TEFL Trainee Stephen at Tefl Campus, Phuket, Thailand
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Always smiling. Always positive. Meet Stephen (Sydney, Australia)

Come on, admit it: You want to take a TEFL course in Thailand and start teaching abroad but you’re worried about all the what-ifs. What if I can’t find a job? What if teaching isn’t for me? What if I get culture shock? What if my TEFL course is terrible?

These are all perfectly understandable questions and there are a lot more you need to ask yourself before uprooting and moving across the world.

In fact, a TEFL course isn’t for everyone, but for those whose calling includes living abroad, learning from new cultures and helping others acquire an invaluable skill, taking a TEFL course is far easier than you think.

How easy is it? Just ask Stephen. He’s an Australian from Sydney who made it his mission to follow his dream and he didn’t let anything get between him and his goal to teach English in Thailand.

He had to delay his course two times but he got here in the end and now he’s about to start a great job at a Thai university.

Read about Stephen’s great insight for TEFL course trainees, honest opinions about his time on the course and inspiring words for those who can’t get past all those pesky what-ifs.

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Stephen and the other trainees pose for a post-welcome meal pic.

Summarize your first week in three words.
I had fun.

What were your first impressions of Phuket when you finally arrived?
I had been to Phuket before and it was great to be back.

Were you happy with your accommodation?
Yes. Lek at the front desk is very welcoming. The woman is here all day, every day; I don’t think she sleeps.

Were you greeted by TEFL Campus staff once you got to Phuket Town?
I had booked my own accommodation for a few days before the course was meant to start. And I had already met the Course Director on a previous visit so we arranged to meet the next day at TEFL Campus.

What did you see and do before the course started?
I was lucky enough to be here for New Year’s so spent the weekend in Patong to celebrate with friends.

How did the first day go?
It was great. The Course Director provided us with a really good orientation; things were well explained and expectations from both sides were made clear.

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Stephen, Lee and Gena enjoying a nice up of coffee at a local cafe.

What do you think of your classmates?
We have been blessed to be ten other amazing people from all walks of life, but who have managed to gel so quickly together.

What did you learn from watching experienced teachers in the classroom?
Exactly how a lesson is given and what process needs to be followed.

How did your first teaching practice go?
It went surprising well. My advice is to accept this is your first lesson; you’ll be nervous; you’ll make mistakes, but you’ll learn and grow from it.

Can you give us your impressions of the lectures so far?
The lectures have been constructed very well and are delivered in an order that makes sense. But be prepared for a lot of theory and be ready for loads of grammar work—vital grammar work.

What surprised you most during the first week?
How well we all got along and how well my first teaching lesson went.

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Stephen, Vika, Miranda and James enjoying a well-earned local beer at Reggae Bar after the first week of their training course.

Do you have any good advice for pre-arrival preparations?
Do some research on Thailand and Phuket. Don’t just arrive and expect to have every little thing explained to you. Southeast Asia is very different to where most people are from; there are things that you’ll find challenging and confronting.

What’s your best advice for the first week of the course?
Be open minded. Be ready to learn. Pay attention. Take lots of notes and don’t be so hard on yourself with your first teaching practice. And most of all, enjoy it, it is an enjoyable experience.

Click here to read about Stephen’s second week on the course and be sure to contact us for further information. You can also apply for the course and commit to finally achieving your dream of teaching English abroad.

Eric Haeg


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