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15 Things I Wish I Knew Before Teaching English in Thailand

I’m Happy to share this post today from Lindsay, a LanguageCorps participant in Thailand.  She offers up some useful advice about important logistics such as underwear and toothpaste (among other things), that you might not think to consider before leaving home.  And check out her ridiculously gorgeous sunset beach shot!

See Lindsay’s advice below.

Friends and family constantly ask about my “trip” to Thailand.

For me, it wasn’t a trip at all.   Thailand was my life and my home, and there is no easy way to truly explain a year abroad to someone. You simply have to experience it for yourself to truly understand.

I have received numerous anxious emails from people considering taking a similar path, insisting I share how I uncovered the secret to traveling the world, right out of college, without being a millionaire.

In short; be completely fearless.  You need to be inquisitive, willing to let go of all expectations, and ready to open your mind to experiences that will forever change you. There is truly no way to fully prepare someone for this type of journey on a intellectual and emotional level, because each of us is completely different, and no two teachers are going to have the same journey. With that being said, there were definitely a few simple things that I wish somebody had told me before teaching English in Thailand, and I’m sure a lot of current and former teachers can relate!


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  • SAVE SAVE SAVE! It is nice to splurge every once and awhile (like getting a bucket of chicken from KFC), but it is worth living below your means. Not only does it make you more grateful for what you have, but it allows you to spend money on traveling during your free time. Learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable and you’ll be happier in the long run.
  • Make an effort to learn the language and culture. Not only do the locals appreciate it, but you discover things about yourself that you otherwise wouldn’t have. Oh, and when you finally get comfortable, don’t stop learning!
  • Don’t bring anything white with you! That includes, shirts, socks, shorts, pants, skirts, undergarments, and headbands. Literally, do not bring anything white! You will quickly discover that white doesn’t stay white for long in Thailand. Between driving a motorbike through dust and rain and figuring out how to hand wash your own clothes, I promise you that cute outfit will never be white again.
  • Bring a generous amount of your favorite toothpaste. You will find toothpaste with salt in it more often than not. It is always nice to have a fresh mouth especially if you’re indulging in fish sauce, hot chilies, and garlic on a daily basis like I did.
  • Pack undergarments that you like! You can never have enough pairs of them. I found it extremely difficult to find something bigger than a small.
  •  Always check when your visa expires! Double and triple check when you need to renew your visa or extend it! It is easy to lose track but is a responsibility that you should never forget! Always mark on a calendar the dates you need to remember. There is also a lot of random public holidays so always double check that your visa expiration doesn’t fall on one 🙂
  • When you begin to apply for jobs make sure you are persistent and always follow up. You will learn that the Thai’s love to do everything in their own time. It is not because they are not interested, they are just not in a hurry. Showing up to a school multiple times to remind them and show your face doesn’t hurt either.
  •  Do something new every weekend, even if you get comfortable with where you live! If you get lazy, time slips away from you and you don’t get to see things. You will realize how simple life can be and you become content with nothing. And becoming comfortable in a new place is an amazing feeling, but that is when you should get out and experience something new. Trust me, there is always something new to see and learn in Thailand.
  • Do something for yourself everyday! Practice Yoga, do Muy Thai, run, surf, paddleboard, swim, or even get a massage (they are only $10USD and are worth every penny.)
  •  HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE! Drink water or coconuts all the time, even when you aren’t thirsty. You don’t realize how dehydrated your body gets due to the warmer climate.
  •  When things get tough and you feel like giving up… DON’T!
  •  Spend as little time on social networks as possible. Get out and explore even if you feel uncomfortable.  You can tell your friends about it later.
  •  Don’t take a minute of your time for granted.
  •  Bring lots of your own deodorant! Most deodorant you can buy in Thailand is not the most efficient, if you know what I mean.
  •  Have the time of your life!  This is your adventure, do what makes you happy.      
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