I arrived in Thailand on August 12, 2014. I had a first taste of how friendly Thais are at the airport. From the airport staff to people who sat next to me at the airport while we waited to board the plane to Hatyai. A girl by the name of Dear sat next to me. She attended university in Bangkok and occasionally went back home to Hatyai to visit family and friends. She was extremely sweet and offered to teach me a few expressions in Thai, which later proved very useful. As we went our separate ways, we exchanged contact details and vowed to stay in touch.
The TEFL school, which had a partnership with the agency that had helped me back home, sent a gentleman to fetch me from the airport. Although there was a language barrier between the driver and I, there was no awkwardness whatsoever as we drove to my accommodation. We just listened to music, smiled and nodded at each other. I looked around the city as we drove, and I wasn’t impressed at all. There was no fascinating architecture or impressive skyscrapers, nor was there anything interesting to look at really. I just saw crowds of people, shocking electric cables, and my heart sank slightly. At this point, I was also extremely tired so it was a great relief to go to bed.
The following day we began our TEFL course at The Visions Learning Academy in Hatyai. It was great to meet the staff at the school and fellow students. I became excited all over again about my move. The course lasted three weeks. The instructor was great but I didn’t always follow what he said because I was still heavily jetlagged. There was a lot of information about things I wasn’t aware that I didn’t even know. Such as the 12 tenses and some rules of grammar. These are all things I had taken for granted in my everyday speech. The best experience I had though, was when we got the opportunity to stand in front of a real class to teach. I found Thai kids very polite and extremely playful. I tried to make every activity fun by turning it into a game or promising them that if they did their work, we could play a quick game afterward. It worked!
We also did a Summer camp, which was a lot of fun. Sometimes I had so much fun that I forgot I was teaching.
What made the TEFL course more fun was the fact that we also did a lot of sightseeing and fun activities. We visited a floating market, waterfalls, temples, bars, and restaurants.
By the time the course was done I walked away, not only with a licence to teach, but also with a mind that had been opened by a new experience, as well as some wonderful friends who had a positive impact on me.