What is your name, age and nationality?
My name is Amber, I am 25 and I am half British and half Fillipino.
What is your education level and background?
I have 10 GCSEs, 3 A Levels and I graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Studies in 2014 from University West of England, Bristol.
Have you travelled abroad previously, and if so where?
Before doing my TEFL program I was lucky enough to travel to Madeira, Portugal, Spain, France, Greece, Corfu, Tunisia, Turkey, Holland, Israel, Palestine and Italy. During my TEFL program I lived in Thailand and also travelled to Bali, Laos and Cambodia. The most recent places that I have visited is New York, Corsica and Montenegro.
What motivated you to teach abroad?
I wasn’t ready to settle down into a job after graduating, I just wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone and immerse myself into a new culture and teach English to a kindergarten school in Asia.
What did you want to personally achieve with this experience, and have you succeeded?
That I can live away from my home comforts and that I wanted to make English lessons as fun as possible for pupils. It is such a good skill to speak another language!!
Did you apply for the program with a friend or on your own?
A applied with a friend from Uni and she is still out in Thailand right now.
Did you know anyone who had taught abroad before you?
Yes, my Dad taught abroad in America when he was younger and my friend's older brother also taught in Asia.
What were some of your concerns before you began teaching abroad?
My concerns were living away from my family, friends and my partner for so long, obtaining my VISA, not earning enough money, finding accommodation after training and not being understood by Thai people.
TEFL PROGRAM INFORMATION
What made you decide to do a TEFL course and choose TEFL Heaven?
The fact that I was going to live and train on a Paradise island for 3 weeks and have a certificate that enables me to teach anywhere around the world. The TEFL Heaven team from day 1 were so supportive and informative and I was excited to meet new people from around the world.
What made you choose a face-to-face TEFL course over other options?
I am more of hands on learner and I think it’s important to practice teaching skills on real life pupils instead of being thrown in at the deep end.
Which TEFL program did you do?
TEFL Heaven Paid Internships Thailand (Koh Samui), 2014
What did you enjoy about your TEFL course?
I enjoyed learning how to make English lessons fun through games. I loved how supportive my fellow trainees were as everyone is in the same boat as you. Also it was lovely that TEFL Heaven organised amazing trips for all of us all to do together such as visiting Khoa San National Park. There was an a social where we all sat on a beach with a beach bucket full of amazing cocktails (welcome to Thailand haha)!!
How prepared did you feel for your teaching position?
Really prepared, I felt that I had enough skills and tools so I could teach a class.
How did you secure your English teaching job?
During training the training team asked what age group I wanted to teach and before my training finished I was secured a job, I was amazed how it all happened so quickly.
What did a typical working week look like for you?
I worked Monday to Friday from 0830-1530 and sometimes did after school English classes and some Saturday tutoring to get some extra money. We arrived at school around 0830 for Thai assembly, before arriving at school I always went to this lovely Thai lady for some fresh Pineapple and gorgeous cold coffee for breakfast. My classes with either 30 minute or 1 hour slots depending on the days schedule. We would have an hour lunch break and then head home around 1600.
What age group or range do you teach?
They were aged between 2 and 8. They were so cute and I miss them so much!!
What do you most enjoy about teaching your students?
How excited they were when I arrived in their class as they were so willing to learn. And it was amazing to see how quickly the children picked up English words.
How did you get your work visa?
I arrived on a tourist VISA and I got my VISA from the Thai Embassy in Cardiff, Wales. Once I was in Thailand the school I was working for put together all the paperwork so I could go to the Thai embassy in Bangkok to get myself a work VISA.
I got paid 30000 THB a month
What are your monthly expenses?
Rent: Between 8,000 - 10,000 THB
Food: Super cheap less than 100 THB a day. I mainly ate street food which was amazing!!
Social life: around 3000 THB a month, depends on how often I went shopping or on a night out.
Transportation: I walked to work every day but I had a BTS card (Bangkok Transport System which is Bangkok’s Skytrain) so I could explore Thailand or get the Skytrain to the airport to fly to a nearby place. That cost me about 375 TBH and that lasted me for about 15 trips which is around 25THB a trip.
Misc: I got a cheap Thai phone for around 500 THB and then got a pay as you go SIM to make phone calls. I mainly used my personal phone as most people in Thailand had Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, What’s App and Line for me to contact them.
Would you say you are able to live comfortably on your monthly salary?
100% I had so much money left over to save to travel to nearby countries, for a flight home and to go shopping!! The cost of living out in Thailand is so cheap!!
ADVICE FOR PROSPECTIVE ENGLISH TEACHERS
What advice would you give someone thinking about teaching abroad, and would you recommend teaching English in Thailand?
I would 100% recommend it, I would jump at the chance of doing it again! I am forever going back through my travel pictures and uploading them to social media as I loved it. My advice would be to do your research about the program, travel light, ask our advisers questions. That's what they are there for, push yourself out of your comfort zone or you will regret not taking the opportunity when you had it!
What inspired you to become a Program Adviser at TEFL Heaven and what do you love most about your role now?
When I was going through the process, I had a lot of assistance from the program advisers. I found them so helpful and I am forever grateful that they supported me through the process. Without them I wouldn’t have had this experience!
What I love about my job now is when I speak to candidates who have lots of questions and I build a rapport with them in answering their questions. I love speaking with them over, email or on the phone. I then see their application forms come through and find out my candidate has secured a place onto a program! It is such a great feeling as I know that they are going to have the best experience ever!!
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