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What's it like doing a TESOL course in Bangkok?

My husband and I came to Thailand on holiday in 2006 for a month and at that time we fell in love, not only with the place, but also with the people and the culture. We decided that we just had to come back, and not just for a holiday, but to stay!

So, decision made, we signed up for the TESOL course in Bangkok. Before we left home for Bangkok, though, there was much fret and worry. Leaving everything to start a new career in another country can be pretty nerve-wracking! Would we be able to find work in Thailand? Should we sell everything before we move? How much money should we take? There were so many questions! But we had made our decision - we finalized everything at home, and left for Bangkok.

I think doing our TESOL course in Bangkok was was one of the best decisions we have made yet! The course was tough, really intensive, but worth it in more ways than one. There were eight students in the group with us, from all over the world. And what a fun bunch they were! We had a great time together and even managed to go bowling a couple of times (Steve, the trainer, didn't know – he'd have given us more work!). We had four trainers over the course, and they did a great job of preparing us for teaching in Asian school environments. They have all worked in Asia for a long time, and gave us plenty of tricks and tips on what works and what doesn't work while teaching in schools here. We were also taken on various field trips to accustom ourselves with the different types of work available for us as teachers, which gave us an excellent idea of what life would be like after the course. I learned a lot from these trips, and also made a lot of contacts which we could use while living in Thailand. I would definitely recommend doing the course in Thailand to accustom oneself to the do’s and don’ts of Thailand’s culture. We wouldn't have had this insight if we'd done our course back home.

My favourite field trip was the one to the orphanage. In all our teaching practice so far, the trainers observed us and gave us feedback, which was good for learning, but bad for my nerves. At the orphanage, we got to teach without the trainer observing, so I felt so much more relaxed. The students were wonderful, and so enthusiastic. I didn't know that teaching a full class of 40 children could be so much fun.

After the course we decided to get out of Bangkok, we are not city folk. During the course, we had been given quite a few tips on finding work in Thailand. Steve suggested to us that we decide where want to live, and then find a school there that is looking for teachers. So, we decided on a place at the coast, hopped on a bus and went there. While we were still on the bus, we got a call from an international school located about 20km from the city we were on our way to, inviting us to interview for teaching positions at their summer school. Needless to say, we went and got the job! The next morning I received another call from a school, one of the best in town, to come for an interview….

Francois drove me on a scooter to the interview and halfway through the interview the interviewee looked at Francois and told him that he saw his CV but thought he was French and they didn’t need any French speaking people at the moment, but obviously he wasn’t French, so 'my' interview turned into 'our' interview and both of us got teaching jobs at the same high school in the town we wanted to be in!

In my life have I never gotten two jobs in two days!

Thailand is a place of wonder. The surrounding nature is paradise. The people are friendly and humble and their culture is something to stand in awe of. If you want to see and experience this then come, visit Thailand as a guests of the king, conduct yourselves in the appropriate manner and enjoy the experience. It is magnificent.

Francois and Sanru Jansen van Rensburg, a young couple from South Africa, joined the Chichester College's TESOL course in Bangkok in February 2007

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