Why do a TEFL in Thailand?
When looking for an initial TEFL qualification to start teaching English abroad, there is a bewildering array of options available. There are hundreds of different TEFL courses available in lots of different location. The most popular TEFL certificate is the CELTA from Cambridge University – but even for this TEFL certification there are over 2,800 centres in the world spread across 130 countries.
The cost can vary greatly from less than US$1,600 to more than US$4,400. Other TEFL certificates vary even more widely in price, and also duration / quality. So how can you decide where is the best place for you?
Easy to Get to
Some training centres that are relatively cheap are hard to get to (for example South America) and may have complicated visa rules which may prevent a foreigner staying in the country for the whole month required to complete a TEFL course. A TEFL in Thailand is a great choice because it is easy to get to and allows most foreign nationals to stay for at least 30 days on a tourist visa.
Thailand also offers a low cost 60-day tourist visa that can be obtained cheaply and quickly in advance from any local Thai consulate. This allows plenty of free time before and after your TEFL course.
Thailand is also a good choice as it serves as a regional transport hub, with low cost regional flights throughout Asia. There are also long haul direct flights to a large number of destinations including Europe and North America.
Cheap to Live
If you are doing a 4-week, full-time TEFL course, such as the Cambridge CELTA, you will be without an income for the whole month so you’ll want to do the course somewhere where it’s cheap to live. This could be staying at home with family or friends, although this could be very distracting on an intensive full time course. You would also miss the pleasure of living in another country and learning about a new culture.
Thailand has a very low cost of living where street food can be bought for 1 dollar per meal. It’s also possible to rent accommodation just for a month without paying the exorbitant rents you find in Europe and North America. A month’s quality accommodation in Thailand can cost less than 500 US dollars, with onsite pool and gym, turning your month of study into a tropical semi-holiday.
Quality of Life
Thailand is also an easy place to live. People are friendly, the weather is always warm and the food is amazing. Bangkok is highly developed with efficient public transport systems, malls, cinemas, and an ever-expanding array of bars and restaurants to suit every taste and budget. Bangkok is often called a first world city with third world prices.
If you like a quieter life, smaller cities like Chiang Mai offer the same services but with less of the urban sprawl of Bangkok. Wherever you are in Thailand, you’re never that far away from beautiful beaches or beautiful mountains where you can take in nature and recharge your batteries.
A Good Place to Find Work After the Course
Most people doing a TEFL course are hoping to go on to get a job teaching. While there are a huge number of countries where you can get a job teaching English, there are several reasons to start your job search in Thailand:
- The Asian economy, driven by China, is booming. There is a large number of teaching jobs available in both the private and public sector, and Thailand is a good example of this. Armed with a recognized TEFL certificate, such as the CELTA, and a degree from a university, you will have no problem finding a job in Bangkok or even other parts of Thailand.
- Demand for English is high – the level of English is often poor but English is a key to success at work in many fields so more and more students want to study English in Thailand.
- This means there is a high demand for teachers which keeps salaries buoyant – your first job in Thailand may well pay more than your first job in Europe or North America.
- High demand TEFL courses such as the CELTA tend to have teachers from all over the region so it’s a good networking opportunity to find out more about jobs around Asia – China, Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, Myanmar… there are so many options available to you when you have a quality TEFL certificate!
As English teachers are in such high demand in Asia, TEFL courses in Thailand are very popular and it means they have experienced trainers who do many courses during the year. For example, the IH Bangkok TEFL Course and the IH Chiang Mai TEFL Course are 2 of the most popular CELTA courses in the world. Together, they train around 550 teachers each year.
This means the course is well organized and well developed with experienced and professional trainers that are working full-time and have worked together to constantly revise and update the course. This is important to think about before choosing where you want to take your TEFL training – a centre that only runs one course a year may not be as successful as a centre that trains regularly and has successfully trained hundreds or thousands of teachers.
Do your homework to check that the place you choose has a good track record delivering the course. And make sure the course itself is well regarded and respected by employers. There’s no point paying for a cheap TEFL course only to find it leads to low paid jobs and then you have to pay for a proper course later.
So if you’re looking for an affordable place to do your TEFL training where you can have fun at the same time, getting your TEFL in Thailand is a great option. But make sure you choose a course and a centre that will offer quality training and good job prospects.