Last updated on March 30th, 2021 at 10:32 am
I think the craziest thing I’ve ever done was move to another country with NO job, apartment, or even friends there. But let’s rewind to where it all started.
In February 2018 I came to Thailand with my sister, and after a few days of being here, my elation grew. After meeting so many expats from all over the world living their best life, I wanted in.
The joy Thailand brought me wasn’t something I could let go of. As dramatic as it sounds, I spent my 5th night in bed tearing up. I didn’t know what I would do with my life, but I longed for more.
I gave myself the ultimatum of taking a chance or staying comfortable. And anyone who knows me, knows I don’t back down from a challenge.
Moving abroad to volunteer with the peace corps or to teach was always a dream of mine; at 23 years old, it seemed like an optimal time to go. I had no partner, kids, pets, binding contracts, or really anything holding me back.
Basically, I found out if you wanted to be in a specific city in Thailand—which I did—the chances of you getting placed there through a program were slim. Most placements happened in rural areas, with little to no foreigners, which is fine if that’s what you want—but I didn’t. I wanted the autonomy of living where I desired. This being my reason for teaching abroad instead of doing peace corps.
This only applies to Thailand standards for teaching jobs.
Believe it or not, most of the information I found was on Facebook groups. Pretty much everyone said, wait until you get here to find a job. What? You mean I had to move across the world with nothing lined up and pray I get something? With no actual teaching experience either?
That’s exactly what it meant, and so I followed suit. I bought a one-way ticket to avoid chickening out. This gave me from March to August to figure out how to make it work.
I knew if I saved up a month’s worth of expenses, I’d be fine. I drove for Lyft daily; I freelanced on Upwork, and I taught English online. Besides that, I sold my stuff. My goal was to save $2000 towards my move.
Everyone raved at how easy it was to find a job here, but fear still got the best of me. What if I was the one person who came here and couldn’t find anything? What if I ran out of money and had to ask for help? How was I going to survive in a whole different country thousands of miles away from home?
Worrying I would fail, I doubted my decision.
On top of that, I kept it a secret from my family until 2 months before it was time to leave. They would think I was insane if they knew the whole truth. I was moving to Thailand without a job lined up. And to add more fuel to the fire, I was on a sabbatical from corporate America.
So you can understand why I panicked, why these negative thoughts consumed my mind, and why I didn’t know if I would make it. But one day during my mom’s usual inquisitiveness about my job search, I gave in and told her. “I’m moving to Thailand to teach!” I guess my annoyance with this question finally exceeded any previous fear I had.
I was equipped with the right tools to make my dreams come to fruition; I knew my research was extensive and I was committed to saving. Now that I had let my family know, things felt like they were aligning.
But the days were slowly approaching, and I didn’t sell all my stuff, I didn’t save as much as I thought I could, and I was still uncertain about job security in Thailand. At this point, I only saved $1200 and expressed my worry to my sister. She kindly reminded me I always figure things out, and so I did.
I signed up for Work Away, for $42, which is a site that allows you to find work internationally in exchange for housing and sometimes food. I knew I could at the very least secure housing this way before coming abroad.
So, I applied to as many opportunities as possible and got accepted to work at a hostel in Chiang Mai for two weeks. Perfect! One less thing I had to stress about.
When the time came, I left most of my material things behind in America. I packed up my 40L backpack full of clothes, beauty products, and my electronics and was ready to jet off across the globe.
When I finally got to Chiang Mai, I hit the ground running trying to find jobs. Okay, not really. I sent my resume to a few schools and interviewed with two schools. This was all within the first 6 days of me being in Thailand. One school I interviewed for on a Friday and by Monday I had an offer. And it’s the school I ended up working at.
Wow, so it was just as easy as everyone said it would be? YUP.
The biggest factor was of course finding a job, but another hurdle was the visa process. In Thailand, you can come into the country on a tourist visa, but technically you can’t come here “looking for a job.”
I had hoped to secure something before my 30-day visa was up. Eventually, I got a visa from my job, which was a relief.
I’m so happy I didn’t allow fear to get the best of me and prevent me from coming to Thailand. Moving here has been the highlight of my life. I’ve evolved, connected with people from all walks of life, traveled to many countries, and I’ve found internal peace.
Sometimes we have to do the thing that scares us, even if we don’t have everything solidified—because what’s life without a little adventure?
Thinking of coming to Thailand or teaching abroad? Drop a comment below, I want to help make that happen.