Joanna Bullough is an English and American Literature student at Manchester Metropolitan University. In the summer of 2015, she taught English in Thailand with the TET programme.
Tell Us a little about yourself and your time in thailand
I took part in the Teach English Thailand Program (TET) over the summer of 2015, at the end of my second year of university. The program is run in collaboration with UK universities and the British Council, where students are able to travel to Thailand to live in an authentic Thai community and work in a local school as a teaching assistant. The placements and host schools are so diverse and spread out across the entire country, that everyone’s experience is completely different and unique. I was placed in a small Thai village in Kamphaeng Phet Province, which is in the Northern Region of Thailand.
Why did you decide to work abroad?
I decided to apply for the program as I knew this would not only look great and stand out for job applications, but would be also be a great opportunity to experience a new culture so different to my own. The program did not disappoint! I was lucky enough to be placed with a host family and met some of the friendliest and welcoming people ever. It was a really fantastic opportunity that can be challenging at times, but a real learning curve!
Despite not having any prior teaching experience, the teaching turned out to be the highlight of my entire trip and enjoyed every minute whilst working in the school. I was initially quite apprehensive about the teaching, but you are never expected to lead an entire lesson alone, but are there to help build interest in learning English for the students and most importantly, make it fun!
How has your time abroad benefited you?
I think taking part in a study or working abroad program really makes you stand out from everyone else when it comes to applying for jobs after university. It becomes a real point of conversation to employers, which is interesting and a bit different to everyone else. The skills you gain from these experiences are also endless, which will no doubt give you that extra advantage in the competitive job market for graduates.
What have you learned from your time abroad?
For me, spending time abroad has really shown how independent I can be away from the comforts of university and home. There are many challenges and obstacles faced when abroad for an extended period of time, but I think you surprise yourself with just how capable you really are.
What advice or tips do you have for people thinking about going abroad?
My tips and advice for anyone thinking of working or studying abroad is to not be worried if you are going alone, as you’ll find nearly everyone is in the exact same position as you and you will meet lots of new people. The TET program is structured perfectly to allow you to meet other likeminded people, before you even depart for Thailand. so don’t be put off if you’re going on your own.
The program is brilliantly organised and ran by everyone involved from the British Council, so if you’ve never travelled alone or for an extended period, they help you with the entire process, such as applying for visas, flights and accommodation. I think its perfect for anyone who has never worked abroad before as you are helped step by step through the process!
From my experience on the TET program, I would advise anyone who is thinking about applying to just go for it! Thailand is a truly amazing country with so much to offer, including amazing food, welcoming and kind people and a rich history and culture that you really get to experience and integrate into whilst working in a local school!
Find out more about the Teach English in Thailand Programme on our website.