My Story: I came to Thailand for a few reasons: to replace my waiting job with meaningful work as a
teacher, to grow as a human being, to make lifelong friends, and to see places and experience
perspectives I never would have otherwise. I can honestly say that after only one semester, my reasons
for coming to Thailand have been satisfied and grow richer as time passes. I feel myself changing, I love
teaching, and I’ve made great friends. The Thais themselves are a little strange but kind and easy to get
to know. The Thai landscapes I’ve seen, especially Railay peninsula, are staggering, and the food ranges
from repulsive to the best I’ve ever eaten.
Surat: Surat is a great place to be if you want to experience Thai culture away from the awful tourist
bubbles. It’s a town of mostly Thais, some Burmese, and no tourists. There are dozens of café’s to check
out, the Tapee River is awe-inspiring at sunset and sunrise, and the food is cheap, clean, and good. But
Surat is also the best place to be if you want to see a lot of Thailand. It is sort of the hub on the travel
wheel. From here you can take mini busses to Krabi, Khao Sok, and Phuket, ferries to the many islands in
the gulf of Thailand, and buses or a train south to Malaysia or north to Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and other
places. Travel is easy and cheap from Surat.
Work: As far as work goes, I haven’t once regretted choosing Super English over the many other
agencies in Surat. Peter (the owner) is clear and very hands off. If you’re struggling, he’ll call in the
troops to subtly offer support and keep faith that you will adjust and become a great teacher, which you
will. I’ve seen this in myself and others around me since I’ve been here. Working at Thida is also a
wonderful advantage over most other schools because it is Catholic. This means we acknowledge all the
Catholic holidays along with the Buddhist holidays (vacations!!!). Many classes have been randomly
canceled in order to celebrate the birthday of a saint in some ritual I don’t understand but enjoy watching
as the kids make offerings in a very Buddhist fashion. Thais are wonderful at synthesizing other religions
into their own (over 90 percent of Thais are Buddhist).
Advice: My only caution would be the same I would give any friend who is about to embark on a
completely new experience. In the beginning your mind will reject a lot of your experience: the sights,
smells, sounds, flavors, all are unfamiliar. It’s not like home. It’s not home. But remember that’s why you
came. You will take time to feel a connection with your new life. Go with it. Let the mental noise flow out
of you and don’t allow yourself to take this adventure for granted. Trust me, when you look back you
can’t possibly regret the decision to come here. But I can promise you will regret taking it for granted.
Not everything will be what you expect, and very few things will meet the romanticized images we
create of traveling or living abroad. But over time the experience will become real, and you will be here.
- Michael Masinter, current teacher