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  • Thailand is what you make of it by Peter C. Meltzer

    Thailand is a wonderful country with many things to offer: friendly people, happy kids, vibrant nightlife, world-class travel destinations, excellent food, inexpensive shopping, warm weather and much more.  It is a great place to live and work.   Generally, when we ask in our job advertisement “what makes you want to live in Surat Thani?’  The usual answers involves something about Thai culture.  This is good, because Surat is real Thailand and here you will experience real Thai culture.

    The phrase “Thai culture” means different things to different people, though.  To some it means a Thai dancing show put on for tourists.  To others it means seeing how real Thai people live and go about their day.  While Surat has some of the first kind, it has a lot more of the second.  There are festivals, holidays, special events, and more, throughout the year.  Each of these involves something very different than what Westerners are used to and are wonderful cultural experiences.  However, the real experience in Thai culture is meeting Thai people, getting to know them, spending time with them, accompanying them when they invite you places, and learning from them.  The holidays, festivals, etc., are easily accessible.  You can walk into them without being invited and without having to put forth any more effort than getting yourself there.  Getting to know Thai people well enough to the point where they feel like including you in their lives takes more effort.  It cannot be accomplished by sitting at home.  You need to get out and meet people to make that happen.  And it will happen.  Thai people are very friendly and will offer you a drink if you are walking by, help out if you look like you need it, and offer tasty food whenever they think you are hungry.  But you still need to put forth the effort to meet people.

    The general lesson in this is that Thailand is what you make of it.  If you want it to be a cultural experience, then you have to make it a cultural experience.  Culture cannot be delivered to your doorstep.  You have to go out and find it (which is not hard in Surat).  If you want your time in Thailand to be a calm, relaxed, mostly introverted experience then that is completely fine as well.  It is whatever you make it.

    The same goes for teaching.  The experience will be what you make it.  The classes are mostly yours, meaning we will provide the textbook (which is the absolute minimum the students should learn), the training, the resources and the support.  The rest is up to you.  You can put a lot of effort into preparing great lessons for your kids, work hard on improving your teaching skills, and the result will be awesome classes which are extremely productive and very fun to teach.  You can also show up, not throw yourself into teaching completely and achieve moderate results with your kids.  Both ways are fine (although we do prefer the former).  Since we have very little oversight at Super English, the quality of your classes depends almost exclusively on you.  We won’t know much about your class unless we hear compliments or complaints.  Ultimately, the quality and the even the content of the class depends very much on you.  It will be what you make of it.

    Without exception, those who come and put effort into their classes, their cultural adventures, and the school, walk away from the overall experience with an extremely positive impression and great memories.  I would even say there is a direct correlation between the amount of effort you put into something in Thailand and the amount you get out of it.  Reading the testimonials illustrates this very well.  These are all unique individuals who came to Thailand at different times, applied themselves in their own ways, and were rewarded by the experience relative to how much they put into it.  They made it a great experience by putting a lot of effort into making their classes the best they could be, venturing out to experience the culture, staying friendly with their neighbors, colleagues and students, and remaining positive, open-minded and flexible, even when times were tough.  They got as
    much out of the experience as they put in, but I am certain they would say they got much more.