Saturday, January 7, 2012

The First Step of a Long Journey

I had my last day of employment in the US today.  It felt rather good, too!  Though I can't see the future, I believe my next step will be significant and lasting. 

About four years ago, Nee and I began talking about alternatives to the American way of life.  My job was uninspiring and she was under-employed.  Debt was eating away our future, so she suggested that I could teach English in Thailand.  Such a thought had never crossed my mind, but being a lifelong auditor, I started doing research.  I Googled, "Teaching English in Thailand" and came across  An ajarn is the Thai word for professor or teacher.  The site is dedicated to folks from around the world who came to Thailand to teach.  I have searched for similar sites in other countries and haven't found its match.  I found out about the joys of teaching as well as the trials of working for a foreign agency.  Teachers are straightforward with their feelings and I started to see a possibility. 

One blog is from a fellow a few years older than myself who was a computer techy in Florida.  He decided he also wanted a change and soon found himself in the northeastern part of the country called Isaan.  This is one of the poorest parts of the country and he found success and happiness there.  The success isn't financial but spiritual.  He inspired me.

Thailand, like the US, prefers to hire only Thais for work.  However if you have a skill they want, they will find a way to give you work.  The country has fallen behind much of the rest of Asia in their pursuit to speak what is now the world language...English.  Thus, many schools have opened around the country and jobs are plentiful, at least according to the website, my friends and family there and many other people I have spoken to.

To begin I have to get a teaching credential.  The most common is the Teaching English as a Foreign Language, TEFL, or Teaching English as a Second Language, or TESL.  They are essentially the same credential and apparently there are schools all over the world offering it.  The program requires 120 hours of study spread out over 4 or 6 weeks and then most of the schools will work with the graduates to find work.  The blogger I mentioned earlier attended one called Text and Talk.  I did my research and decided it was a good school thus I have paid my deposit for it. 
The class will cost me about $1400, last six weeks and then I will off to my new career.  Nee likes Chiang Mai as it has much lovely countryside nearby that can't be found as easily in Bangkok.

I am working with the school and the Thai consulate to get my visa, and you know the rest of the preparations.  I can't wait.  My brother, Jon, is coming up here next week to wish us bon voyage so it will be our last chance to enjoy the northwest.

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