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.

Volunteer in Thailand whilst Teaching: Ané’s Story

Volunteer in Thailand whilst Teaching: Ané’s Story

Read Ané's Story on Volunteering at a Meditation Center in Thailand

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world”- Mahatma Gandhi.

Our motto is “embracing adventure, changing lives”. We were thrilled to hear that one of our teachers, Ané, embodied this by seeking out ways to give back to the community in her spare time. Find out more about her experience as a volunteer in Thailand  in this blog.

Every year before the New Year starts I write down a list of things I want to experience, places I want to see or just things I would like to achieve.  On that list going into 2019, I wrote down that I wanted to do volunteering work as it’s something that I have never done before, so I started to do some research.  

I love living abroad. It excites me because we all have different stories to tell.  You might go to the same country or you might do the same Thai cooking course or even hike to the top of a mountain but we all see and experience life differently and that is what makes it really interesting. I’ve been living in Thailand for about 2 and half years now and it’s been an exciting but challenging journey; there is just something magical about Asia.

I finally found the perfect place to volunteer in Thailand. I headed off to Dhutanga Insight Meditation Center based in Samut Prakan, which is run by female monks (bhikkhuni in Thai). So here is my story I would love to share with you all.

I wanted to volunteer in Thailand because I wanted to give back to the community and have an experience that I will never forget. The property isn’t so big but they can accommodate about 10 volunteers at a time. The owner is Punnya Pannya who has a passion for sharing her knowledge about the culture of Thailand and Buddhism. She has the kindest heart! She is really open about any questions you might have. They require that you stay at least 10 days and they work it out for about 100 baht a day to cover electricity , water and food- and it’s all for a good cause so why not?

The room was pretty basic, thin mattress on the floor with linen provided, fans and a light.  At first I thought, “wow what did I let myself in for?” I’d never done something like this before but I like to give things a chance and embrace experiences. If you have an open mind, you might learn something new and that is exactly what I did!

Everyone that I have met there was extremely welcoming. I was a few years older than the rest of the others who volunteer in Thailand but it didn’t bother me. They all were extremely helpful. We spent a lot of time together- we had meals together, we did chanting and meditation together, we helped each other with our daily duties and some days we would sit outside or fall asleep in the hammock and just have deep conversations. I felt like I got 2 new sisters and 3 new brothers.

We did a lot of work outside to help maintain the property and to help the environment. I enjoyed being outside, painting and getting in the river to remove the trash that builds up there. Getting dirty in mud reminded me of my days as a kid growing up on a farm- it’s a good feeling. It was cleansing- I didn’t wear any makeup, I tried to spend less time on my phone, I read more- that was a phenomenal feeling.

After mediation in the evenings, the owner would give Dhamma talks and that was really interesting and an amazing experience to actually talk and ask questions about Buddhism. There is so much to learn.  She felt like a real mom to me, she taught us a lot; she taught the volunteers as we were her own kids and that was really special.  She said we are all connected and that’s so true. 

We did a lot of work outside to help maintain the property and to help the environment. I enjoyed being outside, painting and getting in the river to remove the trash that builds up there. Getting dirty in mud reminded me of my days as a kid growing up on a farm- it’s a good feeling. It was cleansing- I didn’t wear any makeup, I tried to spend less time on my phone, I read more- that was a phenomenal feeling.

After mediation in the evenings, the owner would give Dhamma talks and that was really interesting and an amazing experience to actually talk and ask questions about Buddhism. There is so much to learn.  She felt like a real mom to me, she taught us a lot; she taught the volunteers as we were her own kids and that was really special.  She said we are all connected and that’s so true. 

Ané getting ready for her daily chores wile volunteering in Thailand
Ané and one of the Bhikkhuni at the meditation center in Thailand

But as a monk there are about 300 rules or more that they need to follow but it’s inspiring.  There is a guy that I follow on Instagram, most of you know him.  His name is Jay Shetty, he used to be a monk for 3 years and he even said in one of his videos that it was the most rewarding and best years of his life.  Monks give up a lot of things to be able to live that lifestyle but it’s inspiring.

Honestly, meditation during those first 2 days was really hard. I’m not used to meditating for that long. The first 2 sessions were 15 minutes long, and thereafter 30 minutes at a time. My mind is usually busy and feels all over the place, but meditation is really powerful and I can feel the difference from when I’ve just arrived at the meditation and when I’ve left.

I felt I grew a lot. It felt rewarding to do volunteer in Thailand and give back to the community. It was also amazing to live with the locals and learn from the female monks. I gained a deeper insight into the culture and about Buddhism in general. I think you just need to be open minded to have an experience like this- you don’t have to be a Buddhist to be a volunteer.  When I arrived, I had a lot of things on my mind and things I had to deal with, and now I feel I’ve let go a lot of a lot of things and I feel lighter. It’s a really rewarding feeling, there are no words to describe it!  It was one of the best experiences and I would recommend that others seek these chances to give back and learn more about Thai culture when they are teaching in Thailand.

If you want to experience Thai culture, consider taking our TESOL course which will give you all the skills to be a confident English teacher and make a huge difference in the Thai community by helping kids broaden their future. Complete with a cultural orientation, you can be experiencing Thai culture from day one and use your weekends to explore even more ways to make a difference.

Be sure to check out our Instagram and Facebook pages to see all the updates from our other teachers. Join and explore with us now!

Chad’s Story: Teacher in Thailand Making Local Friendships

Chad’s Story: Teacher in Thailand Making Local Friendships


"It was probably the most emotional I have been during this whole experience and all I want for him is a happy, successful life and wish that he gets out of the life he is in now."

In our final installment of this month’s series, recent TESOL graduate Chad shares his heartfelt story. Chad met Bang during his stay in Hua Hin whilst studying to be an ESL teacher in Thailand, and the encounter had a profound affect on his worldview.

So since being here I have talked to so many people in the local community but none have had more of an effect on me than Bang. He is a little kid that was probably no older than 8 or 9. I met Bang in the worst possible way; he was selling roses on the street by himself at about 11pm at night when our TESOL group was heading out on the first of many Friday nights out in Hua Hin.

Chad met Bang during an evening in Hua Hin during studying for his TESOL course. Who will you meet when you teach in Thailand?

Since being told about the difficulties Thailand has with child trafficking, I was heavily against being a part of it and buying into any of it. To my understanding, kids in these situations do not lead the best lives, Matilda, a fellow student training to be a teacher in Thailand, agreed and we decided just wanted to make sure that he knew we cared for him and wanted him to have fun like children at his age should be doing. We chatted with him, danced in the street and played “silly buggers” for almost 2 hours instead of drinking with everyone. He spoke excellent English and knew that we just wanted him to be okay.

He told us that we can visit him around the same area again during the weekends. As I was training to be a teacher in Thailand, I really hoped I’d see him again before leaving to my placement. He was such an amazing and caring little child; it was very upsetting to me that he was stuck in this type of lifestyle. I really wanted to do everything I could while I was here to give him the most fun time as I could manage.

It wasn’t until the next Friday, when we went out again, that I got to meet Bang for a second time. The whole group was walking to the bar district and he was standing on the stairs by a 7/11 with a few of his rose selling friends. Matilda and I saw him and said a big hello and ran towards him- Bang nearly dived off the stairs into both mine and Matilda arms!

The best thing about meeting and getting to know Bang was the true heartfelt hug he gave me after I told him that I would never forget him and hope to see him in again in the future.

Chad- TESOL graduate

We both were so happy that he remembered us and we made sure that he was okay and wasn’t hungry, thirsty or needed anything. We had another muck around with him and his friends and just generally chatted and chilled with him for a bit. Once again it didn’t take me long to realize that he was such an intelligent, funny and just all round amazing kid. He was constantly cracking jokes and showing so much compassion from both Matilda and I which was obviously because he could sense how much we actually cared for him and just wanted him to be happy. 

Matilda, Chad's fellow teacher in Thailand, was also very touched by Bang's situation.

Once again, I had the opportunity the following Friday to try and make his night just the little bit better. Knowing that it may be the last time I’d get to see him, it was harder to want to leave. He was very upset that Matilda was not with me this time and he told me (after our quick game of tag on the streets, a bit a dance together (because he has the coolest dance moves ever) and a shoulder ride) to make sure that I give her a big hug from him and to tell her that he loves her because she is beautiful and kind. It was probably the most emotional I have been during my time in Thailand so far. All I want for him is a happy, successful life and I wish that he gets out of the life he is in now. The best thing about meeting and getting to know Bang was the true heartfelt hug he gave me after I told him that I would never forget him and hope to see him in again in the future.

What did you think of Chad’s story? Being a teacher in Thailand lets you see all sides of the culture, but also puts you in a position to make a huge difference to the community. If you’re interested in teaching in Thailand, check out our programs. Follow our Instagram and Facebook accounts to keep up with our current TESOL teachers.

Chad graduating from our Hua Hin TESOL program and becoming a fully-fledged teacher in Thailand.

How to Reduce Your Environmental Impact In Thailand

How to Reduce Your Environmental Impact In Thailand

How to Reduce Your Environmental Impact in Thailand

Picture this: I’m walking down the street in sunny San Diego with an iced almond latte in one hand, proudly sporting my stainless steel tumbler and straw. I feel as though I’m saving the world with my farmers market tote in the other hand. Fast forward one month and I’m ordering a Thai coffee in broken Thai for 30 baht from a street vendor. My stomach churns as I watch the smiling woman hand me a plastic cup with a plastic lid and a plastic straw. Then, my heart sinks further as I consider my environmental impact as she places the drink in some sort of plastic bag handle device.

Plastic can seem to be everywhere in Thailand- reduce your environmental impact by carrying reusable alternatives instead.

From the day I was born my parents engrained reduce, reuse, recycle, repair, or refuse into my mind. However, I never really considered how my habits back home would translate abroad.

My First Impression of Thailand

Having only spent one week here in Thailand I am constantly amazed by the prevalence of single-use plastic. There are plastic water bottles everywhere. At 7-Eleven they’ll give you a plastic straw in a plastic wrapper for your plastic drink bottle all held together in a plastic shopping bag. Or at a local market they’ll wrap your dried fruit in a plastic sheet, tie it with a rubber band, and place it inside another plastic bag. Even bananas come in plastic bags. And to think I was annoyed by the shrink-wrapped cucumbers at Trader Joe’s back home.

Reduce your environmental impact by seeking out sustainable and cruelty-free wildlife centres, santuaries and rescue organisations.
Rescue Paws volunteer in Hua Hin, Thailand

Thailand is one of the most beautiful countries in the worldknown for its tropical beaches, lush forests, high mountains, and glittering Buddhist temples. The various street vendors and markets on every corner allow visitors to support the local economy. They also have an amazing ecotourism industry where visitors can participate in sustainable travel.  Visitors can opt for a homestay, support a humane elephant sanctuary, or volunteer with a nonprofit organization, such as our very own Rescue Paws. While Thailand has exceeded my expectations with its sheer beauty, pollution is still a very real issue.  

My first visit to the beach was quite a humbling experience. This particular beach was absolutely gorgeous with white sand and calm waves, but there were hundreds of tiny pieces of plastic stuck in the seaweed that washed onto shore. Yes, plastic is convenient. Yes, it is a low-cost option. Yes, there are other pressing issues besides the environment. But I think as both guests and educators in this country we can do something!

Progress Towards Sustainability in Thailand

By no means are things all gloom and doom here in Thailand. The country has definitely made some significant strides towards sustainability. Tesco sells reusable bags, local coffee shops provide discounts for bringing a reusable cup, most busy locations have recycling bins, and national parks recently placed a ban on plastic.

Plastic Ban in National Parks

This large sign appears at the entrance of the Sam Roi Yot National Park near Hua Hin

Plastic ban sign in Sam Roi Yot National Park in Thailand

In 2013, a group of environmental activists in Thailand formed a nonprofit organization called Trash Hero with the mission to bring communities together by reducing waste through action and awareness.  As of June 2018, more than 104,000 volunteers have removed almost 597 tons of garbage from beaches and cities across Thailand and ten other countries. There’s a chapter right here in Hua Hin that holds weekly beach cleanups every Sunday. This is a great opportunity to collaborate with the local community for a greater cause!

Reduce your environmental impact by volunteering with Trash Hero. Picture: a volunteer educating youth about plastic and sustainability in Thailand

Read Blog

We interviewed one of XploreAsia’s very own program coordinators about her experience with Trash Hero

Whether we are teachers, interns, volunteers, or just tourists in Thailand there are some small changes we can make in our new everyday lives here to help make a difference and lower our environmental impact. The first thing on everyone’s to-do list after arriving in Thailand should be to buy a reusable water bottle. I bought a large water jug and have been refilling it with clean drinking water at many locations around Hua Hin for 5 baht.  Furthermore, we can purchase reusable shopping bags and take-away containers to use at local markets and street vendors.

Watch Video

Adorable kids from Trash Hero teach us how to say no to plastic bags in Thai

Helpful Thai Phrases

Mai sai tung ka/krap = don’t need a bag
Mai ao lawd ka/ krap = don’t want a straw
Mai = no
Sai = need
Ao = want
Tung = bag
Lawd = straw
*make sure to add ka (if you’re a female) or krap (if you’re a male) at the end to be polite*

Our Role as Educators

Most importantly, we can educate our students about how to reduce our environmental impact and the importance of minimizing single-use plastic. This global issue will affect their future unless we do something about it now! Many of our teachers have set up recycling bins and demonstrated to the students how to appropriately sort waste. We can and should incorporate sustainability into our lesson plans. For example, when learning the English words for animals we can teach students about marine life and what we can do to protect them. In addition, during a lesson about household items we could play fun games that teach them about saving water and energy.

Teacher from XploreAsia teaching Thai class about the beach
As an educator, you can teach students how to reduce their own environmental impact and spread the workd about how to protect the Earth!

By teaching in Thailand, we have the ability to encourage our students to discover other ways to protect the planet. During XploreAsia’s overseas in-class TESOL training participants will learn different activities and lesson plans to encourage conservation. Since this is a cross-cultural experience, your students may even come up with some ideas that you haven’t considered. Let’s work together to make a difference and preserve Thailand’s natural beauty!

Written by: Maya Vrechek

Reasons to Volunteer: A Look into the Pala-U Orphanage

Reasons to Volunteer: A Look into the Pala-U Orphanage

XploreAsia camp counselors leading game at Pala-U orphange

At XploreAsia, we are dedicated to helping people discover the life-changing adventure of working and volunteering abroad. Our aim is to provide cross-cultural interaction that fosters greater empathy and wisdom. Furthermore, we believe there are countless reasons why you should volunteer your time to a worthy cause.

XploreAsia has built a relationship with the Pala-U orphanage over the last four years. It is located in the remote village of Pa Den about an hour and 40 minutes west of Hua Hin, near the Myanmar border. The orphanage is home to 24 kind, caring, and energetic children ranging from age 6 to 17. Our leaders, Mike and Paang, generously donate money, supplies, and tools to the orphanage regularly so that they can live sustainably. The children at the orphanage depend on donors and sponsors to receive proper education, nutrition, and medical support.

Our visits to the Pala-U Orphanage embody six main reasons to volunteer: create lasting connections, improve social skills, build self-confidence, find a sense of purpose, practice valuable job skills, and feel a sense of fulfillment.

It is important to highlight that each of these aspects is a mere side-effect of volunteering. One should never expect anything in return but instead, approach each experience with an open heart and mind.

1. Lasting Connections

Every month a group of participants and staff members venture to the Pa Den village to play games, teach English, and connect with the children. It’s important to build consistent interactions so that the children have the opportunity to bond with new people while also seeing familiar faces.

Being a volunteer abroad means that you get to make a huge difference, travel and make amazing memories for yourself and the kids!
Boys playing soccer in Pala-U

2. Social Skills

Volunteers work alongside both Thai and western XploreAsia staff members and other participants from all over the world. They collaborate to choose appropriate physical and mental games to play that the kids will enjoy. They also must adjust their conversations and games to accommodate the age level and English proficiency of each child at the orphanage.

3. Self-confidence 

Whether you’re a staff member, teacher, camp counselor, intern, or volunteer, you must step into a leadership role. You are the English expert and it is incredibly valuable! XploreAsia has the resources and experience to spread that knowledge with members of our local community. It’s up to us to share this skill with others and ensure that they have a positive, impactful experience.

A volunteer camp counselor leading hokey pokey
Four smiling kids from Pala-U orphange

4. Sense of Purpose

Volunteers can directly impact the lives of these children. This interaction helps build the Thai children’s social skills and confidence in English. They get the chance to connect with native English speakers of all different ages and backgrounds which will help them in future education and occupations.

5. Valuable Job Skill

This is a cross-cultural experience. In exchange for your English expertise, you have the ability to learn and work in a culture that is completely different than your own. Volunteers will strengthen their leadership and communication skills. Future employers will take note of your philanthropic efforts as a reflection of your character. (Though this should not be the sole reason for your volunteer work)

XploreAsia intern thinking of animal for charades
Being a volunteer can be loads of fun, and it's rewarding to give back to the community.

6. Fulfillment

Many people visit Thailand and never explore outside of the tourist hotspots. On this lush farm, volunteers have the chance to play and laugh during duck duck goose, telephone, or street soccer with extraordinary kids. There’s a sense of pride and happiness that comes from taking time out of your day to service someone else, with nothing in return.  These children teach volunteers about the value of community, teamwork, and friendship.

Become a volunteer and spread joy to the children at Pala-U
Community building at Pala-U Orphange
Two girls laughing during game

Volunteer Opportunities

Pala-U Orphanage – reach out to us if you’d like to volunteer, donate, or sponsor.
Camp Counselor Program – Travel across Thailand to help underserved students acquire the skills needed to improve their lives and communicate across cultures.
Rescue Paws – Make a huge difference to the lives of the stray animals in Thailand. There are many ways to get involved: volunteer, day program, flight volunteer, adopt, donate, sponsor, educate others, and more. 
Monastic Teaching Program:  Improve the lives of Myanmar by teaching English to a mixture of monks, novice monks, nuns, orphans, local adults, university students, and children from disadvantaged communities.

Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve…. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love.
–Martin Luther King, Jr.

Written by: Maya Vrechek

Volunteer in Thailand: An Interview with Rescue P.A.W.S.

Volunteer in Thailand: An Interview with Rescue P.A.W.S.

Rescue P.A.W.S. landscape logo

In 2013, XploreAsia co-founded Rescue P.A.W.S., an animal relief organization based in Hua Hin. This creates a unique opportunity for animal lovers to volunteer in Thailand while also contributing to our mission at XploreAsia. Rescue P.A.W.S. is made up of full-time staff and a group of volunteers who carry out the daily tasks of the on-site kennels, clinic, and play area. The team is a tight-knit unit who live and breathe passion towards animal care, often going above and beyond what is needed by the innocent canines. Our volunteer programs provide you with a life-changing opportunity to make a big difference to the lives of the stray animals in need of care, whilst also offering you a rich holiday experience soaking up the authentic culture in one of Thailand’s must-visit destinations. 

As marketing interns for XploreAsia, we took the opportunity to volunteer alongside the Rescue P.A.W.S. team for the last two days. After getting to know these two rockstar volunteers, we have a much greater understanding of the passion and dedication that is required to be a Rescue P.A.W.S. volunteer.

Rescue Paws volunteer in Thailand Kennidy with Cher

Kennidy (& Cher)

Kennidy is a 22-year-old from Settler, Canada

Rescue Paws Volunteer in Thailand Shari with Cloud

Shari (& Cloud)

Shari is a 20-year-old from the Gold Coast in Australia

Side note: these two adorable pups are up for adoption! Find out more here or email adopt@rescue-paws.org 

Rescue Paws volunteer with Mae and Thai food

How did you find out about Rescue P.A.W.S.?

K: I originally wanted to teach English abroad. So after a quick Google search, I found XploreAsia. Through them, I discovered Rescue P.A.W.S. and decided to volunteer in Thailand with animals instead. I hadn’t heard of Rescue P.A.W.S. until then, but I follow many similar animal welfare accounts from all over the world on social media.
S: I learned about this opportunity through Global Work & Travel. I did a work program through them previously and had a great experience. I knew that I wanted to volunteer in Thailand next so I was browsing the Global Work & Travel programs and found Rescue P.A.W.S.

Do you have any previous experience working with animals?

K: Yes, I was a secretary at a local animal rescue in my town. I’ve also fostered dogs in the past and have always been an animal lover.
S: Yes, I’ve always loved working with animals and knew that I wanted to work with animals since I was 5 years old. Back home I worked in a few different vet clinics but wasn’t exactly sure what kind of work I wanted to do with animals in the future. My time at Rescue P.A.W.S. has helped me figure out more of what I want to do, which is pursuing vet school!

Rescue Paws volunteer walking towards kennel
Rescue Paws volunteer with cow

What’s your favorite part of the day?

K: I think my favorite part of the day is having one-on-one time with the dogs that are the most timid. It’s amazing getting to know the dogs. Oh, and I love teaching them tricks!
S: Afternoon activities are my favorite because it’s different every day. It could anything from training the dogs, feeding stray dog packs, befriending these packs, bathing the dogs, parasite treatments, Thai cooking, surgeries, etc. Our mornings are pretty routine but we never know what we’ll be doing in the afternoon and if it’s a surgery, we get first-hand experience with the vets.

Biggest reward

K: Seeing dogs slowly come out of their shell. Throughout my time here I’ve been able to build relationships with each of the dogs. Most of them are quite shy and timid in the beginning, but after spending time with them every day their personalities begin to shine through. S: Returning dogs back to their packs. For me, experiencing the whole process from start to finish is quite amazing.  It can take a long time to befriend a local pack, so when you’re finally able to pick up an unsterilized or injured dog, bring that dog into the clinic for testing, surgery, rehabilitation, and then returning that dog back to their pack feels really good. You know you’re making a direct impact on that animal.

Rescue Paws volunteer with dog
Rescue Paws volunteer training dog

Biggest challenge

K: The biggest challenge for me is finding wounded street dogs and seeing them in pain. We actually found Pudge during one of our feeding runs with a wild pack. His foot was cut and he came right up to us. Usually, the dogs are so scared that they won’t come anywhere near you but this cute puppy needed our help.  Also, I see dogs in a different way than back home. It’s just a completely different society. Back home, if you see a stray dog you post about it on Facebook and the owner claims it. Here it’s different. There are soi dogs everywhere and they can generally take care of themselves.
S: It’s challenging to be continuously working with different dogs. There are a lot of dogs here in Thailand that need our help and we only get a certain amount of time with each dog. So, it can be difficult to maintain consistent training and bonding with each dog since they are often rotated between volunteers, adopted, or are returned to their packs.

Do you have a favorite animal?

K: I don’t know. Maybe Lamb or Bohdi. Lamb was the first dog that I able to work with so it was the first real relationship I built. But then there’s also Bohdi. I sat in his kennel with him when he first got here. He was so scared and I eventually helped him feel more comfortable. But it’s hard to pick favorites because we have little relationships with each animal and they’re all so different.

Rescue Paws volunteer holding dog on the beach in Hua Hin, Thailand
Volunteer in Thailand with Rescue Paws

Do you have any advice for a future volunteer in Thailand?

K: Don’t come here with any expectations. You’ll be challenged a lot, so I advise everyone to come in with an open mind. You’ll be challenged on things you thought you knew when it comes to animals. I came in thinking I could save them all but you simply can’t. But what they’re doing here has made a significant impact in their community.
S: Definitely be open minded. Traveling, in general, is always going to be full of unexpected challenges and it’s a mind game to overcome them and make the best of any situation. Your experience is going to be what you make it, so be open minded.

Thank you so much Kennidy and Shari for all of your hard work! Rescue P.A.W.S. wouldn’t be able to thrive without all the help that we get from our amazing volunteers. 

Do you love animals? Want to give back to the community? Come join us and volunteer in Thailand with Rescue P.A.W.S. You can also make a positive impact by visiting Wagging Tales Cafe, our non-profitable coffee shop where all proceeds go towards Rescue P.A.W.S. itself. Learn more about the Rescue P.A.W.S. volunteer program here

Teach Abroad with the XploreAsia Family!

Teach abroad: XploreAsia family

XploreAsia Family taking a company trip to Mallika 124 in Kanchanaburi, Thailand

XploreAsia is passionate about changing lives and embracing adventure through teaching abroad. This passion comes from the staff themselves, many of whom have been teachers previously before joining XploreAsia to help facilitate other people’s journeys across Asia. The XploreAsia staff make up a diverse family that not only supports one another, but also cares deeply about the teachers taking their accredited TESOL course and the surrounding community. 

Each staff member of the XploreAsia family has a unique story that has brought them to work for XploreAsia, and we’re delighted to be able to share some of their stories with you!


Becca, Program Coordinator

Teach abroad: XploreAsia team member Becca working with elephants

Becca during her time working with elephants

Teach abroad: XploreAsia team member Becca taking a selfie with her favorite companion

Taking a selfie with one of her adorable rescue dogs!

Becca is a proud  team member of the programs department. When she’s not helping our participants prepare for their unforgettable experience, and taking care of her three dog children,  she is often found volunteering and helping animals. As a matter of fact, volunteering is what brought her to Thailand. She saw an opportunity to volunteer with rescued elephants and went for it. This hands on volunteering experience led her to work in marketing, public relations, web management, and as a volunteer coordinator for the Save the Elephant Foundation. However,  Becca didn’t stop there! She ventured out even further and decided to teach abroad. She became an XploreAsia participant, completed her TESOL course, and taught English in schools around Thailand. Her adventures in Thailand have brought her to work for the XploreAsia family.  When asked why she wanted to work for XploreAsia, she simply stated “I had a great time as a participant. I appreciated the support that was given by the team. Not only do they help individuals become teachers, but they also create a support system after they are placed”.

XploreAsia is ecstatic to have her adventurous soul as part of the family!

Ae, Placement Coordinator

Teach abroad: Ae receiving some love from a former participant

Ae receiving some love from an XploreAsia teacher! 

Another outstanding member of the XploreAsia team is placement coordinator Mananya, also known as Ae. She forms part of the extremely committed placement team at XploreAsia that is dedicated to finding participants the best possible teaching jobs in Thailand. Ae is originally from Phang-nga, Thailand but has lived in Bangkok, Phuket, and Krabi. She has previously worked in the fields of education, tourism, and healthcare. Surprisingly, Ae came across a position at XploreAsia by accident. She decided to move near the Hua Hin area to take care of her mother and found an opportunity nearby in a multicultural company. For Ae, XploreAsia is not your typical company, she states “It feels like family, we’re all close, and we are open to share our thoughts when we work”. Ae enjoys walking in every morning and being received with warmth by the staff and the adorable dogs that make great companions while at work. The XploreAsia staff family feels like it was meant to have Ae as part of the team. 


XploreAsia family dog Nom Sod loved by our teach abroad teachers

Nom Sod doing what he does best, relaxing and being adorable!

One of the most loved members of the XploreAsia family is Nom Sod. Nom Sod has been at XploreAsia from the beginning, and not only is he loved by the staff, but all the teach abroad participants that have the privilege of meeting him. Nom Sod is a rescue dog adopted by XploreAsia founders, Mike and Paang, who say he had boundless energy. Nowadays, you can often find him relaxing and taking naps around the building, although he still loves all the attention from the participants. Nom Sod and his furry friends Pumpkin and Pudding work hard in keeping a smile on everyone’s faces. These extra members of the team are the key players of making XploreAsia feel like home.


Teach in Thailand

XploreAsia staff spending time together in Kanchanaburi

Posing for a picture with Mom

All of our team work to ensure all participants get to enjoy the benefits of teaching English abroad. Although all their stories are different, they all share the same passion for teaching English, traveling and giving back to their local communities. Participants who train and teach with us not only leave prepared to teach, but they also gain a brand new family abroad through XploreAsia. We believe that there is nothing more important than having a good support system, and we’re pleased to be able to provide that. If you are interested in learning more about XploreAsia, visit our website and follow us on Facebook to keep up with the adventures of the XploreAsia family.

Teach English Abroad: Samantha Sundermann’s Story

Teach English Abroad: Samantha Sundermann’s Story

For more info on what Samantha is currently working on, head over to www.shinecentres.com

Samantha Sundermann completed her training at XploreAsia and spent 6 months teaching in Myanmar before returning to Canada. Despite returning home, she was able to use the connections she made whilst being an XploreAsia teacher to continue to help children in Myanmar get access to a higher level of education. Read about her unique experiences in her blog post below:

Samantha with her TESOL class receiving her teaching certificate at XploreAsia

After several years of traveling for work and constantly being on the move, I finally decided it was time to stay in one place for a while. When deciding what I wanted to do for career, I thought back to what has always sparked my curiosity. Teaching English abroad is something that I have always been interested in, and now was the time to give it a shot.
 In 2015, I went home, saved up some money and did some research on how to teach English abroad. Through my research, I found XploreAsia and signed up for my TESOL course.  After being granted my certificate, I went on and taught in Tachileik in Myanmar for 6 months.  It was an incredible experience that I wish could have lasted longer but unfortunately, I had to get back to Canada for work.
In Toronto, I have been working for Shine Dance Competitions for the last 5 years.  Shine, is a company that hosts and organizes children’s dance competitions in Southern Ontario and Quebec.  Shine is a great company that lets me travel during off seasons to have new experiences (such as teaching English abroad) and then come back to Toronto when the dance season begins.  For several years, Shine was planning to offer underprivileged kids an opportunity to access a higher education through online learning.  I was absolutely thrilled when they asked me to take charge of this project and I already had my first location in mind!

Assistant teachers with our class in Tachileik, celebrating their last day of Nursery 1

Tachileik is a small but fast paced town in the north of Myanmar with lots of stories to tell.  One of the most loving places in town is a small orphanage.  Some of the teachers who were teaching before me would go on the weekends and teach the kids English.  They invited me along one weekend and I was absolutely moved by the experience.  It was my first-time meeting kids in an orphanage and experiencing their way of life.  We arrived while the kids were in the middle of mass.  Hearing their voices in song was beautiful.  They saw us come in and knew it meant it was time for their English lesson.  They quickly finished mass and were ready to be taught.  Their enthusiasm was infectious.  They laughed and shouted throughout the lesson on animals.  It was so inspiring to see a young generation so eager to learn.  Although, I didn’t make it back to the orphanage as often as I would have liked, I was motivated to bring Shines’ project to these kids.
I contacted my friends in Myanmar who were equally as excited by this project.  They instantly started researching how to get internet to the orphanage.  Our company, Shine Dance Competitions, in partnership with Response I.T., arranged to provide all the computer equipment for the project, among other things, and I started researching how to get the computers to the orphanage.  After months of researching different methods to send the computers to Myanmar, I reached out to Mike (XploreAsia’s Managing Director) for help.  With some luck, Mike happened to know the easiest route to get computers to Yangon.  From Yangon they were then sent on a bus to Tachileik.  We are so grateful for the team of people who helped get this project off the ground.
Teach English Abroad: Mass at Orphanage

Mass at the Orphanage

Teach English Abroad: kids at the orphanage ready to learn!

Orphans during class time

Currently, the orphanage has internet access and 2 teachers who go on the weekends to teach the kids how to use the computers.  For now, the kids are using websites to improve their English.  As the children become more proficient, we will start talking to them about what other topics they are interested in learning. One of the teachers at the orphanage is a native English speaker, and the other is a native Myanmar speaker.  This is convenient because when the kids don’t understand the programs on the computer, they can ask in their native language but still have an opportunity to speak English as well.  Through many education oriented websites, the kids can learn anything they want. In countries such as Thailand, where these websites are offered in the primary language, the children can start taking any courses they want.  However, due to there being less options in Burmese, we encourage the improvement of their English language skills to give them more choices in what they want to learn online. Learning English will also help to create more career opportunities for them in the future.
The goal for this project is to let the kids learn new skills to help their community.  They can learn anything from Tree Planting, to Rocket Science.  We want to encourage these kids to enjoy learning and improve their current living situations.  Currently, we are looking to expand the project within South East Asia, targeting a few different countries.  Once we have a few solid facilities, we will begin to expand in each country where our project has proved successful.

First time students see computer set up

Students on the bus home from school in Tachileik

At the moment, we are building a website to promote this project.  When we acquire sponsors, we can grow at a quicker rate. Additionally, we also need to find contacts in different countries who can supervise the project for us and who also want to teach English abroad.  We will be posting blog updates about how the projects are running and eventually we would like to have the kid’s blogging about their own experiences!

I am very grateful for the opportunity XploreAsia gave me to meet new people and teach English abroad. I am excited to continue working with Shine to expand this wonderful project.  We are now working with XploreAsia to set up computers for the kids at the Pala-U Orphanage, in Thailand. I cannot wait to see what is to come! For more information please contact me at: sam@shinedance.com


If you want to teach English abroad, apply here.

Volunteer Abroad with Rescue Paws and XploreAsia

Volunteer Abroad with Rescue Paws and XploreAsia

Rescue Paws Pup

As well as training and placing teachers to work abroad, XploreAsia are also passionate about contributing to the local community. Stray dogs are unfortunately extremely common in Thailand which means there are thousands of animals at risk of starvation, abuse and in need of medical treatment. In 2013, XploreAsia and their Australian partners Global Work and Travel decided to do something about it.

From humble beginnings as purely a feeding project, the Rescue Paws foundation now has an on-site veterinarian, Dr Aye, to provide emergency medical care and vital sterilisations as well as a dedicated team of volunteers who help coordinate international adoptions and take care of the street dogs the organisation takes in. The foundation’s main goal is to heal, rehabilitate, sterilize and release strays back to their packs around Hua Hin.

XploreAsia Dog Wash Rescue Paws

Volunteer Abroad and Make a Difference

“The dogs are often born in dire conditions on the streets.” Says Rescue Paws’ Volunteer Coordinator Jayne Soltys. “Sterilization of these dogs is so important to be able to control the population, and so that the locals feel safe from potentially aggressive dogs. We also make a large effort to teach people how to properly care for their pets by talking to them about sterilization, vaccination, and parasite treatments. By working with XploreAsia, we hope that the teachers will help by making pet care a part of their curriculum”

“As corny as it sounds, every day we witness miracles. To watch a dog go from not being able to walk to running around on the beach, it’s absolutely incredible in a way that I cannot describe.” A prime example of this comes in the adorable form of Rescue Paws’ only permanent resident Sprite. Despite using a wheelchair, Sprite’s boundless energy and charisma wins the hearts of staff and volunteers alike. The foundation is also committed to educating the local community about animal care by reaching out to local schools and organisations.

Dog on the beach

Rescue Paws relies on a team of volunteers and are always looking for extra hands to help feed, care for and play with the dogs, so there’ll be plenty of opportunities to volunteer abroad with the organisation whilst you’re in Hua Hin earning your TESOL qualification. As Jayne says, “If you only have a couple of hours to spare, we can totally use all the help we can get when it comes to taking our dogs for walks along our beautiful beach.” You’ll also get the chance to visit during the orientation week to meet the team and get a taste of what it’s like to volunteer abroad with animals at the foundation.

XploreAsia teachers walking dogs at Rescue Paws

Other Ways to Help

Even if for some reason running along the beach with a bunch of dogs isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other things you can do to help the team out whilst studying for your TESOL qualification. All the profits from Wagging Tales, the café at XploreAsia HQ, go directly to Rescue Paws so whenever you stop by to pick up a refreshing watermelon slushy or an energising Thai iced tea between classes, you’re making a real difference to the lives of strays in Hua Hin. In fact, the money from your morning coffee provides one whole meal for a rescued pup. During your training, you’ll likely be eating a lot of freshly made lunches at the café and the fact that you’re making a huge difference to stray animals’ lives makes every bite taste even better.

Everything adds up. Five cups of coffee pays for one vaccination, ten of their delicious smoothies adds up to one bag of dog food and twenty lattes provides one sterilisation to help reduce the number of dogs being born on the streets. Whatever your schedule is, just by hanging out with your new friends at our cosy café makes a huge difference to animals in need.

XploreAsia Pudding at Wagging Tails

According to Jayne, even the seemingly smallest actions make a big difference. “You can like us on Facebook, and follow us on Instagram and Twitter, and share our stories with your family and friends. Anything and everything helps!”

Want to Volunteer Abroad?

Head over to Rescue Paws’ website to find out more information about how you can volunteer abroad or to find out how you can make a difference to strays in Thailand whilst you’re studying for your TESOL qualification in Hua Hin.

Dogs of Rescue Paws

Making a Difference: How Trash Hero is Keeping Our World Clean

Making a Difference: How Trash Hero is Keeping Our World Clean

Accumulation of waste across the world is a clear issue, and yet not nearly enough is being done to tackle this problem. Our incredible Program Coordinator Krissy started an amazing project to minimize excess waste. Through her actions, our TESOL course participants have had the chance to actively make a difference in keeping our environment clean. At XploreAsia, we also seek to raise awareness on the issue through selling Trash Hero water bottles and offering free refills of water. Check out Krissy’s story of how she became involved with Trash Hero and the difference that the organization makes in Hua Hin, Thailand! 

What is Trash Hero and what does the organization do?

Trash Hero is an organization dedicated to sustainability and waste management education within local communities. The first Trash Hero chapter started in Koh Lipe and has since grown to multiple locations throughout Thailand and abroad. They are multifaceted in what they do, and it is very easy to get involved. Their first goal is to simply clean local areas and encourage other locals to do so through leading by example. Most, if not all, chapters have a Facebook page that advertises where and when the weekly cleanups will be held.

trash hero beach pile

The second is to encourage local businesses to get involved with the Bottles and Bags program. Local businesses can order stainless steel water bottles for 100 baht a bottle and sell them for 200 baht. The caveat is that they must provide a water refill station for any person who has a Trash Hero water bottle to refill for free.

The bags are another great aspect to the organization because Thailand has an interesting view when it comes to plastics. Plastic is regarded as an endless commodity with little thought to what happens once a person is done with it. Bringing a reusable bag with you to the shop will prompt funny glances, but again, it’s the ‘lead by example’ mentality that is slowly making headway.

How and when did you first become involved with Trash Hero?


I can’t remember the exact time when I started working with Trash Hero, but I know the reason. I had recently returned to Thailand after a short trip home, so probably around May 2016.

I lost my stainless steel water bottle somewhere and turned to the internet to see where to buy one in Hua Hin. The thing is, you can’t. Stainless steel water bottles are like the unicorns of Thailand, they just don’t exist. But I persisted, I typed in other locations and search words until I stumbled upon the Trash Hero website, specifically the Bottles and Bags program.

trash hero clean

I read through the information and scoured the website to see if there was a place close by to purchase a water bottle. To my surprise, they had a chapter in Hua Hin. So I looked them up on Facebook and went to their next scheduled cleanup. The rest is history as they say.

How would you describe the impact that Trash Hero has made so far in Thailand?

Trash Hero has made a huge difference all over Thailand. Most of the chapters are in the southern parts of Thailand with one in Bangkok and another in Chiang Mai. But if these volunteers didn’t come out to pick up rubbish every week, who would? Some beachside hotels are responsible for cleaning their section of the beach, but what about the other areas that fall outside the scope of those establishments? That alone can make a huge difference. Trash Hero removes hundreds of kilos of trash from the beaches up and down the coastline and on the islands. Chapters have even started on other parts of the globe.

What differences have you made personally in your daily life and how has XploreAsia helped with your involvement in the Trash Hero cause?

I personally volunteer many Sunday afternoons to Trash Hero and help to clean the beaches here in Hua Hin. I’ve also assisted in establishing a relationship between Trash Hero and XploreAsia. Wagging Tales is now one of the businesses taking part in the Bottles and Bags program offering stainless steel water bottles to our teachers and the community.


With this expansion in sustainability mindfulness, Wagging Tales also offers lunch to participants during their course for purchase. Initially, lunch was served in single use plastic containers. I’m proud to say that Wagging Tales has since switched to serving with reusable plates and silverware. We hope to continue this relationship and have our teachers help us to spread the message of sustainability into their placement communities.

How can we get involved with Trash Hero and make a difference in helping to protect our environment?
The best way to get involved with Trash Hero is to look them up online and find a location to volunteer at near you! Then look at that chapter on Facebook to find out the exact location of meet-ups. You can also start trying to reduce your waste by getting a stainless steel water bottle, reusable bag for shopping, containers to bring with you to take-away shops, and just saying ‘no’ to straws! A little goes a long way and leading by example is always a plus too.

Thank you so much Krissy for dedicating your time and resources to such an amazing cause! We truly value and appreciate the inspiring difference you are making in our community. You define leading by example, and we know that your efforts and the hard work of many others will bring about great change in keeping our environment clean. 

We are always eager to discover new ways to make a difference in the community:  what inspires you to make an impact in our world? Are there any local causes that you are passionate about sharing with others? How do you make a difference in your own community?  

Ready to start your own adventure teaching abroad? Check out some of our incredible programs here

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