Teaching English in Thailand - An EFL Teacher Shares Her Story
Before moving to Thailand in November 2021 while it almost appeared not just impossible but somehow foolish to leave your amiable country behind and travel 5,479 km to an exotic far-flung destination on a plane full of self-willed international passengers when the pandemic was still going strong, I had no clear idea about the fascinating country I was visiting and life-altering changes I was about to experience.
As a result of the first fierce waves of the pandemic, my plans to move to Thailand in 2019 were temporarily postponed for more than two pending years when I lived my life in a perpetual Limbo and felt my efforts to control my life were like those of a fish trying to control the ocean.
I was picked up from the airport by a couple of fearful gowned-up guys and carried to a fish tank in a cozy hotel where I was quarantined for ten endless days, immersing in my thoughts, suspicions, and fears and struggling with the time difference.
Life in Thailand
In retrospect, I clearly remember my first impression of beautiful, bustling Bangkok, its unique urban design, and approachable people whose respectful manners and eagerness to help made me feel at home from the very early days.
I first saw the giant 69-meter-tall golden Buddha statue in the heart of Bangkok one sleepy morning when I was going to a job interview. His contemplative face, bright by the sunshine and deep in meditation, is one of my unforgettable early memories of Bangkok.
Now that I have been here for almost six months, I can say Bangkok is like nowhere I have seen it before.
During my short stay in Thailand and my brief encounter with Thai people, they gradually managed to gain my genuine respect and love. They are kind, caring, and a bit shy, which might make them seem socially avoidant, especially if you are a foreigner that they don't know very well. But once they get to know and trust you, they do their best to help.
Keep an eye on the weather forecast and have an umbrella with you, or you may be stricken by an unexpected downpour that can soak you to your bones in a glimpse.
Even though I arrived in Bangkok during the cool and dry season and I had been properly warned about the potential thunderstorms, the heavy, non-stop rainfalls and sky-splitting lightning that happened once in a while were not what I expected.
It can also get unbelievably humid during the hot season, with the ever-rising temperature fluctuating around 30 C.
There is a wide variety of accommodation possibilities in Bangkok, from luxury detached houses to tiny furnished condos that can be something like a 25-meter studio or bigger apartments with a couple of bedrooms.The monthly rents may vary from approximately 3000 to 30000 thousand baht based on your budget. You also need to pay around 1000 baht for electricity and water bills and luckily there is no gas bill.
Thai food is inviting, tasty, and unbelievably cheap. You can have a mouthwatering meal for less than 100 baht here. If you are a seafood lover, you are at the right place, but what I find mesmerizing is the wide variety of Thai fruit and the exotic tastes and flavors they offer.
Bangkok is a relatively cheap city, and one can make ends meet by around 17000 baht, which is about 500 USD for a single person. The only thing that I find quite expensive here in comparison with my country is transport.
There are reasonable offers and fair conditions for buying a car if you are Thai; as a foreigner, though, you need to pay full upfront if you decide to buy a car, and the gas is comparatively expensive.
It is fun to take a tuk-tuk, a three-wheeled vehicle specific to Thailand when you are sightseeing, but it is not an appropriate option for everyday commuting, specifically for safety reasons.
Even though there are numerous cheap vans, all the details about the destinations and stops that are written on them are in Thai, so it can be a bit uncomfortable to use them.
There is an application named Viabus which provides commuters with useful details about the routes, stops, and current location of the bus you are waiting for by tracking their GPS, but unfortunately, most of the buses are not air-conditioned and some of them are slow and unpunctual. You can always take a taximeter or Grab wherever you are, but a better suggestion is to live close to your workplace to cut down your expenses and avoid traffic congestion.
Thai culture is deep. Teachers are highly respected, and students are cooperative and respectful, which makes the job less struggling and more enjoyable. The language is lovely and easy to pick up, but difficult to make heads or tails of the grammar. People are mostly Buddhist, but they seem quite open-minded when it comes to other religions and cultures. Picturesque churches or mosques can be noticed alongside eye-catching Thai temples and palaces where their color harmony and magically sparkling tiles represent the unique aspect of Thai architecture, specifically at night.
Finally, if you are an English teacher who is going to pursue your career goals abroad or you are simply thinking about starting a teaching job, Thailand can offer you an enjoyable and unforgettable teaching experience.
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