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Study TESOL in Thailand in Sunny Hua Hin!

Study TESOL in Thailand in Sunny Hua Hin!

Start your TESOL in Thailand journey by the beach in Hua Hin!

Explore the gorgeous beach city of Hua Hin whilst studying for your TESOL/TEFL qualification that will let you teach and travel around Thailand and internationally.

When you hear the word ‘Thailand’, what’s the first thing that you think of? Do you think of Bangkok and Phuket? Temples? Beaches? Mountains? How about the city of Hua Hin? The beautiful beachside city sits just three and a half hours south of the capital but remains a hidden gem for some. Here at XploreAsia, we think Hua Hin is a great place to study to receive your TESOL in Thailand qualification and we’re going to tell you why!

In Hua Hin, you get the best of both worlds. It has all the beachy and touristy attractions, along with authentic, local spots. Although many holiday makers come to Hua Hin, many people still live a traditional Thai lifestyle and it’s a great place to start your foray into Thai culture.

Let’s Talk About Food!

 Hua Hin has a plethora of dining options to suit many different tastes and dietary requirements. Across from, XploreAsia are a range of food stalls offering everything from pad Thai, to sugar-laden desserts, to fresh and healthy glass noodle salads, to coffee and much more. There are many restaurants serving traditional Thai food along Soi 51, including halal options, and we recommend that you explore the area on foot so you don’t miss anything.

 There are also lots of spots to find home comforts or international cuisines here. Head to Market Village and Bluport malls to find chain restaurants you will recognize from home and have your pick of Italian food, Japanese food or even Korean BBQ. There is even a vegan restaurant near the night market for anyone following a plant-based diet. Vegetarian or not, we highly recommend giving the jackfruit curry a try!

Get a taste of delicious local foods such as this while you get your TESOL in Thailand
 Taste delicious local foods like this while you get your TESOL in Thailand

Okay, Now Let’s Go Shopping!

Didn’t pack enough pairs of elephant pants? Want to impress your friends and family back home with authentic Thai handicrafts? Head to the night markets! The most famous is simply called the Night Market and is by Soi 72- only a twenty minute walk or short drive from the XploreAsia office!. It offers a huge range of clothes, tech, and souvenirs as well as being a hive of restaurants and bars. You can even get a massage there if you need to charge your batteries halfway through shopping. Other favourite markets include Cicada Market, the Tamarind Market and, for groceries, Dinosau!

There are also two large shopping malls in Hua Hin which offer well-known brands in western sizes. If you have packed light to come to study your TESOL in Thailand, you can easily pick up some smart clothes for teaching here.

See beautiful temples like this when getting your TESOL in Thailand with XploreAsia
See all the beautiful scenery that Hua Hin has to offer, like this temple deep inside a natural cave

Let’s Get Outside!

 In Hua Hin, there are lots of adventures to go on. You can visit the Kui Buri National Park to see elephants roaming free without human intervention. As the land is protected, the animals are, too, and you won’t get any cruel elephant rides here. You can also spot gaurs, deer, wild boar, Burmese hare, and the other majestic animals who call the park their home.

 If you are looking for an active weekend In Hua Hin, then head over to the Pala-U waterfall, where you can choose a hike to suit your skill level. There are 16-levels of this incredible waterfall and you will be in safe hands with the local guides. Another great hiking spot is the Phraya Nakhon Cave. After a hike over a limestone trail offering spectacular views of the beach and mountains, you can take in the beauty of the Kuha Karuhas pavilion.

At XploreAsia, we offer our Hua Hin TESOL course participants the chance to come with us to all of these places as weekend excursions, helping you save money through paying as a group and also making sure you get the most out of your time in the city.

Giving Back to the Community

At XploreAsia, we love Hua Hin and therefore want to help keep it at its best. Hua Hin is the home to Rescue P.A.W.S, a not-for-profit organization that improves the quality of life for many animals through sterilization and education.

Here, you can arrange a day visit, where you will learn more about the organization, and be able to spend time with some of the dogs. Either take them for a walk along the nearby beach, or tag along with the team for their daily pack feeds. Besides, what better way to enjoy your time in Thailand than to spend it with dogs? Even better, a visit here is included as part of the orientation week for all our TESOL students who come to study in Hua Hin!

In Hua Hin, you can visit not-for-profit organizations such as Rescue Paws .
Take the pups out for a walk at Rescue Paws and play with them during a day visit.

Ready to experience life overseas? Check out our TESOL in Thailand!

If the sun, sea, sand and mango stick rice doesn’t convince you to come to Thailand, come to make a difference! Teaching English makes a huge difference to a child’s future, enabling them the chance to gain increased educational and professional opportunities or even lift their families out of poverty. By sharing your language, you can open a world of possibilities for your students!

On completion of our TESOL in Thailand program, graduates also get a week of cultural activities to get you ready for life abroad, as well as lifelong support from our international team. If you want to learn more about joining XploreAsia as an ESL teacher, and more about living in the beautiful beachside city of Hua Hin, then visit our website now and begin to embrace your adventure!

Don’t forget to follow our Instagram and Facebook pages to catch up with our staff and teachers.

Blog contributed by Ashia Glover.

Small Town Stories: Casey in Tak | Teaching in Thailand

Small Town Stories: Casey in Tak | Teaching in Thailand

Casey shares her story of teaching in Thailand, in the northern province, Tak!

“I think you definitely have to be prepared for what you signed up for. Teaching in Thailand is a rewarding and amazing experience. You have to reach out- don’t stay in your room and shelter yourself just because you feel uncomfortable. Reach out of your limits and you will find a community and a home wherever you are.”

Teaching in Thailand can be a great way to explore the culture and live like a local. In this series, some of our teachers tell us about the challenges and rewards of living in a town previously unknown to them. As much as going somewhere unknown can be daunting, we hope their experience and advice will help you settle into your teaching placement more easily.

TESOL alumn Casey shares her story teaching in Northern Thailand!

After completing her TESOL course in Hua Hin, Casey found herself moving north to teach in Tak. In this blog, Casey describes how she was able to build a community of other foreign teachers and Thai teachers alike. Keep reading to hear more about Casey’s Thai adventure and check out our TESOL courses if it makes you feel inspired to take the leap yourself!

When you found out you were going to Tak, how did you feel about your placement?

“I had never heard of this town before. I’d asked for the north, so I was excited to be up here. I’d asked for Chiang Rai, but I had been told that wasn’t likely, so I was open to anything in the area. I also really wanted kindergarten. Getting kindergarten in the north, I was really happy.”

Did you have a first choice of placement in your mind before you started teaching in Thailand?

“Before I came here, I wanted a city, but when we landed in Bangkok I realised that wasn’t what I wanted. So, I spoke with my placement coordinator and asked to switch it to a smaller town in the North.”

Casey's school had a mixture of foreign and Thai teachers who made it much easier for her to adjust to life abroad.
What was it like adjusting to life at your placement?

“It was a little more difficult than I thought it would be. I thought the hardest part would be leaving my friends and family in the states, but when I got to Hua Hin, I felt like I made friends and family and I didn’t expect leaving that month to be that hard. I think my first real culture shock came later than I expected it to.”

Now that you’re more settled in, what kind of connections have you made in the local community?

“There’s not a lot of foreigners aside from the handful of teachers. I don’t think anyone really comes to this town for travel. My co-teachers have been really helpful throughout the whole process. We’ve been able to communicate on a daily basis and have been very welcoming into the school community; so them and the teachers I live with do dinners and stuff like that together sometimes. It’s nice to have someone to show you around.”

What is your favourite thing about the town you’re teaching in?

“So, my town is pretty small and a lot of people would say there’s not much to do, and I agree with that, but in the week, it’s nice to have that place that’s calm and collected. When I travel at the weekends, I’m thankful on Sunday night that I’m coming back here instead of a bustling city that never stops.”

Teaching in Thailand is a great way to enrich your students' lives by providing them with English lessons, and have amazing experiences yourself.
Teachers often form strong bonds with their students and make great memories with them.
What would you tell people about living in a small town in Tak?

“I think you definitely have to be prepared for what you signed up for. It’s a rewarding and amazing experience. I don’t think it’s for everyone though. You have to reach out- don’t stay in your room and shelter yourself just because you feel uncomfortable. Reach out of your limits and you will find a community and a home wherever you are.”

Related to your last answer, is there any advice you would give to teachers who are going to a town without many other foreigners?

“I would say the most important thing is staying connected. Sometimes it can be hard to reach out to friends and family as it makes you miss them more, but it is helpful to keep that open line of communication. I think both overseas, and with the people in your community; even if you don’t have many English speaking people around you. You should have teachers at your school that can help you so make sure to reach out.”

We love hearing our teachers’ stories. If you’re an alumn and would like to share your experience, please get in touch. If you’re looking to start a new adventure teaching overseas, check out our TESOL courses and international placement services. Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram and Facebook for more updates!

Improve Classroom Management in ESL: Build Student Relationships

Improve Classroom Management in ESL: Build Student Relationships

Classroom Management in ESL Through Student Well Being

“It’s important to make your students feel welcome, to make them feel connected and included within the school environment. Teachers have the power to do that every single day. In turn, that really builds their resilience, so when they do face challenges in life, outside of school, you played a part in helping them overcome them, just by listening and showing care.”

Teaching ESL can be challenging, especially for those who have never taught before. Classroom management in ESL can be one of the hardest things for new teachers to master. In this interview, Kaitlyn, who taught in Thailand before gaining an Graduate Degree in Education, details how the little things that even experienced teachers often forget to do can make a huge difference in your classroom.

What made you interested in researching student well being?

“I wasn’t actually aware of the term ‘student wellbeing’ before I went back to study for my Masters degree, but it was something I found that was really important. When I was teaching here in Thailand, I saw that there was a very high turnover of teachers and I was really curious as to why, but what I found most interesting was the impact that this had on students and how important the roles of teachers are. Student wellbeing is about asking, “how can we create a better community within the school so that students feel welcomed and connected to the school?” It can be the smallest things we do as educators that contributes to creating this environment. Everything can play a part in improving your classroom management in ESL or any other class. It can result in greater student achievement as well.”

What little things can teachers do in their classrooms to make their students feel included?

“I think it’s just in the everyday relationships teachers build with their students. That comes in a myriad of different forms, such as just getting to know your students names once you begin a new year with them. When you’re coming into a new class, make sure you’re getting to know their names, getting to know them more in depth. Not just as a student, but as a person. Have those daily interactions. Ask them what they’re doing and what they like to do; learn their passions and interests. It’s also, you know, showing empathy. Listening to students when they want to talk. Try to become someone your students can trust, that they can confide in.

Even the small actions you take in your classroom can make the biggest difference. Kaitlyn talks about how having an awareness of student well being can lead to better classroom management in ESL.

“It starts to build the trust and opens lines of communication and the better you know them, the easier it is to plan lessons, create activities; it will help boost engagement as well [as well being].”

Getting active with your stduents can be great for classroom management in ESL.

How can the seating arrangement and the space in the classroom contribute to children’s learning?

“I think a lot of western countries are moving past the teacher centered classrooms- where the teacher is at the front and the students are all sitting in rows. Now, a lot of schools are pushing for students to gain critical thinking skills and be more collaborative in their learning. So, one of the ways of changing the classroom seating arrangement is by putting them in clusters, putting them in pairs or putting them in groups of four, so they’re not in those straight rows. What that says when the students walk in is that this environment is collaborative, we’re going to be doing more group work. It kind of allows them to get a more group-orientated learning environment and feel, and it changes the dynamic of the classroom. Sometimes if you have classes that maybe you struggle with classroom management, changing the seating arrangement can change the dynamic of the class itself.”

Related to that, what would you advise someone who has a class that are very difficult to control?

“That’s a hard question as everyone is different and classroom management is one of the most challenging aspects of teaching. I think it comes down to- if you have the time, resources, and support- getting to know your students. Get to the root of the problem and find out why the class is so rambunctious, looking at the bigger picture. Is it because they are sitting for 3 hours in a row and they need to get out and release some energy? Is it because the activities aren’t very engaging? If so, how can we make them more engaging and design activities around what they like? How can we take what we’re learning and put it in a different context? How can we take the students out of the classroom, do something more interactive, and then get them back in? So, I think it’s about really getting to know your students, taking that time, and of course that can get in the way of teaching the content of the lesson, but I think in the end it helps.”

How do you think the language the teacher uses in the classroom impacts the students?

“So, one thing is that it’s really easy to praise students based on their intelligence or innate characteristics, like “you’re very smart! You’re such a bright student!” That can relay into a fixed mindset, so they think they can never improve. As teachers, you want to promote a growth mindset because learning is dynamic and it’s always moving. When you only praise students on how smart they are, you’re essentially telling them that it’s all that they are.

The way that you praise students can really have an impact on how they learn.

“So, when they do face challenges, they become really discouraged because they think ‘I’m really smart, but I’m not getting this, so I can’t do any better’. It’s really important to encourage students that ‘you will get better and you will get it’.”

Do you think it’s more difficult to apply this kind of classroom management in ESL classrooms?

Kaitlyn's research into student well being showed that learning about your students can be the key to discipling them and implementing management strategies.

“No, whatever you’re teaching, it’s important to make your students feel welcome, to make them feel connected and included within the school environment. Teachers have the power to do that every single day. In turn, that really builds the students’ resilience, so when they do face challenges in life, outside of school, you played a part in helping them overcome them, just by listening and showing care.”

Thank you to Kaitlyn for sharing her classroom management in ESL advice with us! Want to try teaching and make connections with your students? Consider becoming an ESL teacher in Thailand, where you can uplift students and communities by sharing your English skills. Teaching is also a great way to learn and gain transferable skills that can also impact YOUR future. Contact us today to find out more!

For more insight into teaching abroad, follow us on Instagram or Facebook, too!

Blog contributors: Kaitlyn DeLuca interviewed by Roxie Wong.

I was Teaching in Thailand During a Pandemic

I was Teaching in Thailand During a Pandemic

Teaching in Thailand: How 6 Months Became 1 Year!

“If you would have asked 18 year old Hayley, “where will you be in 5 years?”  I know for certain she would have never said “living alone in a small, Northern Thai town”. I fell in love with this country,  the people, and my students long before COVID-19. If anything positive came out of the pandemic, it was the fact that the temporary life I have teaching in Thailand has become more permanent and became home.”

In this blog post, Hayley shares how teaching in Thailand changed her life and describes why she decided not to leave during the coronavirus pandemic. Many of our TESOL / TEFL graduates end up staying much longer than they originally expected. Read on to find out more about how Hayley’s 6 month adventure has turned into an almost year long lifestyle… and counting!

Hayley decided to seek new possibilities in Thailand!

Just over a year ago, I decided to leave my first “adult” job, my family and my friends behind, and move to another continent. When I first made the decision, I desperately needed a change in my life. I was stuck between feeling “too comfortable”- being so close to my childhood home and memories- whilst also feeling really uncomfortable with how the beginning of my adult life was playing out. So after an eye opening series of events leading up to my 23rd birthday, I decided it was time to pack my bags and escape my problems by teaching in Thailand.

It sounded like a dream! All of the websites, programs, and blog posts advertised that I could teach for 6 months, live in a beautiful place, eat delicious food, and make some memories along the way. But what ended up happening was so much more than the “short-term escape” I had originally planned. 11 months later: this is my home. A home that I have no intentions or interest in leaving for a while.

Teaching in Thailand is better with friends

I started my cliche-sounding “journey” in Chiang Mai, a city in northern Thailand surrounded by mountains and forests. Through XploreAsia’s 120-hour TESOL / TEFL certification, my classmates and I stayed in a hotel in a part of town that allowed for a culturally immersive experience, but close enough to the “fun and comfortably westernized” area. I can remember the first night like it was yesterday as we set out to a large night bazaar with curious eyes— strolling along as we checked out the piles of low priced clothing, exquisite art on display and for sale, and countless sizzling skewers of various meats and scorpions.

Hayley and her international friends enjoyng a meal together in Thailand

XploreAsia’s TESOL program was a jam packed 4 weeks of learning how to teach in Thailand, whilst also gaining cultural insights during orientation week. My favorite highlights include visiting a Buddhist monastery where we learned from a traditional monk, going to teach kindergarteners at an English camp, and even all of the hours spent squished into a red songthaew with my classmates who became like family. All of the XploreAsia staff were extremely kind and experienced in helping us adjust to Thai life and culture, but I’m exceptionally thankful for our amazing teacher and role-model, Mariam.

The adventure in Mae Sot starts here!

After completing the course and XploreAsia’s placement process, I was excited to get a job teaching in the Northern province of Tak. My agents were thoughtful about my placement and kept my preferences close in mind ( although when considering teaching abroad, I HIGHLY recommend coming with very few preferences). Following a night of anxious goodbyes, I was on my 6 hour bus to Mae Sot, Thailand with a couple of my TESOL classmates.

"What I didn’t know was how much I would fall in love with this town and more importantly MY SCHOOL."

I could write a novel about the laughs, learning, and sights of each day. Every single day at school was a new experience that has made me into the English teacher and curious farang I am today.

Hayley Feldman, XA Alumn

Mae Sot is a small yet bustling town on the border of Thailand and Myanmar. Due to its close proximity to neighboring Myanmar, Mae Sot draws a diverse group of people from Thailand, Myanmar, China, and many western countries. It seems quite isolated by mountains and forests, but has many “western amenities” such as comfortable (and affordable) housing, a Robinson’s (essentially a small shopping mall), an airport and other easily available transportation, as well as an active English-speaking community. Almost immediately, I felt confident that I would be comfortable for my short-term, one semester stay. What I didn’t know was how much I would fall in love with this town and more importantly MY SCHOOL.

First days teaching in Thailand!

Hayley having fun with her students in the classroom
Teaching in Thailand gives you a unique window into Thai culture!
Many of our teachers fall in love with parts of Thailand they'd never heard of before. In Hayley's case, she fell for the Northwestern city, Mae Sot

Our first stop in town was our school, Ratwittaya School. After a long night of travel, I was exhausted and terrified, but the nerves settled almost instantly when our new principal Ajarn Oye gave us a tour of the school and insisted that we call her Mom. We were scheduled to start working the following Monday (1.5 days later) and would only have one working week to settle in before being tossed in the classroom with 700 students eager to meet us. The teaching in Thailand adventure was about to begin!

At school, I was assigned to work with primary grades 1, 2, and 3 which consisted of 700 students aged from 5-9 years old. Although there were plenty of bumps in figuring out lesson planning and classroom management, I quickly learned to love my time in the classroom. At Ratwittaya, a Kindergarten to Grade 12 private school in Mae Sot, the students learn all core subjects along with a heavy focus on Chinese language. Due to their tight schedule, I only taught each of my 18 classes of about 40 students once a week for one hour. Have you ever tried to remember the faces and nicknames of 700 students? Let me tell you from experience that it’s NOT easy!

Did you know that Thailand has a day dedicated to teachers?

Nonetheless, the semester flew by and by half-way, I had decided to extend for at least another semester. I was eager to improve my students’ language abilities and to assist in the development of the English Department. Some personal highlights include Sports Day, the Christmas Festival, Teachers Sports day, and the Chinese New Year festivities!! I could write a novel about the laughs, learning, and sights of each day. Every single day at school was a new experience that has made me into the English teacher and curious farang (term for westerners used by many Thais) I am today.

How the pandemic changed my teaching experience

Around mid-January, I became aware of the coronavirus- later named COVID-19- and watched it evolve into the ever-looming news that it is today. Thailand was actually one of the first countries to have cases of the coronavirus outside of China, but the government provided consistent, ongoing information about the number of cases, new regulations, and protocols. Of course, there was a time when I questioned my plans to stay in the country and worried about whether I would be safe here, but, ultimately, I decided to stay. For me, it was about considering where I would be happiest in times of uncertainty, and where I consider to be “home”. This decision was extremely difficult. Staying meant being unsure of when I would be able to physically see my family and friends back in Los Angeles. But, at the same time, it was obvious to me: I had my own small house and lived near to a close friend, had a reliable income, savings for an emergency, and soon I would adopt the cutest grandma cat in town. The new pandemic was not going to prevent me enjoying my new life teaching in Thailand.

We began feeling the full effects of the new health pandemic around late March, so we began self quarantining and social distancing. At this point, schools were already closed for vacation and were not set to open again until May 15. As Covid progressed in its world-wide showdown, things changed. My family would no longer be able to visit, borders were closing, Thailand’s national Songkran holiday was even postponed, and the new school term was pushed back to July 1st. April and May were long and HOT. I was thankful to have my aircon and the opportunity to tutor some of my students online from the comfort of my quaint Thai-style home. I cooked more than I have in years and I actively sought out social time with my family and friends around the world via video calls.

Although many experience some homesickness when teaching in Thailand, Hayley's international support network- and her students!- made staying in Thailand the right choice for Hayley

New normal? No Problem!

In June, our new normal began to blossom. Stores and restaurants began to re-open, the nationwide curfew was lifted, and mask wearing was essential to continue maintaining safety. Never in my life did I think that a mask would become one of my new favorite accessories. Temperature checkpoints and QR scanning were added to my daily routine. Teachers were allowed to begin prep for the year and bit by bit— life seemed to feel normal again! I prepared for the new school schedule which consisted of teaching 200 Primary 2 students for 3 hours a week— a huge development in the English program from the previous school year! Just before the end of the month, I was able to celebrate my birthday alongside friends and coworkers making for one of the best birthdays in my memory.

Around the world, teachers and students are adjusting to the new normal in order to keep themselves and their students safe during the pandemic

July 1st came and so did the students! What a uniquely, exciting day. Teachers and students arrived suited up in masks and face shields, waited in line to be temperature checked before entering campus, and were informed of social distancing protocol and guidelines. Although there were challenges in adjusting to new protocols and schedules, we were overjoyed to be teaching in Thailand with our co-workers and students again!

Still thriving in Thailand!

Today, I am happy, hopeful, and excited to be living and teaching in Mae Sot, Thailand. My students keep me on my toes everyday with their mask-muffled shouting “TEACHER HAYLEY/HARRY/HALRY/ HENRY”, ever-improving English skills, and caring hearts. My co-workers keep me entertained and constantly evolving in my knowledge and appreciation of Thai culture and language. My in-country friends keep me excited and full of laughter. My family and friends from home keep me grounded with their endless support and love from afar.

Hayley with her fellow teachers at her Thai school in Mae Sot!
As much as you're curious about Thai culture, the students are also curious about your home country!
Connections are important. Did you know XploreAsia host regular teacher meetups around the country for our teachers to meet new friends in their area? Of course, this hasn't been possible during the pandemic, but our teachers can use our online networks to access advice and support 24/7!

If you would have asked 18 year old Hayley, “where will you be in 5 years?”  I know for certain she would have never said “living alone in a small, Northern Thai town”. Even just a year ago, I would have never dreamed that I would be choosing to live 8,000 miles from my family and childhood home with no sight of return amidst a global health pandemic. I fell in love with this country,  the people, and my students long before COVID-19. If anything positive came out of the pandemic, it was the fact that the temporary life I have teaching in Thailand has become more permanent and became home. With uncertainty still looming, I find myself feeling more and more comfortable within my small bubble of Mae Sot, Thailand.

If you enjoyed reading about Hayley’s life in Mae Sot, why not try teaching in Thailand for yourself? We place teachers in towns and cities across the country, but all of our TESOL / TEFL graduates have our support for life– no matter how far! Contact us to find out how to join the international XploreAsia family today! You can also catch up with Hayley’s Thai adventure by checking out her Instagram here.

Get Steph to Korea! Surviving Quarantine in South Korea

Get Steph to Korea! Surviving Quarantine in South Korea

Quarantine in South Korea

An XploreAsia Teacher Experience

What is Quarantine in South Korea Like?

As we adjust to the ‘New Normal’, teachers from all over the world are beginning to return to their schools overseas, and new teachers can begin their life-changing overseas teaching experience with XploreAsia! However, there are a few hurdles that need to be navigated.  One of the most common questions we get asked is, ‘What is quarantine like?’ Well, we will present first-hand accounts over the coming days and weeks, detailing the planning, arrival, and quarantine processes in South Korea, Myanmar, and Thailand to show you that it’s not so bad and can be done with minimal discomfort!

Today, we hear from Steph, from the UK, who writes about her experiences with quarantine in South Korea, where she arrived to teach English with XploreAsia.

Which Program were you on, and how did COVID-19 Impact your Experience?

I had the pleasure of joining the March intake of the Seoul in-class TESOL / TEFL course, run by the remarkable Kim Le Roux and glamorously assisted by her South African comrade, Enzo Forgiarini. I spent some time researching the different routes available to achieving the TESOL / TEFL qualification. It seemed like a much more sensible idea to invest in an ‘all-inclusive’ package that included work placement, accommodation, visa assistance, and of course, the training program.

It is here in my ‘Get Steph to Korea’ timeline that I’ll note that COVID-19 wasn’t even a twinkle on the landscape of the global health agenda. Even when about to leave the UK for Korea in February 2020, it was still largely isolated in China, and despite the geographical closeness of the two countries, I wasn’t about to let my desire to make this move across the world be tainted by what was, at the time, media-hyped speculation.

Stephanie Dagg's Quarantine in South Korea Experience

It seemed like a much more sensible idea to invest in an ‘all-inclusive’ package that included work placement, accommodation, visa assistance, and of course, the training program.

The course itself was intense. The work schedule was pretty demanding, I guess given the content we needed to cover and the limited time that we had to do it in. But Kim was for want of better words, bloody amazing. She was personable, approachable and always available to answer any of our concerns – whether related to the course, an emotional grievance related to our new lives, or just a friendly chat that encouraged normality. She made everything that could have been grueling fun and as COVID-19 began rearing its ugly head, she assumed the position of ‘Course Confidence-inducer’ (yes, I teach English), and we could deal with the worrying times with greater efficacy.

South Korea was one of the first countries outside of China to experience a surge in COVID-19 cases, owing mainly to the church-related outbreak in Daegu, and quite inconveniently, it happened at the same time that I was on the TESOL / TEFL course.

As our course progressed throughout March, we were given almost daily updates on the state of affairs in neighboring countries, and with that, our list of prospective countries to visit for a visa trip was severely contracting. In fact, it got to the day of our graduation and final decisions had not yet been made. At this point Japan had closed its borders, along with Taiwan, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Thailand. The only options we had were to either fly to Cambodia, or fly home. The rush of anxiety was debilitating, and after speaking to my sister in the UK, I felt the best choice was to do my visa trip to the UK and then fly back to quarantine in South Korea.

What Preparations did you Have to Make for Your Return?

I will skim quickly over the fortnight I spent back in the UK – but with the grace of whatever heavenly body, the Korean Embassy in London was able to turn my visa around in just one week, and I was able to quickly fly back to Korea. At the time, flights were rare, expensive, and stopping at more airports than a Chelsea girl on spring break. Maybe it was because I booked my flight with less than 24 hours to go before departure, but I rocked up at Heathrow Airport with a direct flight to Incheon and an extra-legroom seat with British Airways.

The journey to the airport, the flight back to Korea, and my arrival at Incheon to quarantine in South Korea are all part of one journey that I will never forget. The roads to Heathrow were empty. The M25 is notoriously a car park, but COVID had diminished the need for anyone to drive its highways. My dad was my on-duty chauffeur. Even this was a point of contention – no one wanted to be anywhere near the airport, let alone collect/drop off a person who had been on a flight in the past two weeks, or in a country with such (comparatively) close proximity to China. Nevertheless, father dearest took the job and I got to the airport. With no element of exaggeration, as far as I could see in terminal 2 was emptiness. All shops were closed, with the exception of Boots and WH Smith, where social distancing was implored. The only other people seemed to be the few who had held onto their jobs and those boarding my flight.

The flight was shockingly full – it felt almost as if that flight was part of the last-chance exodus out of the UK into Korea. I was placed in a middle seat between two people, though physical contact was avoided and my personal sanitizer was constantly within reach should our hands touch. 

Stephanie Dagg's Quarantine in South Korea Experience

The journey to the airport, the flight back to Korea, and my arrival at Incheon are all part of one journey that I will never forget.

Stephanie Dagg's Quarantine in South Korea Experience

What was Your Arrival Experience?

Arrival at Incheon was an endurance event. The different queues that we were guided through were endless. I had my phone number tested (luckily I had a Korean number from the course), and my ‘guardian’ as it were, was contacted to ensure that the address provided was legitimate I had been told prior to my arrival back to quarantine in South Korea that I would need to get tested at the airport, though I strolled through arrival area with no issue or guidance towards a testing facility. Here the games began.

I contacted the Korean speaking representative from the XploreAsia team, and within moments, my assigned sticker had changed color three times. When coming through customs, you were assigned a sticker based on country of origin, or whether you were a Korean Native. I was passed around among airport workers, the Korean Army, and men dressed head to toe in hazmat suits, before being escorted to the testing center. 

I was told to stand in the car park at Incheon Airport, armed with three brimming suitcases and suffering from severe sleep deprivation. To further challenge my sanity, I had a swab shoved in my mouth and so far up my nose, it was knocking on the door to my brain. With tears rolling down my cheeks, I was escorted by four more soldiers to the transfer bus headed to a quarantine facility.

I was moody, miserable, and extremely tired. At this point, I had been awake for around 22 hours and was ready to pass out any place I was left for more than ten minutes. After a few other people got on the bus, we headed off on a 90-minute bus ride. Once we arrived at the quarantine facility, I was met again by men in hazmat suits and armed with clipboards. I started to feel incredibly overwhelmed. As I waited for my turn to register, I noticed that the guys were handing out packages to those ahead of me. To my surprise, we were provided with a hot TGI Friday’s lunch, a box of towels, toiletries, and complete guidance in English as to what to expect over the next 24 hours. I got to my room and found that, though basic, it was perfect. Warm, clean, and with enough space for my entourage of luggage. I showered almost immediately, unraveled the Korean ‘mattress’, and curled up to rest. We were provided with another hot meal of fried chicken in the evening and breakfast time was announced in English over the speakerphone the next morning. At 11 AM, a woman came to my door and told me my COVID results were negative, and to expect to leave in an hour and a half. With that, I packed my things, organized my airport transportation, and headed to the transfer. Again, we were provided with food, from Lotteria nonetheless, and taken directly to the airport for our onward journey, which for me was to  Gyeonggi-do province, where I had a 14-day quarantine in South Korea, in my apartment provided by my school. The experience was emotional, but honestly, the Korean government was outstanding in their organization of the whole ordeal. It was comforting, safe, and quite importantly – free, so I know that despite the personal inconvenience, it could have been so much worse. 

Stephanie Dagg's Quarantine in South Korea Experience

When coming through customs, you were assigned a sticker based on country of origin, or whether you were a Korean Native. I was passed around among airport workers, the Korean Army, and men dressed head to toe in hazmat suits, before being escorted to the testing center. 

Stephanie Dagg's Quarantine in South Korea Experience

At 11AM, a woman came to my door and told me my COVID results were negative, and to expect to leave in an hour and a half. With that, I packed my things, organized my airport transportation, and headed to the transfer.

How About Quarantine in South Korea, What are the Conditions Like?

Stephanie Dagg's Quarantine in South Korea Experience

We were supported by a very accommodating school principal who was willing to get anything we needed in terms of food, crockery and anything that would make our experience more comfortable.

Mmm… so quarantine in South Korea. Quarantine…A three-syllable word that still makes my eyebrow twitch and skin turn an unhealthy shade of ashen-white. Firstly, it is fair to say that I was blessed to have secured a teaching position in Suwon, in the Gyeonggi-do province, so the transit from the airport wasn’t too long, and no public transport was required. This was a huge relief, given that those arriving at Incheon, who need for public transport, were siphoned into regional categories and held until there was available space to board the ‘foreign arrival’ carts.

I was also incredibly lucky to have been placed at a school with a girl (now a very good friend of mine) with whom I trained in Incheon. She had opted for the Cambodian visa trip and returned to Korea a few days earlier, and so was able to give me valuable insight into what was waiting for me at my apartment, and more importantly, what was not. (Bedding; bedding was not waiting for me.) 

We were supported by a very accommodating school principal who was willing to get anything we needed in terms of food, crockery, and anything that would make our experience more comfortable. I expected that there would be an absence of a lot of things and so brought with me my home comforts, however, I wasn’t about to pack a saucepan and bring it to Korea with me.

What are you Doing to Keep Yourself Busy During Your Quarantine in South Korea?

Stephanie Dagg's Quarantine in South Korea Experience

I was able to prepare slightly when I was back in the UK, bringing with me puzzle books, a yoga mat and resistance bands in the over-optimistic belief that the two weeks would see the renaissance of Stephanie as a fitness goddess and lean machine…

Stephanie Dagg's Quarantine in South Korea Experience

Once settled into my new surroundings, I was ready to accept the fate that was a fortnight of the same four walls. I was able to prepare slightly when I was back in the UK, bringing with me puzzle books, a yoga mat and resistance bands in the over-optimistic belief that the two weeks would see the renaissance of Stephanie as a fitness goddess and lean machine… The reality was that I managed one HIIT workout, nearly threw up, and decided it’d be best to hang up my resistance bands.

The side effects of quarantine in South Korea (twitch) included a disturbed sleeping pattern, over-reliance on social media, and a Netflix binge to end all others. The Netflix binge played into the disturbed sleeping pattern, where the concept of time was governed by the length of an episode, not the position of the sun – though the position of the sun made me realise I had stayed up for far too long or woken up far too late. The over-reliance on social media made the reality of how far from home I was even more real. Despite incessant scrolling, I missed my loved ones and I guess I started to feel a little bit lonely. 

Within the first week, the Suwon government dropped over a food kit, thermometers and sanitising spray/hand gel – all left at the door with a fleeting knock to avoid any interaction with the potentially virus-infected foreigner living inside. The schedule for twice daily temperature checks was strict, and if I missed a timeslot, my Director would politely remind me. If my temperature varied too much above 36.5, I’d be questioned.

After about ten days, I could feel the light at the end of the tunnel getting closer, I was getting excited again to leave the apartment and explore the city of which I was now a resident. I’d spent some of my time watching people out the window to remind myself that I was actually in Korea and shamelessly attracted to Korean guys. As the fortnight rolled to a close, I had already decided that I was going to spend the last few days readjusting my sleep schedule so that work wouldn’t be a complete nightmare (given my quarantine in South Korea ended at midnight on a Saturday night), and eat something more nutritious than spam and rice.

Looking Back on the Experience so far, have you Learned Anything From it?

My life in Korea is going very well! I have developed emotionally and psychologically in a way that I would never have been able to if I had stayed in my rat-race life back in London. My school is brilliant on the whole and I am really enjoying working for the first time in my life. There was a new outbreak of coronavirus in the Itaewon area of Seoul and foreigner-fear meant that we were not allowed to work until we were tested (my second experience was probably worse than the first), but our Director paid for the test and even took us personally. There are horror stories about other hagwons’ treatment of foreigners during this time, but I feel pretty lucky with how my school handled it (despite the INCREDIBLE annoyance at how prejudiced the fact we even had to get tested was).

I intend on being here long term, learning the language and exploring other options in education and elsewhere whilst I am here. I’ll never forget my experience with, and the memories made on, my XploreAsia course, or the wisdom imparted by Kim during that time. I hope that with time I will turn out to be half the influencer that she is. 

Lucy Frobisher's Quarantine in Thailand Experience - Looking Forward to Seeing These Guys!

Written by Stephanie Dagg. 

XploreAsia Update – August, 2020 – When Can You Teach Overseas?

XploreAsia Update – August, 2020 – When Can You Teach Overseas?

XploreAsia Update – August, 2020 – When Can You Start Teaching Overseas?

Many of you are wondering when you will be able to travel overseas to begin your teaching adventure, well, here at XploreAsia, we have been closely monitoring the situation on a daily basis. As the situation progresses, we wanted to provide an update on international travel to our program countries and a discussion of the impact and plans for resuming programs. We also include our current planned intake dates for each country for TESOL + Placement programs.

Thailand

Things are looking good in Thailand. Thailand continues to manage COVID-19 well; there have zero domestic cases over the past two months. The country is now open to those with work authorization, but the visa process and entry procedures are taking longer than normal, and vary greatly from one embassy or consulate to the next, making it difficult to have everyone arrive at the same time for a TESOL course. Therefore, we’ve altered the format of our September 28 intake, switching to a ‘TESOL Extra’, partial online and partial in-class format, specifically designed so that participants can arrive on any day and still begin their in-country orientation and course without delay. Demand is strong for next term, which starts at the end of November. We have a comprehensive pre-placement program in place that will ensure every teacher has a job prior to arrival. 

Next Available Intake for Thailand: 

  • October 26

Click here for full program information

South Korea

Korea has managed COVID-19 well, weathering several large and small outbreaks, and now has a daily case count of 30-50. Life in the country has returned to new-normal and schools across the country are in session. The country continues to be open to those wanting to come and teach. We’ve brought in dozens of teachers since COVID-19 began, and dozens more are preparing to come over in the next few months. In-class TESOL courses are difficult to run at the moment due to the limited quarantine options: State managed facility, which is quite expensive, or private residences. Our in-class TESOL participants would need to be able to stay in a hotel. We are waiting for these requirements to loosen a bit before we can realistically offer in-country TESOL courses again. Demand for teachers remains strong and there are no quarantine costs, since teachers complete their quarantine in accommodations provided by the school free of charge, and which serve as their permanent residences. 

Next Available Intake for South Korea:

  • October 26

Click here for full program information

Vietnam

Vietnam continues to be closed to nearly all travelers. They have recently weathered a second wave of COVID-19 infections that sprung up late last month in Danang, and the number of new infections has finally abated. The second wave seems to have made the Vietnam government much more cautious about opening the country up to travelers. We are not confident that teachers will be able to enter the country this year. For this reason, we are suspending all of our Vietnam programs until February 2021.

Next Available Intake for Vietnam:

  • February 22, 2021

Click here for full program information

Myanmar

Right now, Myanmar is in a bit of a strange situation. It seems that teachers can enter the country. We’ve just had one arrive successfully on a repatriation flight from the UK and it was surprisingly easier than we thought it would be. The problem is that even if we can get teachers in on a larger scale, very few schools are hiring at the moment due to the continued government suspension of in-person school activities for children. We expect the government to allow the opening of schools for children sometime in August, but it may take longer than that for Myanmar parents, who have been very concerned about the risk of COVID-19, to be comfortable sending their children for in-person classes again. This will have an impact on hiring. Our best guess is that school hiring will reach high enough levels to start bringing in foreign teachers around November or December. 

Next Available Intake for Myanmar:

  • January 18, 2021

Click here for full program information

Costa Rica

Costa Rica has seen a recent spike in cases, but despite that, the country is gradually opening up to foreigners in August from the UK and EU. However, Americans are not included in the list of countries. Initially the volume of inbound international flights will be less than 5% of pre-COVID-19 levels. We are concerned that hiring may be slow initially as most positions for native speakers are at schools that focus on English for Costa Rican adults with jobs in the tourism sector, which has been devastated by COVID-19. We expect the sector to take a while to bounce back and by extension for hiring of native English teachers to return to pre-COVID-19 levels.

Next Available Intake for Costa Rica:

  • November 23

Click here for full program information

Moving Forward

We believe Thailand and South Korea are the best programs to join if you want to signup in 2020. Demand is strong, the countries are open to foreigners holding work authorization, and the case count of COVID-19 is low.

Furthermore, we are building our knowledge of the new visa application procedures and quarantine process through conducting interviews and surveys with those who have recently completed the process, and contacting relevant government agencies and travel agents. We will incorporate those insights into our coordination program to make the way smoother for future travelers.

As always, we are monitoring the situation in each program country closely and will update you as we get more information.

If you have any questions about our programs or program countries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!

What is it Like to Quarantine in Thailand?

What is it Like to Quarantine in Thailand?

Quarantine in Thailand

An XploreAsia Teacher Experience

What is Quarantine in Thailand Like?

As we adjust to the ‘New Normal’, teachers from all over the world are now able to return to their schools overseas, as well as new teachers can begin their life-changing overseas teaching experience with XploreAsia! However, there are a few hurdles and processes that need to be navigated in order to return.  One of the most common questions we are asked is, ‘What is quarantine in Thailand like?’. Well, we have first-hand accounts that we will be presenting to you over the coming days and weeks, detailing the planning, arrival, and quarantine processes both in Thailand and South Korea!

First, we hear from Lucy, 24, originally from Wiltshire in the UK but has been living and teaching in Thailand since December 2018. After returning home, and now back in Thailand, Lucy writes to us from quarantine in Bangkok, Thailand.

Which Program were you on, and how did COVID-19 Impact your Experience?

I did my TESOL course with XploreAsia in Hua Hin, January 2019. After traveling around and falling in love with Southeast Asia in 2017, I knew as soon as I finished university, I needed to get back out for a longer amount of time, and teaching seemed like the perfect way. I initially only intended to stay out here for around 6 months, but that quickly changed as I got settled into my new Thai life. Having not seen loved ones for over a year, I had planned to go back to the UK in the March/April school break to see my friends and family. I arrived home on the March 21. 3 days later, the UK went into lockdown, followed by Thailand about a week later. The international flight ban was originally until the end of April, then May, then June and with no definite end date, I had no idea when I could get back. I can’t explain how stressful this time was as there was so much uncertainty, yet so much speculation and false hope online. I was checking the news every day for if and when I would be allowed in, and as soon as they said work permit holders could apply to return on repatriation flights, I began the process, and prepared myself for my quarantine in Thailand experience.

Lucy Frobisher's Quarantine in Thailand Experience - TESOL Course in Hua Hin!

I was checking the news every day for if and when I would be allowed in, and as soon as they said work permit holders could apply to return on repatriation flights, I began the process.  

What Preparations did you Have to Make for Your Return?

For me, the process was a lot more stressful and confusing than it is now, as when I started to apply the system was very new and no one seemed to really know the proper procedures. There was however a clear list of documents that you needed to provide to the embassy to be considered for a certificate of entry. These are:

  • Copy of work permit
  • Copy of passport and visa pages
  • A letter from your employer stating they wish you to return
  • Health Insurance policy covering you for over $100,000 and any COVID costs
  • Fully completed declaration form that the embassy will send to you

Once you have all the required documents you have to send them to the embassy. When I applied the process was that the embassy would forward your documents to people who in Bangkok who would make the decision. Despite emails from the embassy that said it would take about 2 weeks, it actually seemed to be taking 4 weeks until people heard back with confirmation of a place on a flight. However, the night before the 4-week mark for me I received an email to say that the process had changed and the embassies were now able to issue a certificate of entry. It also said that to be considered for a repatriation flight that month, to reply to the email. So I responded to the email as soon as I saw it on Thursday evening, I didn’t find out I had a place on the flight until the following Monday and the flight was that coming Sunday. So once you find out you are able to fly there are more documents to prepare:

  • Flight booking – through the embassy
  • Quarantine in Thailand – ASQ Booking (all non-Thai nationals must book alternative state quarantine, prices ranging from 28,000 baht to 144,000)
  • Negative COVID test with a result within 72 hours of flight departure and with a full lab report

For the COVID test, I ordered a home testing kit from Randox the week before in case I got a place on the flight. The test costs £120 and is delivered the next day if ordered between Monday and Thursday, but they don’t deliver on weekends. I then had to arrange a collection through Polar Speed a UPS company, which costs an additional £16.99. The test takes 2 days to arrive at the test facility, but once it arrived I got the results within 8 hours, less than 24 hours before my flight.

  • ‘Fit to Fly’ Certificate from a doctor to say you are free from COVID symptoms

For the ‘Fit to Fly’, I used Freedom Health who do a virtual consultation over Zoom and it was super easy and cost £55. It took about 10 minutes max for the consultation. Once I had my negative COVID-19 test results, I forwarded them over and then they sent me my Fit to Fly Certificate. 

  • T8 form from the embassy you must fill out
  • I also had a form from EVA airlines to fill out

It’s a bit of a logistical challenge trying to get everything done in the right time frames, but once you have all these things will you be able to get on the flight.

What was Your Arrival Experience?

Arriving in Thailand now feels like something out of a movie. As you walk from the plane into the airport you’re met with people wearing full-body PPE who ask you where you are staying. They then direct you to a row of chairs where people come along and check your documents. Once they have done this they send you off to wait in line to get your temperature checked, documents checked again and temperature checked again, the second time in your ear. If your temperature is too high for their liking (like mine was on the second test) then they give you water and make you sit down in a separate area for 10 mins before checking again. After all these points you are then able to go through to the waiting area to be taken to your ASQ transport. All the ASQ hotels will have a specially arranged van and you will be taken out to meet the driver who then takes your straight to your hotel to begin your quarantine in Thailand.

Lucy Frobisher's Quarantine in Thailand Experience - Waiting for Testing at the Airport

Arriving in Thailand now feels like something out of a movie.

Lucy Frobisher's Quarantine in Thailand Experience - Testing Area at the Airport

How About Quarantine in Thailand, What are the Conditions Like?

Lucy Frobisher's Quarantine in Thailand Experience - Quarantine Hotel in Bangkok

Minus the plastic screens on the check-in desk, and checking in with the nurse, it was a pretty normal check-in experience where I am staying

Arriving at the hotel, they check your temperature before you are allowed to enter. Minus the plastic screens on the check-in desk, and checking in with the nurse, it was a pretty normal check-in experience where I am staying – Three Sukhumvit Hotel. The quarantine in Thailand package at this hotel costs 40,000 baht and provides you with 3 meals every day, 2 COVID-19 tests, transport to the hotel, and 24/7 nurse contact. They also allow you to order food delivery services which is amazing, as the hotel menu options daily are pretty limited, so if you fancy something different it’s nice to have the option! Each room has a little table outside the door where they will place any food or orders you have or any rubbish you have to be taken away.

On one of the first few days you have a COVID test, which, if negative, you are then allowed to book 1 x 30-minute slot outside your room per day in a designated area. You are also given a bag of masks, hand sanitizer, and a thermometer on arrival. Whenever opening the door you are required to wear a mask, as well as having to take your temperature morning and evening each day to send to the nurse.

What are you Doing to Keep Yourself Busy During Your Quarantine in Thailand?

Lucy Frobisher's Quarantine in Thailand Experience - Keeping Busy During Quarantine

I was obviously aware I would have a lot of spare time during my quarantine in Thailand, so I tried to get some things to help kill the time. I bought a scrapbook and printed off a whole bunch of photos from my Thailand experience so far which has been really nice to put together and reminisce some amazing times I’ve had in Thailand from the comfort of my quarantine home. I also bought a couple of books and magazines to read and I’ve been reliving my childhood playing The Sims. If you can’t go about your normal life, at least you can live vicariously through an animated Sim!

Looking Back on the Experience so far, have you Learned Anything From it?

I would say there are two main things I learned from this journey; patience and persistence. Being stuck somewhere and not knowing when or how you can get back to where you live is stressful to say the least, especially when everything is so unpredictable right now. I had to learn to be more patient with things as there was absolutely nothing I or anyone else could do about it, and stressing out wasn’t doing me or my family (sorry mum and dad) any favors.

Secondly, I had to learn to be more persistent. I’m the type of person to feel guilty if I have to ask about something more than once or send a second email out of fear of annoying someone. However, I am sure there are several people out there who never want to hear my name again due to the number of emails and calls I made to try and get everything sorted in time. But, had I not done all that, I doubt I would be sitting here in quarantine in Thailand writing all this now!

What are you Most Looking Forward to?

I am most looking forward to seeing my friends with who I work and spend most waking hours together, as well as getting back to work! I have missed all my students and colleagues so so much, and I am beyond excited to get back in the classroom and start teaching again! A lot of people in England were asking me if all the stress and money was worth it, but sitting in quarantine in Thailand looking forward to getting out, I can safely say it was definitely worth it.

Lucy Frobisher's Quarantine in Thailand Experience - Looking Forward to Seeing These Guys!

If you want to learn more about how you can get started teaching overseas, contact us for more information! We are always on hand to help.

Written by Lucy Frobisher. Follow her on Instagram – @theadventuresofanexpat

XploreAsia Update – August, 2020 – When Can You Teach Overseas?

XploreAsia Update – July, 2020 – When Can You Teach Overseas?

XploreAsia Update – July, 2020 – When Can You Start Teaching Overseas?

Many of you are wondering when you will be able to travel overseas to begin your teaching adventure, well, here at XploreAsia, we have been closely monitoring the situation on a daily basis. As the situation progresses, we wanted to provide an update on international travel to our program countries and a discussion of the impact and plans for resuming programs. We also include our current planned intake dates for each country for TESOL + Placement programs.

Thailand

Things are looking good in Thailand. The Emergency Decree has been extended through July 31, 2020, as a precautionary measure, in case of a second wave due to having the freedom of movement within the country, as well as schools now being open since July 1. As of writing, domestic cases are down to zero, and have been for well over a month now! This is great news and is a great sign for programs being able to run in the near future. Foreigners with work permits and/or contracts in place are able to apply for a “permission to travel” letter from their local Thai embassy, meaning that non-Thai professionals with work-permits and/or pre-approved visas are able to return, with a mandatory ‘alternative state quarantine’ in place. 

Next intake for Thailand: 

  • October 26

Click here for full program information

Vietnam

Vietnam’s borders currently remain closed to foreign visitors. We are expecting that throughout July, further updates will be given and that Vietnam will gradually start to open its borders to a wider group of international travelers. This may start with business visa holders first, with those traveling for tourism being allowed in later. 

Next intake for Vietnam:

  • October 12

Click here for full program information

Myanmar

Cases remain very low and things are definitely starting to open up inside Myanmar. Schools are supposed to open at the beginning of August but there is no definitive news yet. We are waiting to hear when borders will reopen. As soon as they do, we will work closely with placement participants to assist them in traveling to start their teaching jobs. 

Next intake for Myanmar:

  • January 18, 2021

Click here for full program information

South Korea

Teachers can now travel to Korea and we are in the process of placing teachers now and once they have their placements and visas, they can fly and we can support them in the country. Most private schools are open and operating and public schools have started going back at intervals over the past few weeks. Korean immigration authorities open and processing visas so teachers who are able to complete their visa documentation are able to apply for their visa and come over to South Korea to start teaching (after the mandatory 14-day quarantine) either at their residence or at a government-designated facility. 

Next intake for South Korea:

  • October 26

Click here for full program information

Costa Rica

Costa Rica has around 1000 cases of COVID-19. It has been praised for its handling of the pandemic and many of its regional neighbors have fared far worse. The country is currently closed to international travelers. Due to this, things have been relatively contained and there have been low numbers of new cases. 

Next intake for Costa Rica:

  • November 23

Click here for full program information

The team at XploreAsia is excited to begin welcoming new teachers, as well as existing alumni back to their placements! We will continue to update and monitor the situation, ensuring that we provide the most up-to-date information, clear processes, and guidance to enable your life-changing experience as a teacher overseas. 

If you have any questions about our programs or program countries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!

XploreAsia Update – When Can You Teach Overseas?

XploreAsia Update – When Can You Teach Overseas?

XploreAsia Update – June, 2020 – When Can You Start Teaching Overseas?

Many of you are wondering when you will be able to travel overseas to begin your teaching adventure, well, here at XploreAsia, we have been closely monitoring the situation on a daily basis. As the situation progresses, we wanted to provide an update on international travel to our program countries and a discussion of the impact and plans for resuming programs. We also include our current planned intake dates for each country for TESOL + Placement programs.

Thailand

Things are looking better in Thailand. Domestic cases are down to zero and the country is starting to open up. The Emergency Decree has been extended through June 30, 2020. However, there are less restrictions on freedom of movement within the country. Many more businesses have been permitted to reopen. Strict social distancing measures are still in place. Currently, only Thai nationals are permitted to enter Thailand with a required 14-day state quarantine. Foreigners with work permits and/or contracts in place are able to apply for a “permission to travel” letter from their local Thai embassy. We expect that the ban on international arrivals may expire at the end of June, meaning that non-Thai professionals with work-permits and/or pre-approved visas will be able to return, with a mandatory state-quarantine in place. Thailand is preparing for a staged reopening. We expect June to be update-heavy regarding plans to resume international travel and we’re putting in place a plan to manage groups smoothly even if there is a quarantine requirement in place. We are  confident that we will be able to run our August 24 course.

Next intake for Thailand: 

  • August 24

Click here for full program information

Vietnam

Vietnam has experienced some of the lowest rates of COVID-19. When the COVID-19 issue emerged, the Vietnamese government moved very quickly to bring in measures to prevent the spread of the virus. As of June 1, Vietnam’s Ministry of Health’s tally of confirmed cases of COVID-19 remained at 328. There have been no recorded deaths from Covid-19 in Vietnam. 279 of the aforementioned affected patients have recovered and been discharged from hospitals. On May 29, the government announced that it will begin allowing some foreign experts to enter Vietnam. The government outlined plans to allow experts, business managers, investors, high-tech workers who are foreigners working in investment and business projects in Vietnam to enter Vietnam to maintain production and business activities. Specifics on what will happen when things reopen have not been outlined, but it is expected that a limited number of experts will be allowed to enter Vietnam in June. At present, it does not appear that this will apply to foreign teachers. Another positive step towards reopening was announced recently. The Vietnamese government outlined that Vietnam will grant e-visa to citizens of 80 countries from July 1, 2020. This is a positive step towards things reopening, however, the announcement only related to the resumption of visa issuance, and did not specify when Vietnam’s borders will reopen and those with visas will be allowed in. Vietnam’s borders currently remain closed to foreign visitors. We are expecting that throughout June, further updates will be given and that Vietnam will gradually start to open its borders to a wider group of international travelers from July onwards. This may start with business visa holders first, with those traveling for tourism being allowed in later. We are confident that we will be able to run our September 7 course.

Next intake for Vietnam:

  • September 7

Click here for full program information

Myanmar

The Government of Myanmar has suspended all commercial passenger flights until at least the 15th of June. All land borders are shut. Since 13 May, it has been compulsory for anyone going out in public to wear a facemask. Failure to wear one will result in a fine. This requirement is being enforced strictly. Cases remain very low and things are definitely starting to open up inside Myanmar. Schools are supposed to open at the beginning of August but there is no definitive news yet. We are waiting to hear when borders will reopen. As soon as they do, we will work closely with placement participants to assist them in traveling to start their teaching jobs. We expect restrictions to ease enough so that we will be able to run our September 28 course.

Next intake for Myanmar:

  • September 28

Click here for full program information

South Korea

South Korea mostly has the virus under control with the exception of two smaller outbreaks since social distancing measures were relaxed. The South Korean government actively and aggressively tracks and traces any new cases. Most private schools are open and operating and public schools have started going back at intervals over the past few weeks. Clubs, bars, karaoke rooms, etc have been asked to remain closed as they have been identified as hotspots but all other businesses are open and free to operate. South Korean Airlines have reopened 13 international flight routes as they seek to increase international travel. Korean immigration authorities are also still open and processing visas so teachers who are able to complete their visa documentation are still able to apply for their visa and come over to South Korea to start teaching (after the mandatory 14-day quarantine) either at their residence or at a government-designated facility. If they do not have a residence in South Korea, travelers will be placed in a designated facility at their own expense. The price per day will be KRW100,000 or USD 80. Travelers departing for South Korea will have their temperature tested before boarding. If it is above 37.5 C they will not be allowed to board their flight. Teachers can now travel to Korea and we are in the process of placing teachers now and once they have their placements and visas, they can fly and we can support them in the country.

Next intake for South Korea:

  • August 31

Click here for full program information

Costa Rica

Costa Rica has around 1000 cases of COVID-19. It has been praised for its handling of the pandemic and many of its regional neighbors have fared far worse. The country is currently closed to international travelers. From midnight on 18 March 2020 until 30 June 2020, only Costa Rican citizens and legal residents will be allowed entry into the country. These categories of people, entering during this time, will be required to self-isolate for 14-days. Local measures have been put in place to slow the spread of the virus. Due to this, things have been relatively contained and there have been low numbers of new cases. We expect the country to slowly open to international travelers in July.

Next two intakes for Costa Rica:

  • August 31
  • November 23

Click here for full program information

We can see the light at the end of the tunnel in terms of our program countries opening up again to travel. There will be challenges along the way, and it may take a while for things to return to normal, but our goal is to get you started on your life-changing experience and into your chosen countries to live and work and support you with everything you need even if the process looks different.

If you have any questions about our programs or program countries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!

XploreAsia Update: Programs Reopening and International Travel

XploreAsia Update: Programs Reopening and International Travel

Hello Everyone:

The COVID-19 virus has taken us all on an intense ride these past few months. Some are still experiencing increasing cases and stay-at-home orders, while for others, the dark clouds brought on by the virus are starting to clear. In many of our program countries, the virus is well under control with the number of new cases at or near zero, and societies reopening, which is amazing news, and hard to imagine given how bad things looked barely one month ago. More good news is that demand for English teachers is still high across all of our program countries.

We wanted to give an update on what governments are doing currently in our program countries and our best estimates for when our program countries will open up to foreign travel. We expect that by July, borders will reopen and international travel will resume in most, if not all, of our program countries, but it will look different than it did pre-COVID-19. 

We expect that by July, borders will reopen and international travel will resume in most, if not all, of our program countries, but it will look different than it did pre-COVID-19. 

Please note that governments have been focusing on opening up their countries’ domestic environments and have not said much yet on how they plan to open up to international travelers. With this in mind, following our discussion of the current situation in each of our program countries, we briefly comment on some options that governments may adopt as they prepare to welcome back international travelers.

Thailand

  • Cases nearly zero and country slowly but methodically opening-up
  • Emergency decree until May 31, which covers curfew, limited internal movements, venue closures, and air travel
  • Domestic airline travel has resumed
  • No news yet on strategy or timeline for easing international travel restrictions
  • Likely to reopen to international travel by July
  • Schools opening July 1 for in-person classes

Myanmar

  • Cases nearly zero and country planning to return to normal business
  • Announcement planned for May 15 on school opening
  • Border still largely closed to international travelers with a quarantine in place. May 15 further announcement on international travel restrictions
  • Likely to reopen to international travel by July

Vietnam

  • Cases nearly zero and country back to normal with social distancing
  • Schools are back in operation in face-to-face learning
  • Domestic air travel has resumed
  • Currently closed to international travelers
  • No news yet on strategy or timeline for easing international travel restrictions
  • Likely to reopen to international travel by early July

South Korea

  • Praised around the world for handling of COVID-19
  • New cases are down to near zero but a recent spike in cases has the country a bit on edge centered around an ex-pat nightlife district in Seoul, but the government is aggressively conducting testing and contact tracing
  • Borders are open with mandatory two-week quarantine in place in either a private residence or government facility
  • We are currently placing people in Korea and participants can fly now to and start teaching

Costa Rica

  • New cases are down to single digits 
  • Borders are closed until at least June 15 (by recent announcement)
  • No news yet on strategy or timeline for easing international travel restrictions. Likely to reopen by July
  • Mounting pressure to reopen borders as the economy relies heavily on tourism
  • Government developing their own test for COVID-19 possibly to help reopen borders sooner

Japan

  • A nationwide state of emergency in place until May 31
  • Saw a delayed, spike in cases but now looks to be under control
  • The country is closed to foreign travel at the moment
  • Likely to reopen to international air travel by the end of July

Some Options for Reopening Travel

Countries will likely select from a number of different options or combinations of options as they open up to international travel. This may include rapid COVID-19 tests upon arrival, short or extended quarantines, and even the new concept of Travel Bubbles, whereby two or more countries with near-zero or zero cases open up travel among those countries without quarantine or testing requirements. 

We are preparing for all possible options and have the capacity to support participants from our offices in every program country, on-the-ground staff, and logistics resources to make the transition as smooth as possible.

If you have any questions about traveling abroad or our programs, please do not hesitate to contact us at jon@xploreasia.org

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