Interview with Kevin Sheil in Thailand
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF! WE’D LOVE TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND, WHAT DREW YOU TO TEACHING ABROAD, AND MORE.
Well, I graduated from university with an environmental science degree, but I had always kind of wanted to give teaching a shot. As I didn’t have the qualifications to do it back in Ireland, teaching abroad was the only option I had at this point in my life.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR PATH TO TEACHING ABROAD—DID YOU ALWAYS KNOW YOU’D END UP IN THAILAND?
Thailand was always the preferred option for me, mainly due to its location and the number of things to do in the country, both on the weekends and for traveling afterward. Europe seemed too close to home, and I felt that Thailand would be the best overall experience.
WHAT WERE THE BEST PARTS OF YOUR TEFL COURSE EXPERIENCE? DO YOU FEEL LIKE IT PREPARED YOU FOR TEACHING IN THAILAND?
The range of material covered throughout the course was definitely useful. However, I’m not sure if you can ever really be fully prepared for teaching in a foreign land, especially if you have no previous teaching experience; like me. However, in my opinion, that is part of the full experience in a way.
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.
I studied Environmental Science in Galway and eventually ended up working in a peat fueled power station, which I enjoyed. The main reason I made the switch to teaching was that, in my view, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Given my age and the fact that I don’t have a girlfriend or kids, it’s not something I could’ve done in let’s say 5 years down the road. I also didn’t want the fear of leaving my family, friends, and job, to affect my decision, so I just went for it.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT LIVING IN THAILAND. WHAT WERE YOUR INITIAL THOUGHTS? WAS THERE ANY CULTURE SHOCK AFTER THE INITIAL MOVE?
The first thing that hits you, as soon as you step off the plane, is the sheer heat, and to be fair there has been no let up since. The humidity is also tricky to get used to, as you’re constantly sweating no matter what. I was also surprised at the amount of rain as well as the frequency of thunderstorms. In terms of food, its been good so far, but it’s still early days.
HAVE YOU DONE MUCH TRAVELING SINCE MOVING TO THAILAND? IF SO, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?
Not much really, just at the weekends to visit other teachers who are close enough by. We mainly plan on doing our traveling at the end of the semester.
ANY ADVICE FOR THOSE CONSIDERING TEACHING ABROAD?
I would say don’t let fear dictate your decision to do it. A lot of people have said to me that I’m so brave for doing this and they wish they could give it a shot. In reality, they could give it a try, but the fear of leaving a job or whatever is holding them back. It really is a once in a lifetime opportunity and if you don’t grasp it whilst its there, you’ll only regret not giving it a try when you could have.