There’s a number of providers out there that offer a range of courses to suit your needs and budget, but just make sure you do your research first. Phil really recommends TEFL England as he was well supported by mentors who were easy to contact and provided great feedback. We’d also recommend the courses run by Greenheart Travel and Xplore Asia as they provide an excellent introduction to teaching TEFL, ideal for those with little to no previous teaching experience. Once you have your certificate and you’re signed up with an agency you can look forward to teaching in a whole range of different institutions across Thailand, from private language School and home tutoring to Government Thai School and even, on some occasions, International Schools. For a first year TEFL Teacher the pay ranges from 20.0000B for a non degree holder to 35.0000B for a degree holder, depending on location of School and experience (Schools in the South and near Bangkok tend to pay more as the cost of living is higher). And with accommodation and food being considerable cheaper than in the UK and Europe you really can save money if you plan to travel around during holidays.
Money and saving aside, it really pays to teach abroad for a number of reasons:
When you’re backpacking or visiting a country on holiday you rarely get an opportunity to really experience local life: e.g.) take part in festivals, get invited to family parties or eat with the locals. Schools really are the heart of the community and so you will find some many opportunities to really understand and appreciate the traditions and practices of the locals, and the host country. So far in Thailand we’ve been invited to family New Year parties, been to a Thai music festival and on countless occasions eaten home cooked food prepared by our teachers and their families. Thai people are incredibly friendly and welcoming and will treat ‘falangs’ like their extended family!
What better way to learn a language than to live in another country! Particularly if you live in rural areas, the chances are very few people will speak English…which is why you are there in the first place – to improve standards of English. However, take the opportunity to try out another language…buy a phrase book, speak to locals and go for it!!
Living in a new country provides a great opportunity to reflect on your own life and also to accept and appreciate the differences. Sometimes this manifests itself as ‘culture-shock’ at first as it can be very difficult adjusting to the changes and differences and getting used to a new way of doing things. However, once you relax and begin to accept the difference it can be a great chance to really learn about another culture, or religion and appreciate the similarities and differences that exist in our lives.
English is an international language and its importance is incredibly significant in education. Teaching English abroad is an amazing opportunity to help, support and influences the lives of children and adults all over the world and help provide better opportunities in their lives.
These are just a handful of the benefits of combing working/teaching abroad with travelling. We’ve both had an amazing experience teaching, even just for a semester and would definitely recommend giving it a go!