My Time in Thailand
by Nicholas Boon
I arrived in Thailand in October of 2014 after a difficult year trying to decide what to do after university. However, having studied Geography and completing a well respected accredited TESOL qualification with Trinity College in London I knew I had the opportunity and capacity to work overseas. I originally got in contact with Thaijob.com in the UK who had promised me a placement in Nakhon Si Thammarat in the South of Thailand. Upon arrival in Bangkok to complete my orientation we were handed to another agency called Island TEFL who delivered an absolute shambles of an orientation week.
With the completion of this week and a lack of information about our supposed placements as a group we were left without contact from the agency for an entire two weeks. During this time a small group of those on this course had travelled to Chiang Mai to try and make use of our time here bearing in mind how uncertain our current futures were in Thailand. Whilst in Chiang Mai I had managed to fall off a moped and break my phone in the space of only a couple of days and was really starting to lose patience with my time in Thailand. After posting my job profile online I was Picked up by Sharp English and flown back down to Bangkok from Chiang Mai before being escorted to Chanthaburi by Pilailuck herself. Within a day of arrival I had seen more progress than in three weeks with my original agency; Sharp English showed me my school and I had the opportunity to meet the Head Mistress of the school. Things were looking up.
Upon arrival in Chanthaburi one thing was clear; there was a good set up here for foreign teachers with Sharp English as a centre point. Within a day or so I was introduced to the rest of the teachers and had become a part of the foreign or 'Farang' community in town. After such a dismal start it was awesome now setup with my own apartment, scooter and finally a job. I had been placed in Streemandapitak School which was a Catholic school teaching P3-P6 English. I was apprehensive at first teaching the younger kids but after a couple of weeks I was really enjoying it, after a year of dire bar work in the UK I felt like I was actually doing something with a purpose; I was working with a smile on my face. Even Though they don't show it or praise you in person, my school was happy with the progress I was making and now I feel though I have a close allegiance to the school.
Chanthaburi is a good sized town, you don't have the same amenities as Bangkok but it is large enough to keep you entertained and to provide you with things you want or need. The only struggles I have is finding size 11 shoes! Day to day there are things to do and plenty of people of hang out with, for me I can still enjoy things I do at home in the UK such a 6-a-side football in the evenings. I often like to go for runs in the park and occasionally go to the gym. All things that can be done at home and also here just it's a bit harder work in the tropical climate. My evenings are spent also going out for dinner or sometimes for a few beers, Chanthaburi has a wide variety of bars and restaurants which really makes it easier to live here. Alternatively, the town is only 2 hours from Koh Chang, Thailands second largest islands, and from Koh Samet, so on weekends it is possible to be a tourist and enjoy the beauty of the Islands. I have really enjoyed my first six months in Chanthaburi which is why I have decided to stay for another year, the people are friendly and I feel as though I have more freedom than I ever could in the UK at this stage of my life.