“My Big Move to Thailand”- Meet Evelina!
“My Big move to Thailand” Meet Evelina!
Hey there! My name is Evelina. I am from Lithuania, but I have lived in Ireland since 2004. I graduated with an International Business degree in 2018 and I’ve been looking for a way to live abroad and travel as much as I can ever since. I wasn’t content working in an office, so I started looking for a way to change that. I wanted a different life and I wanted to see the world. I didn’t speak English when I came to Ireland, but I learned, and I am now a teacher in Thailand. So how did I get here?
In 2019/20, right before this global pandemic, I travelled around South-East Asia for five months before coming back to Ireland when borders started to close. It was the start of the strangest few years of our lives. Countries stopped letting people in. I thought I would not get back into Ireland, but fortunately, after a few cancelled flights, I was on a plane from Bangkok to Helsinki, before flying onto London and then, Dublin. I got back in!
As a travelled-obsessed twenty-something year old, staying put in one place has been difficult. All I wanted to do was to get back to Asia and explore, but the world had different plans.
Right after coming back to Ireland, I was jobless, and I was yearning to get back to Asia. This is when I decided to complete a TEFL course with the TEFL Institute of Ireland. At worst, I’d learn something new and pass the long days in lockdown. At best, it would give me an opportunity to move to Asia in the future and live in the continent I love so much.
Fast forward to November 2021, I’m finishing up my fourth week as a teacher in a primary school in Northern Thailand, because I set my mind to doing something and I went all in. I made the decision to learn a new skill, so I did a 120-hour TEFL course. I then decided to become a teacher, and I executed the idea. Funnily enough, my journey took me somewhere a little differently. Initially applying for a teacher role in the TEFL Industry, I am teaching Maths through English and absolutely love it! If you are somebody who might have a background in Science, Maths or Geography – there are options for all! I’ve moved to Thailand and I’m so excited to see what opportunities come my way in the future.
Let me give you an insight into my move here……
Getting my documents ready
It’s important to start getting your documents ready early, as this is quite a long process on both the Irish and Thai sides. In Ireland, I had to do the following:
- Legalise my university degree (https://www.dfa.ie/travel/our-services/authenticating-documents/)
- Get a transcript from my university
- Prove my residence in Ireland (use a bank statement, payslip, Revenue letter)
- Purchase travel insurance with sufficient Covid-19 cover
- Apply for a Garda clearance certificate/police certificate – this is not the same as Garda vetting (all steps are outlined here https://www.garda.ie/en/about-us/online-services/data-protection-foi-police-certificates/police-certificates.html)
- Prepare a bank statement to prove sufficient funds for travelling to Thailand
- Have a digital photocopy of my passport ready for submission
This is not an exhaustive list of documents you will need, but it is a good starting point. There is a lot of additional paperwork before you travel and when you get to Thailand. You must also ensure to bring your original documents to Thailand with you. Depending on your nationality and your agent in Thailand, the types of required documents may vary.
What to pack
Thailand’s tourist areas and cities are modern and you can buy most things that you can get at home here, therefore bringing several bags full of things from home is not essential. You can often buy clothes, shoes and toiletries here for much cheaper than at home. I would recommend bringing some of your favourite, comfortable clothes and maybe a few items of clothing for teaching – a black, knee-length skirt is a good shout for female teachers or plain trousers for male teachers. This is not necessary as buying ‘teacher clothes’ here is very accessible. If you are tall, it may be a little more difficult, but still achievable.
Several schools have specific dress codes that you may not be told about until a short period before you start. Some schools have specific colours for each day of the week, but this depends entirely on the school.
In most schools, female teachers must wear a dress or a skirt and a blouse, covering both knees and shoulders. Tattoos must also be covered in most schools. Male teachers must wear full-length trousers and a shirt. All teachers must wear closed-toe, dress shoes, so if you have a good, comfortable pair at home, bring these. In some classrooms, teachers may wear slippers/sliders if they want. This, again, will depend on your school.
In my school, I wear yellow on Monday, pink on Tuesday, red on Wednesday, blue on Thursday and traditional Thai dress on Friday, along with dress-style, closed-toe shoes. The students take their shoes off before entering the classroom, but teachers can wear slippers or their shoes. It is totally dependent on the school policy.
I also brought a lot of toiletries and bug spray, but this is unnecessary as you can buy things here. Especially bug spray, it’s much more affordable here than in Ireland.
What to expect
When you get to Thailand, friendly faces will welcome you and the students will adore you. From the start of your TEFL course to your first day in school, there will be lots of learning, but make sure to ask lots of questions and prepare yourself for a new culture by doing some research and talking to teachers who have moved here before you. It’s important to be sensitive of Thai culture and try to understand why people do things the way they do. Sometimes there’s no explanation, but sometimes there are reasons why things happen how they do.
Quite often, you will hear people tell you that ‘things will happen when they happen’. Things in Thailand are not as organised as we may be used to, so it can be a little frustrating at times, but it’s all part of adjusting to a new culture in a new country and once you are aware of it, you can adjust to this new way of thinking. You must always remember that when you move across the world, you will experience new things, some of which you may or may not like, but it’s all part of the adventure.
You can also expect an array of amazing food – curries, rice dishes, noodles and soups. Thailand has amazing cuisine, but my favourite so far has been Khao Soi which is a creamy coconut curry noodle soup native to Northern Thailand, Myanmar and Laos. I always get a chicken drumstick in it, but it can also be eaten with beef. It’s delicious and if you move to or visit Northern Thailand, I would highly recommend trying it.
Moving to Asia has been a dream of mine ever since I travelled here for the first time in 2016. Once you experience the continent, you’ll want to come back for more and more. Thailand is a beautiful country with the best scenery, the most beautiful kids and amazing food. It’s been an interesting and rewarding experience so far and I can’t wait to see what the future brings.
If you would like to get in touch with Evelina, make sure to follow her on Instagram @evs_adventures and she will be happy to provide you with some more information.