Working abroad… Is this real life?

January 9 2014 by Editorial - admin


Wow, has it been over two months in Thailand already? I do not know where the time goes here! Every day I am in this country I fall more in love with it. The balance of teaching and exploring is perfect and though that leaves little downtime I am OK with it.

My first month in my new home, Chiang Kham, was a challenging one. Moving anywhere new is a stressful and tiring experience. Moving 8,000 miles away is something else. My first week I suffered The Cockroach Incident of 2013, which tested me in every single way. Since my room was invaded by 30 cockroaches, it did not feel like much could challenge me more than that. However, this journey so far has challenged me in every single way possible and I am grateful for every moment of it.

I have been teaching primary school for over two months  now and am currently winding down my second month teaching secondary school. Primary school is crazy, exhilarating and exasperating all at the same time. The students are incredibly cute and when they see you, they without fail, every single time, come running at you saying “Helllllooooooooo, teaccchhhhaaaaa!”

The language barrier takes some getting used to. Every student seems to be at a different level and trying to cohesively teach a class and make sure everyone understands it is a challenge every day. However, I can already tell the students are starting to adjust to having me as a teacher. They are asking questions and starting to participate more. There is nothing better than the feeling that you are in fact teaching the students something and they are catching on. As for me, I feel my confidence in teaching growing and I start to enjoy teaching more and more every day. I am so out of my comfort zone and I would not trade that feeling for anything.

Exploring Thailand is such an incredible thing. I feel so lucky to be here and this country has so much to offer. The people are always smiling, and though we might not speak the same language, we all know how to smile. Smiling is universal and I have learned quickly here even the smallest smile is a wonderful way to communicate with others.

I left Chiang Kham a few weeks ago with my fellow teacher and friend, Olivia. We took a two-hour scenic bus to Chiang Rai for a day trip. This trip made me realize what an authentic and rural part of Thailand I have been placed in and how much I appreciate my placement in Chiang Kham. Chiang Rai was incredible. Olivia and I visited the White Temple, which is like nothing I have ever seen before. I felt like I was in another world when I was there. I also got to experience my first Tuk Tuk ride in Thailand and cannot wait for my next one.

Every week I have been here I like to think back on my favorite moment of the week. Things are so different and surprising here that sometimes it is hard to choose just one moment. This week it was easy though. I was very sick and missed school one day to stay home and try to get better. All of a sudden five men came into my room unannounced. Without saying anything to me, they took off their shoes and started to weigh themselves on my scale. They seemed very excited to see a scale and then spent a few minutes laughing and repeatedly weighing themselves. I sat in my bed confused and wondering if this was a fever-induced hallucination. After a few more minutes of confusion the men brought in a ladder and started to take apart my air conditioner.

I cannot believe how quickly 2014 is approaching. This year has been crazy and wonderful in so many ways. I am excited to start the new year with a mini vacation from school. I will be traveling for a few days and ending my vacation with a New Year’s celebration on a huge lake in Phayao with a fellow teacher. Every day I pinch myself and remind myself how lucky I am to have this opportunity and be on the amazing adventure that is teaching in Thailand. Want to see what it’s been like the past few months? Take a look below!!

Author Archives: kbarraclough