Feel like having your dreams crushed and being used as an ATM machine? This is the program for you. Not only will you be nickeled and dimed for all manner of expenses, you also get to witness incompetence at levels you have never experienced before. But you want to help students learn English, can’t you do that? Oh, you can do that, but not with these bozos. Read the following to learn the details of my nightmare.
I got to Chiang Mai full of hopes and dreams of starting a new life in Thailand and being there for many years and completed the two week training course. However, do not expect to get your qualification after that, because you need to do the whole program, even though I was told you can obtain part of the qualification after training. Furthermore, hope you do not get Shouvik as a trainer because he thinks he is great, but is in fact quite useless. At the end of the training is when you will find out where you are placed and which school and age group you will be teaching. Furthermore, you will get help finding your apartment and help with your visas/ work permit and opening up a bank account.
However, what they forgot to say during these emails before I left Thailand is that I will need to spend lots more money on visa extensions and visa runs, even though I came in on a 60-day tourist visa. Turns out Thailand are quite slow on processing documents, but these companies do nothing to assist and shift the blame on others. Why SEE TEFL could not process the documents when we visited after the first day of training is beyond me....They also promised to open up a Thai bank account but the school needs to do that as well apparently.
But everything was fine after I got my placement and I had to wait a week before it started, so plenty of time for these companies to assist me in getting a place to live. Right? Wrong! I ended up getting an apartment of my own accord and I only did that through a friend. These companies version of help is to send you links off Google and let you deal with everything that follows. They DO NOT arrange apartments for you to look at, you need to do it all. However, if pushed, they do arrange an agency to help you called Perfect Homes. If you hear of this agency, which are based in Chiang Mai, run the other way because you are wasting your time and then when you complain the director of SEE TEFL suggests that you find another agency, even though he and his wife introduced you to them in the first place!!! In addition, it transpires that you need to purchase your own uniform from the school (more expense), you will work additional hours but will get paid no overtime, you may work 10 hour days and that you will work at least one weekend a month due to parents evening and activity days. But all of that is fine because you will be earning between 28,500- 34,000baht even though people with similar experience and qualifications are earning around 45,000baht and that I have it on good authority that SEE TEFL take a portion of your salary per month. Around this time other trainees were sent to Bangkok and were given dodgy contracts to sign whereby they had to forfeit their passports and half of their salary……
I was advised my Premier TEFL & SEE TEFL to sign the six-month apartment and my internship contract, even though all this uncertainty and all these issues were nowhere near resolved! Who do you think would be liable for the contracts if I chose to leave because of all these issues? And this is their expert advice.... Surprisingly, I chose not to take their expert advice on this occasion and decided to withdraw from the process. Furthermore, I had to leave Thailand as SEE TEFL did not even start processing my visas/ work permit and I had stayed in Thailand for three months, so I decided to leave and go back to the UK.
But, if this happens to you, you will then get the pleasure of more emails and phone calls from Premier TEFL & SEE TEFL asking what went wrong, even though I told them countless times what the issues were. What happened then is I was sent intimidating emails by SEE TEFL directors stating that they will pursue legal action and block any future entries into Thailand for not signing the teaching contract! This was then followed by a phone call from Premier TEFL going over what I already stated in an email and her pretty much putting all the blame on me! So, I wasted more time and effort dealing with this, not to mention the money I have wasted on this whole process. These companies do not take accountability for their actions and will try their hardest to blame you, even though it is clearly their fault and the lack of information they give you at the start of the process. Now they will not even return my phone calls and emails and have said the incident has been resolved…..! All I wanted was a sincere apology from them and for them to reimburse some of my expenses….I have now got the English and European Trading Standards involved and they are very interested in this situation.
So, these are now my top tips for anyone considering teaching in a foreign country. These companies place huge importance on the qualifications that they offer, but in the real world you do not really need them as I applied for jobs in Chiang Mai when I decided to go solo and all of the places did not ask for the qualification. Or do the four week course instead of the internship. So, I do hope this review helps you to make an informed decision about these companies and about the other options available to you. I wish more honest reviews were available when I started this process at the beginning of the year.