I am teaching English in Thailand and traveling as much as I can on weekends and now between school semesters. I have taught for one semester so far, in the south in a tiny rural town, near Nakhon Si Thammarat. I was teaching Anuban and Prathom 1 (preschool-first grade). I spent 6 months there experiencing what might be considered more traditional Thai culture, since it was so rural. I have just moved to Bangkok though, which is a very modern, international city and therefore a bit less of the traditional Thai experience, but still a huge source of cultural experience. I will be teaching high school English here, while also taking Thai language courses.
I want to learn Thai and experience as much as I can about Thai culture. I will be here teaching for at least another year, but if I am able to learn enough Thai, I hope to find work with an NGO in the area and stay longer.
I am doing my best to learn about and integrate into Thai culture. I guess it's the anthropologist in me! The biggest compliment I have received so far was during my going away party at my previous school. Each teacher got up and told me, in very broken English, how much they enjoyed having me there, and then the director of the school told me that I am "like a Thai person", saying that I am not like other foreign teachers who come to the school and demand things, that instead I came here wanted to fit in and be like the Thais, and that I am respectful and polite. It was a proud moment for me!