by Katy Clarke (July, 2008 – March, 2009)
I left Thailand to return to the USA on April 28, 2009, and now I am sending my testimonial a few months later. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t reflect and in fact miss Thailand, so I thought I would share some further thoughts.
When I first arrived in Thailand my eyes certainly did not want to stay in my head. Why are there so many people up at 1 a.m.? Why are there so many places to eat at 2 a.m.? Is that whiskey they are drinking? Soon enough these questions were cleared, the fog slightly lifted, and the results to my inquiries were beyond fascinating, and eventually comforting.
Settling into Surat Thani was too much fun, and I have to give thanks to the Super staff for the easy/exciting transition. First things first, learn to ride a bike (often with one pedal or loose handle bars) on the left side of the road, amidst the chaos of Thai traffic. Yippeee! Then learn to love the food…..and beer. That was easy. Oh, and get up in front of 50 plus Thai students and teach them English. Awesome! After figuring out those few situations, (not to mention learning to use your phrasebook in order to communicate with those around you), I was off to do whatever I pleased. Sounds really hard…..no way!
Teaching English for the Super English Language School was the best situation I could have asked for in regards to a first time abroad experience! The staff was all very helpful and there when you needed them, which you sometimes do when you are in a completely different country. The schedules were very relaxed and the expectations understandable…..show up on time, teach to the very best of your ability, and have TONS of fun!
Although living in Surat Thani was challenging at times, I wouldn’t have traded the experience with anything! The first thing I tell people when they ask me about the experience is that I have never laughed so much in my entire life as I did while living there! I know the rest of the staff agrees because Thailand is different than what we are used to, a very awesome different. I laughed on my bicycle, in the classroom, in the shower, walking down the street, etc. There were so many interesting things going on around me at all times that it made me chuckle – a lot!
By far the best aspect about the entire experience was the teaching! The children are amazing, wide eyed with curiosity, and willing to learn English as long as it is really fun! I was okay with that! I still tear up whenever I look at the pictures and actually I am getting a little emotional right now, and this is 4 months later!
In closing, Surat Thani, Thailand and the Super English Language School provided me with an unmatched opportunity to learn about myself and an extremely wonderful culture. There were good days, and there were very baaaaaad days but as I said before I wouldn’t have missed this opportunity for anything, and of course I hope to return there someday, even for a visit…..my neighbors and the laundry lady are expecting it! With smiles like theirs, how can I let them down?!