The first important decision you have to make after deciding to teach abroad is if you are going to pay a company to help you with the process or if you are going to figure it out on your own. Since I needed to get my TEFL certification, I opted for the company route. More specifically I chose to go through Greenheart Travel. It cost about $500-$600 more for me to get certified in Thailand versus onsite in the States (without guaranteed job placement).
So far Greenheart Travel has been great! The program manager, Sara Thacker, is very responsive to emails and phone calls. Even before I put a deposit down, she answered all of my questions in a timely manner. I originally was going to go through American TESOL Institute. They are quite a bit cheaper ($1600 vs. $2350), but their program doesn’t include a lot of the perks Greenheart does. Also, American TESOL makes you pay them an additional $500 for your TEFL certificate if you opt out of their placement for any reason. Overall, I am very happy with my decision. Below are the perks that make Greenheart worth the extra money.
Greenheart Travel Thailand program includes:
Between the health insurance and Visa assistance alone, this decision seemed like a no brainer to me. From my understanding, if you go to Thailand on your own (or with a cheaper/less reputable company) you will arrive with a travel visa and then have to do a visa run to get your Non-immigrant B visa, which you need to get a work permit. Not a huge deal, but it will cost you a couple hundred dollars.
Also, do not underestimate the benefits of being connected to a network of past, present, and future participants of the program. After you are accepted and pay your deposit, you are invited to a closed Facebook Group of everyone going to Thailand within that year. I have spoken to a couple people who will arrive in Chiang Mai, Thailand the same day as me as well as asked questions to Alumni. It is very beneficial to be able to ask questions to people who have gone through the same program and who are literally living and teaching in Thailand right now! I haven’t seen one question go unanswered on the Facebook Group.
At the end of the day, you get what you pay for. I definitely found cheaper options. However, I ultimately decided it was worth it to pay the extra money to get an orientation week filled with cultural activities and language classes, 4 months of healthcare, and getting the opportunity to connect with people who are in my same situation. Regardless of your decision, you will have an adventure of a lifetime. I will be arriving in Chiang Mai, Thailand on Sept. 26th and I cannot be more excited. If you want more information on the program I chose, click here!
Comment below with any questions you have or tell me your experience with teaching abroad. Please subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss my next post. Next week I will give you tips on how to tell your family and friends that you are teaching abroad!
*No one asked me or paid me to write this entry. I just want to provide information on my experiences to people who are thinking about teaching abroad or using Greenheart Travel.