Monica Goodall - 2015 Program Participant

International teacher with Thai students in Koh Samui, Thailand

Me and my students

Why did you decide to apply for an international program?

I thought about applying to go abroad for about three years, and for about three months I had my application completed, I just didn't send it off. I began to realise there was nothing keeping me in Scotland, especially not the cold weather. I had looked at many pictures of Thailand and it looked so beautiful; I was inspired by the beaches to get up and go. I wanted to do it for myself.

I didn't want to look back when I was middle aged wondering how different my life would be if I had done it or if it would even be different. The only way to find out was to do it. I was looking for excitement, something new and totally different to what I had at home. Knowing none of my other friends would do it or even travel with me, there was no point in waiting around for something or someone to push me along. Only I could jump into the experience I wanted to find for myself, so I eventually sent my application out and five months later I got on the plane, feeling excited for what was to come.

Why did you choose TEFL Heaven in Thailand?

As mentioned previously, I chose Thailand mainly for its beauty, but also because I had heard great things about it. Like how friendly the people are and it is known as “the land of smiles.” Another aspect of Thailand that interested me is their belief in Buddhism. I studied Buddhism during high school and I always found it to be such a peaceful, cool religion. I hoped I could learn more about it when I came to Thailand.

The reason I chose to come to Thailand on a TEFL course, in all honesty, is because it seemed the best way to make money and travel. You get to see Thailand and you gain a qualification that you can use throughout your life in many places. TEFL heaven attracted me the most as you do your TEFL training on a paradise island. This excited me due to my love of beaches, and to be honest who doesn't want to live on an island, by the sea, in the sun for three weeks. To me it sounded magical.

What was your favorite part about living in Thailand?

My favourite part of the training location was the fact our resort was on a gorgeous part of the beach, so this allowed us to go to the beach after class, on lunch breaks, and relax there on the weekends.

Tourists exploring a waterfall in Thailand

At a group-organized trip to a waterfall

What made your TEFL program unique?

TEFL Heaven gives you a lot of support throughout your training and makes sure you are ready for the job you are about to undertake once you leave the island. Of course the island training makes it unique, and they organise all your transport for you and a place for everyone to meet before you get to Thailand, so if you don't want to be you're not alone from the moment you arrive. For me this was comforting, as I had never gone abroad alone before so it was great to stay in the same organised hostel with other people on the course and create a bond before we headed to the island.

How did local staff support you throughout your program?

The staff themselves gave us support with learning the native language. Training us in classroom management and giving us multiple ideas to use in the classroom. Once training was finished, I even emailed my head trainer and she got back to me with template lesson plans and ideas. You are truly never alone.

What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?

I would have researched my placement area more thoroughly, to know what to expect.

Describe a day in the life of your program.

Before you knew it, the next day would arrive and it would be time to get up for training. Once ready, I’d head off to the restaurant for breakfast with everyone, then up to the training room for 9 a.m. The training room has an open plan, therefore you could see out onto the beautiful beach, which made it that much easier to get up in the morning. We would play some warm up games, have a break, and learn some teaching methods. Then we’d be given a task for the following week to go towards our qualification, have lunch, learn some Thai, and complete the day with more activities.

Once the day was over we would sometimes have catch up sessions with the trainers to talk through any concerns we had or ask questions. Once all was done in the classroom, it would be time to hit the pool or the beach, and then grab some dinner and a beer or two. Then back to the room for laughs with your new friends, discuss the weekend plans, and then it would be bed time.

What is one of your most memorable moments from your program?

Our group organised a trip to a waterfall. This was very beautiful and a great bonding experience for everyone.

What type of accommodation did you have? What did you like best about it?

We had a hut which had an upstairs and downstairs and one bathroom. There were beds upstairs and down stairs and a porch with tables and chairs. It was very simple but nice. My favourite thing about this was from the porch you could look out onto the sea, which was really lovely.

Now that you're home, how has your time abroad impacted your life?

I am not home yet, and I plan to stay here longer! I am not sure how it will impact my life, but I have plans to go onto to achieve my CELTA in language teaching and hope to further my career in this field. I wish to stay in Thailand longer and then branch out to other parts of the world.