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Moving to Thailand! Seeking advice.

 
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a788



Joined: 15 Jun 2012
Posts: 4
Location: Athens, GA

PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 3:14 pm    Post subject: Moving to Thailand! Seeking advice. Reply with quote

Hello!
My name is Allison! I recently graduated from the University of Georgia in May, and I am in need of a change of scenery! I've decided that teaching english would be a great way for me to experience living in another country, support myself for a year, and travel a bit. I also love kids, so I hope to be teaching children (which I hear is about all you can get as a newbie in this business). Here is a little about me:

Graduated with a BBA in Marketing and en emphasis in music business
23 years old female
"American Looking"

Now, i've got a couple questions for you...

EASY JOB HUNT?:
I hear that having a degree, being a young female, especially one that looks American almost guarantees me a job teaching english in Thailand. Does anyone agree? What time of the year is the best time to apply for jobs? I am planning on taking my tefl course in September and thus i will be job searching in october.

WHERE TO LIVE:
Does anyone have any suggestions as to where to teach? I am trying to decide where the best place for me to live and teach will be. I would greatly appreciate any input from those who know that know thailand well. I want to live in a safe city, given that I am a young female and will be doing a lot of traveling alone. My greatest passions are art, music, and outdoorsy activities. I am very laid back. While saving money is a priority of mine, I have saved up a lot of money for teaching english and living in thailand, so i'm okay with making a little bit less in order to live in an awesome place. Although I do not mind living in a mid-to-large size city, I am not a big city girl. I have been told that Chaing Mai would be an awesome place to consider to live.

BEST TEFL COURSE?:
Also, I am trying to figure out the best TEFL course to take and where to take the course. I am about 90% sure that I want to take the TEFL International course in Phuket. The course is unfortunately $1590, with accommodations ranging $100-250. Has anyone had any experience with Tefl International or phuket? Or does anyone suggest anything cheaper.

VISA:
I am going to speak to my "tefl advisor" today, but does anyone know the best way to get a Visa in America? I live in Georgia currently.

BANKING:
What bank do you suggest that I use for international banking in thailand? I currently use bank of america in the states.

PRESCRIPTIONS:
I take medicine over here in the states, and I will continue needing to take it. How did you guys transfer over your prescriptions? Would a prescription from your doctor here work in Thailand?

ATTIRE:
I'm trying to consider what to pack for thailand. I assume that the majority of my attire will be very relaxed. I don't really dress up much unless I have to, but what type of attire do I need to apply for jobs and go to interviews? As a female, I know that I will have to dress conservatively, but I do not know if I will need a suite (i assume not) or what... i essentially have no clue.

Any other general advice would be appreciated. Thanks for your time!!
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tttompatz



Joined: 06 Mar 2010
Posts: 1951
Location: Talibon, Bohol, Philippines

PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Easy job hunt = yes.
= take less than 14 days right off the plane to find a basic job (32k, 25 classes, BKK). (Don't come from Dec-Feb = few jobs. Do come in Sept/Oct or March-May LOTS of jobs).

= take up to a month to find a better job (40k, 18 classes, not in a tourist area)

= take the time (~1 year) to get established and known to find a great job. (50k+, nice location).

Where to live -
=most jobs are in BKK (something about having 8 million people live there).

=least jobs and worst competition = beach areas and tourist hotspots (literally thousands of tourists competing for the same few jobs and willing to work for next to nothing to extend their stay in the tropics)

Best TEFL course
=If you are serious about TEFL then, in Thailand, CELTA is king (in terms of brand recognition as well as quality) followed closely by Trinity and SIT. All others are always compared to those 3.

=a better question would be, "do you need a TEFL?". IF you are going to work with kids (k-6) then the answer is NO. If you are working with older students (7-12 or older) then the answer is YES.

Visa
=contact the local Thai consulate and get a 60-day, double entry tourist visa. Come to Thailand, get a job and, provided you have 21 days remaining on your allowed period of stay, you can go to immigration in BKK and change your status to non-b.

=If you don't have 21 days remaining on your period of stay then you will need to run to the Thai embassy in Laos and get your new visa. Border runs are common. There are several agencies who specialize in them and they run up a couple times per week.

Banking
=Until you get work and a work permit it won't matter. Banking will be problematic and expensive. After you get work and a work permit your employer will probably want you to open an account with their bank for automatic payment of your salary.

Meds/prescriptions
=Unless your meds are class A restricted (schedule 1 for Americans) you can probably just take your current pill box into the pharmacy and get them over the counter.

Dress
=Think office attire for most work. Pack a bit of casual for your off time.
If your workplace is more casual (kindergarten type jobs) then your business attire won't be out of place and it is easy to get more casual stuff here.

.
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Eagle Eyes



Joined: 26 Apr 2012
Posts: 121
Location: Istanbul

PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 11:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Finding a teaching job in Thailand is no problem. The problem is where you wish to work. Bangkok is a very humid and steaming hot city most of the year. The air and noise pollution levels here are the worst in the world. Regarding salary expect to earn about Baht 30,000 monthly as a newbie teaching kids at Thai governent. private and language schools.You might enjoy teaching in the LOS for a year or so but my advice is get better teaching qualifications so as to move elsewhere in the region so you can save money for your future. Good luck in your search and enjoy Thailand while you can! Smile
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plumpy nut



Joined: 12 Mar 2011
Posts: 796

PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:31 am    Post subject: Re: Moving to Thailand! Seeking advice. Reply with quote

a788 wrote:


BEST TEFL COURSE?:
Also, I am trying to figure out the best TEFL course to take and where to take the course. I am about 90% sure that I want to take the TEFL International course in Phuket. The course is unfortunately $1590, with accommodations ranging $100-250. Has anyone had any experience with Tefl International or phuket? Or does anyone suggest anything cheaper.



Celta is the rage in SE Asia, you may want to consider that. Celta course providers use a method from Cambridge and I think are OKed in some way by the university. Personally I would recommend The TEFL Institute or Chiang Mai University TEFL, although these are not Celta providers. Your accomodation price is good and the price of the course not too bad.
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a788



Joined: 15 Jun 2012
Posts: 4
Location: Athens, GA

PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 2:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your advice!

I do not want to live in BKK, though. Too much for me.

I kind of want to teach younger children. I do want to get a certificate no matter what, even though it might not be mandatory for teaching children. I dont want to go into the teaching environment and have no idea what's going on. It does suck that the courses cost so much money, though.

I am planning on teaching in Chaing Mai, so I didn't want to take the class there. I wanted to teach in a different city that I took the course.
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tttompatz



Joined: 06 Mar 2010
Posts: 1951
Location: Talibon, Bohol, Philippines

PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 5:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just my humble and somewhat vocal opinion:

IF you are going to work with younger kids (k-6) then do not waste your money on a TEFL course. It is not that it is not mandatory but that it really is useless in a YL environment.

Your time would be far better spend volunteering for a month in a Montessori school / kindergartern or someplace where you get an understanding of what little kids and teaching them is all about.

TEFL courses are good for working with older students but trying to use the same methodology in a YL environment is a recipe for disaster.

Look on youtube for classroom videos of YL environments in Asia (there is not much difference from Japan to Korea to China to Thailand and I have extensive experience in all 4).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9p4oUsBZZY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwCwj21MdlY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZooRSjoOU3o
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Ujrry3fB0c

Look at books and materials from Oxford and Cambridge University Press for working with young learners. They have some excellent stuff for teachers. eg:
http://elt.oup.com/cat/subjects/teacher_dev/?cc=th&selLanguage=en&mode=hub

You might also take a look at some of the stuff from Stephen Krashen as it pertains more to language acquisition in young learners.
http://www.sdkrashen.com/SL_Acquisition_and_Learning/SL_Acquisition_and_Learning.pdf
http://www.sdkrashen.com/Principles_and_Practice/Principles_and_Practice.pdf

If you are planning to work in a tourist destination (like CM) then be prepared to face much more competition and lower wages (10-40% lower) than you would make if you were away from a tourist trap with a bunch of TEFL course programs running.

Move 100km away in any direction and the situation changes markedly.

Get your head out of the travel brochures (and TEFL providers selling dreams of travel and fun in exotic places) and into thinking WORK.
Spend your term doing your best for your kids and your holidays enjoying places like Ko Phi Phi, Chang Mai, etc.

.
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a788



Joined: 15 Jun 2012
Posts: 4
Location: Athens, GA

PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 5:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tttompatz, I appreciate you taking the time to reply to me. While I understand what you're saying and respect your opinion about location choices, I am not trying to start a career in TEFL. I only intend on teaching in Thailand for one year.

While I know I am going to be a good teacher because I care, am capable, and always put myself fully into my work, I do want to live in a cool, vibrant & fun place. Especially since part of the reason that I am doing this is to travel, see the world, and live in a fun place for a year. I've been saving up for this one year for all of college! I want to live it up, teach well and meet new people.

I understand what you're saying about getting my head out of travel books, especially because I think that there are plenty of amazing places and cities OUTSIDE of the books. In fact, one of the main reasons I created this thread was because I wanted to find out what these places are called and research them. If you have any suggestions on where to go outside of the main travel cities, I would appreciate your insight.

about whether or not to get a tefl certificate...
i feel uncomfortable flying to another country without the course and trying to get a job. I feel like it would greatly lessen my abilities to get jobs, and put me at the bottom of the totem pole when applying. Do you really feel like I could easily secure a job teaching YL without a certificate?

Also, generally speaking, do YL teachers make less money than teachers that teach older ages?
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Steinmann



Joined: 17 Mar 2009
Posts: 254
Location: In the frozen north

PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 6:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As an option, you could just head on down to Buford Highway in Atlanta. Plenty of volunteer ESL work to be had right there.
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tttompatz



Joined: 06 Mar 2010
Posts: 1951
Location: Talibon, Bohol, Philippines

PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

a788 wrote:
tttompatz, I appreciate you taking the time to reply to me. While I understand what you're saying and respect your opinion about location choices, I am not trying to start a career in TEFL. I only intend on teaching in Thailand for one year.

While I know I am going to be a good teacher because I care, am capable, and always put myself fully into my work, I do want to live in a cool, vibrant & fun place. Especially since part of the reason that I am doing this is to travel, see the world, and live in a fun place for a year. I've been saving up for this one year for all of college! I want to live it up, teach well and meet new people.

I understand what you're saying about getting my head out of travel books, especially because I think that there are plenty of amazing places and cities OUTSIDE of the books. In fact, one of the main reasons I created this thread was because I wanted to find out what these places are called and research them. If you have any suggestions on where to go outside of the main travel cities, I would appreciate your insight.

about whether or not to get a tefl certificate...
i feel uncomfortable flying to another country without the course and trying to get a job. I feel like it would greatly lessen my abilities to get jobs, and put me at the bottom of the totem pole when applying. Do you really feel like I could easily secure a job teaching YL without a certificate?

Also, generally speaking, do YL teachers make less money than teachers that teach older ages?


Again, just my opinion and not gospel....

Do YL teachers make less money = NO.
(doubly no if you actually understand marketing). You meet all the (legal) requirements and fit the "picture". Sell the package.

Would not having a TEFL cert put you at the bottom of the pile = no.
Could you easily secure a job as a YL teacher without a TEFL cert = YES.
Watch the videos. Sell the package.

Getting a job as a YL teacher is about as difficult as stepping off a curb unless you insist on places like CM.

Oh, and don't be surprised if your year turns into a couple or more.
The LOS is hard to get away from after you have been here for a while.

.
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PattyFlipper



Joined: 14 Nov 2007
Posts: 563

PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2012 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you want access to arts and music but don't want to live in Bangkok, then Chiang Mai is about the only other alternative, but even there the pickings will be comparatively slim. Thailand's Byzantine and draconian work permit regulations do not exactly encourage foreign participation in the local arts and music scene. Chiangmai does offer quick and easy access to some very scenic outdoor locations though. Anywhere else in Thailand is going to be a bit of a cultural desert unless you are into morlam, karaoke, or horizontal folk dancing. The main drawback to Chiangmai is that every TEFLer pro tem and his/her dog wants to live there, thus forcing wages down to penurious levels, even by the decidedly less-than-generous standards of the country as a whole. However, being a young, Western female should definitely work in your favour in terms of finding work (albeit poorly remunerated).

In my view, the bigger cities in Korea and China are much better destinations than Thailand if you are seeking a more diverse range of cultural pursuits. Teaching jobs generally offer higher salaries and/or benefit packages, too.
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