Tag Archives: english teaching abroad

The Best Options for Internet Access when Traveling

Ways to Get Data When Traveling

I used to travel overseas a few times a year before covid. Of course, nobody was traveling during covid breakout but thankfully, things are more settled now and many countries have opened their borders. Now my traveling bugs are itching me. Though I get very excited about traveling overseas as I get to enjoy local food, culture differences, sightseeing and etc; the only one thing I am not excited about is figuring out how to get data overseas. There are many ways to get data when travelling. 1. Use Your Mobile Provider. 2. Buy a SIM Card for your trip. 3. Use a Mobile Hotspot. 4. Use a specialist roaming SIM. 5. Just use WiFi for Internet Access.

Stop Paying Big Bucks

Having access to the internet when you travel can be an absolute godsend. You can use it to navigate around new cities, find new places to hang out, and keep in touch with friends and family. Plus, remote workers can use a mobile hotspot abroad to work without being tethered to free Wi-Fi.

But there’s no doubt that international data can be frustrating. Buying a local SIM card can be a tedious process, and carriers like AT&T and Verizon charge a huge fee to use data plans abroad.

All the methods above are great but not the best as either they are too expensive or just not stable. The easiest way is using your mobile provider, but international roaming can cost you quite a lot. The real reason international roaming is so expensive is because telecom providers can charge each other as much as they want. The lack of competition leaves no incentive for operators to charge low fees to each other. These inter-operator fees are then passed onto you in high roaming fees.

Have you Heard of eSim?

I recently came to know about eSIM. Have you heard of it? eSIM stands for “electronic Subscriber Identity Module.” Apparently, an eSIM is a SIM card that is embedded in a mobile device and can connect you to any operator offering eSIM services. Furthermore, the eSIM works the same way as a traditional SIM card, but you don’t need a physical SIM card to use it. Sound very convenient, doesn’t it?

I am currently using Airalo eSIM and it is one of the first eSIM marketplaces for iOS and Android. All of the eSIMs available on Airalo are data-only, meaning that they’re not assigned a phone number and cannot make or receive calls or text messages. They do, however, give you ultra-fast mobile data at nearly local prices. This app is incredibly useful for when you are going to travel. They have eSIM cards for seemingly every country on earth and offer a lot of flexibility regarding pricing and duration. I recommend installing an eSIM before you leave on your trip, so you get data immediately when you land at your destination!

The Best Solution for Getting Data While Traveling

Airalo is an eSIM marketplace that smartphone users can use to buy temporary mobile data plans when traveling abroad. eSIM cards are like normal SIM cards that live digitally on your phone, letting you use another cell phone network when you travel. This means that Airalo mobile data plans are completely separate from your standard mobile data plan and run on a different network.  

It can be difficult to wrap your head around. So in this article, we’ll take a look at what eSIM cards are, discuss how the Airalo service works, and give our full review of the service.  These act like any other SIM card and contain your phone number and data plan, letting your smartphone connect to a cellular network for data, calls, and texts.

Essentially, these marketplaces sell temporary phone service that can be used abroad. The benefit of this is that you can buy mobile data plans at near-local prices without having to physically buy a SIM card at a cell phone shop. This saves you a ton of time, especially if you’re traveling to a country like France where your passport is scanned and logged when you buy a SIM card.

Unlike standard SIMs, though, eSIMS are embedded in your phone or tablet. You generally add these eSIMs to your mobile device by scanning a QR code or entering a code on your device — think of it as a software SIM card. Many major U.S. cell phone carriers have already started offering eSIM cards to their customers — something helpful for switching carriers on the fly since you don’t need to go to a phone shop to buy new phone service. But eSIMs really come in handy when traveling. This is because you can buy local eSIMs remotely through select eSIM marketplaces like Airalo. Airalo definitely will come in handy when you are teaching English abroad.

Traveling in Thailand in 2021

Quarantine and Finding an Apartment

Our first month back in Thailand had its share of ups and downs. When we returned to Thailand there was little to no local transmission of Covid-19 so although life wasn’t back to normal it was a lot more normal than back home in England.

We were able to apartment hunt freely, go to bars, enjoy rooftop parties and pool parties as well. Finding an apartment in a foreign country isn’t as daunting an experience as you might think. As we had 2 weeks in our quarantine hotel we had a lot of  time to research the different apartment complexes in the area we were staying. We narrowed it down to two that we liked and contacted agents through a local apartment hunting website 

They arranged a date and time for some viewings and took us to the complex we liked most. After looking at a few different rooms we settled on one and we were able to move in the next day.

Due to the massive amount of choice of apartments you have in Bangkok the prices are relatively low. Our apartment only costs around 9500 baht (£250) a month. Water bill costs are extremely low, around 150 baht (£4) and electricity is quite cheap too – around 1200 baht (£30).

Back to School During Covid

After we had our first week back at work we headed out to catch up with our friends who’d made the right decision to stay in Thailand throughout the pandemic. Bars were basically fully open and rooftop parties were able to happen – it was a far cry from being stuck in our homes for the past 7 month in England.

We had a great night at a rooftop party at the Novotel Sukhumvit 20 with our friends before returning to the same hotel the next day for a rooftop pool party on my birthday. This was definitely one of our best days/nights we have had in Thailand so far. It was like being back to normal life – pre Covid.

Traveling to Koh Chang for a Holiday

Our next week at school was a short one as there were two national holidays on the Thursday and Friday, we used the holidays to go to an island we hadn’t visited before – Koh Chang.

It is a six hour bus ride from Bangkok at the low price of 260 baht (£6) and a 30 minute ferry ride to the island but it is 100% worth it. Although the island has suffered quite a bit from the lack of tourism due to Covid it is still a beautiful place to visit. We basically had the entirety of Klong Prao beach to ourselves and this beach is one of the best beaches we have ever been to.

In normal times the island would have had a great nightlife scene too but because of there being no tourism there weren’t many bars/clubs to visit on a night. The island still had so much to do though. If you got tired of the beaches, you could go trekking to one of the many waterfalls. If that wasn’t for you, you could hire a bike and explore the island.

Klong Prao Beach

This is definitely one of the better islands to visit along this coast. It is large enough to be fun to explore but also not overly westernized with shops/supermarkets/chain restaurants everywhere. Unfortunately for us this was our last week of normality as a cluster of Covid cases were found in Samut Sakhon which has shut down a lot of the country while they try to regain control of the virus.

Hopefully with the strict measures in place it doesn’t get too out of control and life can begin returning to some sort of normality again soon. Until then, we are back to teaching online.

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Morning Assembly in Thailand

Morning Assembly and Your Shine

The morning assembly is part of the school’s culture and you get to be a part of it if you are teaching English at a public school in Thailand. It is a morning gathering of all the students, teachers, and other faculty members that occurs daily. It is a tradition you grow accustomed to and get to embrace. It will inform you of anything important that will be coming up but can also add a smile to our face depending on the activities presented. The information they provide can be very useful because it may affect your classes and/or schedule modifications.

Thailand School

The Beginning

Morning assembly starts at 8 a.m. when all the students are already lined up by class and mathoym.  My school consists of over 3,300 kids ranging from 11-18 years old (mathoyms 1-6) so, the students usually arrive around 7:50 a.m. to get in place. After they are all in place, the front student usually takes attendance. This may occur before or after the Thai National Anthem. The Thai National Anthem is a highly-respected tradition as part of the culture and is sung daily.

When they start singing this, no matter where you are, you stop walking and talking and place your hands to your sides until it is finished.  Following this ritual, there will be a Buddhist chant done by either a student or teacher.  During this time, you put your hands in a prayer stance and bow your head after each chant is completed. Follow the kids lead if you are unsure what to do and I know some of you may not be Buddhist, but most Thais are and it is a significant part of their belief system so, out of respect, I would encourage you to entertain it and follow along.

Thailand School

After the Anthem and Chant

After the Buddhist chant is completed, there is usually a teacher or student that will discuss what has been going on or what will occur. This part can include any upcoming activities, changes to the schedules, new faculty, and award ceremonies. The morning activities can be entertaining and really puta smile on your face, along with the kids. As part of this daily routine, the English teachers get to present on random subjects once a week.

At my school, this happens to be Tuesday and is known as Tuesday Talk. During Tuesday Talk, we perform a skit and encourage students to participate by either asking for volunteers to help us or by repeating some of the English words in the skit and demonstrating their meaning. We have also danced and sung which was funny to see but the students loved it by laughing and then following our lead. Thai students love to sing and dance so if you can incorporate this into your lessons, then you should. I understand that not everyone enjoys speaking in front of a larger crowd but, this is all a part of the wonderful package that Thailand offers and honestly after you do it a few times, you get accustomed to it just like teaching.

Some great examples of fun morning assembly talks include talking about the Olympics and asking the students about their favorite sports, singing You are my Sunshine and having them sing it with the motions too, teaching manners by saying please, thank you, sorry, excuse me, or I forgive you, and holiday festivities by singing Jingle Bells or showing the love that is shown on Valentine’s Day by demonstrating card giving or the love of a friendship. 

These morning English talks were successful in the way of getting the students to talk during the assembly and in the way of them remembering it and using it later on when they see you. Generally, the morning assembly and Tuesday Talk is a tradition that engages the students and teachers to come and start the day together and to let us all know of any important events that partake. It is moving to see the anthem sung and interesting to see the surprises that arise with each morning that I attend the assembly.

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Classroom Management in Thailand

Teaching is an Art

Teaching is an art that not everyone can be prepared to do. It requires someone that not only has a big heart but, also someone that is disciplined and ready for any adventure that may come their way. With teaching, you can prepare yourself for what is anticipated like, lessons, grades, events, etc. but, you can never prepare yourself enough for the unscheduled events or acts of students that leave you with your mouth open or you questioning what to do next. With moments like these, there are some helpful ways to help prevent some things thrown your way. Some of the things that you can expect are students being unruly or misbehaving and for this, you can prepare for some of it.

Classroom Management

Teaching in any country can be challenging but, also rewarding. In class, you can expect to have various characters for students. Some may be very good and listen while, others may be unruly and misbehave. I have found that the students that are unruly need just a little motivation to help keep them on track. I have had students come in 30 minutes late thinking it was ok, others not paying attention, and some just being talkative and disruptive. Though these students may be defiant, they are still good and just need some extra attention.

My class in Thailand

I have found that my misbehaved students do better when they are motivated and know that you take them learning sincerely. Which is why at the beginning of the semester, I first layout rules. Some of these rules include: coming to class on time, being respectful of their fellow classmates and myself, and that when I give them work to do, they need to do it because overall, it is for them and their bright future. As a teacher, you will need to figure out what ways work best for you and how to manage your class. I have come to conclude, that there is not a one way that fits all and for this you need to be creative. When it comes to classroom management, every teacher must consider all of their students and because of this, I do not believe in punishing the whole class for one student’s actions or having a disruptive student destroy another’s ability to learn.

A Technique to Manage

So, the question is, “what do I do when I have a kid be disruptive or disrespectful to prevent future issues?” Well, I believe in managing it and containing to prevent further disrespect which, is why I think physical exercise helps. When I have student that behaves badly to their fellow classmates or myself, I don’t give extra work and keep my fingers crossed that they do it but yet give a physical exercise. By physical exercise, I am referring to jumping jacks, burpees, push-ups and sit-ups. These physical exercises have worked wonders, and not only do they learn from doing it by counting in English, they also get mental stimulation by the endorphins going off in their brains.

My Students in Thailand

Depending on what we are doing as a class, will depend on when they do these exercises. I do not want to quit teaching to handout jumping jacks, etc. so, I wait for the best opportune time, may it be at that moment or be before the class ends. Based on what the issue was, will base my decision on how many of one exercise that they need to do. Sometimes, its only 20 while, others have been 50. It just depends on them and what they did wrong. This technique has helped my class realize that I am not a mean teacher but someone that has their best interest at heart. The class overall finds this funny when one of their own must do an exercise while, the student doing it learns they don’t want to do it again. This has been a well thought and proven technique that I have shared with my fellow teachers. They all thought it was great and have used it to help manage their classes. When you have classrooms full of 40 plus students, it can be challenging to keep them on task and behaving right but, this has helped. Moreover, being a teacher for the past few years, this has become quite productive.

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Hear from Our Teacher in China – Kirsty van Schalkwyk

Before Coming to China

Why did you want to teach in China?
To earn good cash and save money. Also, to explore the culture. Big things happen in China, this place plays a huge role in the economy. It’s great to be a part of the culture.  Also, my partner and I got TEFL certified and we would like to practice what we have learnt from the classroom.

How was your experience finding a job through On the Mark Education?
Fantastic. On the Mark Education is just fantastic. They were very thorough and honest. They helped us follow up on the visa process and communicate with the school. It took a few months for visa because of our nationality but it all came through.  I would recommend their service every time.  

How long did your visa process take? How was the communication with the school during the visa process??
From my end (my country), rather long, South Africa is like that. But from this side (China), it was very easy. The company sorts out everything for you. You don’t have to lift a finger. And when something is required of you, they write explicitly each detail; of the requirement.

What website did you use to book your ticket to China?
The company bought the ticket for my partner and I. We flew with Emirates. It truly was a lovely flight.

Teaching Life in China

What was your first impression of China upon arrival?
Cold, VERY cold. We arrived in the heart of winter in Beijing first. We stayed there for 2 weeks and moved to Nanjing. Apparently this was the coldest winter experienced in Nanjing too.

What was the biggest culture shock about China and/or in your current city?
People spitting all the time in public. Children wear pants without underwear and the pants have slits in. Exposing their front parts, as well as back-parts. This is used for potty training. Also, people do not stand in queues, cutting in front of people is tolerated.  

What’s your favorite memory to date of life in China??
Receiving my second paycheck. The first paycheck essentially goes to your landlord, because in China you have to pay 3 months rent up front. The second one was when I could start paying off debt. I’m in China for 6 months now. I’ve been to: Beijing, Nanjing, Shanghai, and in 2 weeks I go to Hong Kong. The opportunities are endless.

My students in Nanjing

What do you like most about working for your school?
The promotion! I’ve been promoted already at my centre, I’m now the mentor.

What three things do you wish you would have known or brought with you before you arrived?
– Bring more vitamins or at home medication, for cold, flu, chest infections etc,
– Bring warm clothes. We didn’t know China could get this cold.
– You will be started at everywhere, video recorded too.

Did you have the opportunity to save any money? What percentage of your salary were you able to save?
I would say 40% of my salary could easily be saved or go toward savings, depends on how you want to live. I like to travel, shop, invest in good laptops, cameras, etc.


A Day in the Life of a Nursery Teacher

Most expats who come to Thailand to teach usually end up teaching English. However, as a Nursery teacher at an International Kindergarten in Bangkok, I am fortunately able to teach a range of topics to my students in my very own classroom. I enjoy being able to teach a broad, fun, and engaging curriculum to students of different backgrounds. A typical day as a Nursery teacher goes something like this:

Waking Up/Getting to Work

I wake up to my alarm at 6 AM, although I don’t usually get out of bed until the last possible minute.  After I shower and eat breakfast, I head out and catch the Skytrain to work for 29 Baht ($1 Cad). Packed in like sardines, it’s a good thing the air conditioning is on full blast to keep sweating to a minimum. I pick up some local fruit and hop on a moped, which gets me to work by around 7:30 every day. If it’s raining, that makes getting to work a whole different kind of adventure.

BTS in Bangkok

Starting the School Day

My day officially starts at 8 AM, but I like to set up activities in my classroom beforehand and plan my curriculum for the days ahead. I also enjoy the peace and quiet, aka “the calm before the storm.” At 8:30 AM, I greet the students. I currently have 10 two-year-olds in my class and a teaching assistant who does more of the “dirty work” such as changing diapers.  By 9 AM, we head back to the classroom where the children put away their bags and settle down. We sing good morning songs, fill out the weather and days of the week board, and sing simple nursery rhymes. The children have an alternating Mandarin/Thai lesson, followed by snack time.

Depending on the day, we then take the children outside to play either on the playground, on bicycles, in inflatable swimming pools, or in the sandbox. After cooling off, the students do arts and crafts related to the theme of the week. For example, this week the theme was “Stories We Like.” We read The Three Little Pigs and made paper plate pigs and a straw/wood/brick house. The students also play games to improve their fine and gross motor skills, learn the alphabet, numbers, and shapes, do puzzles, painting, as well as pre-writing practice.

Finishing the School Day

At noon, both the students and I eat lunch together. Fortunately, I am provided with a delicious lunch at school every day. Following lunch, the students have “nap time” where they relax on foam mats with stuffed animals.My classroom in Thailand

Around 1 PM, students engage in music class where they can sing, dance, play instruments, and move their bodies to the rhythm! To wrap up, we read stories together and sing goodbye songs. I quickly fill out each student’s “Communication Booklet” with their eating habits, toilet habits, and mood from that day, as well as any reminders or special notes for parents. The school day ends and children are picked up by 2 PM. Occasionally I will chat with parents about their child’s progress or upcoming events.

I usually have from 2-4 PM to prepare crafts for the next day, update my weekly blog post, plan lessons, or socialize with teachers before heading back home on the Skytrain. Fridays are the exception, as I lead an after-school Painting Class for a few students from 2-3 PM.

Sounds fun to  you? Thailand is full of adventure and for me to teach English at an International Kindergarten in Bangkok is very rewarding. 

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