Posted By: Liam Kelly on 7th Aug 2012 09:33
When one thinks of teaching English in Thailand the thought of working in small town seldom crosses your mind. When I arrived in Bangkok, three months ago, I had the idea that I would be working somewhere down south on an Island, sipping Mojito`s on the beach after a long day of work.
When I finished my TESOL course I was offered a placement in the small district of Bang Len, in the Nakhon Pathom Province of Thailand. At first I was a little bit apprehensive, but I soon realized the major benefits of living and working in a small Thai town.
Firstly, by working in a small town, you will most likely be one of very few foreigners around. The community takes a great interest in you and your well being, especially the schools that you work at.
Of all the places that I have travelled to, the community of Bang Len and the surrounding areas has been the most welcoming of all.
I have been taken to more lunch eateries here and tried more Thai dishes than I would have ever dreamt of. The locals love getting you to try new things and if you are open to new experiences it`s a blast.
Living in a small Thai town offers a much more real experience of Thailand. The food is authentic, levels of Western influence are low, the levels of English proficiency are therefore not high, you are forced to pick up the language. This has not been easy, but as each day goes on I learn a new word or phrase.
Another great reason for living in a small town is that the cost of living is much lower than in the cities or on the islands. I find that I am able to get through Monday to Friday and spend as little as 700 Baht. This does not mean I am living cheaply I eat out every night and treat myself to the occasional beer or two with some dinners. Admittedly, my lunch and accommodation is provided by my school, but that is also an indication of what is possible in a small town.
Because of the fact that living costs are so low I use the weekends as an opportunity to explore and enjoy the comforts of bigger cities. I usually head out to Bangkok or Hua Hin. The easiest way to get there is by taking a van/train combination. From Bang Len to Hua Hin (3 hour journey) it only costs 220 Baht.
Next week, Monday is a public holiday, and a good friend and I are treating ourselves to a weekend away on the Island of Koh Samet. I look forward to reporting back on my time there.
Oh yeah, my flat mate and I have a kitten!