fbpx
The Twelve Days of Christmas (at Rescue P.A.W.S.)

The Twelve Days of Christmas (at Rescue P.A.W.S.)

Rescue P.A.W.S. landscape logo

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me… a cat curled under the tree!

Saba is one of three cats we found tied up in a bag and thrown over the wall of the temple where our clinic is based. We took her and her siblings in and now they are happy, healthy and ready for adoption. If you are interested in adopting, contact us here!

Rescue Paws volunteer walking towards kennel
Rescue Paws volunteer with cow

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me two rescued pups and a cat curled under the tree!

Whenever we are unable to return a dog to its pack, we try to find it a forever home. Pictured are two dogs we took in to sterilize and care for that were adopted by two families.

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me three volunteers, two rescued pups and a cat curled under the tree!

Our volunteer program is the backbone of Rescue P.A.W.S. Without our volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to help nearly as many dogs as we do. If you are interested in volunteering, please visit our website to apply!

Rescue Paws volunteer with dog
Rescue Paws volunteer training dog

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, four purring cats, three volunteers, two rescued pups and a cat curled under the tree!

At Rescue P.A.W.S., not only do we look after dogs but we also look after cats. All of our rescued animals are like siblings here!

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, five sterilized strays, four purring cats, three volunteers, two rescued pups and a cat curled under the tree!

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

Stray dog overpopulation is a massive issue throughout all of Thailand. In the span of six years, one male and female pair can produce up to 67,000 offspring. Here at Rescue P.A.W.S. we help to reduce the number of strays by sterilizing dogs, which in turn helps increase their quality of life.

Volunteer in Thailand with Rescue Paws

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me six dogs a-hugging, five sterilized strays, four purring cats, three volunteers, two rescued pups and a cat curled under the tree!

While on a feeding run one day, we noticed one of the puppies, Snooze, had swelling in her paw. We took her back to the clinic to sterilize her and treat the wound. She will be returned to her to her pack as soon as she heals.

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me seven dogs a-feeding, six dogs a-hugging, five sterilized strays, four purring cats, three volunteers, two rescued pups and a cat curled under the tree!

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

Our volunteers partake in daily feeding runs to local packs around the area making sure the dogs are properly nourished. We feed the pups both dry and wet dog food, all thanks to donations. If you want to help us feed the street dogs in Thailand, donate here today!

Volunteer in Thailand with Rescue Paws

For the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me eight licks a-landing, seven dogs a-feeding, six dogs a-hugging, five sterilized strays, four purring cats, three volunteers, two rescued pups and a cat curled under the tree!

One of the most crucial parts of being a volunteer is socializing with the dogs. We give each dog extra love and care so that they grow up friendly and properly socialized.

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me nine dogs a-learning, eight licks a-landing, seven dogs a-feeding, six dogs a-hugging, five sterilized strays, four purring cats, three volunteers, two rescued pups and a cat curled under the tree!

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

Not only do we socialize the dogs, but for those that are with us for longer, we also train them. Pictured here is Cloud, who is up for adoption! If you are interested in adopting, please message us here.

Volunteer in Thailand with Rescue Paws

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me ten clean kennels, nine dogs a-learning, eight licks a-landing, seven dogs a-feeding, six dogs a-hugging, five sterilized strays, four purring cats, three volunteers, two rescued pups and a cat curled under the tree!

Our volunteers work tirelessly to ensure that our dogs are happy. Part of their daily tasks is cleaning the kennels so that all the dogs staying with us are comfortable and happy.

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me eleven toys donated, ten clean kennels, nine dogs a-learning, eight licks a-landing, seven dogs a-feeding, six dogs a-hugging, five sterilized strays, four purring cats, three volunteers, two rescued pups and a cat curled under the tree!

One of our lovely volunteers, Nikita, was generous to donate some much-needed toys, leashes and collars for our dogs. This year, we have been lucky to receive donations from so many kind individuals. But unfortunately, we still need more help. With one sterilization costing around 2,000 baht ($60 USD), any amount goes a long way! To donate, click here. All of us at Rescue P.A.W.S. and XploreAsia appreciate the donations that have and are being made that enable us to continue helping the community.

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me twelve strays transformed, eleven toys donated, ten clean kennels, nine dogs a-learning, eight licks a-landing, seven dogs a-feeding, six dogs a-hugging, five sterilized strays, four purring cats, three volunteers, two rescued pups and a cat curled under the tree!

It warms our hearts to see so many lives of animals transformed after they come through our doors. It’s truly incredible what a little love and care can do to better the lives of these precious animals. Thank you to all of our donors, volunteers, and to our amazing team for helping make Rescue P.A.W.S. the organization that it is. 

Volunteer in Thailand with Rescue Paws
If you or anyone you know is interested in donating, volunteering, or interning with Rescue P.A.W.S. contact XploreAsia or Rescue P.A.W.S. today!
Do you love animals? Want to give back to the community? Come join us in beautiful Thailand and get involved 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

Work in Thailand: Orientation Week at XploreAsia

Work in Thailand: Orientation Week at XploreAsia

Work in Thailand

Whether you’re coming to pursue work in Thailand as an English teacher or through one of our various internship programs, your first week will always include a cultural orientation. At XploreAsia we believe that immersing yourself in the culture is critical to your success here in Thailand. During your first week in Thailand you will partake in various cultural orientation courses about Thai culture, politics, and language. We wouldn’t throw you into working in a new country without giving you the basics first (who do you think we are)!

XploreAsia’s Cultural Orientation courses are designed to prepare future English teachers and workers for all aspects of life in Thailand. Each course delves into the heart of each countries culture and values through online classes before you arrive in the country, and once in the country, through active-learning cultural excursions to various sites of cultural and historical significance.

Thai Cooking Class

One of, if not, the best part of Thailand is the food. Thai food consists of four distinct tastes: salty, sweet, sour, and spicy. Most Thai dishes are not considered satisfying unless they combine all four tastes.  A typical Thai dish includes rice or noodles, vegetables, meat, and lots and lots of herbs and seasonings. The most common street foods being, “pad thai” and “som yom”, or papaya salad.

Thai cooking class is one of our most popular cultural orientation classes. During this course you will learn the basics of Thai cuisine and how to make both of these popular dishes. A very important phrase to know as a foreigner or “farang” in Thailand is,“Mai ped”, or no spice. For those that are looking to work in Thailand, “mai ped” tells the locals to hold back on the chili flakes that they love to saturate local dishes with.

XploreAsia’s Thai cooking class not only acted as an immersion into the culture, but also a useful lesson on how to make an easy, fast, and affordable meal when living in Thailand.

Muay Thai

Muay Thai, meaning “the art of eight limbs,” is a boxing sport of Thailand that combines physical and mental discipline using the knees, shins, fists, and elbows.  During this lesson, Muay Thai instructors demonstrate and teach common defense moves that may be useful when working in Thailand.Through this active cultural learning excursion, you will learn how to side kick (Tae Tad), kick to the inside of the knee (Tae Pub Nai), elbow strikes (Sok), and many more aspects that make this sport so popular among the Thai locals. Make sure to pack your workout clothes when coming to Thailand as many of our participants have said this is the best workout they’ve ever had.

Work in Thailand: XploreAsia teachers partaking in Muay Thai

Work in Thailand and learn how to Muay Thai

Rescue Paws

It wouldn’t be cultural orientation week without a visit to our non-profit organization, Rescue Paws. When you work in Thailand, homeless dogs are around every corner and in 2013 we co-founded Rescue Paws as a way to help the stray dog population here in Hua Hin through sterilization and education.. With an increasing number of stray dogs in Thailand, Rescue Paws befriends local packs in the area, , and then makes an effort to decrease the stray population through vaccinations, sterilizations, and adoptions.

The majority of dogs brought into the Rescue Paws clinic  are in life threatening conditions, and living a poor quality of life. Once an animal is treated, they are returned back to their original packs. Unfortunately, some are not in the condition to be returned to the streets. In this case, these animals are put up for adoption and put into a forever home. A visit to Rescue Paws not only helps spread awareness of the organization, but participants get the chance to learn about the importance of animal sterilization as well as hangout with the amazing pups!

Rescue Paws is completely run on volunteers and donations so there are ample opportunities to volunteer or donate to the organization during your time working in Thailand.

Sidenote: follow Rescue Paws on social media and if you or anyone you know is interested in volunteering, adopting, or donating to Rescue Paws, contact coordinator@rescue-paws.org.

Work in Thailand: Sprite enjoying his day at the beach

Sprite enjoying the beach!

Temple Hike at Wat Thum Khao Tao and Monk Meditation

Next on your cultural orientation is a temple hike to Wat Thum Khao Tao and a visit with the local monks here in Hua Hin. Rescue Paws’ clinic is actually located on the temple grounds, so it’s a nice transition from one excursion to the next.

Wat Thum Khao Tao, meaning “Temple, Mountain, Cave, Turtle”, was used as a halfway house for monks traveling from the North to the South. The cave is still frequented by traveling monks, but also is a sanctuary for those that work abroad to experience the spirituality of the Thai culture. Dragon fixtures, Buddha statues, and monk figures, were present around every corner of the cave. With this, a giant Buddha is located at the top of the mountain. The statues around Wat Thum Khao Tao represent the hope for further awakening and the devotion the Thai people have towards their faith. This cave is certainly a bucket list destination for those working abroad!

After your temple hike our participants partake in a guided meditation with the local monks that live at Wat Thum Khao Tao. Through meditation, you are educated on the basics of meditation and how the mind and body work together as one. The monk will also talk to you about the importance of meditation and how this practice will bring peace, happiness, and serenity to your life.

Work in Thailand: Teachers at Wat Thum Khao Tao

Group photo at Wat Thum Khao Tao

Beach BBQ: Leaving Behind Fears of Working in Thailand

Last but not least, cultural orientation week ends with a beach BBQ. The beach BBQ is a time for everyone to celebrate and reflect on the past week. Not to mention a time to have fun and enjoy amazing food with your new friends!

XploreAsia goes to great lengths to provide the most comprehensive culture orientation possible by bringing aspects of all major areas of existence here in Thailand right to the classroom for our clients. We provide traditional classroom learning on life and business in Thailand alongside an array of hands-on experiences that require you to completely immerse yourself within the culture.

Work in Thailand: Teachers at Wat Thum Khao Tao

Are you ready to work in Thailand? Visit our website. We hope to see you on our next cultural orientation week!

Thailand Budget Tips for ESL Teachers

Thailand Budget Tips for ESL Teachers

travel, teach, Hua Hin, adventure, XploreAsia

So, you’ve come to Thailand to teach English and now you want to use your weekends to explore and travel, really discover those hidden gems of Thailand. There is only one slight problem – you’re living on a Thailand budget and need to ensure your rent and bills are paid off, while still being able to put food on the table. Traveling to Thailand on a budget can easily be done, but does require research and planning. We’ve learned a few things during our time here in Thailand and want to share a few pointers from one budget traveler to another.

travel, Thailand budget, beach, paradise, beautiful, ocean, adventure

Thailand Budget Tip #1

When it comes to choosing your accommodation, it is important to remember that you will most likely, only be sleeping here. You will most likely be out and about most of the time exploring all that is Thailand. You’re in a beautiful, amazing country, why would you want to spend all of your time in your room, right? Of course, we all want a clean, comfortable room and bed, but sometimes we have to make sacrifices—especially when you’re on a tight budget. I have yet to come across an affordable hostel that is not only clean, but also accompanied by a gorgeous view. The Thai people take care of their hostels and hotels better than I take care of my place back home. Sure, the bed may not be the most ideal size or comfort level, but you will survive, I promise.

Also keep in mind that you don’t have to stay in the heart of each city or town that you are visiting. The hotels and hostels that you would find here are likely to be more expensive than a hotel or hostel off of a side street, a short walk from the heart of the town/city. If you place yourself in a less populated area, you may also get to experience that town or city from a more true and honest perspective. Whatever you decide to do, make sure to do your research on the hostels in the given area. My favourite website to use for the Thailand budget is hostelworld – it shows you all of the hostels available for the specific dates and locations you want and you are able to sort the results by many different filters (price, room, facilities, rating, type and payment). Hostelworld allows you to book right through their website, has an extremely easy cancellation process, and they give you all of the contact information you need. Not to mention, they provide reviews for each hostel, as well as all of the amenities that are both included and not included. For example, a beautiful  hostel (rated 9.1) in Koh Tao island is only $9.70 USD per night for a 6 bed dorm with air conditioning – extremely affordable if you ask me! You just have to take the time to sit down and look at the options available, compare what is offered, and make the smartest decision for yourself.

Pro-tip: Hostels generally have a cancellation policy which requires you to inform the hostel between 3 – 7 days prior to the day you are to arrive; giving many of us more than enough time to change plans, if need be.

hammock, relax, Thailand, teach abroad, relax, XploreAsia

Thailand Budget Tip #2

Our given mode of transportation is very important to the Thailand budget. This past weekend I took a van, a bus, and a train so I can tell you all the ups and downs of each. First off…the vans. Not only do they run all over Thailand, but they are extremely affordable, comfortable and air conditioned. I took a van to Kanchanaburi on Saturday and the total cost was 220 baht, which works out to be approximately $6.25 USD – this is for a 3 hour (220km) drive.

Next up…the busses. Now, I don’t mean coach busses, I mean those colourful busses with all of the windows down and the doors open so that you see the streets of Thailand. The bus I took was from Kanchanaburi to Erawan Waterfalls & National Park was about an hour and a half drive from Hua Hin, depending on if the driver is going the speed limit. This mode of transportation cost 50 baht, approximately $1.40 USD.

travel, budget, Thailand, adventure, teach abroad, XploreAsia

The Truth About My Thailand Budget

Now, I will be completely honest when I say this trip wasn’t exactly the most comfortable. It was a very hot day, and although there are fans on the roof of the bus, with open windows and doors and long stop lights, it got a little toasty at times. The seats themselves were made of a material that you stick to if you are at all sweaty, and you feel every single bump in the road.  Inexpensive – yes, comfortable – no. But it did the job. Although I was happy to get off of that bus, this is not to say I would never take another because of how inexpensive it is.

Lastly, the trains. I took a train from Bangkok to Hua Hin late in the evening one Sunday. From my own personal experience, the trains do not run as often as the vans or busses, however, they are comfortable and air conditioned, and they even give you a blanket and a snack. The price of the train depends on the time you are traveling – as my roommate took the train from Bangkok home to Hua Hin on a Monday afternoon and it only cost her 95 baht per person ($2.70 USD), whereas when I took the train this past Sunday evening, it was 400 baht per person ($11.40 USD). That being said, it is best to book any travels via train in advance to ensure that you get the class and time that you would prefer. Another mode of transportation that I have yet to experience  – is the ferry. Using the ferry to get to Koh Tao is seemingly the most affordable option and the easiest mode of transportation. With this, you will embark on a  6 hour catamaran ride. Who wouldn’t love to be on the open water for a whole 6 hours? Perhaps an individual who gets seasick. The price for this, one way, is 1047 baht – approximately $30 USD…so cheap! I believe that, if you can stomach it, ferries would be the most beautiful mode of transportation as the views will be amazing every which way you look.

Thailand Budget Tip #3

The food you choose to eat while in Thailand will honestly make or break your budget. Yes, it is okay to splurge on Western food every once in awhile when you are having a craving from back home, but try not to make it a habit (as this will become a very expensive habit). Eating as the Thais do – street food for every meal – is beyond affordable. One day for breakfast, I got 10 freshly cooked, deep fried pastries and 3 sticks of chicken all for 30 baht – $0.85 USD. 

western food in Thailand, travel, budget, travel, explore, XploreAsia, adventure

If I compare this to an average western breakfast of an omelette with a smoothie from my favourite western restaurant – The Baguette – this total comes out to be 145 baht – $4.15 USD. Now I know that $4 USD for breakfast is unheard of back home, however, this does add up especially when you have much cheaper options available to you…literally across the road. The same goes for dinner. You can get Pad-See-Ew for 40 baht ($1.15 USD), or you can get a burger and fries for 150 baht ($4.30 USD). Trust me when I say, you will enjoy the Thai food so much more than the Western food – nine times out of ten, it is not exactly how we make it back home, it is better. Why come to Thailand to eat burgers and pizza anyways.

thai food, delicious, explore, adventure, travel, budget, teach overseas, XploreAsia

I used to be such a picky eater, and since coming to Thailand, that part of me disappeared – in a good way. When I go to the local markets I am willing to try what I like to call ‘mystery meat’ as I have no idea what I am about to eat, but it is always so delicious. I have been overly pleased with every meal in Thailand so far, whether it is so spicy that I am crying between bites, or so delicious that I eat it too quickly to even enjoy the flavours.

SO! Are you more confident that you can travel on a Thailand budget? I sure hope so. Get out there and start exploring!

Interested in teaching or working in Thailand? Visit our adventures page!

Thai Culture: The Do’s and Don’ts

Thai Culture: The Do’s and Don’ts

You’ve booked your flight, packed your bags, and are ready to embark on this new adventure with XploreAsia—teaching English in Thailand. This once in a lifetime opportunity attracts people from all over the world, and for good reason. Teaching abroad will change your life. Now, that’s not to say that it won’t be without challenges— but overcoming these challenges is what makes an experience like this so rewarding, unique, and meaningful. You get what you give in Thai culture. Through XploreAsia’s internationally accredited TESOL course you will learn the necessary skills to teach English in Thailand while also making a difference.

Here at XploreAsia we know how scary it can be to come to a new country (we’ve been there). We believe that having a basic understanding of Thai culture is essential to your success, therefore, we provide all of our future teachers with a cultural orientation week upon arrival to Thailand. Your first week in the program will include lessons on Thai culture, language, politics and more. Because we want each and every individual that comes through our program to succeed and embrace the beautiful and unique lifestyle that Thailand has to offer, we’ve created a basic guide to the cultural “Do’s and Don’ts” of Thailand.

DO: RESPECT CULTURAL DIFFERENCES

Thai culture is greatly influenced by Buddhism and is the world’s most heavily Buddhist country. About 97% of the population is Buddhist, making Buddhism one of the cornerstones of Thai culture. The Buddhist beliefs and values play a vital role in the day to day life of Thai people as well as the many tourists that flock to this country every year. Some of the most prominent values being respect, self-control, and a non-confrontational attitude. Thai cultural expectations revolve around these values and it is truly beautiful to witness and be a part of. Although Thai culture may be very different from our own, there are behaviors one can avoid in order be respectful and truly assimilate into the Thai lifestyle as smoothly as possible.  

Thai culture: Buddha statue at Wat Thum Khao Tao

Buddha statue at Wat Thum Khao Tao 

DON’T: PDA

First things first, we all know how sweet it can be to show affection with our partners and friends in public. However, Thai people are very discreet and prefer to keep PDA to a minimum. Therefore, it is best to refrain from being overly affectionate in public as to not make others uncomfortable. Being a highly Buddhist country, the religion influences certain behaviors as unacceptable. In this instance, PDA.

DON’T: PECULIAR MANNERISMS

Another example has to do with certain parts of the body. In Buddhism the most sacred part of the body is the head. The feet are considered to be the lowest and filthiest. Therefore, it would be highly offensive to touch another person’s head and disrespectful to point, push, or step on anything with your feet. Most importantly, one should always avoid facing the bottom of your feet towards another person, as that is seen as a major sign of disrespect.

Pro Tip: Don’t step on Thai money. Since the King’s image is on the face of all Thai bills, stepping on it would be considered disrespectful to the monarchy. And Thai people take their monarchy very, very seriously.

Thai culture: Monk at our local temple located in Hua Hin

Visiting our local monk in Hua Hin

DO: RESPECT THE MONKS

Monks are a significant aspect of Thai culture. You can encounter monks casually passing by, in temples, or even at the train station. Although we treat them with the most respect, it is important to remember that monks are prohibited to touch or be touched by women. Therefore, women should be careful to not come in physical contact with a monk.

DO: MAINTAIN FACE

The notion of “face” is important in Thai culture and there are many aspects that involve the concept of “face”. In general, it is best to avoid being overly emotional in public. Particularly, being angry or confrontational towards others. Maintaining “face” shows respect and dignity. AKA, keep your emotions in check.

Thai culture: Having a laugh while eating at the beach barbecue provided by Xploreasia

Showing our best smiles while enjoying a barbecue dinner provided by XploreAsia

DO: WAI

While in Thailand you will 110% experience a Thai greeting known as the “Wai”. Don’t be shy, the wai is a common Thai greeting, almost like a handshake. “Wai-ing” someone is easy – just press your palms together in front of your chest and bow your head slightly. Do keep in mind that there are different variations of the wai in Thailand. Thai culture greatly honors and respects the elderly, so when greeting someone older than you, make sure to do a very traditional and powerful wai as a demonstration of respect. Nevertheless, don’t worry (“mai pen rai”), if you get it wrong, making an effort shows a great amount of respect in and of itself.

Fun fact: The phrase “mai pen rai” is a very common expression in Thailand, translating to  “don’t worry”, “it’s okay”, or “take it easy”. Something extremely fascinating about Thai culture is how open and safe it is towards the LGBTQ community. It is a great place to be respectful and accepting towards everybody. With that, don’t forget to live the mai pen rai life! Life doesn’t have to be rushed and in a hurry at all times. Just smile, enjoy your time, stay calm, and mai pen rai!

Thai culture: Visual of how to do a Wai

 

DO: PICK THE RIGHT SHOES

Stay comfy while you teach in  Thailand by wearing flip flops and slip ons! While exploring in the warm and humid weather of Thailand, it’s easy to slide on a pair of flip flops and easily go on with your day. Not only will this keep you cooler, it’s also an easy way to take off your shoes – given that this is a common practice to do before entering temples, homes, and occasionally businesses. In addition to taking off your shoes when visiting temples, make sure to always wear appropriate clothing to cover your knees and shoulders.

Thai culture: Slipping off your sandals

 

Are You Ready for Thai Culture?

Last but not least, DO make sure to have an open mind. Be open to learning new things, experiencing new cultures, and DON’T forget to have fun. Thailand has a vast and rich culture and there is so much to learn about this beautiful country. Remember that it’s okay to make mistakes because that’s part of the learning process. At XploreAsia we are here to help enhance your cultural experience in addition to supporting you throughout your teaching journey.

Thai culture: Xploreasia teacher practicing her Thai language at Hua Hin local market

Xploreasia teacher engaging in Thai culture by practicing her Thai language skills in Hua Hin’s local food market

 

If you are interested in any of our programs, visit our Adventures page and follow us on Facebook for more information! 

What to Pack for Thailand: Packing Tips for ESL Teachers

What to Pack for Thailand: Packing Tips for ESL Teachers

Preparing to take your TESOL course and teach English in Thailand is not a one-step process by any means, but it can be simpler than you might realize. For chronic over-packers, there is the 3-pile process: one of necessities, one of maybes, and one of wants. What to pack for Thailand? One suggestion is to pack only the first pile and scrap the rest. 

I never abided by that rule because I could never decide what would go in which pile. So instead, here are some my packing tips (and tips from others!) on how to prepare for your adventure abroad teaching English in Thailand:  

 

1. Don’t forget these important items:

  • Passport, License, and Visa (and copies), teaching documents (official degree certificate and transcripts), and extra passport photos
  • ATM/Debit/Credit Cards (let your bank know you’ll be in Thailand!)
  • Cash to exchange (roughly $200-600)
  • Any daily medication (with copies of prescriptions), bug spray, sunscreen, and lotion
  • Laptop and chargers (with converters/adaptors –Thailand uses 220V, and the plug-in style is the same type you would bring to Europe and North America)
what to pack for Thailand

2. For teachers, bring at least two formal outfits.

Here are more teacher suggestions on what to pack for Thailand:  

Women:

  • 2-3 longer skirts that cover the knee
  • 2-3 blouses that cover the shoulders and chest
  • 1-2 dresses that cover the knees, shoulders, and chest
  • Closed toe shoes

Men:

  • 2-3 dress shirts
  • 3-4 pairs of dress pants/trousers
  • 1-2 ties
  • 5-7 dress socks
  • 2 pairs of shoes (1 brown, 1 black)
Teaching Tip

When teaching English in Thailand, presenting a small gift from your home country to the school makes a fantastic first impression and can help you create some lasting friendships right away. Consider these gift ideas:

  • Treat: chocolate, maple syrup, or cookies
  • A travel book with pictures of where you’re from
  • School supplies: children’s books, magazines, colored pencils, construction paper

3. Bring a small duffel bag or backpack for weekend trips

This was a definite necessity when I studied abroad, and one of the first things I put in my suitcase. It’s so helpful for shorter weekend trips, and I guarantee you’ll be making at least one or two trips while teaching in Thailand! 

Culture Tip

Sizes in Thailand tend to run on the smaller size, and finding larger Western sizes can be challenging in small towns. Regardless, it is still possible to find these larger sizes at bigger shopping malls in cities. Also it’s important to recognize that Thai culture values modesty, so remember that when packing clothes. 

what to pack for Thailand
what to pack for Thailand

4. Bring a rain jacket, sweatshirt, and good walking shoes

These items were not forefront on my mind when I was wondering what to pack for Thailand, but you’ll definitely be grateful for them once you’re in the country. Bus rides and airplanes can get chilly, and broadly speaking, Thailand’s rainy season can run from May/June to October.     

There are some gorgeous national parks all around Thailand, and you’ll want to bring some comfortable walking shoes for hiking and exploring.  

Culture Tip

For women, a long scarf to cover your shoulders or knees can be useful when visiting a temple or the Grand Palace.  The one I brought became one of my most essential items: I used it at the beach, as a cover-up, and also as a blanket on some very chilly bus rides.

What to pack for Thailand: Helpful Items

  • A Kindle: English books aren’t as easy to come by, so if you’re a big reader, having a Kindle is wonderful for traveling.
  • Consider bringing an extra inexpensive, unlocked phone with you to Thailand to function as your Thai phone. It’s simple to buy one once you’re in Thailand, but it’s sometimes nice to know that you already have one you can use.
  • A small coin purse for loose change, and a money belt for weekend trips.

______________________________________________

I had the chance to sit down with Tara, one of our TESOL Course participants, and chat about how she prepared for taking the TESOL course and for her adventure teaching in Thailand:

What are some things that you didn’t think to pack first but are grateful for now?

Photos from home. It’s not something that I thought I’d want once here in Thailand, but just having a few photos from home can be so comforting. I also brought a travel journal that I’m looking forward to filling with thoughts and memories from my experience.

What is one item that you wish you’d brought to prepare you for teaching in Thailand?

More skirts! I didn’t realize how hard it would be to find longer black skirts that are light and breathable. Most of the skirts I’ve found here in Thailand are made of heavy material and are pretty expensive. I also wish I’d brought more breathable, light blouses for teaching.

You only brought one backpack on this trip. That’s pretty impressive! What advice do you have for anybody that’s worried about over-packing?

Roll all of your clothes. It saves so much room. And invest in some zip-up cubes. I swear by them. It makes my bag so organized, and it helps me keep track of what I have. Another tip I’ve learned is to bring a separate bag of dryer sheets to keep your clothes smelling fresh!

Generally, just remember to bring what’s necessary and don’t worry too much about bringing duplicates.

What is one thing you wish packed more of?

Bug spray! I use it so much here. I’m almost out. It’s not too easy to find great bug spray here, so I definitely wish I’d brought a couple more bottles. Another important thing I brought was electrolytes. They’ve been super useful here because it’s so hot, and you’re constantly sweating. I’m almost out of them too – it would’ve been nice to have more.

Thank you so much, Tara! You gave us great input on what to pack for Thailand. We’re so excited for your adventure teaching English abroad, and we can’t wait to congratulate you on finishing your TESOL Course!

I’d love to hear from you: What to pack for Thailand? What are some of your packing tips? Have any of you traveled to Thailand before? What are some essential items you always bring with you when traveling abroad?

Ready to start your adventure living and teaching abroad? Sign up for one of our amazing TESOL Course and teaching programs today! 

Read Our Program Reviews!

Donald Trump: What He Might Have Learned if He Taught Abroad

Donald Trump: What He Might Have Learned if He Taught Abroad

Make the World Great!

Although no one can argue with a desire for America to be a great country, in today’s reality, being a great country means working to make the WORLD great, not just America. Donald Trump does not seem to understand this fundamental reality. However, if Donald Trump had spent some time teaching English in foreign countries, we are sure he would have acquired the understanding, skills, and information necessary to make the world great. Teaching English overseas helps develop the character traits essential to making the world great – compassion, cultural awareness, and respect for diversity. These are traits that an American President should embody. But sadly, they are not apparent in our current President.

Compassion may be defined as a “sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress combined with a desire to alleviate it.” Teaching abroad promotes compassion because the teacher often is exposed to students and families with varied needs due to poverty, homelessness, disabilities, or lack of sufficient nourishment. To meet these needs, the teacher must have sympathy for the children and want to help them overcome the adversities they face. A compassionate person makes the world better because awareness of peoples’ problems drives them to do something – not just assign blame. Trump’s statements and actions with regard to “shithole” countries, protections for Dreamers, and response to the devastation of Puerto Rico would have been quite different if he had learned compassion.

Donald Trump face

The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.

Albert Schweitzer

Donald Trump face

Culture makes people understand each other better…they have to understand that their neighbour is, in the end, just like them, with the same problems, the same questions.

Paulo Coelho

Teaching abroad also promotes cultural awareness, another obvious “missing part” of Donald Trump’s world view. An educator overseas comes to understand the critical aspects of culture not only in the country in which he or she is teaching, but also in other countries. Educators overseas learn that a culture is not “bad” or “good.” It is not something to be jeered at or “banned.” Culture represents the values and traditions of a people over centuries of history. Educators come to understand how culture influences the children and families they work with and the value of that culture to the country. In this way, educators learn about community and the importance of working in a community. The world is now a community and, although it has many different cultures, it is only through working in a community that we can make the world great.

Finally, it is impossible to teach abroad without coming away from the experience with a strong respect for diversity. Again, Donald Trump has not displayed respect for diversity in any way. Anything that seems to deviate from his professed religion (which he claims is Christianity), his value of money above all else, and even his gender is fodder for his ridicule and derision. Educators overseas are exposed to an array of religions, ethnicities, sexual orientation, and family roles that differ significantly from their own. Through this exposure, educators learn to accept and honor these differences as they work with students, fellow teachers, families, and communities.

Donald Trump face

Diversity is about all of us, and about us having to figure out how to walk through this world together.

Jacqueline Woodson

What if Donald Trump had taught English abroad?

If Donald Trump had taught English abroad at some time in his life, he might have learned how to make the world and America great instead of ushering in a period of unprecedented divisiveness that has resulted from his statements and actions. Maybe that is what the world needs. More and more people taking the time out to teach abroad so that the traits of compassion, cultural awareness, and respect for diversity spread throughout the world.

Taught abroad and agree? Disagree?

Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

4 Things To Do On Your Summer Break Abroad

4 Things To Do On Your Summer Break Abroad

4 Things To Do On Your Summer Break Abroad

What are your Options?

Like any other teacher in the world, instructors abroad are not immune to the summer break countdown. The cramming of finals, make ups, and sporadic graduation events leave an individual aching for the oasis of “me time.” Therefore, as the calendar fills with slashes crossing off days completed, he or she may ponder on what voyage to embark on next. Alas, multiple opportunities are available to quench wants and needs. An educator overseas has access to many activities for their summer break abroad, but there are four main categories to choose from: travel, volunteer work, retreats, and financial prosperity. Each element encompasses a branch of desired bliss. Unsure on which one to “pencil in?” Keep that calendar on hand, because you are about to find out.

Travel

 

The substantial amount of time allotted during summer breaks abroad easily cures the “I want to go there” plague. He or she has access to an array of countries that may have been difficult to visit back home; as a result, an individual can construct an itinerary with flexibility due to the granted recess. If a person wants complete immersion in only one country, that can transpire. If a person craves excessive passport stamps from all different countries, that can also transpire. This rare pliability truly allows an individual to have free reign in regards to travel. Also, another bonus about traveling during summer breaks abroad stems from the coincidence of summer break with other schools. In other words, a person can obtain “travel buddies” through fellow educators or simply ask colleagues where they have visited during their time off. This hidden component of guidance can be extremely beneficial to novice and expert travellers. Ultimately, the adventure is solely up to the inquirer; thus, the rejuvenation period provided by schools accommodates any wanderlust stricken soul.

Traveling is an excellent option for you during your summer break abroad

If a person wants complete immersion in only one country, that can transpire. If a person craves excessive passport stamps from all different countries, that can also transpire. This rare pliability truly allows an individual to have free reign in regards to travel.

Volunteer Work

 

Volunteer at many different organisations during your summer break abroad

For example, an amazing organization named “Rescue Paws,” located within Hua Hin, Thailand, supplies multiple opportunities for individuals to work with adorable pups. 

If he or she does not want to break the bank but still lusts after a different setting, volunteer work is the perfection selection. Volunteering is comprised of two broad genres: animals and people. The compassion and intellectual stimulation subsequently provided from both categories reveal no “wrong” decision exists. For example, an amazing organization named “Rescue Paws,” located within Hua Hin, Thailand, supplies multiple opportunities for individuals to work with adorable pups. Walks on the beach, soaking bubble baths, and lively playtime soothes any unwanted stresses gained from teaching. This furry fun is also combined with extensive knowledge on “man’s best friend.” Behavior patterns, sterilization, and animal care in general are all important topics explored when volunteering at Rescue Paws. If animal maintenance is not the desired route, there are many chances to assist struggling groups of people. Orphanages, homes for the elderly, and underprivileged areas are always in desperate need of volunteers. Working alongside such inspirational individuals will result in a life altering experience. The consistent compassion, empathy, and love demonstrated leaves a volunteer with more than he or she could have bargained for. Therefore, if a new atmosphere, awareness, and humanity are attractive elements to you, then volunteering during your summer break abroad is an excellent choice.

Retreats

 

Many individuals wish he or she had the chance to improve a skill or learn a completely new one. This common aspiration can be fulfilled when one chooses to partake in a retreat over your summer break abroad. An extensive amount of retreats are available for self enhancement. Yoga, meditation, martial arts, and more all exist to transform pipe dreams into a reality. For example, Muay Thai is a popular sport across the globe. There are an excessive amount of Muay Thai retreats around Southeast Asia. These learning hubs assist all ability levels, expose crucial self-defense techniques, and also incorporate rigorous amounts of exercise. The items achieved above allow an individual to undergo a holistic wellness metamorphosis. To add to the healthy transfiguration, friendships will also be established! Multiple participants from around the world occupy Muay Thai retreats. The inevitable new connections born from sweating pores and never-ending front kicks are an added bonus. The friendships, self-improvement, and useful intelligence available from retreats make this option very appealing. Still uncertain? Not a problem. This final option is for you!

Go on a retreat to improve your skills or gain a new one!

An extensive amount of retreats are available for self enhancement. Yoga, meditation, martial arts, and more all exist to transform pipe dreams into a reality.

Financial Prosperity

 

Line your pockets during your summer break abroad by teaching, being a camp counselor, or maybe even doing something else!

During school break, an individual can earn extra income through tutoring, blog writing, swim lessons, and more. These diverse professional employment opportunities can lead to a lucrative bank account.

After completing a term, he or she may want to keep working for financial prosperity. During your summer break abroad, you can earn extra income through tutoring, blog writing, swim lessons, and more. These diverse professional employment opportunities can lead to a lucrative bank account. For instance, the demand of available educators during the school recess is extremely high. The long duration of no school, 1-2 months, means students will not be receiving any instruction. This lost period of school time inclines parents to hire available educators for tuition. The guardians may want their child to improve weak subjects or just maintain an intake of education. This interest of stationary teachers conclusively provides an individual the opportunity to obtain that “extra cash.” In turn, these multiple financial gains allows one to save money for future expenses, pay off unwanted debts, or simply splurge on luxury items. Regardless of reasoning, the chance to earn more currency is always a strategic decision.

Summer breaks abroad supply teachers abroad with many different opportunities. Adventurous travel, rewarding volunteer work, refining retreats, and financial gain, are four divergent choices waiting to be summoned. The appetising spread of options permit one to evaluate and then feast. So grab your pens and start planning all over those empty calendar pages!

Written by Chelsea Cullen. Follow her adventures at educatedexplorer.blogspot.com  

Which summer break opportunity sounds the best to you?

Comment below and tell us!

In-Class TESOL vs Online TESOL Courses

In-Class TESOL vs Online TESOL Courses

In-Class TESOL vs Online TESOL Courses

Which one is right for you?

After making the invigorating decision to teach abroad, you usually need to pursue a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) course. Two options for the class are available: in-class and online. The abundance of opinions on which course is better can prove helpful, but overwhelming.  Overall, both options present countless benefits, but the best way to choose which course will be the best for you is to think about it is you need from the course. An in-class TESOL course offers learning through observation, invaluable time practicing teaching, and deep-rooted friendships, while an online TESOL course supplies nomadic freedom and exposure to fundamental teaching strategies. There really is no wrong choice! So which one works for you?

In-Class TESOL Advantages

 

A participant practices teaching in his in-class TESOL course

When you observe a class, you often can spot issues others may be having while teaching before they even know it themselves, allowing you to perfect your teaching strategies.

It may sound obvious, but watching others teach can make you a better teacher. When you observe a class, you often can spot issues others may be having while teaching before they even know it themselves, allowing you to perfect your teaching strategies. Observation is a key element in learning how to teach; it allows you to watch, understand, and review yourself on what is done well and what needs to be improved, even before you stand up to teach yourself. And when you do practice your teaching skills in front of the class, you can put into play the observations you made and adjust accordingly. Plus, you are an extra person for others to observe and improve their own techniques from. Observation is the first element in everything humans do, whether it be learning how to walk, learning a skill, or learning how to play a sport, so why should it be any different in learning how to teach? It may seem a bit awkward at first, but awkwardness will soon turn to insight and improvement for not only yourself but your peers in the course as well.

The other most helpful element within an in-class TESOL stems from practicing your new skills in a real school environment. Participants of XploreAsia’s in-class TESOL course are given an opportunity to instruct a group of children in a school setting. This aspect of the in-class TESOL course proves extremely valuable for both veteran and non-veteran teachers. After learning instructional techniques, behavior management strategies, cultural “do’s” and “don’ts,” and lesson plan construction, you are able to gage your ability level by instructing in a classroom. Additionally, when you practice teaching in a school, monitoring from the TESOL professor and your peers will ensue. This allows for constructive critiques and assistance if needed. The opportunity to be critiqued while actually teaching during the in-class TESOL is clearly one word…awesome! Successful teaching takes practice! This component of an in-class TESOL adheres to this; no one is perfect. Therefore, the in-course TESOL helps you practice, practice, practice!

A participant practices teaching at an English camp during her in-class TESOL course

The opportunity to be critiqued while actually teaching during the in-class TESOL is clearly one word…awesome! Successful teaching takes practice!

A class graduates from XploreAsia after successfully completing their in-class TESOL course

The common thread of actively pursuing a teaching career abroad seamlessly sews participants together.

The last distinct advantage that comes from an in-class TESOL course is the friendships that come from it. The common thread of actively pursuing a teaching career abroad seamlessly sews participants together. Like-minded people join this course, and after spending so much time together and dealing with the struggles and accomplishments in the course with each other, you will create strong friendships that last throughout not only your time teaching abroad, but beyond. Shoulders to cry on, future weekend excursion partners, and travel buddies are created during the short time you are together on the course. Meet ups, social media, and sometimes even placements near one another cement the comforting bonds created within the in-class TESOL course.

The friendships, the practice teaching in an actual school, and observation are the elements of an in-class TESOL course, but another option does exist; the online TESOL course.

Online TESOL Advantages

 

An online TESOL provides countless positives, but the nomadic freedom accompanied with this option unveils the true definition of convenience. Like many people, you might find yourself constantly busy with prior obligations. The lack of leisure time may forbid you from enrolling in an in-class TESOL or you might just enjoy learning from the comforts of home. Whatever the case may be, the ability to enter the virtual classroom from any place in the world accommodates any sort of wanderer lifestyle.  Airports, coffee shops, and your own home transform from ordinary places of habitation into an enriched classroom at the click of your fingertip. This ability to pick an online TESOL that fits into your schedule provides accessibility to anyone and everyone in the world. The convenience of constant availability paired with flexibility from an online TESOL course appeases anyone’s calendar… so grab any electronic device and go!

A woman completes her online TESOL course at a coffee shop

Airports, coffee shops, and your own home transform from ordinary places of habitation into an enriched classroom at the click of your fingertip.

a participant completes the online TESOL course from home

The differentiated instruction mentioned above helps all learners succeed. And if you still need extra review, no problem! The materials are available online whenever you want them.

To become an accomplished educator, you must learn, comprehend, and implement the fundamentals of teaching. These important strategies are explicitly taught, tested, and reviewed within an online TESOL. The written details, videos, and resources assist an individual during this process. The differentiated instruction mentioned above helps all learners succeed. And if you still need extra review, no problem! The materials are available online whenever you want them. The continuous access to all materials helps you construct a sturdy base upon which to build your knowledge of teaching abroad. The foundation you build will ultimately assist you throughout your teaching career. This benefit paired with nomadic freedom makes the online TESOL course undoubtedly desirable. At the end of the day, each journey usually starts with one step, but you can now begin yours with one click!

Overall, choosing a TESOL course is an exciting start towards career advancement and adventure. There are many advantages available from both courses; the important observation, the invaluable practice teaching, and the deep-rooted friendships developed from an in-class TESOL course helps an individual flourish in multiple ways, while an online TESOL course allows the desirable nomadic freedom and vital exposure to fundamental teaching strategies. So which one should you choose?  Future teacher, the choice is yours!

Written by Chelsea Cullen. Follow her adventures at http://educatedexplorer.blogspot.com/

Online TESOL or in-class TESOL? Which do you think is better? 

Comment below!

The Top 5 Reasons to Teach in Vietnam

The Top 5 Reasons to Teach in Vietnam

The Top 5 Reasons to Teach in Vietnam

Wake up at 6:00 a.m., frantically rush out the door, seize a cup of liquid fuel, articulate commuter grumbles, hypnotically complete mundane tasks, remain idle in standstill traffic, nuke 2 day old pizza, sink into a fluffy oasis, and then repeat. Sound familiar? Is this what you thought “adulthood” would be? The idea or notion that  “this is what adulthood is” falters when one teaches in Vietnam. When an individual teaches in Vietnam, he or she departs from solely “existing” and truly embraces the full meaning of “living.” There are 5 main reasons why a person should teach in Vietnam: passionate community, stunning scenery, delicious food, unquestionable safety, and an expat faction.

Passion for Education

 

A boy peeks around a fence. Teach in Vietnam

When one accepts the calling to teach in Vietnam, the passion for education is palpable.

When one accepts the calling to teach in Vietnam, the passion for education is palpable. Both the community and students view the English language as an important skill one needs to acquire for professional advancement. This mindset demonstrated by students and the community permit an educator to flourish when teaching in Vietnam. He or she can solely focus on providing the best instruction possible without the added weight of needing to “prove one’s worth.” This unspoken cultural acceptance acts as a major alleviation for first time instructors. When I taught in America, the language teachers, faced the stigma of “unimportance.” The value of learning a second language is not truly embedded. My coworkers constantly needed to “prove” their subject’s worth to students, parents, and society in general. This added task on top of teaching is an undesirable element. Luckily, teaching in Vietnam eliminates potentially unforeseen under value; therefore, the vigor witnessed in other subjects floods your classroom as well.

Stunning Scenery

After educating adorable Vietnamese children, one can savor the picturesque scenery expanding throughout Vietnam. Beautiful emerald green bays, lively cities, and tranquil country sides quench an individual’s various needs. The abundance of diverse landscapes allows one to choose what “vibe” he or she is feeling for the weekend; monotonous living is not one of them. XploreAsia graduate and current teacher in Vietnam, Hilary Tamara, stated, “every place you visit in Vietnam is very different and the range of landscapes are so diverse.” The gorgeous and various regions within Vietnam, as divulged by Ms. Tamara, permits one to experience the peaceful ripples of Ha Long Bay to the bustling adventures within Ho Chi Minh City. Instead of daydreaming about “a change of scenery,” teaching in Vietnam allows one to explore an array of captivating terrain.

Two men look off over the mountains. Teach in Vietnam

 Instead of daydreaming about “a change of scenery,” teaching in Vietnam allows one to explore an array of captivating terrain.

Delicious Food

Vietnamese food. Teach in Vietnam

Herbs, noodles, and eggs; oh my! Vietnamese food truly causes one to order “with their eyes.”

As one explores the geographical wonders of Vietnam, he or she will uncover another mouthwatering “wonder” titled Vietnamese food.  Herbs, noodles, and eggs; oh my! Vietnamese food truly causes one to order “with their eyes.” Veggies and meats speckle the streets. Each unique dish emits an aroma of gluttonous delectability. The renowned grub within Vietnam attracts people from across the globe. Blogs and “guidelines” have sprouted all over the internet as a side effect. These sites also expose another appetising proponent of the glorious cuisine: affordability.  Dishes range from around USD 1.50 to USD 2.30. The scrumptious cookery combined with the cost effective price tags manifest into a deadly, but pleasurable, concoction. Teaching in Vietnam allows an individual to devour the edible gems of bloggery wonder whenever he or she desires.

Safety

Enticing food is not the only welcoming component of teaching in Vietnam; the atmosphere generated also lends itself to a safe environment.  Traveling solo or with a friend to a vastly different country can be slightly daunting. Language barriers, cultural taboos, and functionality in general evoke uneasiness. When a person teaches English in Vietnam, a welcoming environment greets him or her upon arrival. Apprehension about safety or manipulation dissipate. One should remain mindful about surroundings and belongings as a general rule of thumb, but an individual can easily maneuver around Vietnam without fear or restriction. This sense of security applies to solo women travelers/educators as well. In regards to transportation, Uber and bicycles are great and safe ways to meander through the cities. When one teaches in Vietnam, the security supplied allows an individual to explore, thrive, and cherish all the amazing qualities the country has to offer. Upon the safe embarkment of adventure, he or she may discover the last element of why a person should teach in Vietnam: the faction of expats.

Vietnamese children run from the camera. Teach in Vietnam

When a person teaches English in Vietnam, a welcoming environment greets him or her upon arrival. 

Expat Community

A group of friends pose for a picture in Vietnam. Teach in Vietnam

Ultimately, when deciding to teach abroad, leaving friends and family “behind” can be an unfavorable aspect. The community gained from teaching in Vietnam can alleviate this initial negative by creating bonds with like-minded individuals from around the globe. 

Teaching in Vietnam supplies another important necessity when abroad: friendship. There is a large expat community within this Asian country so one does not feel alone in a foreign land. Many expats can be found within the city or through social media pages. For example, a page titled “Vietnam is Awesome,” located on Facebook, allows foreigners and locals to expose important information about the country: beautiful sites, hangouts, events, and more. Before even reaching Vietnam, an individual can join the page and link up with current teachers, travelers, locals, etc. This helpful resource permits an educator to plant his or her roots early on. The pre-establishment described above is essential and comforting when he or she transitions to a new abode. Ultimately, when deciding to teach abroad, leaving friends and family “behind” can be an unfavorable aspect. The community gained from teaching in Vietnam can alleviate this initial negative by creating bonds with like-minded individuals from around the globe. Family and friends back home are only a video chat away. One does not abandon ties from home, but instead increases connections with people near and far. The lifelong friendships obtained through the current expat AND local community supersedes hesitation.

Overall, there are an excessive amount of reasons why a person should teach in Vietnam. The value of English, Instagram worthy landscape, drool-inducing food, the reinforcement of security, and the ever growing community are just 5 highlights of why a person should cash out ritualistic monotony for invigorating adventure. So what are you waiting for? Submit that final resignation letter to predictable complacency and accept the new offering of “living.” Your new life in Vietnam is only one decision away. We will see you soon!

Written by Chelsea Cullen. Check out the rest of her adventures here: http://educatedexplorer.blogspot.com 

Thinking about teaching in Vietnam? Which reason appeals to you the most?

Share your comments below!

Travel Love: Love Stories From The Road

Travel Love: Love Stories From The Road

All you need is love…

But a little help from XploreAsia doesn’t hurt either!

We have had so many wonderful people come through our program to teach in Thailand or elsewhere, and often we get couples! Those few brave enough to pack up everything and travel elsewhere with their significant other. We also have had many people come and meet their significant other while here on course or during their placement. Just call us cupid! Here are some of our favorite love stories from the road: 

 

Andrew and Nicole (South Africa)

My wife, Nicole and I have been together for 9 years; she is my high school sweetheart. We met through a mutual friend when I was in grade 12 and Nicole was the year below me. Our relationship grew stronger over the years through school, gap years, university and work. Eventually eight years later we were FINALLY married! I worked at a golf course and she worked as an interior designer at a fancy design firm. One day, an ad popped up on Nicole’s Facebook feed which peeked her interest. Teach in Thailand? She decided to speak to me about it, and after much discussion we decided to apply and see if we’d be accepted. Very soon afterwards, we were packing up our new home, saying our goodbyes and were on a plane for Thailand. It all felt so surreal.

In life, it’s not where you go, it’s who you travel with. – Charles Schulz

We completed the TESOL course in Hua Hin (October 2017) and moved to Phatthalung. A small, very quiet province in the south of Thailand. Our experience so far has been both incredible and challenging. Fortunately, I have Nicole every day in a town where there are very few foreigners. We can talk through our frustrations and missing our families. The best part though is that we are able to experience all the many and amazing things that Thailand has to offer and we get to do it together!

Thailand has brought us closer together as a married couple. We tackle challenges together and get to experience life everyday in the way that most married couples don’t get to experience. We’ve gone from one extreme where I only got to see Nicole for a couple hours a day to going on an adventure together in a foreign country and spending every waking minute with each other. Living in Thailand with Nicole has been an absolute dream come true

Tayler and Spencer (The United States)

We met at a nature immersion camp for inner city kids in Austin Texas called El Ranchito about 5 and a half years ago. We helped show kids how beautiful nature is and how much fun it is to play in it. Eventually, we were almost at a point in our relationship when we were about to find a place to “settle down.” We had already traveled through South America together and had lived out of our truck, which we had renovated into a tiny, tiny, tiny home, for a year and so we thought maybe we should settle down? No, we decided not to and to go LIVE in a different country.

We were so lucky to have been placed in a town in the south of Thailand called Trang. It’s a hip city with lots of markets, coffee shops, places to hear live music, and no matter what road we turn down there is always waterfalls, caves, and temples to see. Living in Trang gives us easy access to the beach and the islands! We couldn’t have asked for a better placement, a better town, or a better school. We both teach primary kiddos.

The best part of traveling with your partner is having someone to share the adventure. My favorite day is Saturday mornings when we wake up and we go have dim sum and then head out on the scooter to see something new. We love to cruise and get lost. We have found so many Thai treasures hidden down country roads. It is also nice to have your partner there when you run into situations that make you feel unsure because then you always have someone there who can help or support you.

Be prepared for things that will challenge each of you personally and you as a team. But be prepared for one of the most awesome times you could ever experience together. Seriously. I can’t tell you the amount of times I have literally thought to myself “What did I do to deserve this life????” and the fact that I got to experience this with my partner in life and in love made these past 11 months ones I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Love is a gift the universe gives us and travel is a gift we give ourselves. If you are lucky enough to have them both live in their moments, appreciate every single second, and know that you DO deserve them.

Heidi and Riaan (South Africa)

Riaan and I met at school and as time went on our love only grew stronger. After I came home from working on a cruise liner as a photographer we decided to move in together. We were happy, but never truly satisfied with the “rat race” life, and my heart yearned to travel and explore again. One evening my partner came home and simply asked “When are we leaving, and to where? I am done with the rat race!”

The following day I started doing research on opportunities that we could do long term abroad, and most importantly TOGETHER. After carefully looking through all our options we decided that we wanted to do the program through Xplore Asia and we made our plans to start saving up to make it happen. That was the night my partner proposed, and three months later we were married in a small family ceremony.

 

Four months after our wedding we arrived in sweltering Bangkok. Our first placement was at the same school in a super small rural town down south called Thung Yao. It was quite an experience as we were the only foreigners! After the first semester I received a job offer from a school in Ayutthaya so we decided it might be a nice new experience so we decided to make the move. That was truly the best decision ever, as we ended up spending a year and a half there and met truly fantastic friends there! I was offered a position with an International school in Korat, and we decided to make the move yet again. Whilst there my husband decided to start studding toward a degree, as it is actually really affordable here in Thailand, and as a result we had to move to Bangkok. My school actually offered me the Art teacher position at their Bangkok campus, and I think I have found my true passion for teaching now.

Making such a big life decision with a partner is both easy and hard, because you know you have someone there with you but doubt will always creep in. The only advice we will ever have is “Just do it! Regretting missed opportunities is far worse than learning from a few failures!”

As soon as I saw you, I knew an adventure was going to happen. – Winnie the Pooh

Kayleigh and Pu (The United States and Thailand)

In September of 2015 I took a leap and moved to Thailand. My original plan was to stay for one term and then move on, however, I realized after my short stay I needed more time with this fantastic country.

In May of 2017 I was in a small village about 20 minutes from Prakhon Chai, in Isaan region of Thailand.  I was visiting a friend in her hometown for a school holiday.  She invited me to a party for some friends of hers that were becoming Monks.  While we pranced around the village followed by a large truck with a local band blasting music around I was introduced to Phatcharakamon, or Pu.  With my new group of friends, I spent the day enjoying the local festivities.  I was not certain I would ever meet Pu or my other new friends again.  I returned to my home in Hua Hin and as fate, or rather Facebook, would have it, Pu came up as a suggested friend.  We became Facebook friends, but I never expected much out of it. 

About a week later I received a message from her, as it turns out her cousin lives in Hua Hin and she was down visiting.  To make the world even smaller, I taught at the same school with her cousin’s boyfriend.  Our paths crossed again. . . then again. . . and it went on like that. 

Now nearly nine months after our first meeting we live together in Hua Hin.  I have continued to teach and she manages the guesthouse that we live at.  We have been able to spend the holidays traveling both Thailand and South East Asia and we are working on obtaining Schengen and American visa for future travel.  Life with Pu has been wonderful and full of fun.  Looking forward to our future adventures.

Cassidy and James (The United States and South Africa)

James is from Durban, South Africa and I am from Pennsylvania, The United States. I used to teach in the Chonburi province and James taught in the Rayong province. Both of us came to Thailand to take some time off from our home countries and to have an amazing new experience.

James and I met the weekend I went to Koh Samet with some friends and actually met him on the boat ride over to the island. At first, I didn’t really understand him because of his accent, but we got there in the end. He had come with friends who knew the friends I was with, so we ended up hanging out together all weekend on the island! We were able to stay in contact even after heading back to our respective towns and managed to see each other on the weekends. A year later, James moved into my apartment and found a school to teach in close by.

 

We loved teaching in Thailand but wanted to head somewhere new for a while. Since James is a surfer, we moved to Bali, Indonesia and I found a job teaching there. While James spent his days surfing and teaching English online, I taught at an international school, and on weekends we would spend all day at the beach surfing together. We loved living there but I decided my time as a teacher was ending. I secured a job at XploreAsia and now both James and I are living in Hua Hin together.

I really enjoy getting to live in a new country and travel with James. We like to explore new places and eat all the new food we can! For those who meet people while traveling, there is always this question as to how long it will last since you don’t know when either of you will be going home. Luckily for us, and living in two different countries together has proven this, we get on really well and as long as we are enjoying our time together and are happy, that’s all we need! (Though some surf in Thailand would definitely be appreciated!)

Love will travel as far as you will let it. It has no limits. – Dee King

Lo and Nui (The United States and Thailand)

 

I came to Thailand seeking adventure and culture, my love life was probably the last aspect of my life I thought I would end up developing! It happened quite quickly though after moving here, where I found myself the apple of a Thai gentlemen’s eye. I was on a semester break from teaching in my small town near Cambodia and was in the popular destination place, Krabi. I was the usual vacationer among many others relaxing on the beach, watching sunsets, etc. I was then approached by this rather cute man riding a 1966 vintage Vespa motorbike while sitting on a wall near the water. He came up to me and began chatting me up. He told me he ran a popular bar on the main strip. I totally thought he was trying to give me game but I decided to go check it out. He was absolutely right, and not only did he run it, he was this ‘Bob Marley’ phenom to not just all the other vacationers, but even with the local people. My five day, four night trip to Krabi turned into a 28 day stay and a true love story that continues to live on. 

This was that seeking adventure love story, where I found myself gathering coconuts and sanding a handmade long tail boat in the village he is from. It was not only an eye-opening experience but I also felt that my already once open mind was expanding even further. I found myself in prayer with this selfless guy and the people of his village. Praying in a whole different setting, in a whole different language, with people I had never met before! It has been such a wonderful ride.

 

Things got sad when I finally had to get back to teaching in my small town about 18 hours away from Krabi. On my travels back, I decided to take a leap of faith and seek a teaching position nearer to Bangkok to I could be more accessible to go back to the south. And that’s exactly what I did. I moved to Bangkok, set up my new place and we continue to see one another taking alternate trips to one another.

Since then, I have seen our two worlds collide in the best of ways. The hardest part of being here in Thailand and finding love with a non-native English speaker is much like I have learned through my students; there are certain virtues that are shown and felt nonverbally. And these virtues make good people and you never know where on the globe that person may be. It can be a struggle when there is just not the same expression in my language as his, but we make it work. We try and teach each other. Local Thai people are amazed on how well I speak Thai now, not to mention a huge plus with the students’ parents too!

There you have it! The lucky few who get to travel with their significant others and those who met theirs while teaching and traveling! Lucky ducks! So, what do you say? Ready to take the plunge and teach abroad? Who knows, you just might meet that special someone!

And if travel is like love, it is, in the end, mostly because it’s a heightened awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end. – Pico Iyer

Do you have a travel love story? Comment below and tell us!

Pin It on Pinterest