Greenheart & Xplore Asia

thailand
I wish I bought this

I came across Greenheart after I joined a bunch of Facebook groups.

In January 2019, I was finishing up my practicum hours through the YMCA in a nearby town. I loved going and helping the students.

I ended up talking to this dude through Facebook who said he was sick of life in America and was going to teach in Thailand. I was on the same boat too, so I looked into Thailand.

7s everywhereeeee

Looking back on it now, signing up for Greenheart was a good decision. Would I do it again? Definitely not.

It was expensive but worth it because I was lucky to meet some great people. I ended up paying over $1400 to Greenheart, plus the flight which was ~$800, amongst other things. They give you a full breakdown on their website. I could’ve done all of the things myself, like I did with Korea (I ended up finding my job in Korea from a recruiter). Buttttt, going abroad for the first time by yourself can be nerve-racking so I do recommend going with some type of program for your first time. Unless you are going with a friend or something.

And again….

With Greenheart/Xplore Asia, they figured everything out for you…. job placement, visa, and they included an orientation week so that was convenient. I still had to do everything on my own AKA get my visa, get a background check, and a notarized degree. I do have to say it was less stressful going through a program though.

Christina and I got off at the Asiatique Pier and got some sushi. Yummm

Once I was ready to go to Asia, Greenheart handed me off to Xplore Asia.

Some guy picked me up at the airport and brought me to a hotel in Bangkok. That’s where I met Christina. We were the first two to get to Thailand. We were roomies.

I look back at my ride from the airport to the hotel and it’s funny cause my first time in Asia I was freaking out because I had no cell service from the airport to the hotel. But I was able to look at my Google maps to see where I was going.

If I were to take a taxi in the US alone for that amount of time with no service, I probably would’ve been in trouble.

The second time (AKA now) I was like “Yeah I won’t have a phone for a bit so here’s my email for my Apple ID. I’m taking a taxi from the airport to my apartment which is about an hour. I’ll let you know when I’m at my apartment” #noworries… I just got a phone plan two days ago.

I love cats

Once I got to the hotel, since we were the first ones there, Christina and I walked around Bangkok. We were right near the center. We went to a few temples, Chatuchak, and the Grand Palace so that was fun.

Our AC didn’t work…. That was rough. We talked to the front desk and once we returned it was fixed. We got some pad see ew. It was my first time having it and that was the moment I fell in love.

Thennnnn, once everyone from Xplore Asia was there, we were off to our second location: Hua Hin. That’s where we had our orientation.

Night Market with the Xplore Asia peeps

So, from Bangkok, we took a van to Hua Hin. It was about three hours.

We stayed at Glory Place Hotel and we were right near a Hua Hin Night Market which was cool. They had live music in English, food, and beer. Yay.

The first night we were all in Hua Hin, we went to a nearby 7 and got alcohol and drank near the pool. The pool had a slide which. Cool!!!! I split a bottle of Jameson with another girl in the program. It was a good time.

A song taew would pick us up and bring us to wherever we needed to be that day. Our orientation was a two second walk and in the same building as Wagging Tales Cafe. That place donated the money that was made to Xplore Asia’s partner company called Rescue Paws. So obviously I had to support every day of orientation.

During our orientation week, we went to a Muay Thai class, went to Rescue Paws, and went to our daily orientation classes. Plus we learned some Thai. The animals at Rescue Paws were adorbs. On our last day, we also took a cooking class where we learned to make my favorite: SOM TAM 💜 It was aaaarrrrooiiiiiii.

Song tawes

We stayed at a hotel for the week. I roomed with the girl that was teaching in China. I think I snored too loudly cause she switched rooms.

Orientation week was fun cause we all got to hangout and go to a night market that was near our hotel. We listened to some Thai and English music, got food, and skedaddled.

We had ourselves a little fun night. We stayed at hotel and decided to walk to a nearby mall…..on the side of a highway. We walked on the side of a highway.. There were guardrails. But yeah it was uhhh weird? People beeped. But hey we were just some farangs.

last day of orientation

Our last night we went to a beach and had ourselves bonfire. The next day we were off to our towns. That’s when Amy, Dina, myself, and others went off to Bangkok to Media Kids. After Media Kids is when the three of us and the other Xplore Asia peeps split up.

Although the program was pricey, I am happy I went through with it because it was such a great experience. I made life long friendships. I also would have never went to Mahachai if I had never met Christina. Things happen for a reason.

Teaching in Chaiyaphum

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I guess this is my name in Thai
Dried strawbzzzzz. Yum

There were 6 other foreign teachers at Anuban Chaiyaphum. The first day of school, one of them came and picked me up. So sweet.

My first day walking home from school I got lost (shocker). I walked by this restaurant and these two ladies were kind enough to help me. I called my advisor from Media Kids and she spoke to them and there I was hopping on the back of my second bike ride. She drove me back to my apartment. Apparently I took a right instead of a left. Sometimes I amaze myself.

The walk to school

The Thai teachers were so sweet. One of them got me some dried strawberries from the northern part of Thailand. Sometimes she’d bring me random food which was awesome. I love trying new food. And then, on my last day, she gave me a skirt. So cute 💗

So before Thailand, I had never taught before. Soooo, teaching a room full of 40+ students was A LOT of work. I had to use a microphone and even then it was hard to hear myself. I never knew my voice could go so high.

I worked Monday-Friday. The English teachers had to do a morning talk once a week and we had to go on stage.. in front of the whole school 😟 It was embarrassing for me because I was a horrible MC. I can’t do large crowds… unless it’s karaoke hehe.

The kids were cute though. I had P6 which were 11-12ish and then I had K3 which were 4 (I think). I actually forget their ages but I think I’m kinda right. Either way, they were all adorable. It was fun but also super stressful and overwhelming.

I went through Media Kids in Chaiyaphum and they were okay. I had heard some mixed things about them before going to Thailand. They gave you the curriculum and you just had to make the lessons enjoyable and exciting. It was hard with 40+ students but it worked with the ones that actually wanted to learn.

There was no AC in any of the rooms so I had to plug the fan in prevent the sweat from dripping off of my face. It was dry and scorching.

They have a huge turnover of English teachers. Not only just in Thailand, but everywhere. So I think it is hard for the students to engage themselves into the subject when they have a new teacher every few weeks.

One of my students drew this. How cute ❤️

I interviewed with Christina’s agency one day and weeks later, I was off to Bangkok with Anna and Amy (Dina had already left) after my contract had ended. Anna was this super cool girl that I worked with. She didn’t start til after me but we became instant friends.

My last day with all of my kids was emotional. Of course, I cried. Honestly, I never knew how emotional I was until I met those students. There was this one student who just followed me around and hugging me. It was so precious.

Before I knew it, it was my last day in Chaiyaphum. Anna, Amy, and I all met Christina and Teddy in Bangkok. Teddy was one of my new co-workers at my new school.

Chaiyaphum was a cute little town. I miss it. I think Thailand in general had such a great impact on my life. Everything that happened there will always be a fond memory.

My K2 kiddies 💗 💗
I teared up. Miss them.

I never noticed how much 6 weeks could go by so quickly, but also make such an impact on your life.

Chaiyaphum was merely the start of my Thailand journey.

The Tremendous Thailand

thailand

It’s funny because I didn’t even plan on going to Thailand until three months prior to leaving, but yet it was the best (almost) year of my life. I also never thought I’d ever want to teach, yet here I am. Choosing Thailand was like most of the other decisions that I’ve made in my life: spontaneous. I love taking risks and facing new challenges and I had never been to Asia before so I thought, hey why not? I’m always up to do whatever and sometimes I like being impulsive.

Wat Pho, Bangkok

I was planning on going to Peru or somewhere in South America but they weren’t hiring year-round so I had to look into other options. I talked to different people in different Facebook groups and ended up talking to someone that was going to Thailand. I looked into different programs and came across Greenheart. I signed up, had an interview, submitted my payment, and I was off. Greenheart then handed me off to Xplore Asia. From Xplore Asia I went to Media Kids.

I left at the beginning of June for my 6 week program. Those 6 weeks turned into 10 months.

JJ Mall

When I landed in Bangkok on the 7th, my roommate, Christina and I ended up walking around Bangkok since we were the first ones there. Most of the others landed the day after us. We ventured off into the heat and got to see some cool temples: Wat Pho, Wat Arun, the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew.

Pad Thai Gung (shrimp)

I took my first tuk-tuk ride, which was amusing, pushed our way through the Chatuchak Weekend Market (also called JJ Market) and ate delectable Thai food. I just gotta say I was so happy to see a mall because it had AC and man it was hot. Also, tuk-tuks are wicked cool. I loved riding on those things, they are really exhilarating.

Muay Thai class

For orientation week we got to learn some Thai, went to a Muay Thai class and met some cute doggies there. I also met some cools peeps. I ended up going to teach with Christina in Mahachai (more on that later) and now I’m in South Korea with Jules (haven’t seen her yet, but once Covid has simmered down that will change).

Big Buddha Khao Tao

During one of the days of orientation, we took a hike up to see the a huge Buddha. It took about 15 minutes. In the heat it seemed like it was double the distance and double the time to get there. It was worth it though. The view was beautiful and the Buddha was huge! On the way up, we walked through a cave and pushed our way up the stairs.

TOO MUCH PLASTIC

Totally unrelated to this post but I remember seeing all of these plastic bottles on the way up to the Buddha. I cringed. And the thing is, this doesn’t just everywhere in Thailand, but it also happens back home. I sent this picture to a lot of people back home because I wanted to show them how all of the plastic that we use adds up. It’s hard to see the build up of these things back home because we throw them out (hopefully most people recycle) and then don’t even think about it. We don’t think about these types of things because it doesn’t impact us. The side note here is to RECYCLE. Or just cut down on the amount of plastic that you use 😊

One of the dogs from Rescue Paws

This cutie dog is from Xplore Asia’s partner company called Rescue Paws and we got to spend a few hours there. We took a few dogs to the beach and got to cuddle with some cats. That was hands down my favorite part of orientation, duh.

After orientation week, Xplore Asia shipped us off to our provinces. I was nervous, excited and confused all at the same time. And that was only the start of my life in Thailand. Thailand will be chill and calm but also make you question everything.

It’s hilarious because I look back on my first few weeks in Thailand and now I’m just like well that’s Thailand for ya. It just makes sense. My friends and I always joke because nothing in Thailand makes sense but it does at the same time. And that is just one of my many favorite things about The Tremendous Thailand.