Hear from Our Teacher in Thailand – Elysa Grotsky
Before Coming to Thailand
Why did you want to teach in Thailand?
I wanted to teach in Thailand to expand my cultural awareness, meet local Thai people and immerse myself into their culture, society, and ways of thinking to feel like part of their community. I wanted to learn about Thai customs, Buddhist ideas, and why people do things the way they do. As a 24-year-old from Ontario, Canada with no prior serious commitments back home, jumping into this opportunity felt like the right thing to do at this point in my life. Teaching English in Bangkok, Thailand also provided me with a convenient hub to travel during my spare time (which I have a lot of!)
How was your experience finding a job through On the Mark Education?
My experience finding a job through On the Mark Education Consulting was smooth, helpful, and reliable. I was placed in an International Kindergarten in Bangkok and am working as a Nursery Teacher. I love my job more than I expected! Although overwhelmed when first browsing jobs in Thailand on my own, being connected to schools in Thailand by Mark made the application process a breeze.
What website did you use to book your ticket to Thailand?
I booked my one-way ticket to Bangkok, Thailand directly through China Airlines.
Teaching Life in Thailand
What was your first impression of Thailand upon arrival?
When I arrived in Bangkok as a first-timer, I immediately witnessed the hustle n’ bustle of the city (not really a surprise though). Driving from the airport to my hotel, I could see the humidity in the air. I was surprised to see that the insane heat didn’t stop people from wearing pants and thick sweaters! Bangkok seemed like a unique, hectic, exciting, overwhelming city with changing landscapes, and I was ready to call it my new home.
What was the biggest culture shock about Thailand and/or in your current city?
The biggest culture shock about Thailand was that pedestrians do not have the right of way when crossing the street. The cars will just keep coming and you always have to look both ways for mopeds zooming past. In the first month of living in Bangkok, I quickly learned that it is useless to wait for the cars to stop and let you cross because they usually won’t. You just have to go. Stick your arm out to let drivers know you are crossing, take a deep breath, and just go.
What’s your favorite memory of life in Thailand?
It is difficult to pick just one favorite memory to date of life in Thailand. The most memorable experience that comes to mind is motor biking through the mountains of Chiang Mai. My boyfriend and I rented a moped for 200 Baht ($8 CAD) for the entire day. We decided to take a day trip and ride around the Samoeng Loop (great for beginner moped riders like us!) Along the way, we saw waterfalls, lush jungle, wild elephants, small villages, and a breathtakingly gorgeous view of the mountains.
What do you like most about working for your school?
What I enjoy most about teaching at my International Kindergarten is that it has given me a confidence that I never had before. I have always had a strong passion for helping young kids and watching them learn, progress, and develop. My job as a Nursery Teacher has challenged me in the best way possible, and allowed me to engage with, play with, and teach kids in a way that can influence them for life.
What do you do when you have days off in Thailand?
When I have days off in Thailand, my boyfriend and I will usually take night trains or day buses so we can spend the weekend in a new place. We love exploring different countries, cities and provinces to see what they have to offer. Our constant urge to try new foods, meet new people, and see new sights has allowed us to learn and understand more about Thai culture. However, on the weekends, we stay in Bangkok we run errands such as paying our bills and cleaning our apartment, or relaxing by the saltwater pool.
What three things do you wish you would have known or brought with you before you arrived?
Learning beginner Thai (it would be much easier to connect with Thai locals and bargain at markets)
No need for power adapters if you’re from Canada/USA at least!
Bring a carry-on sized travel backpack for side trips (to avoid paying extra checking fees)
Did you have the opportunity to save any money? What percentage of your salary were you able to save?
I definitely have the opportunity to save some money each month, however I usually choose to spend the majority of my salary on travelling and other luxury items such as wine and cheese (which I have on a regular basis back home in Canada). My boyfriend and I also pay a bit more for an apartment with an on-site pool, gym, and rec room. If I wasn’t travelling, buying expensive comfort foods, and living in an apartment without amenities, I predict I could save around 60-70% of my salary each month.