I get lots of questions about Thailand all the time (and that’s not including all the questions about China too). It’s like a perpetual game of hot seat. Here is a list of the most frequently asked questions all piled in one place so I don’t have to keep answering them over and over again. I will be more than happy to answer any other questions.
Where are you going this time?
I’m going to Thailand!
Where in Thailand?
Chonburi, it’s about 80 kilometers south-east from Bangkok along the Gulf of Thailand, but I’ll be about 14 kilometers inland. This is my school!
What will you be doing there?
Teaching English mostly, hopefully some sightseeing and scuba diving too.
What program is this through? Is it through Carthage again?
It’s not through Carthage, it’s through a different program called CIEE (Council on International Educational Exchange). I’ve met some past participants and they have nothing but good things to say about this program. Read more about CIEE.
Do you know anyone who is going?
Nope! I don’t think anyone from CIEE will be placed at my school either. So I will make lots of new friends, Thai and American.
Have you been to Thailand before?
Yes, I was there in February for two weeks while on a tour of Asia.
Why did you choose Thailand?
Because it’s a new place. Two weeks did not do the country justice, it is so beautiful, I want to see more. Teaching in Thailand also allows me to be home in time to see my brother graduate high school (and maybe be there for his 18th birthday).
Can you speak any Thai?
I will get a crash course in Thai during orientation in Bangkok. It will be one of those sink or swim things, where I am going to learn Thai or have a very difficult time with everything.
When do you leave?
October 18!!! Orientation starts October 20, I don’t know when my semester starts though.
How long will it take you to get there by plane?
I’m not sure about the exact travel time but it’s about 30+ hours to get there. Plus, I have two layovers before actually arriving in Bangkok.
What’s the time difference between here and Thailand?
Thailand is 12 hours ahead of Chicago right now, but daylight savings is coming up soon and it will be 13 hours ahead then.
How long will you be there this time?
Six months, only one semester this time. I’ll be back in March, maybe April, sometime in the spring.
What’s their school year?
I think they start in June, first semester ends in October and second semester goes until March. Don’t quote me on that though.
What age are you teaching?
High school, I don’t think I was cut out for primary school.
What classes will you be teaching?
I have four classes a week, so 20 hours of teaching a week, they are English Project, Core English, Global Study, and English for Communication. English Project is kind of like public speaking, lots of presentations. Core English is just a basic English class with reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Global Study is a speaking class about world issues (population, cultures, technology, world trade, etc.). English for Communication is a communication class, using English in daily conversations for many different topics.
How many students will be in your classes?
The school is a fairly large school with about 3,200 students. There will be approximately 40 students in each class. Cross your fingers there is not that many.
Do you have to make your own lesson plans?
Yes, but textbooks and materials are provided. I also have to make my own tests and final exams. Just like a real teacher!
Where will you be living?
I will have an apartment. It will have a bed, mosquito netting, air conditioning, a desk, a closet, a bathroom with a western style toilet, and hot water.
Will you have a kitchen? How will you eat?
I don’t have a kitchen so I will eat out for most of my meals. I can’t wait for street food because I love street food. Fortunately, food is cheap enough that it won’t be a huge expense. Sometimes schools will serve meals, hopefully my school does. Though I would really rather not eat noodles for breakfast every morning.
Do you need any shots?
I got most of them when I went to Africa and they’re still good.
Will there be a pool?
There is supposed to be a pool 5 minutes from my apartment. I would like to swim but I am close enough to the ocean that I could take up open water swimming.
How’s the weather?
It should average around 70 degrees Fahrenheit and sunny (enjoy your winter).
How are you feeling? Nervous? Excited?
All of the above. It doesn’t matter that I’ve left before for a longer period of time. It’s a new place, new people, new things. Naturally, I’m excited and nervous. Thailand has a lot of potential to be a great experience and I’m nervous that it could be a let down.
Have you started packing?
I’ve made a packing list…
How much stuff are you allowed to bring?
I can bring as much stuff as I want. Airlines usually charge for extra bags so I try to keep everything within the airline restrictions. For China, I brought way too much stuff so I’m trying not to bring as much stuff this time. As blasphemous as this sounds, you really don’t need that many pairs of shoes.
What are you going to do after Thailand?
I don’t know. I have the next six months sort of figured out and that’s good enough for me. I’ll figure things out after Thailand. Perhaps I’ll just go to another country and keep bouncing around the world.
Are you going to write a blog?
I’m trying to. I can’t promise weekly updates or if I will remember that I have a blog. But I will try my hardest to keep it up to date with stories from abroad.