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My Story: I came to Thailand for a few reasons: to replace my waiting job with meaningful
work as a teacher, to grow as a human being, to make lifelong friends, and to see places and
experience perspectives I never would have otherwise. I can honestly say that after only one
semester, my reasons for coming to Thailand have been satisfied and grow richer as time
passes. I feel myself changing, I love teaching, and I’ve made great friends. The Thais
themselves are a little strange but kind and easy to get to know. The Thai landscapes I’ve
seen, especially Railay peninsula, are staggering, and the food ranges from repulsive to the
best I’ve ever eaten.

Surat: Surat is a great place to be if you want to experience Thai culture away from the awful
tourist bubbles. It’s a town of mostly Thais, some Burmese, and no tourists. There are dozens
of café’s to check out, the Tapee River is awe-inspiring at sunset and sunrise, and the food is
cheap, clean, and good. But Surat is also the best place to be if you want to see a lot of
Thailand. It is sort of the hub on the travel wheel. From here you can take mini busses to
Krabi, Khao Sok, and Phuket, ferries to the many islands in the gulf of Thailand, and buses or
a train south to Malaysia or north to Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and other places. Travel is easy
and cheap from Surat.

Work: As far as work goes, I haven’t once regretted choosing Super English over the many
other agencies in Surat. Peter (the owner) is clear and very hands off. If you’re struggling, he’
ll call in the troops to subtly offer support and keep faith that you will adjust and become a
great teacher, which you will. I’ve seen this in myself and others around me since I’ve been
here. Working at Thida is also a wonderful advantage over most other schools because it is
Catholic. This means we acknowledge all the Catholic holidays along with the Buddhist
holidays (vacations!!!). Many classes have been randomly canceled in order to celebrate the
birthday of a saint in some ritual I don’t understand but enjoy watching as the kids make
offerings in a very Buddhist fashion. Thais are wonderful at synthesizing other religions into
their own (over 90 percent of Thais are Buddhist).  

Advice: My only caution would be the same I would give any friend who is about to embark
on a completely new experience. In the beginning your mind will reject a lot of your
experience: the sights, smells, sounds, flavors, all are unfamiliar. It’s not like home. It’s not
home. But remember that’s why you came. You will take time to feel a connection with your
new life. Go with it. Let the mental noise flow out of you and don’t allow yourself to take this
adventure for granted. Trust me, when you look back you can’t possibly regret the decision to
come here. But I can promise you will regret taking it for granted. Not everything will be
what you expect, and very few things will meet the romanticized images we create of
traveling or living abroad. But over time the experience will become real, and you will be
here.                            - Michael Masinter, former teacher