Change is necessary for growth, however, change is almost always uncomfortable and sometimes painful. Last year I moved to Phuket, Thailand without a job or a place to stay, and without knowing a soul. I was terrified. I was so far out of my comfort-zone and growing at such a rapid rate, that I was sure my life was getting stretch marks. I thought over and over again, “What the F*CK am I doing?” especially when I managed to miss two of my four flights. But I was determined to go through with it and do it on my own. I needed to throw myself in the most positive, yet emotionally demanding situation I could think of.
My philosophy is if you find yourself going through a negative change in your life, try put yourself in a positive situation that is even more emotionally demanding in terms of growth and change. This gives the negative situation some perspective, and gives you a positive personal goal to work towards.
Anyway, more on that later…
Before I moved to Thailand, I flooded my friends, who had taught there, with questions about how to move and get set up. Since having taught there many people have asked me the same magic question, “How do I get a job in Thailand?” So I figured I would put together a guide based on the information my friends gave me, together with stuff that I noted when I was over there.
First Things First: How to Find a Place to Live
I would recommend finding an apartment and staying there for the first month while you get set up; especially if you are on a tight budget. You will at least have a base, and won’t have to worry about check-out times etc. Once you have found a place that you like, try relax and enjoy the experience.
Here are a list of places that are reasonably priced and central places.
A great Facebook page to join is Phuket Teachers and Friends, and Phuket Property, especially if you want to find out about vacancies in shared homes and bargains.
Down payment/security deposit
You need to take into account that you will need to put down a security deposit on any long-term rentals. Places normally ask for one or two months rent as deposit, so bear in mind you will need pay the equivalent of three months rent up front.
If you can’t afford the full three months upfront, you can always try asking to pay in installments.
I know it’s really stressful dealing with so many unknown factors, but I promise, if you have all the documents you need, you will absolutely get a job.
How to Get Hired
The Thai school year starts in May, however, there are job openings all year round; so I would strongly recommend securing a job only once you have arrived in Thailand. I know this sounds scary as F*ck, but trust me, you don’t want to get tied up in a contract only to find that the school isn’t what you anticipated, or that there is another school that suits you better. My friends also warned me about applying for jobs online as there are a lot of scams so be careful!
I found it really difficult to throw caution to the wind and just move to Thailand without having a clue about the school systems. So I familiarized myself with school names and the general salaries in Phuket on a website called Ajarn. This is the go-to website for jobs in Phuket; I found my job on there and applied for it, among other jobs, before I left home.
Schools Generally Require you to Have:
- A Police Clearance Certificate (valid within the last 6 months)
- An apostilled copy of your degree
- A TEFL/CELTA certificate
- TOEIC score (South Africans, and anyone from a “non-English” speaking country will need to take this test. Your school will need this to apply for your work permit. I took mine when I arrived in Phuket)
- Passport Photos
- Two reference letters
- CV (Be sure to get a cellphone number when you arrive and update your CV with your local number).
What to Wear
Men should wear a collard shirt and trousers, and women a collared blouse with sleeves. Dress conservatively and smartly.
You can apply for jobs online or approach schools in person, and leave your CV with them. A lot of schools will offer you the job straight after the interview, but don’t feel pressured to take the first offer you get, especially if you are unsure, you can ask them to take a day to think it over and get back to them. In the meantime you can look at other schools, the more options the better. Again, I would suggest familiarizing yourself with the salaries and working conditions beforehand, you don’t want to be taken advantage of and you also don’t want to pass up a great opportunity.
How to Get Moving: Finding a Bike
If you live in Phuket you are going to need a bike. It’s not impossible to get around without one, but it will be very, very expensive.
You can either rent or buy a bike.
I rented my bike because I knew that I wasn’t going to be staying for a long time, however, many of the teachers at my school owned their bikes.
You can join the Facebook group, “Phuket Bikes for sale,” to check out any deals, and to ask about renting. A lot of the best deals are through word of mouth, so ask the teachers at your school if they know of anyone that is selling/renting bikes. The monthly rent should be between 2000-3000 baht a month.
A great person to rent bikes from is Dave Edwin, +668-5577-5197. He is a foreigner and doesn’t need to keep your passport. Dave is based in Naiharn, and comes highly recommended.
What you Need to Rent a Bike
- Copy of your passport and visa
- Copy of your drivers license
(An international drivers license)
- Roadblocks in Phuket are as abundant as the fruit. You can chance driving without a valid drivers license, however, you will pay around 500 baht a pop. So if you have an international license, bring it along. Alternatively, you can get a Thai drivers license, however, you do need to have a copy of your work permit.
Facebook Groups to Join
- Phuket Buy and Sell (for expats)
- Phuket Property
- Items for Sale- Phuket
If you have any questions just drop me a line in the comments below- or send an email; I will try my best to help you out! Feel free to add any advice of your own, the more the merrier!