It goes without saying that Thailand is still numero uno when it comes to teaching English as a foreign language. The food, the people, the weather, the weekend getaways, the availability of locations to teach…the list goes on.
So when considering a TEFL, why bother to sit at home in a gloomy room studying online when you can study right here, in Thailand.
Famous for being ‘the land of smiles’. Studying with SEE TEFL in Thailand presents a wonderful opportunity to learn the culture, the language, make friends and travel while studying.
And there are fewer better places to put your feet down than Chiang Mai. So let me kick this SEE Tefl review off with a dive into the location.
A Hub of Culture
Based in Chiang Mai, studying with SEE puts you smash, bang, wallop in arguably one of the best places to live and breath Thai culture.
The temples, ancient walls, moats, wildlife, parks, street markets and local customs makes this one of the world’s popular tourist destinations. With its prominence in history and politics, Chiang Mai is the most culturally-significant city in Northern Thailand.
This 700-year old Thai city is a regional hub for travelers, digital nomads, holiday-makers and expats. It is also situated close to Myanmar and Laos, giving you the opportunity to travel to these fantastic destinations too.
Lastly, the people of Chiang Mai are well-known for their friendly and polite character — another reason you will fall in love with Thailand once you set foot on Chiang Mai.
Studying with SEE TEFL
Right, let's get into the nitty gritty.
So you'd like to come to Chiang Mai and study a Tefl, but what does SEE Tefl have to offer.
SEE offers a 4-week TEFL course, and a paid internship. The paid internship only takes 2 weeks, which is ideal for anyone who is thinking of living and working in Thailand as a paid English language teacher, but not yet ready to commit to a 4-week training course, or a teaching commitment which is longer than 5 months.
The 4-Week TEFL Course Structure
The 4-week course involves TEFL certification, cultural awareness training and Thai language instruction.
- Full TEFL Certification (120 hours)
- Thai Ministry of Education accreditation
- ISO 9001:2008 certification ensures world-wide recognition of SEE’s TEFL program
- Six 1-hour observed teaching practices with real students at a range of levels and ages in local real schools (see caveat below, for April and September courses that take place during the school semester breaks)
- Cultural awareness training (1 day)
- Survival Thai language instruction (10 hours)
The Paid Internship
These teacher training + paid internships are offered twice per year, at the beginning of the Thai school semester.
The internship includes the following:
- Pre-arrival classroom familiarization training,
- 2-week face-to-face classroom skills and cultural awareness induction training in Chiang Mai.
- 4-5 month paid contract.
- Placements are in government run Thai schools.
Are You Eligible for SEE TEFL?
The SEE TEFL course requires the participant to be a native English speaker, or to at least have strong English language skills.
You will need to be comfortable using Microsoft Word or OpenOffice Writer, and possess good character skills: e.g. being friendly, patient and flexible with the ability to adapt to new and unpredictable situations.
For the internship placements, only native English speakers and holders of passports from Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, South Africa or the United States, aged between 21 and 50, are eligible.
A university graduate with a recognised bachelor’s degree is a must have. In addition to this, you will need to be physically and mentally fit, adaptable and flexible.
Oh, and you'll also need to have police clearance from your home country.
What Are the Job Prospects After I Finish the Course?
There's a job guarantee offered to graduates after completing the 4-week TEFL course. 95% of Tefler's find work within two weeks. Trust me, there's a ton of teaching jobs here and, if you're short of one, see my job board.
There are 4 types of paid TEFL teaching jobs, as follows:
- Teaching full-time at a formal government or private Thai school,
- Teaching at a college or university
- Teaching part-time/full-time at a language school
- Freelance teaching and teaching via the Internet/online/home.
Let me just add at this point something from experience:
People say you can't make a lot of money teaching abroad. Now, like any job you start off on a basic, usually 25/30-35k Baht. But the smart teachers I've met get into private teaching and double that after 18 months.
Moreover, my good friend Scott, who started out teaching in Chiang Mai 4 years ago, is now earning around 5k USD a month teaching in Vietnam! Go figure.
Good teachers are in demand. Always.
With SEE TEFL, each internship participant usually receives a guaranteed job with a salary no less than 25,000 Thai Baht (THB) per month. Be shrewd though. From the outset always be seeking to better your wage and find new opportunities.
Sure, 25k is less than the 30k standard in Bangkok, but as a first (guaranteed) job, and living in Chiang Mai, you can get by with smart living.
5 MONSTER Benefits of Studying with SEE TEFL
Here's a quick run down of the 4 key benefits of studying with SEE TEFL in Chiang Mai, as if you didn't need any further persuasion. Your bag is half packed already!
1. Multicultural Study Environment
Enjoy a rich and culturally-diverse study environment while developing an international network that will last many years to come.
This comes top of the list for me. Why?
Because the friends and people you meet along your journey will shape your life forever and leave you with fantastic memories. Also bear in mind that this international experience will make your CV stand out from the crowd and put you on good footing for future job openings.
2. Amazing Life Experience
No one lives a bad life in Thailand! Unless they stay way too long, I guess….It is a place where hundreds of thousands if not millions have enjoyed a wonderful life experience.
And what a place to study!
You will be exposed to different customs and traditions formed over many centuries and influenced by cultures. From amazing life experiences, stunning natural environments, diverse cuisine and super low living costs, you will have the time of your life.
3. Learn a New Language or Thai Boxing!
Often overlooked by Tefler's, not only are you learning to teach English, you have the opportunity to learn to speak another language.
So make use of your time in Thailand by learning Thai, or even taking classes in Buddhist meditation or Thai massage, learning how to cook delicious Thai cuisine or try out Thai boxing!
4. Follow the Tourist Trail & Witness the Wonders
From the beaches of the South to the cuisine of the North and the shopping in Bangkok, Thailand offers it all. So study, then travel a bit before you settle in to teach. See the tropical islands like Samui and Phangnan, and experience the bustling modern metropolis which is Bangkok.
5. Affordable Cost of Living
The cost of living in Thailand is relatively low compared to that of other major international cities. For example: between 2-5% cheaper than Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur, between 85%-100% cheaper than Singapore, Tokyo or Hong Kong and around 100% cheaper than London, Sydney or New York.
You can enjoy high exchange rates from major world currencies. Fluctuating around 30 Thai Baht to US$1 and 40 Thai baht to 1 Euro.
Rent, food and clothes are all super cheap in Thailand compared to the UK, US, Australia and other countries in the West, and that’s why Thailand is a perfect destination for studying TEFL — especially if you are a shoe-string budget.
Check Out What to Expect in This Insider Video
What Qualification Do I Receive?
A full TEFL certification will be granted upon the completion of the SEE TEFL programme. This qualification is fully-recognised throughout Thailand and around the world, and equivalent to a Cambridge CELTA and Trinity CertTESOL.
You aren't restricted to Thailand either. SEE TEFL graduates usually teach in Asia, Europe, Central and South America and in the Middle East.
The ISO 9001:2008 certification ensures full world-wide recognition of SEE’s TEFL program.
Okay… Now Hit Me with the Cost!
For the experience and the opportunity, it's an absolute bargain in my opinion. The standard fee of the 4-week TEFL course is $1,595, but you can enjoy the super early bird discount of $200 if you register 6 weeks in advance.
The standard fee of the TEFL internship is $ 1,295. This includes the two week's of Teaching Essentials training and comfortable resort accommodation during the 2-week course in Chiang Mai. Similarly, you can save up to $100 using the early bird discount.
But Won't I Need a Visa?
There's a bunch of options here, all of which SEE TEFL will help you out with. Here's a quick run through anyway:
Visa-Exemption on Arrival
If a foreigner arrives without a visa, he/she is normally given permission to stay for 15 to 30 days, depending on his/her nationality. Most nationalities receive 30 days if they arrive at the airport. Normally, it can be extended to a further 30 days by visiting any Thai Immigration office.
So if you do the 2-week internship you can do this on a 30-day stamp.
You can get a Single-Entry Tourist Visa (valid for 60 days), which means once inside Thailand you can stay for 60 days straight.
Or you can get a Multiple-Entry Tourist Visa (valid for 60 months, but you have to leave every 60 days). For the METV, a second or subsequent entry can be activated by leaving and returning to Thailand via land, sea, or air after 60 days. You can also do a 30-day extension (1,900 THB) at a local immigration office in Thailand.
The METV offers the longest stay and is the most flexible visa option, though it requires exiting and re-entering Thailand every 60-90 days.
From Chiang Mai, you can cross the Thai-Myanmar border at Mae Sai arriving in Tachilek, Myanmar. A 500 Baht entry fee is required to enter Myanmar (and having this entry and exit is required to re-enter Thailand).
By being the holder of this type of tourist visa, it is possible to travel around Thailand, complete short study or training course such as the SEE TEFL 4-week teacher training course, as well as seek work (interview and sign contracts).
Non-immigrant ED (Education) Visa
The validity period of this visa is 90 days and issued to foreign language students, foreigners studying in a Thai school or university and for foreign students attending a short or training course. The visa can be extended if a valid reason is given for extension such as continuing education beyond 3 months.
As the requirements to support visa applications vary between different consulates and embassies, you should speak to SEE TEFL to discuss this on a case by case basis.
Strictly speaking, any visa or visa-exempt permission to stay allows anyone to study in Thailand.
Sorting Out Your Accommodation
There are plenty of options for accommodation in Chiang Mai. Most students sort this out themselves, but to save you the hassle SEE can make reservations for air-conditioned rooms in the bear-by area, if you need their help.
My advise is to book into a hotel a week before your course starts, and then look for a cheaper guesthouse to stay at while completing the course.
Trust me, there are tons of guesthouses and short term rentals available in Chiang Mai, and the best deals are always obtained on a walk-in basis.
My Opinion, In Summary
In short, if you want to do a TEFL in Thailand, SEE TEFL is one of, if not the best option. It's affordable, set in a great location and fully certified to give you a globally recognised qualification.
Now, everyone knows that on TTL I do not review services or products that I haven't personally used or have experience of, and this is no different.
I know the owner of SEE, John. I've been up there and introduced around 10 students to the course personally. He is a stand-up guy and in the business of helping students have an enjoyable, safe study experience.
So I hope all this information has helped. If you have a dream to live abroad a while and need a way to do it — this is a realistic, affordable pathway. Life’s just too short to wait. Set your goal, sign up to the course, get your qualification and get paid to teach English anywhere!