TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF! WE’D LOVE TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND, WHAT DREW YOU TO TEACHING ABROAD, AND MORE.
My name is Anne Davis, I am 26 years old and I come from the Emerald Isle known as Ireland. I studied in Galway, falling in love with this place, I ended up staying there for many years. At university, I studied French and Psychology and feel I always had a love of languages, having lived in France for some time when I was younger. I also have an interest in learning about human behavior and development which explains why I chose the Psychology route. Psychology as you probably know can get intense which is why I decided after graduating to take a small break from this. This break led me down a different path than I initially had intended.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR PATH TO TEACHING ABROAD—DID YOU ALWAYS KNOW YOU’D END UP IN THAILAND?
This break in the beautiful city of Galway surrounded by amazing people I call my friends and family, as well as the multicultural feel of the place, began to get too comfortable for me. Realizing this, I knew I needed to change things up and do something different and out of my comfort zone.
This led to me apply for a TEFL course with the TEFL Institue of Ireland who then arranged an amazing four-month paid internship in Thailand, which I would not change for anything! To be honest, I didn’t expect to end up in Thailand but it had been a dream of mine to explore Asia, explaining why it felt so surreal being there. Thailand was definitely one of the top countries in Asia I wanted to travel to.
WHAT WERE THE BEST PARTS OF YOUR TEFL COURSE EXPERIENCE? DO YOU FEEL LIKE IT PREPARED YOU FOR TEACHING IN THAILAND?
To begin, the TEFL course with the TEFL Institute of Ireland was very helpful in teaching me the skills and everything involved in being an effective Teacher. As well as this, when I arrived in Thailand I attended the orientation organized by the TEFL Institute of Ireland’s partner company. It was such a beneficial opportunity to learn further teaching skills such as classroom management and games to use in the classroom. The orientation also gave me the opportunity to meet such amazing people and lifelong friends. The whole experience truly opens your mind more.
YOU WERE ORIGINALLY ON A MUCH DIFFERENT CAREER-PATH. TELL US ABOUT YOUR COLLEGE STUDY EXPERIENCES AND HOW/WHY YOU MADE THE SWITCH TO TEACHING.
As you know from above, I did have a different career path planned but then again I feel it also equipped me for the path choice I took after this. Psychology being something beneficial in everyday life and any career as well as French which gave me an understanding of language and the challenge for others learning a foreign language. I feel it instilled empathy in me for other people.
This drove me to search for a career path where I could put these skills and knowledge into use while also living a life that I considered a happy one for myself- this being tapping into my explorative side, broadening my mind and soul. Teaching allowed this, giving me the opportunity to learn about new countries- their culture and the most amazing/inspiring people of these countries.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT LIVING IN THAILAND. WHAT WERE YOUR INITIAL THOUGHTS? WAS THERE ANY CULTURE SHOCK AFTER THE INITIAL MOVE?
The big move to the other side of the world was both nerve-racking and extremely exciting. Feelings that are normal and when you just ride them bring you such AMAZING things. They also open your eyes to other cultures and the difference in their way of living to yours. A positive culture shock that I learned from living in Thailand was that of the people and how genuine and honest they are. You could leave your most expensive/valuable items and you will be sure to find them there when you realize you’ve forgotten them. That or the locals will be running down the street to catch you and hand you your forgotten valuables.
Thai people go out of there way to help you and do it with the BIGGEST and most GENUINE smiles on their faces. They are also happy with the simplest things in life and are very innovative with what they have. The main culture shock for me was the many stray dogs and cats. Their love of all things sugar also shocked me.
HAVE YOU DONE MUCH TRAVELING SINCE MOVING TO THAILAND? IF SO, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?
Since having lived in Thailand and finishing my four-month internship, I am now living in Vietnam. It has many differences in Thailand as well as similarities. This is the fun in traveling and exploring different countries as you can experience the differences in culture yourself.
I traveled to Hanoi the buzzing capital of Vietnam as well as the much quieter Halong Bay, experiencing a cruise along the limestone karsts and monkey Island when Kayaking. I can’t describe the feeling. I am now living in Danang which is a city on the coast of Vietnam. It is beautiful, close to the sea, many fab cafes which make me happy and I’ve even begun surfing (at least trying it out!).
ANY ADVICE FOR THOSE CONSIDERING TEACHING ABROAD?
DO IT, DO IT, DO IT!!! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Experience is the most enriching thing in life. I met so many amazing people to share these experiences with and I just loved the students I taught. It can be a little stressful at times but what job isn’t. The thing with teaching is how happy you feel making a difference and the students energy and smiles to brighten up your day. You can also travel to many places during your free time which you will most likely have a lot of!! The help you get in the beginning also makes the change as smooth and stress-free as possible.
SINCE COMPLETING THE INTERNSHIP, WHAT HAVE YOU DECIDED TO DO? WILL YOU CONTINUE TEACHING OR MOVE HOME?
Since completing my internship, I have continued teaching but more so online. There is a difference of course between the two and in one way I prefer teaching in the classroom as you have a better connection, time and management as well as fun when you are physically there. Online teaching is just as rewarding as you are still helping those that want to learn English and enjoy teaching a variety of ages. You also have more freedom to move around with online teaching. I guess there are the upsides and downsides to each but definitely more upsides.
So for the foreseeable future, this is what I will continue to do as it is very rewarding. I am also enjoying traveling too much to be able to say when I will return home. Perhaps I will go to China at some point and teach in a classroom again. Happy teaching everybody!!