Sinead Bergin decided to take a career break and travel the world (#GirlPower)
She has a passion for adventure and appreciates natural landscapes (no better place to be than Thailand).
Read all about her move across the globe and how she is appreciating each day as it comes and making the most of her travels.
Thailand must be amazing. What made you choose Thailand over Premier TEFL’s other locations?
I came to Thailand in 2013 with my Marino college friends and we did some island hopping. I really enjoyed this fun-filled experience. However, I never made it to Northern Thailand and I heard so many positive things about it.
I always said I would like to go back and explore more of Thailand. What better way to explore Thailand than to live and immerse myself in the culture and surroundings. Thailand is known as the Land of Smiles and without a doubt, during my travels, I could definitely say that Thai people are really friendly and always smiling.
Thai people are remarkably resilient in their quest to not get stressed out. Mai pen rai is one of the most used responses in the Thai language and it simply means Don’t Worry.
When I spoke to Kate on the phone about all the various options Premier TEFL has to offer, Thailand really stood out to me as it has a relaxed, chilled vibe to it. Along with my experience of travelling around Thailand and Kate’s information, I decided this was the place for me to spend four months teaching English.
Is there anything you wish you knew before moving to Thailand? What are the best parts/most challenging parts?
Moving to Thailand I never expected it to ever get cold. Luckily, I had packed a jumper and some trousers. In some ways, I wish I had packed some more. Pack comfortable clothes for work. It gets very hot and you want to be comfortable. Loose clothes are advised.
Research what there is to do in the area that you will live in so you have an idea of various places that you would like to see.
Save, save, save!!! Save money so you can use it to travel on the weekends and especially when you finish your teaching semester.
The best part of my time here in Thailand has been the people I am surrounded by every day. Honestly, I have had so much fun and am very grateful to have been placed with such an inspiring, exciting and refreshing group of people who have made each day a great day. From general everyday banter to outings to late night conversations, I have so many memories that I will hold onto and cherish.
What do you feel you have gained from taking a career break?
I undeniably have grown over the past few months since I have left home. Every day has been a new adventure experiencing new living styles, education methods and everything else in between. I have been living a more independent lifestyle since leaving Ireland between traveling alone and living by myself in my apartment. Being an independent solo traveller used to terrify me before but now it is something that excites me.
I have learned a lot from all the other English teachers and Thai teachers by simply listening to their enlightening stories and getting to know how things are in their country and appreciating their culture and differences. Knowing that I have many friends all over the world with the possibility to visit one day is very comforting indeed.
I have not just been a teacher here but I also feel as if I am a student learning about Thai culture and attempting to learn some basic keywords in Thai. I have developed new skills such as playing badminton with the local Thai people and the English teachers every day. Learning to drive a bike has given me so much freedom to explore the countryside and the beauty of rural Thailand. Living in Thailand gives you a more in-depth insight into what everyday life is like beyond the tourist zone.
What advice would you give future teachers considering English teaching in Thailand?
Definitely be fully prepared to go with the flow in school even if you are not prepared to do so, you will have no choice but to. This is very much part of Thai culture. Classes may get cancelled without notice, children will arrive late for class, there will be unexpected activities happening in school that you may have to take part in etc.
As Teacher Milly says, Take the rough with the smooth. In your first few weeks, it may be overwhelming and it will be a rollercoaster in so many ways. There will be ups and downs but as time passes, you become more familiar with school life and settle into a routine.
Remember to support your co-workers. Many people may need more guidance and a listening ear than others. Offer a helping hand as much as possible and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Take the time to get to know your Thai teachers. They might not all be fluent in English. Many conversations may get lost in translation but always be friendly, say hello, smile and spend time in their company. They are really friendly people and can be a lot of fun when you get to know them.
Where do you plan to travel to next? Will you continue to teach?
Yes I will 100% continue teaching whether that’s in Ireland or some other location in Asia or beyond. I am currently researching where I would like to teach next. The more research I do the more possibilities there are. More difficult decisions lie ahead!
As regards the travelling, why stop now?!? The world is a big place and I have a lot more of it to see. Travelling is one of the best educations a person can receive. From the sights you see, the wonders you experience and the people you meet it all makes for plenty of insightful stories.
We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.
Thank you Sinead for taking the time to talk to us and doing a great job flying the flag for Ireland ☘️