I just want to say, WOW!
I have just arrived back in England after the most incredible 2 and a half months of my life in Thailand, doing the Thailand TEFL Experience.
My experience was amazing and I would 100% recommend anybody looking for a bit of adventure to do this. I want to write this as I have only really seen reviews for the online course and not for the experiences, so when i was deciding whether to book or not- I was a bit nervous when I couldn't read about anybody with a great experience!
I completed my TEFL online course in around 3 weeks, after some very hard work. After receiving my certificate, I packed and readied myself to take the adventure of a lifetime! I was so nervous to go, I had never been anywhere by myself before so it's safe to say that i was terrified.
I'm going to be honest, on the plane I did stop and think that this could be a scam company and there would be nobody to meet me at the airport. Thankfully(!) Nutty's Adventures- i-to-i's in-county team- were there to greet me and take me to the hotel to meet the other interns.
The other interns I met really did make the trip as amazing as it was. It was incredible to meet so many other people from different countries and cultures, but you all have that one thing in common. I don't think the experience would have been quite as good if I didn't get along with the other interns, as all of your weekends you were free to do what you liked- there were no organised tours or places to be- you had your own reign.
There were some things that could be improved- which is why I didn't rate this review 5 stars. However, they are only very small things and did not spoil the experience.
More information is definitely needed before the departure to whichever country you go to. For example, in the welcome brochure you get before leaving, it mentions that you must get travel vaccinations... okay yes that is very important. I went to get these and the nurse asked me which places I was staying in Thailand. I told her the places and also QUOTED from the brochure that i was staying in a 'small, rural village'. I was told that as it is a rural area, I need to get a certain types of injections etc etc. To cut a long story short, I had to go to a private clinic and spend over £350 on injections that I thought I needed. When I actually arrived in Thailand, I saw that I was not in a small, rural village at all- none of us were- we were in big, busy towns!
Another example, is that from October 2016-October 2017, the people of Thailand are in mourning due to the unfortunate passing of their beloved King. Because of this, many people wear black for an entire year, including employees of the public sector. We did not find out about this, until we actually arrived in Thailand. I knew the King had died, due to my own research before I came- but I did not realise that this meant we, as interns, must only wear black when teaching. It would have been very helpful if we had received an email informing us of this BEFORE we packed clothes that ended up being too inappropriate to teach in!
If the brochures and information given was up-to-date and accurate, then I probably could have saved a lot of money.
One other thing that did make me nervous while teaching out there- is the visa. We were told in the information pack to apply for a 60 Day Tourist Visa, and not a working one as we were only volunteers. However, when this visa arrived it clearly states 'employment prohibited'- okay fine, we're not technically employed but it seems a little dodgy. It was something I forgot about until a member of the in-country informed us that if we were to extend our visas, we must stay in a hotel that night, and not the school. We weren't allowed to tell these government officials were we had been living for the past two months. One intern accidentally did out of nervousness, and she ended up with a slap on the wrist and had to pay hefty fines and pay for another visa- this time a working one. So I do think proper clarity is needed on the visas and the company need to speak to official people to make sure what we are doing is completely legal!
Apart from that, Thailand was an absolutely worth-it experience. You get to live like a local, completely immersing yourself into a different culture and way of life. You pick up bits of the language, take 'selfies' with the locals, and laugh with the children. Don't get me wrong sometimes it was very difficult, the school I was in didn't have many resources and there was only one teacher that spoke really good English, but thats all part of the experience! Make your own resources if there aren't any. Teacher forgot to tell you the subject for that week? -Use your initiative and if you can't ask them, see what the children want to learn. Your accommodation isn't as homely as you like? Buy some nice decorations for it- it'll be nice for the next interns and great for the school, don't forget they've given you the accommodation off their own back- they don't get paid to keep you!
It is hard to start off with, losing the luxuries you're used to and being somewhere completely out of your depth. But I tell you what, you'll soon miss the strange way of living when you're back to reality.
I can't thank i-to-i LOVE TEFL enough for the amazing opportunity they have given me. Without finding this company, I never would have taken the plunge to go and live in another country for two months. From reading some of the reviews already on here, I don't think this company are given enough credit. Yes, there are some things that need to be worked on, but nothing is completely perfect. I was placed in a safe, built up area, and I had the best two months of my life. In fact my time in Thailand was so good, I extended my flights so I could travel for a further two weeks (it would have been longer if I could have afforded it), and since I have returned to England, I am constantly on their website looking for other experiences to do (just waiting for them to be cheaper)!
Thank you so much i-to-i, you have definitely made me want to travel again!