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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