In our second installment of the TEFLPlus Spotlight, we caught up with Martin who completed his training at TEFLPlus back on 22 March, 2013. After graduating with his well-earned TEFL certificate, he moved up to Nakhon Ratchasima, in the northeast region of Thailand known as Issan. He started applying for jobs during his TEFL training, and last we heard, he had three interviews lined up. It has been a couple of months since we last spoke with Martin. How is he doing in Nakhon Ratchasima today? Let’s find out!
What’s your name and where are you from?
My name is Martin Cosgrove and I come from a town called Airdrie which is about 10 miles east of Glasgow in Scotland.
What did you do before you decided to move abroad?
I worked for an oil company in Scotland before I decided to move abroad. It was in 2009 and the recession forced my company to make redundancies.
Had you done much travelling around the world before you got TEFL certified?
I left Scotland in early 2010 and got a job in France for a year before moving to Australia in 2011 for another year and a half. In between I have done loads of travelling which has taken me to Spain, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Greece, Turkey, Holland, Germany, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan. My passport is almost full.
You’ve been to quite a few countries in many different parts of the world. So, why did you decide to take your TEFL course in Thailand?
Thailand was the country from all of my travels that I wanted to stay in and I had already been there for six months or so. It was the country where I wanted to teach.
It’s an amazing place and I feel I have a great quality of life here.
What makes Thailand stand out from the other countries you could possibly work in?
The people, the culture, the food and the country itself are all incredible. It’s an amazing place and I feel I have a great quality of life here.
What did you do after you completed your TEFL training back in March? Was getting a job a priority, or did you have other plans?
I started looking for work straight away. I actually started to apply to schools during my TEFL course. It was a priority as I had been in Thailand for six months and wanted to start doing something to occupy my days.
So you’re working now…where do you currently live?
I live in the city of Nakhon Ratchasima in the province of the same name. It’s a fairly big city of around 200,000 people and is about four hours north-east of Bangkok.
What are the good (and bad) things about living there?
The lack of tourists is a good point for me. After being in Phuket for six months…I needed a change of scenery. It’s also very central in Thailand and you can get to anywhere else in the country easily. It’s big enough that there is plenty to do but also small enough that you don’t have to travel too far to do them. The major bad point for me is, as with every Thai city, the u-turns. It’s rather annoying when you have to drive 2km past your destination just to turn around and drive another 2km to get there.
Is there an expat community or are you the only foreigner there?
There is a fairly big expat community here. There are many schools and it is one of the biggest cities in Thailand so there are a lot of expats working in schools here. I think it’s location is good for that as it’s not as big as Bangkok but it’s also close enough to Thailand’s capital if you have the want or need to go there for a weekend.
What was the most difficult adjustment you had to make for your new way of life?
The hardest adjustment for myself was the change in climate. While I have lived in Australia which can get very hot in the summer, the humidity levels here in Thailand are much more. Apart from that I haven’t found the adjustment difficult at all.
Can you describe your apartment?
I live in a small one bedroom apartment with a pretty large balcony. It’s cosy and is located very close to my school. It has air-con, fan has a fridge-freezer, a TV and free Wi-Fi that is reasonably quick. It’s a new building and we are the first people to stay in the room. There is a hard mattress on the bed which I didn’t like at first but I have come to find it quite comfortable. It’s located a little outside of the city but it only takes 10-15 minutes to get there on my motorbike.
So, where do you teach? What ages?
I teach at Sarasas Witaed Nakhon Ratchasima School. It’s a new private school about one year old and is located just outside the city. I teach grades 1, 2 and 3.
How would you describe your students?
My students are very willing and capable and always eager to participate in class. They have fun when doing their lessons and it makes it fun for me at the same time.
And how about your school?
My school is only around one year old and you can tell when you look at it. It’s seven stories tall with another five story building at the back of it. It’s white with a red roof and dome and you can see it for miles as it’s on a flat piece of land. There is a swimming pool and football pitch as well as covered areas for kids to do their P.E. lessons. Classrooms don’t have air-con but where it is situated there is a nice breeze comes through so you don’t really need it. It’s a good place to work and I have enjoyed it very much.
What is your overall compensation like? Are you able to save money?
Compensation is pretty good…and I also work in a private language school at the weekends which takes my overall monthly intake at around 55-60,000 Baht per month (US $1,700-2,000). I am able to save money quite easily as my rent is only 3,500 Baht per month (US $110) and around 1,000 (US $30) for water and electricity. I also get health cover and time off for visa issues.
That’s great. It sounds like you are able to make a good income and control your expenses. So, what are your future plans?
I am very happy with where I am at the moment and I have no plans of moving elsewhere. I can see myself staying here for the foreseeable future.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with those planning on moving abroad to teach English?
It’s a great and rewarding way to make a living and you will make many new friends along the way.
Go for it. You have the ability to speak and understand your native language so go and share this ability with those who don’t. It’s a great and rewarding way to make a living and you will make many new friends along the way. It’s maybe not for everyone but you should try it out for yourself.
Thank you very much Martin!
After only a few weeks of completing his TEFL training at TEFLPlus, Martin has positioned himself well. He is supplementing his regular paycheck by working weekends and with such low monthly expenses, he is able to make a very good living and save a sizable amount. We think he’s done very well, and it’s nice to see that he is happy in his new home.
Does this sound like something that you would like to do? Let us know how we can help you to become an English teacher and travel the world. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org today!