GeoVisions Blog

Should Something Ever Go Wrong At GeoVisions

Posted by Randy LeGrant on Wed, May 28, 2014

GeoVisions Travel SafetyNothing is as important as our participant's safety.  Absolutely nothing.

So, when the troubles in Thailand started about two-weeks ago, we huddled up to evaluate safety and risk.  After 39 years of doing this day-in-and-day-out, we're good at it.  We know how to evaluate the risk of sending someone to an area with participant safety at the crux of the matter.

In fact, GeoVisions utilizes a customized "Crisis Management" manual that we have written and updated over the years that is used when we do face a crisis and each project is visited and a six-page Site Inspection Check-list must be filled out and approved before even one participant puts boots on the ground.

GeoVisions is uniquely positioned to know what's going on in Thailand because we have an office in Bangkok.  We have a strong partner in Hua Hin.  And we're a designated sponsor for the J-1 Summer Work and Travel program where we receive hundreds of Thai college students here in the US each year.  That means even more boots on the ground and a very close relationship to the U.S. Department of State.

Since everything is still quiet in Thailand and everyone is going about their business, we talked to our teachers there now.  No one, from the North to the South, city or rural indicated any issue at all.  Our partners and our office in Bangkok reported complete calm.  We were satisfied that we would contact our teachers each week for an "on-the-ground-check-up" and use that measure as 50% of our decision on how to move forward.  If our teachers, who are all over Thailand, reported calm and if our multiple partners and our office in Thailand reported calm ... we were fine.

But since safety is "job-one" at GeoVisions, we decided to change the hotel we normally use for the first night in Bangkok to a hotel at the airport for now.  You can have a look at it using this link.

And keep in mind GeoVisions does not just send teachers to Thailand and bring Thai college students to the US.  We also send language camp counselor groups, home-tutors by way of the Conversation Corps, and interns.  Thailand is a substantial destination for GeoVisions participants.  Making sure everyone is well rested and healthy to begin their project falls into the "safety" aspect of our decisions.  Rather than pick everyone up and transfer them 3 hours to Hua Hin ... we like to let people catch their breath and get some reset.  Then we make our way to the coast.

So we're using a hotel at the airport for now ... participants will get their rest and will then go out to Hua Hin the next day never even entering or being that close to Bangkok.  The airport is 45 minutes outside the city and the road to Hua Hin skirts the city.  That one decision created safety, distance and rest.  It was a good one.

Once in Hua Hin (the summer home of the King of Thailand) we're home free.  Hua Hin is 3 hours away from Bangkok and our language counselors, interns, teachers and tutors are all performing their daily tasks well outside Bangkok ... and they are all safe and happy right where they are.

GeoVisions has it's ducks in a row.We will continue to check in each week with everyone, which we think is an excellent barometer on safety, and of course utilize our many partners and staff in Thailand for more support and information to make good decisions ... keeping safety as job-one.

I'm proud of how we calculate risk and safety for our participants who have given a big portion of their daily routine and their money to better themselves and their host community in Thailand.  Those participants deserve our full attention to events all over Southeast Asia.  I'm proud that we have the infrastructure so that if anything ever goes wrong ... our first priority is our participants.

Should anything ever go wrong at GeoVisions ... our ducks are in a row.

Tags: Teach Abroad, Teach in Thailand, Travel Safety, Thailand

Teach English In Thailand - A Woman's View - Part III

Posted by Randy LeGrant on Wed, Jul 17, 2013

This is installment 3 of 3 of Carla's Blog post on a woman’s perspective, living and working in Thailand. Feel free to email Carla at: gocarla1@umbc.edu

Carla Gott teaching English in ThailandWe come from far-off countries with different ways of doing things. So it helps to recognize local culture and norms. These can read like a regime of do's and don'ts, but recognizing basic courtesies will help bring you quiet acknowledgment from folk you pass by, and easily offered help on the smallest matter when you want it.

So:

Cover up - please wear a bra at all times. Thailand isn't California, and it makes sense to recognize different attitudes to what is good and bad taste.

Being topless on the beach is a no-no. Do not wear tank tops or shorts when visiting temples. 

You will be teaching young boys and girls, so be sure you don't reveal cleavage and thighs in the classroom. It might seem conservative to you, but you are bringing to your classroom the best of the West - not what the kids' parents might think is the worst.

It is recommended that you buy teachers' skirts and a plain white blouse. They are very cheap and will never get you into trouble with or offend your co-workers. You can find them in any street market for less than $5 dollars. 

More generally, don't do things you wouldn't do back home.

That can be tough, given your new-found freedom. You will want to experiment a little bit, let your hair down. However, public intoxication, for example, is never ok. You have to remember that you are in a different country; foreigners already have a reputation for being potentially disturbing.

And the locals are not always angels - so don't walk around with that $1,000 in your pocket. Pick pocketing does happen quite often especially in areas flooded with tourists so leave your passport at home and carry a copy instead.

If you accept a drink from a stranger, make sure it's a bottled or canned beer that you see opened.

Thais have a well-earned reputation for being endearingly and genuinely friendly. If someone touches your arm, it’s not sexual harassment.

However, Thai men tend to be shy comparatively and certainly respectful. And it’s ok to have dinner with strangers - I do it all the time! It is often unavoidable. Street food is cheap, tables are often crowded. And when eating among friends, it is the norm for everyone to help themselves from common bowls of soup or plates of chicken. So you will quickly learn to share food, and in the process pick up a few words in Thai and make new friends.

Getting around: transport can be remarkably cheap, particularly buses and communal taxis. Tuk-tuks are fun, can be scary, and can be expensive. Make sure you ask the price for your destination before you get on.  Motorbikes are cheaper, but can take some getting used to. If you reckon yours is going too fast, tap on the driver's shoulder and wave him to stop or slow down. Prices are generally negotiated before you get on the bike. After a few days, you will have a fair idea of the general going rates.

Taxis are generally safe. In Bangkok, they are metered, and are not unduly expensive - but make sure the meter is always on.

If you are taking a cab after midnight, you can negotiate prices with cabdrivers. If you encounter a moody driver (it can happen at the end of their shifts, when they have to change with another driver at a predesignated time and place), you can always take the next one. Still, as in any city, it always makes sense to play safe. So it is recommended that you sit in the back. Play with your phone, text a friend. Pretend to be talking to someone or better yet, talk to someone! Have your address in hand.

And last but not least - shopping. Bangkok has phenomenal shopping malls. Some are more glitzy than others, but they all have bargains, and many have top-end international brand-name outlets. If you want to spend $100 in Zara, you can. If you want to spend $10 on an entire outfit at a street market, you can - and can often haggle the price even lower.

However, it is difficult to find good bras and underwear in street markets, so pack light - but pack wisely.

You will have a one-month break in October. Your long break will be in March – May. There are plenty of activities to do during break.  They include volunteering across Southeast Asia, English camps, acting gigs or relaxing in the islands. This might be the first time you will be traveling solo since you arrived in Thailand - it doesn't mean you will be traveling alone. You will meet plenty of people along your way who will become friends and traveling companions. And you will already have plenty of experiences to share with them.

You can email Carla directly, or enter your comments or questions below.  We have embedded three videos you can watch about the Teach in Thailand experience with GeoVisions.  Two of those videos are by Carla Gott.

Tags: Teach Abroad, Responsible Travel, Travel Safety, Thailand

Teach English In Thailand - A Woman's View - Part II

Posted by Randy LeGrant on Mon, Jul 15, 2013

Carla Gott has been teaching in Thailand with GeoVisions for more than five months. For more information on a woman’s perspective, living and working in Thailand, please email Carla at: gocarla1@umbc.edu

Carla Gott in Thailand with her students

Fears sensibly put in their place, let's get down to the packing. I graduated, packed three suitcases and I was gone. With one terrible mistake and that was the three suitcases. Within a week or two, I had given away half of my clothes.

Thailand is in the tropics which means sunshine, lots of it and often humid, sticky weather. And sometimes gorgeous cool breezes. 

That means you need a few T-shirts or other light tops, and two or three easy-to-wash trousers, dresses, or skirts - they will dry overnight. Don't bring dress suits and three pairs of high heels. Do bring comfortable shoes for walking. 

When you need more clothes, you can have fun buying stuff as you need it at unbelievably cheap markets and road-side stalls.  

Personal accessories - obviously take what you need from day one. But don't overdo it - Thailand has most everything you will want, unless you are in one of the smaller villages. Even in the smallest town, you will see the same brand names that you use at home. One exception and one useful tip: If you use tampons, pack a few boxes of them. They can be difficult to find in Thailand.  

But above all, remember - if you pack it, you carry it. And in the tropics, that can be hot work, especially by the time you add some souvenirs to bring home. So pack light, travel light, and enjoy the experience.

Once you've arrived, is it all plain sailing? If only… I've had good times; I've had bad times, but overall I have loved my experience. 

So what's not to love? 

We all react differently to tropical weather. Your skin can glow - or break out in spots; your hair can decide to shed itself more than is usual - or not. If it does, don't panic - it is called acclimatization. The climate forces some changes, eating exciting new foods brings others. 

One common change - new eating habits mean many of us lose excess weight.   Another plus - except for special occasions, I no longer wear makeup because I soon sweat it off, sometimes almost as soon as it goes on. Who said with travel comes freedom?

Then there are the basics: toilets. Standard Western-style toilets are now common, but squat toilets are still the default type, particularly in trains and public conveniences. Your hotel might have either - or both. Squat toilets can call for a bit of unfamiliar balancing at first - but you soon get used to them. It's good idea to keep a bit of toilet paper and hand sanitizer handy. 

When you have found wherever you are staying, and before you head out into the great unknown, ask your landlord to provide you with your address in Thai. It will be handy when you are taking a cab back to your place. (Yes - I've seen more than one person telling a cab driver - try this road, try that, I'll recognize it soon…) For this reason, keep your landlord's phone number on speed dial.

Now you can get to know your surroundings. Familiarize yourself with your neighborhood. Walk around your apartment building, guesthouse, or hotel and take mental notes. How many blocks to the nearest 7/11? Are there any traffic lights or other easy-to-remember signs that will guide you back to your hotel? Plenty of folks can speak rudimentary English, but helping yourself first makes sense.

An early purchase is likely to be a sim card for your phone - or buying a new phone if you left yours at home. Getting one in Thailand is the easiest thing on the planet - and cheap. You can either buy a dumb phone or use your smart phone. Simcards (and top-ups) are available at 7/11s (you will have no trouble finding one), or from numerous other street outlets. If you want internet on your phone, pay a fee of 300 Baht (10 US dollars) and have unlimited access for a month. If you don't want to unlock your smart phone, you can buy a dumb phone and use your smart phone just for WiFi. 

Yes, there is WiFi! You don't have to try to rely on WiFi cards from back home. You will have Internet at school, there are plenty of internet cafés, and numerous venues and hotels, restaurants and bars have WiFi.

Part III of Carla's adventure Teaching English Abroad in Thailand will be published next.  You can email Carla directly, or enter your comments or questions below.  We have embedded three videos you can watch about the Teach in Thailand experience with GeoVisions.  Two of those videos are by Carla Gott.

Tags: Teach Abroad, Travel Ideas, Travel Safety, Thailand

Teach English In Thailand - A Woman's View - Part I

Posted by Randy LeGrant on Fri, Jul 12, 2013
Carla Gott

Carla Gott has been teaching in Thailand with GeoVisions for more than five months. For more information on a woman’s perspective, living and working in Thailand, please email Carla at: gocarla1@umbc.edu

The idea of living and working overseas can be daunting. The rewards can be self-discovery, lifelong memoriesand friends. 

While preparing for my trip to Thailand, everyone in my family and in my small group of friends had something negative to say.  I understand and appreciate their concern, but what was my alternative? Stay home my whole life? No thanks.

My mom, who has never been to Asia, came up with a handful of questions no one could answer.  Friends told her different stories, and her worries only seemed to grow. ‘What if they kidnap you and take you to the Philippines?’ She asked, and, ‘Can you really trust people?’ Perhaps at the core of their worries, they pointed out: "You are a girl. You can't do things boys do.'' 

TripAdvisor, Lonely Planet and Yahoo! Answers do a fair job giving general advice to travelers, but as was the case with my mother she wanted more direct reassurance. I am a real person who took the big jump and now have real experience of Thailand. I can answer your inquiries and those your own parents might have. I am here for you.  Consider me your friend, your pen pal and your advisor to help you navigate Thailand - and hopefully to ease your mother's concerns as well.

So what's to be worried about?

Safety? As a 20-something woman who moved to Thailand alone and has traveled in other foreign destinations, I can say that that this is a remarkably safe country. Even in my home state, Maryland, I don't feel as safe as I do in Thailand. However, common sense helps here just like at home.  Don't walk around with $1,000 in your pocket when you don't have to. But we will get to the things to avoid in a bit.

Creepy crawlies used to top my list of things to be scared of, way ahead of meeting new people or having to stand in front of new students and grab their attention from the start of a lesson. Bugs? Uggh!  I was afraid I would see a snake in my room and I also feared spiders. And all those mosquitoes… 

Well, after several months in Thailand I haven't seen a snake so far - and I hope not to see one any time soon (if you do see one, just steer clear - they don't like the sight of you anymore than you like the sight of them. It will head off quickly enough). I have seen bugs the size of my pinky - but these have been slow-moving things and are easily avoided. And any spiders keep to where they belong - bushes and corners well out of most folks' sight. However when it comes to mosquitoes this is the one bug to give decent amount of consideration to and prepare for. Most of the day, they are not around. Come dusk on a still night, and they can be a nuisance if you are not prepared.

I have learned to carry mosquito repellent - everywhere. I recommend you buy repellant as soon as you land. It comes in all sizes of containers at any drug store, most corner shops and general goods shops such as 7/11s - from mega-sized cans for your bedroom to scented, pocket-friendly mini-sprays and sachets of cotton wipes that are great for use on legs and arms as the sun goes down. They're easy to spot - most carry a picture of a mosquito.  

The other big worry is who do you know? You are out there, all by yourself, and your family advice will almost invariably be:  Don't travel alone!

The fact is - sometimes you have to. But unless you are determined, it is almost impossible to travel solo. Wherever you go, there will always seem to be someone looking just as lost as you might feel and keen to meet up with a friendly face, share a bus or train ride, or test out a street stall loaded with unfamiliar goodies that are going to be your dinner. 

So don't be scared to come to this side of the world all on your own. Surprise! You'll soon have more friends than you had at home.  After a few months in Thailand, my circle of friends has widened hugely. My closest friends are from different parts of the world. Making friends here is easy - unless you decide to stay in your room the whole day.

Part II of Carla's adventure Teaching English Abroad in Thailand will be published next.  You can email Carla directly, or enter your comments or questions below.  We have embedded one of Carla's videos you can watch about the Teach in Thailand experience with GeoVisions.


Tags: Teach Abroad, Travel Ideas, Travel Safety, Thailand

Why Should You Teach Abroad?

Posted by Randy LeGrant on Tue, Feb 26, 2013

Sean LordsAfter obtaining degrees in English Literature and English Secondary Education, Sean Lords packed up his bags and left to Seoul, South Korea where he lived for three years teaching English abroad. Sean has since returned to the States and is currently at work on his Master's degree.

A few weeks ago I was at a work dinner and had the opportunity to speak with a colleagues friend about our jobs and how we got to where we are today. We spent a good amount of time on college and what we majored in and some of the same professors that we both had at the University we both attended.  This inevitably paved the way to bring up what we did after graduation.  She admitted that she is still working in the same job that she had throughout college while I went in to some detail about my ESL teaching gig overseas.  Several times throughout our conversation she made statements about how she always had wanted to do something like that but her fears of living in a foreign country, cut off from her life back home, always dissuaded her in the end.

After talking to a few more people since being back in the United States, I have seen that her fears were not entirely unique, in fact, most people that I caught up with or have met since have stated things along the same line. But what about if you can get past all that?  What does a job overseas offer you once you make the decision to jump past all the scary unknowing?  The answer is a lot.  The skills, experiences and changes I underwent during my time teaching abroad is are some of the best moments of my life.  Below are five of the most beneficial things my three years overseas taught me.

See the World

I think it goes without saying that getting this chance to see and experience a part of the world that would have previously been unattainable is one of the biggest draws of choosing to teach in an ESL environment overseas. Depending on your area of choice and your recruiter, you may be given the opportunity to teach in a rural environment. All I can say to this is, DO IT! Exclamation aside, teaching in a rural area will give you experiences and the opportunity to see and do things you never thought imaginable. While teaching in a large city definitely has its perks and ease of access to a similar lifestyle stateside, teaching in a rural area has the potential to change your life in ways you never thought possible. As an added benefit, you may be eligible for a pay incentive for teaching in a rural location.

Save Money

It’s no secret that the cost of living while abroad is significantly cheaper than it is in the United States. While this can be skewed either way depending on where you end up teaching, for the most part, school and teaching institutions will pay for your monthly rent, and perhaps also your health insurance, utilities and even a cell phone. Because of this, it is not uncommon for expats to send as much as 70-80% of their salary home each month to take care of bills and financial obligations back home. In countries like South Korea and Japan, expats also pay into a national pension which becomes available to them at the completion of their contract. This amount ends up being about 9% of the first year’s wages and about 6.7% of each subsequent year. For one year, the average expat can save about $15,000 if they are smart about their money.

Your Own Growth

I know I can speak from personal experiences that the person I was when I graduated college and the person I was when I returned home some three years later look nothing alike. Moving overseas saw me separated from a life, friends and a family that made up a huge portion of who I was as a person. Initially, the shock of losing these things was great. Everything that I grown accustomed to was ripped out from under me (albeit by choice). But what is interesting about all of this, is what happens to you when these things are gone. Redefining your life once these things are removed is a pretty spectacular thing.

Bolster Your Future

Getting a great paying job that is in line with your passions and expertise is no easy feat. With hundreds of people sometimes vying for the same position, it’s easy to feel like you are just one of the many who hold a degree in Journalism and also wrote on their school newspaper. Extra-curricular activities that you poured your soul into because you believed they would play a vital role in landing a job outside of college are often the same things that everyone else did. So how do you get ahead and stand out? Teaching abroad can certainly help. In every interview I landed since I returned from teaching overseas my experiences living abroad came up. Employers liked that I was capable of putting myself outside of my comfort zone. They like the leadership skills I developed and the organizational methods I used to keep my class organized. I went in to each one of these interviews ready to explain and detail why my time overseas makes me the best possible candidate for this job. Only two weeks of applying and a few interviews later, it worked.

Change Someone’s Life

Bring on the cheese. It may sound tacky. Completely cliché and trite, but teaching overseas really does give you the chance to change and impact someone’s life for forever. Many of the students that I taught came from affluent families who were involved in trade, business or medicine on the global level. In order for their children to reach the same amount of success as the parents, learning English becomes of the utmost importance. The person you choose to be each time you enter the classroom can make or break these student’s passions to learn a new language and enjoy the same accomplishments as their parents.

As mentioned above, each ESL teaching destination offers different salaries, housing packages and demographics of students you will be teaching. It’s important to ask your recruiter or school every question imaginable in order to make sure you are going to wind up in the best possible situation.

Ready for the next step?  There are a variety of starting points, take a look at the job forums on Dave’s ESL Café or if you’re looking into teaching in Europe head over to Oxford Seminars to look into getting the necessary TEFL credentials for your work visa.  If you're interested in Teaching English Abroad in Asia, check out all the schools where you can work and get paid on the GeoVisions website.

Tags: Teach Abroad, China, ESL-Lounge, Thailand

Teach In Thailand With Students Aged 11 To 60

Posted by Randy LeGrant on Mon, Sep 24, 2012

Each week, GeoVisions posts an actual email from a Conversation Corps tutor, a Conversation Partner or a full time teacher abroad on a GeoVisions program.  We call the series, Help Me Teach Abroad.

Our Help Me Teach desk is manned by Betsy Bruneau, a full time ESL teacher here.  She gives teaching assistance to GeoVisions' participants by phone, email and Skype.  It is a FREE service that GeoVisions provides to all of our participants and they can have access to Betsy before they depart and during the program.  If we can help you be an amazing teacher or tutor, you will be happy, your students or host family will be happy, you will tell people they should try this out and we will have a repeat family and school.  And that's how we want to roll.

Browse By Tag BoxYou can find a lot of these posts by clicking on the Help Me Teach tag.  You can find that over on the right side of this screen.  The tag box looks like this one.  We put all of our Help Me Teach posts right there.  And who knows...one of these days we'll have enough to make up our own E-Book, which of course we'll give away for FREE.

Hi Betsy,

I've just arrived in Thailand to teach a mother, grandmother, and her young grandson .... Ages 11 to 60....there might be some other people coming too.

I have no idea where to start and looking at the resources. It doesn't seem to help me to assist with people who speak zero english and me no Thai. They really have no English so I can't even rely on one to translate or to lead...they look to me...I have an iPad and am using Google Translate which has been my saviour...so far we are concentrating on greetings and body parts...I've also shown them YouTube videos of Australia. They are all absolute beginners with no confidence and no English.

I'd appreciate any kind of suggestions, assistance, resources, anything you can suggest....

Kind regards

Kieran

Teach in Thailand with GeoVisionsWow, Kieran, you are really brave.  I think there is a lot you can do so please don't worry so much.  I am an ESL teacher in Connecticut where I also teach high school social studies and special education.  I have worked with children of every age and have taught a few years of night school.  Every age group has something to offer and I found the adults one of the most fun groups with which to work.

You will find out very early what each member of your group is capable of.  Many new speakers of English know some words but feel funny speaking.  Many can read or understand, but not speak.  You will probably find that there will be a leader, of sorts, in your group for which you can rely to translate or give you an indication of what the others are capable of or willing to do.

Since you are teaching adults, you need to assure that your lessons are high interest.  So begin by talking about the culture from which you come.  What do people do there for fun?  Where do you live?  What is the geography like?  Share pictures, magazines, photographs, postcards, etc. Show them pictures of your family and friends (if you are comfortable with this).  Show them what an 11 year old might be doing or what school is like.  Write key words on a board or piece of paper.  Use maps to find distance from Thailand to your hometown.  Take note of what countries you would travel over or through.  YOu can include other things like oceans, rivers, mountains, etc.  This will undoubtedly spark some discussion from which you can glean who your stronger English students are.   Do this kind of thing for more than one day.  You can ask them to write about what they like about Thailand or where they have traveled.  If they can't write it in English tell them to write in Thai or to draw a picture.  Trust me, this is not babyish.  Your subject matter is not juvenile, that's what makes the difference.

Next, bring in pictures and photographs of famous people and places around the world.  Ask them to name them and then write them on the board.  This also should spark some interest.  They can be pictures of current leaders of the world, pop stars, athletes, musicians, dead presidents, whatever.  Do the same with the land marks.  Then give a brief written description of each person or place.  When you are finished ask them to choose which person they would like to most meet or which place they would like to visit.  Ask them to explain why they made this choice and to write a brief explanation.  Focus on the conversational piece of it.

Text used with Conversation CorpsYou should focus on their interests even though they are different ages.  Google Translate is lovely and so is youtube.  Are you from Australia?  Why not show them pictures of your family and friends and introduce titles at the same time.  Then ask them to introduce their family and friends through titles.

You can provide a writing prompt every day.  There are many on the internet.  Make sure they each have a Thai/English dictionary.  Tell them that they can answer first in Thai and then translate it.  Writing prompts are high interest and usually involve their own opinions about something.

Find articles in the newspaper and use google translate to develop questions for you to give to them.  I think you are on the right track.  Play simple games together, like card games.  Remember every time you talk to them you are using English and displaying proper usage.  Do jigsaw puzzles together to talk about colors or landforms.  Have them create books of geographical land forms by looking for them in National Geographic or on line.  My students love this activity.  You can do it at the same time, using Thai. 

You can also focus on what they would need to know if they were to travel to an English-speaking country.  They would need to be able to ask for directions, order food, follow directions, take a bus, etc.  Ask them what they would like to know how to do and role play.

I have lots more ideas, Kieran.  Write me when you know more about the members of your group and the levels of English.  I can't wait to hear.

Betsy

If you have comments for this tutor on Conversation Corps-Spain, feel free to use the Comments section below.  This is an open community and we're all eager to learn.

Tags: Conversation Partner, Conversation Corps Thailand, Help Me Teach, Thailand

Teach In Thailand--Our January 2012 Group Of Teachers

Posted by Randy LeGrant on Fri, Feb 24, 2012

January 2012 intake of teachers on Teach in ThailandIt all began on Sunday January 8th, 2012. The January intake group for GeoVisions' Teach in Thailand program met Kevin and Jaco in the lobby of the Ratchada Hotel in Bangkok for their debriefing. After a little question-answer session, the group headed back to their rooms in preparation for the journey to Hua Hin on Monday morning. All of the students shared 2 minibuses for the two-hour drive down the coast. As soon as they arrived, everyone had a choice between three different accommodations. 12 of the students chose the Hillside, while 3 chose accommodation closer to town. For the rest of the first week, the group had Thai language classes, culture and politics lessons, as well as getting bank accounts, sim cards, and scooters sorted out.

In honor of the group’s successful first week in Thailand, we held a Braai on one of the most beautiful beaches in Hua Hin. On their first Friday evening, the staff, our January group, and even some of our friends from the Wildlife Rescue Centre joined to celebrate their new adventures. Everyone was telling stories about home and anxiously asking questions about Thailand or motivations for coming here. After one full week the teachers are settling in well and starting to build the type of connections that will last a lifetime. As the night went on, the food was served, drinks were finished, and the conversation dwindled.

Teach in Thailand gamesAs a supplement to the practical portion of the TESOL course, students get to observe an English lesson at a local middle school. The class is currently working on their food module. The teacher, a native Thai woman, revisited vocabulary from the day before, and had the teachers create bubble charts (one main idea in the middle circle branching off to other ideas) for the various types of food. An example was “Brainy Foods” and vocabulary that fell underneath the category was blueberry, banana, strawberry, and milk. The students were divided into groups, but sent an individual to present the bubble chart to the class. Through observation, these soon-to-be teachers get to see different forms of classroom management as well as how to teach older kids.

Throughout the TESOL course teachers are given many opportunities to practice presenting lesson plans. We encourage our teachers to act as if the classroom is filled with Thai children, giving instructions and eliciting vocabulary much like they will in their teaching placements. There are three main types of lesson plans, but teachers can be creative with the activities that will help the children learn vocabulary and conversation skills. Our teachers this month are all doing very well, and we cannot wait for them to get out there and teach!

For more information about the "Teach In" programs offered by GeoVisions, check out our Teach in China, Teach in Korea, Teach in Thailand and our newest, Teach in Vietnam programs to learn how you can travel to Asia, become a teacher and earn a great full time salary with excellent benefits.

Tags: Teach Abroad, Teacher Blogs, China, Work and Travel, Thailand

Mai-Pen-Rai! Come Teach Abroad In Thailand With GeoVisions

Posted by Randy LeGrant on Wed, Jan 04, 2012

We have this amazing program in Thailand (for degree holders or not) to Teach in Thailand.  You will earn a full time salary and have great benefits.

Or, you can join the Conversation Corps and live with a family and teach them conversational English on Conversation Corps-Thailand.

Or, you can come to a summer camp and be a camp counselor (coming soon) and during all of the activities with the kids, you'll speak English.

And maybe learn a little Thai.

And learn all about Mai-Pen-Rai.

Watch the video and contact us.  We have families along the coast waiting for you, and 150 full time teaching jobs available each month.

Enjoy the video.  It only takes 3 minutes and it's amazing!

Mai-Pen-Rai!

Tags: Conversation Partner, Teach Abroad, Conversation Corps Thailand, Conversation Corps, Thailand

GeoVisions Volunteering and Teaching Makes a Difference - I Saw It

Posted by Kevin Morgan on Tue, Jul 06, 2010

It's always great to see positive results, especially when you're involved in projects that can really help people.  This weekend I returned to Asia and attended an event with some of our teachers and volunteers, and ... even better ... some of the students we work with from the "Children's Village" orphanage in Kanchanaburi, Thailand.  A vanload of children from this unique educational community, complete with their Thai traditional instruments, came to Bangkok and entertained us ... actually wowed us with their self-confidence, their charm, and their English skills.

 

 

Thesedescribe the image are children of poverty, children of neglect, and children of abuse.  They learn from volunteers on our programs.  It is great to have engaging conversations (in English) with 11-14 year olds that many people would have given little chance to develop skills to succeed ... but these students are making giant strides.

Moo Baan Dek ("Children's Village") is a very special place.  The children are active members of the community.  They participate in decision-making, rule-making, even discipline when necessary.  It's self-described as "experimental", and "alternative".  I describe it as "wonderful"!

describe the imageYou don't need to be a specialist, an educator, have teaching credentials to be a successful volunteer on a GeoVisions program like this.  You just need to care, and be ready to give of yourself.  One thing that was all our volunteers agreed on -- you get back a lot more than you give!

GeoVisions has many opportunities in Thailand for you to give of yourself.  You may want to work on one of our Volunteer Projects or teach conversational English to a family or a business or community group on our Conversation Corps and Conversation Partner Programs.


describe the imageThe photos on this page were taken by Phillip Chappell, who coordinates our programs in Thailand.  We thank him for his photos and the help he gives to all of our volunteers and teachers in Thailand.  More pictures can be found on the Moo Baan Dek Facebook group page.

Tags: Conversation Partner, Teach Abroad, Conversation Corps, Volunteering Abroad, Thailand

Suck My What? Conversation Corps In Thailand

Posted by Randy LeGrant on Fri, Jun 25, 2010

Traffic in BangkokSuck My Nation!  The newest addition to the GeoVisions family of volunteer Blogs.  Read Don's Blog here.

Conversation Corps member, Don Deerie, is writing an amazing Blog with the most unique photos of life in Thailand I've seen.  Don is volunteering to live with a family in Thailand, and teach them English around 15 hours each week.  In return, he's getting free room and board with the family.  At GeoVisions, we call that Conversation Corps.

How many people get to actually live with a Thai family for a month?  It is a rare opportunity, and Don is making the most of it.  Here is an entry from June 15:

Host family ready for prayersAll smiles in the ราชอาณาจักรไทย
-2nd week in Thailand
-location: Trat
-3rd day as an English tutor to 2 students
-progress: hopeful.

I'm living with my host family for a month. I have my own room (a room larger than my parents'). The family owns a motorbike shop.

Don is a student at Bates College in Maine and speaks Spanish, Dutch and is learning Czech.  He brings to the Conversation Corps a great sense of humor and tons of excitement for Thailand, his host family and teaching them some conversational English.

If you have any interest in Thailand or what it's like to live with a family in that stunning country...or if you have questions about joining the Conversation Corps, you will enjoy reading Suck My Nation.

Do you worry about not being able to teach English?  Leave us your comments below!  The Conversation Corps is about teaching conversational English.  Anyone can do it.  What are your thoughts about Don's Blog or the Corps?  Please leave them below.

Tags: Conversation Corps Thailand, Conversation Corps, Volunteer Blogs, Volunteering Abroad, Thailand