Rural Thailand; more to offer than you think
Once you have qualified, and are ready for your new career as a teacher of English, head to Thailand's rural countryside for a truly authentic experience of Thailand and its friendly people. Often mistaken as poverty-stricken and poorly equipped, these rural communities form the backbone of Thailand's agriculture, and as one of the world's leading exporters of rice, there is a surprisingly savvy and capable population of rural communities in need of good language teachers.
Experiencing the natural beauty and escaping the urban rush is only part of the pleasure of working in these schools. Here, you'll find the real Thai beauty – absolute open-armed welcome, a friendliness so complete it touching. You won't have students, you'll make life-long friends with everyone in your new community.
Choosing where to go for your countryside experience will depend greatly on your personal preference in your lifestyle. With your Chichester College TEFL certificate, the choice is yours.
The central region
Working in central region of Thailand gives you the best of all worlds – an authentic countryside experience, but easy and quick access to Bangkok's exciting metropolitan convenience. In the fertile areas around Bangkok are numerous small communities with local education centres that rely on attracting good teachers to avoid losing their young talent to the lure of the cities. Posts are availble in Rachburi, Chachoengsao, Nakorn Phanom, Kanchanaburi and the old capital of Ayudhya. All of these, no more than 2 hours from Bangkok city, offer a wide range of job opportunities and the quiet pleasure of rural life.
Further afield in this region are the more peaceful provinces like Sakaew, Saraburi and Lopburi. Schools in these areas are often forgotten about with newly qualified teachers, and are sincerely grateful of teachers who decide to work with their youth. Still with easy access to Bangkok and its surrounds, these islands of tranquility in the agricultural 'rice-bowl' of Thailand offer a real insight into Thai life and culture.
The countyside of the north of Thailand is understandably popular, with its cool weather, breathtaking mountain scenery, extensive jungles and forests and some of Thailand's most interesting history.
Most attractive of all are the regions in the far north – like Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Song and Nan. Teaching positions here are most often in hilltop schools with ethnic minorities. Unfortunately these schools are sometimes financially under-resourced, and rely on the active involvement of charities. Positions with these charities are often as salaried volunteers – and promise exciting excursions into Thailand's most undeveloped regions.
Stable employment is also available in the lower altitude provinces like Uttaradit and Petchaboon. In these areas, a number of private boarding schools are consistent recruiters of native teachers. Set in large campuses, these schools are both exclusive and well-established.
The north-east is a vast expanse of farmland. Although traditionally Thailand's poorest region, the north-east has recently experienced a boom thanks to modern farming techniques and the expansion of economic trade with the neighboring countries of Laos and Cambodia.
If you yearn for a quiet and peaceful life as a teacher, there is nothing better than this part of Thailand. Along the majestic Mekong, secure teaching positions in the beautiful provinces of Nong Khai, Nakorn Phanom, Mukdahan or Ubon Ratchatani, and experience the riverside life of fishermen and the seemingly endless joy of children as they splash in the gently flowing waters.
Alternatively, watch the lives of the rice farmers in the expansive plains of Sakorn Nakorn or Roi Et, and live among the mix of Thai and Khmer cultures in the scenic border provinces of Surin and Buriram – and learn two languages rather than one!
Graduates from Chichester College have schools in all these north-eastern provinces waiting for you.
The eastern seaboard of Thailand is most famous for the tourist centre of Pattaya, but there is much more to this area, which houses a large and busy industrial community. Away from the industry, however, find a green, lush and exciting diversity – mountains, beaches, islands and pretty country towns.
As an example of what awaits you here, consider the pretty seaside community of Chantaburi. Only an hour from the stunning beaches of Chang island, and less then 3 hours from the hustle and bustle of Pattaya city, this peaceful community is nestled in a beautiful bay, against the foothills of the Cardamom mountains. The site of an annual scenic marathon, the province is dotted with pretty waterfalls, mountain treks and hillside temples. As a qualified teacher, choose form positions in either a primary or secondary school and enjoy the pleasure of working with these calm and friendly children.
The long narrow stretch of land which forms the south of Thailand has the awesomely exotic title of the Isthmus of Kra. It's a delight – long sandy beaches, beautiful tropical water, jungles and villages with local agriculture and cottage industry. Because of this, there is a busy and active tourist industry and huge tourist hotspots like Phuket and Krabi. But away from these centres lies a peaceful rural existence with a network of rural schools tucked away from the tourists. It's a world available only to a privileged few.
Consider Surat Thani province. Famous for the ferry terminal to Samui and Phangan Islands, the province itself is overlooked. It is dotted with beautiful limestone cliffs, lined with long white-sand beaches, and home to four national parks, including the hidden gem Kao Sok National Park. School posts here are in the primary and secondary sectors, working in the state schools. These schools have limited access to international teachers, and you'll find the students shy but curious and eager to try out their growing knowledge of English with you as their link to a potential future in the burgeoning tourism industry in this area.