Life Couldn’t Be Better. Or Could It? Deciding To Teach English Abroad


Life was good.

My boyfriend and I both had great jobs that paid well. We were settled in our lifestyle, were renting a great place and the two dogs completed the picture.

  • We were able to travel overseas once a year and do some short locals trips.

  • Life was good.

  • Life was easy and safe.

  • The next step was to really settle done, get the bond and buy the house.

Life couldn’t be better. Or could it?

Sure, we were lucky enough to enjoy local and overseas travel, which is a real passion of ours. Unfortunately, with working in corporates we were always going to be limited to shorter trips. Our two-week holiday would be amazing; however, it would be just that, a two-week holiday. The location of South Africa also limited the amount of overseas trips that were possible due to the huge cost involved in not only flights, but also the expense when you landed in the country. 

South Africans teaching English in Thailand

We wanted to see the world and no longer be stuck in a desk job.

We had looked into teaching in Thailand about three years before, but had promptly dismissed it as craziness.

Why would we give it all up to move to a foreign country, to earn considerably less in a job that we weren’t qualified.

After three years when the topic came up again, we were asking ourselves, "why wouldn’t we?".

We no longer wanted to continue on the journey that we are pre-programmed to be on from a young age. Sure, owning our own house would be great, but was it what we really wanted.

  • Did we want to work long hours in jobs we were not passionate about to pay for a house that we couldn’t really afford.

  • Get the fancier cars and try keep up with the Joneses.

  • Listen to our friends talk about the joys of having babies, something that didn’t peek our interest.

The decision was made, our bags were packed (well figuratively at least) and eight months later we would be climbing onto a plane and flying to Cambodia.

TEFL Thailand

Why go the teaching English abroad route?

The quick answer: because it was the easiest way to get a job in Thailand, and earn a decent salary that would allow you to live comfortably along with enjoying some travel. A salary of $1000 a month sounds ridiculous back home, but in Thailand (with a low cost of living), a $1000 salary is great.

It was also a job that would give us enough free time to pursue our larger goal of being digital nomads and working from anywhere in the world.

Why International TEFL Academy?

If we were going to make this huge decision, I was sure going to make sure all the research was done to ensure that there were no surprises. And so the many hours of roaming the internet began.

Of course, no matter how much research you do there is always going to be the stuff you didn’t consider, but I wanted to tick as many of the boxes as possible.

Number one priority for us was finding a trusted company that offered a TEFL certification.

We had read a few blogs of people who had managed to get jobs without the certificate, but it was becoming more and more difficult. And because we had never taught before we wanted all the help we could get.

There are countless places that offer the certificate and it is incredibly difficult to choose. I came across International TEFL Academy on one of my endless searches of all things about teaching English abroad and they turned out to be the best fit for us. Cassie from International TEFL Academy also happily answered all my questions (of which there were many) via a Skype call and email.

Even though an online course is much cheaper, we wanted to have time to adjust to the environment, before we actually had to start teaching. Therefore, we opted for one of the many onsite courses. The course was split between Phnom Penh in Cambodia and Pattaya in Thailand. This allowed us 4 weeks of immersing ourselves in the culture, meeting fellow future teachers and learning some basic Thai.

Making the jump to teach English in Thailand

All that was left to do was board the plane.

That’s what we did on the 19th of April 2014. After eight months of endless planning, worrying, selling almost everything we own, finding a loving home for our dogs and saying tearful farewells to loved ones.

We boarded that plane with a sense of overwhelming excitement.

This was our chance to step out of comfort zones and do something out of the ordinary. We were going to do everything in our power to make this new lifestyle work and the journey continue.

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