By: Brieh Walker
Settling in and getting used to living abroad for the first month in any country can be daunting, and not everything always goes according to plan. In this post I’ll tell you what I experienced in my first month, how I felt about it, and tips I would give to new teachers!
Week 1: Orientation & Koh Samet
I arrived in Thailand a couple days before orientation, jet lagged but excited for the journey ahead of me. Orientation was a great way to meet people, try food I’ve never eaten, and learn about how to teach Thai kids English. You can see my more detailed post on Orientation here.
After Orientation, myself and 12 other teachers headed down to visit the beaches on Koh Samet Island. We relaxed on the beach, toured the countryside, and even rode our first motorbike!
Week 2: Chaiyaphum City
After Koh Samet, it was time to head up to my new home, Chaiyaphum City. I had heard great things about living and teaching in Chaiyaphum from teachers who have been living there, so I was excited to finally see the place I would be spending 4 months in.
Settling in, Halloween, and Starting School
That first week was extremely fun. My curiosity peaked and I found myself trying to discover as much of the city as I could. I rented my first motorbike, so I practiced driving around the beautiful countryside. I even took a long drive up to Mor Hin Khao National Park with some other teachers!
School started in the middle of the week, and I was able to get a feel for what the semester will bring, my students, and met my coworkers!
Halloween was a blast. We all dressed up and went to another teacher’s house to celebrate. Someone even brought a bunch of candy! This was my first official holiday away from home and it went better than I had ever thought.
Week 3: Cuisine and Loi Krathong
I started to become more adventurous with my eating and began to ask other Thai teachers what their favorite foods are so I could try them. Now, I really enjoy eating Basil Pork (Phad kra pao) Phad Thai, and Phad See Ew.
Loi Krathong is a huge celebration in Thailand. People from all over Chaiyaphum gathered around the lake and released lotus shaped rafts into the water. This is done to pay respect to the goddess of water and to free yourself from negative thoughts and actions. This year though, it was dialed down to pay respect to the Late King’s cremation that took place in late October. However, it was still extremely fun for me and I loved participating in a piece of Thailand culture.
Week 4: Home Away From Home
Now having three weeks under my belt, I started getting in the groove of things, and Chaiyaphum began to feel like my home away from home.
After school, some of the other English teachers and I would eat at the night bazaar or another place close to our apartments, work out during the free outside Zumba class, and maybe hit up The One Bar for a beverage.
All in all, I enjoyed my first month. I really liked getting to know the local culture and living in a town that wasn’t touristy.
Tips for the first month in Thailand
- 1. Immerse yourself in the culture. You came out here for an experience, so get involved! Participate in your city, your school, and other teachers! You won’t regret it.
- 2. If you’re on the “Take Budget” plan, make sure you visit your accommodation first before signing a contract. The accommodation out here is different than in the western world, and you want to make sure you are living in a place you like!
- 3. Learn how to ride a motorbike! I know that in some locations you can walk everywhere, but I would advise you to learn how to ride a motorbike. You can see more things, be independent, and learn a new skill!
- 4. Be flexible. Your first month can be overwhelming and things will not go as planned. It can be a culture shock out here so make sure your expectations are ready for things to go awry!
- 5. Have fun! This experience is what you make it. Your first month can make or break that experience for you, so have fun with it!
If you enjoyed this post and are interested in traveling, I run a blog that you can visit here.
If you have any questions about teaching, traveling, etc. Send me a message! I’d love to chat (:
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