It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for (or so I like to think, in my egotistical, self-centered mind).
Okay, but I DO know that many of you have been anxious to hear about where I’ll be teaching in this vast and beautiful country that is Thailand.
Well, it’s announcement time!
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I’m so excited to announce that in a few short days, I’ll be leaving the beautiful mountainous region of Northern Thailand (I’ll miss you, Chiang Mai! I love you, Chiang Mai!) for the vast and mysterious landscape that is ISAN.
Isan, for all y’all unaccustomed to Thailand, is what we people familiar with Thai geography (or more like just barely familar, in my case) call Eastern Thailand.
Isan is the poorest region of Thailand.
It also has really nice people and the best food. According to my TESOL instructor, at least, who teaches at a school in Isan (I mean, she’s probably not biased or anything).
The area in red? That’s Isan.
It’s HUGE. I swear, Isan is like it’s own country.
I have friends from my TESOL course placed all over Isan and some of them are 8 or 9 hours away from my placement.
And where is my placement?
Nong Khai Province at the tippy, tippy top.
That area in red? That’s Nong Khai Province. See how small it is compared to Isan as a whole?
Nong Khai province borders Laos. My town is right on the Mekong River, which is the natural land border between Thailand and Laos…so, I’ll basically be able to look across the river every day and see a different country. I think that’s pretty cool. I’ll be 20 kilometers away from the Thai-Laos friendship Bridge, too, and could be in Vientiane, the capital of Laos, in under an hour. Too bad I only have a single-entry visa. With a multiple-entry, I could go back and forth from Thailand to Laos pretty much at my leisure–but to leave the country on a single entry (which I have) requires some planning and monetary fees in advance.
There’s going to be so much to explore in Nong Khai, though, that I’m probably not going to want to leave regularly anyways. As it is on the Thai-Laos border, this area is going to be so rich in culture.
Plus, I’ll have plenty of people to visit all over Isan on weekend trips since so many of my friends are also placed in the region.
Also, there’s an international airport 50 minutes away in the province over–and I’ll definitely want to take advantage of that now and then for weekend trips to Bangkok and other parts of the country to visit some of my friends who are placed in those areas.
Oh yeah, I’ll be teaching English at the Secondary Level in a school with about 1,600 students. As of now, I am teaching all 6 levels of secondary school–something I wasn’t prepared for, and which kind of terrifies me…but I’m sure I’ll adjust. Admittedly, I was hoping for younger students (8-12 would have been perfect) but I’m going to run with what was given to me and I know this’ll be a good experience regardless.
I’ve heard such good things about both Nong Khai and my school. I’m the only western teacher at my school, so I’ll be able to really get to know the Thai teachers and students, which I’m really looking forward to.At the same time, Nong Khai is a touristy area–it’s the last stop in Thailand for many travelers before crossing the bridge to Laos–so I’m quite sure there will be opportunities for me to meet plenty of travelers, both western and non-western.
I can’t wait to explore this new city and region and really dive into its culture and lifestyle.
All in all, I couldn’t be more pleased with my placement.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m scared shitless. But in the best way possible.