In our fifth installment of the TEFLPlus Spotlight, we caught up with Luke, an avid cyclist, who completed our August 2011 4-week TEFL course over two years ago! He started out as an English teacher in the northeast and recently started his own business.
What’s your name and where are you from?
My name is Luke Fraser and I come from Bridlington, a town in East Yorkshire, UK.
Why did you decide to teach English in Thailand?
I had just finished my degree and was doing an internship at a TV company in London. It wasn’t long before I was unhappy working long hours for very little pay. After a few Google searches the bight vivid colours of Thailand were contrasting with the grey English street scene. I then decided to ‘take some time out’ and got a one-way ticket to Thailand.
It’s been a couple of years since you completed your training at TEFLPlus. What have you been up to?
After I finished at TEFLPlus I took my first job in a very small town called Ban Muang in Sakon Nakhon province. I took the job from a small agency online, which no longer exists. Jumping in the deep end in rural Esan, where the English language is scarce, was very challenging. I was the only foreigner in the school and to my knowledge, the town. Looking back however it was a great kick start to my time in Thailand as I learnt Thai very quickly and developed an interest in seeing parts of Thailand away from the tourist hotspots.
Following many problems with the agency I moved school and changed agency. Staying in the province I moved to Sakon Nakhon city where I have been since. This was a much larger school that has eight foreign teachers. I really enjoyed my time at the school and also set up my own small classroom for private teaching.
When not teaching I have been doing a lot of cycling. I bought a touring bicycle originally as a means to get to school everyday. I did a trip around Esan and loved it. More recently during the school holiday I cycled from Thailand through Laos and then down Vietnam. This was an adventure and a great way to experience the country.
You have a new business, Teach in Siam. Can you tell us more about it?
We are a new placement agency based in Esan northeast Thailand. At the moment we just have positions in the northeast but in the future we may look into other regions.
As an agency we believe in doing things right and want to provide teachers with as much information and help as possible. This is mainly drawing on my own experience working for other agencies where I only knew the name of the town and school before arriving. On occasion I have even received false information from an agency that really wanted to fill the position. We want to change this and offer potential teachers an idea of what the job will be like. If you would like further information you can visit our website www.teachinsiam.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where do you currently live?
I am now living in Sakon Nakhon city.
What are the good (or bad) things about living there?
It’s a small city but still has a quiet town vibe. It has all the essentials: a large shopping center, a few western style restaurants and bars but it remains unspoiled by tourism.
I also like the surrounding area. There is a nearby mountain range and national park with various waterfalls. Many of the nearby provinces also have great places around the Mekong River.
I would say the only bad point is that there is no railroad as I like the sleeper trains. There is however daily flights to Bangkok with Nok Air and plenty of bus connections.
Can you describe your apartment?
I stay in a standard apartment, 3,500 Baht a month.
How long do you plan on staying in Thailand?
I planned on just a term or maybe a year. But now over two years later I will be in Thailand for the foreseeable future.
What are your future plans?
I plan to keep running Teach in Siam and hopefully grow the company to have positions in other regions of Thailand.
I also have more travel dreams. I would like to do another cycling trip maybe from Sakon Nakhon to Singapore. If I ever get the time I would also love to drive a tuk tuk from Thailand back to the UK to raise money for charity and make a documentary about it.
We would like to wish Luke the best of luck with his new business. He is familiar with all of the questions and concerns that new teachers may have, and he is dedicated to giving his placements the information they need to make an informed decision. After earning your TEFL, Luke might just have your dream job waiting for you.
If you’re ready for a change of scenery and teaching English in Thailand sounds like something you would like to pursue, contact us today.