Q: Where are you going in Thailand, and why?
A: My initial destination is Phuket, an popular tourist destination in the South of Thailand. I have enrolled in a four-week TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course through ITTT, where I will earn a certificate to teach abroad. After the four weeks are up, I hope to secure a job teaching English. I am currently undecided as to where in Thailand I will be teaching.
***Update: Starting November 2nd, I will be teaching Kindergarten at a bilingual government school in Phuket, Thailand.
Q: How long does it take to get there?
A: My total travel time is 26 hours. I will be flying from Denver to Tokyo (thanks for the nonstop flight option, United!) which takes about 13 hours, and then Tokyo to Bangkok, which takes another 6+ hours.
Q: What immunizations did you get?
A: I made sure my routine vaccinations were up to date (Hep A, Hep B, Tetanus, etc.). In addition, I opted to get the vaccine for Japanese Encephalitis. I had some debate on whether or not it was worth it to get the vaccine. It is carried seasonally by mosquitoes, and usually occurs in the countryside. Because I’m not 100% certain about the seasonality/length of my stay, I decided it’s better safe than sorry. I also got the Typhoid vaccine, and I will be taking an anti-malaria pill for the duration of the trip.
****Update: None of the long-term expats here take the anti-malaria pill
Q: Did you already get your work visa?
A: No. I am not able to get a work permit until I am officially offered a job. I am not able to work a job until I have the non immigrant B visa. It is a process that I am yet to understand, but I’ll definitely update when I do. US Citizens can enter Thailand on a 30 day or 60 day tourist visa. I sent in a visa application to the Thai embassy in Los Angeles before I left, and so I have 60 days from when I entered the country (9/3) to either get a job or leave.
***Update: They are still processing my work permit, so I have to renew my tourist visa. Thai visas may be renewed without leaving the country for a total period of 60 days, but after that it is required that you leave and re-enter on another tourist visa. Another 60 day visa may be obtained by visiting the Thai Embassy outside of the country, otherwise you can re-enter and do a 30 day visa upon arrival at the airport in Thailand.
**Another Update: 5 months after securing my job, and I have finally gotten my work permit! It was a ridiculous process that entailed numerous trips to Immigration & the Labor Office. I’m so glad that the school organized everything for me. If you’re trying to get a work permit on your own… good riddance!
That mostly covers the bulk of the questions I’ve been asked so far. I’ll update as I go!