You’ve decided that getting your TEFL certification is your next big move and Thailand is where you’ll accomplish it! You’re excited for the new foods, culture, and experiences ahead of you… but what does it mean to be a teacher living abroad? What will your daily challenges and routines look like? How does one establish community? Whether you’re living in a bustling city, in the mountains, or by the ocean, in class or online, your day-to-day life as a teacher will follow a consistent schedule and yes, you will still have friends! Here I answer some commonly asked questions of aspiring teachers:
What will my weekdays look like?
Here’s a broad overview of what your schedule could look like during school, this can be interchangeable with online teaching. Classes are 45-60 minutes long and you are required to work 20 hours a week, per Education Ministry Law. If you’re f2f, this could include after school enrichment classes.
|Wake up, Morning routine
|Arrive at school
|Morning Assembly (attendance mandatory)
|End of School, possible after school class
|Exercise / Hang with friends / Chill at home
|Out to dinner with friends / Make dinner or order in
|Netflix / Class prep check in / Visit Jazz Bar
|Head to bed, Night routine
Will my school provide lunch or is that my responsibility?
Short answer: Most schools will provide you with a free lunch! Sometimes breakfast and snacks too! (Usually no more than 60B)
Long answer: Most schools will provide you with a free lunch, but will it be to your liking? That’s the tricky part. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, most likely you will need to be responsible for preparing your own food throughout the day as meat and fish are central to Thai cuisine. If this is important to you, make sure you ask your school what their offerings are.
What can I do in my free-time and weekends?
Depending on where you’re living will determine the activities available. However, some reliable activities, no matter your location in the country, include jazz clubs and live music, billiard bars, Shabu (all you can eat BBQ), nightclubs, morning/night/weekend markets offering everything from food to clothing to toys, tattoo shops, and Muay Thai gyms.
If you find yourself in the big city, you can expect an incredible variety of food options to explore, shopping malls, cinemas, nightclubs, speakeasies, various craft/dance/yoga classes, etc! If you enjoy a luxurious and fast pace to life, a metropolitan location is for you!
If you enjoy the mountains, be sure to hop on a motorbike and go for a weekend cruise through the Mae Hong Song or Samoeng Loops in Northern Thailand. Camping, hiking, waterfall chasing, rock climbing, music festivals, conscious community events, and hidden cafes make the mountains a dreamy place to live and work.
If you enjoy the beach more than the city, you’ll be happy to hear that Thailand is the most affordable place to get your Free and SCUBA diving certifications. Whether you’re on the Andaman Sea or Gulf side, you’re bound to play with sea turtles while snorkeling or spot nudibranch’s diving. The South is known for large and diverse communities due to its popular beachscapes, which means you’ll never be short an interesting interaction!
What’s the climate and weather like in Thailand?
The general range of temperature in Thailand is anywhere between 60º – 90ºF with moderate to high humidity, depending on the season. In the North, winter months can dip into the 50º’s while summertime in Central Thailand can get as hot as 100ºF. Either way, count on ditching your heavy denim jeans and puffer jackets cause this tropic climate is begging you to live your best short-sleeve life!
Heads up: Most of Thailand is fairly modest, meaning it is considered appropriate to keep your shorts long and sleeves on your shirts. While there is leeway depending on your location, Wat’s (Temples) will always require you to cover your knees, shoulders, and chest.
How can I connect to other expats?
Conveniently, predecessing expats have created highly informative and connected Facebook groups for everything. Looking for a yoga and breathwork class? Check Facebook events “near you” page. Need to find an apartment in one week? Facebook groups gotchya back with FAST responses. Want to know the best place to get your nails done, find a certain kitchen item, or best khao soi in town? Facebook community groups will be your best friend! These forums are spectacular tools for connecting with other local expats and finding events!
Starting over in a new country is never easy, but Thailand is an incredible place if you need to hit the reset or start-over button for yourself. With welcoming and warm culture, exciting new opportunities and adventures, a diverse blending of people Thailand never disappoints.
Written by Marina Foster for Teacher’s Friend