Over the past several months, I’ve shared a lot with you about my experience as an expat and trailing spouse, so I thought this week it would be fun to turn the mic over to four fabulous ladies who are also living the expat life.
From Thailand to Mexico, these intrepid women are navigating, surviving and thriving in new lands. So, today, let’s sit back and live vicariously through the life and times of Beth Ann Allison.
TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF.
- Where are you from? I grew up in a small town in Southeast Kansas, but I’ve called the Kansas City area and Austin, TX home.
- Where do you live currently? Sakonnakhon, Thailand.
- What do you do? Work, school, etc. I am an ESL teacher at a high school in Sakonnakhon.
- What are your hobbies? Does binge watching Netflix count as a hobby 🙂
- Where is your favourite place to travel/visit? Cape Town, South Africa is at the top of my list! It was a beautiful city. The views from Table Mountain were breathtaking.
Tell me about your living abroad experience(s).
I moved to Thailand April 1, 2016. I spent the first month in the beach town of Hua Hin getting my TESOL certification to be able to teach abroad. Then I was offered a job in Sakonnakhon. A town in the Northeastern Isaan region of Thailand. I am teaching advanced English classes to 13 to 16-year-olds. I absolutely love teaching. I’m lucky that I’m teaching in what is called the English Program. It’s basically a private school within the public school. My classes average 25 students and it’s only 3 classes (most teachers in Thailand teach class sizes of 40-50 and have 9 to 10 classes they see a week). I’ve gotten to know the students very well and have a more structured curriculum to follow. There is a little more work that has to be done, but having air conditioned rooms, all the technology, only 25 students, and they have advanced English skills makes it worth it!
What attracted you to the idea of living abroad? I was getting bored in my old life! I quit a good job that I’d been at for 13 years with no real plans for the future. I finished my MBA in May 2015 and during that process started thinking it would be fun to move abroad. I started looking for work with international travel opportunities and came across a website for teaching English abroad. I had nothing keeping me in the US, so decided to just do it!
Why did you decide on that city/country?
Teaching English in Thailand was the first country I read about. I found a program that let you do the TESOL course in Thailand, learning about the cultural, and they helped with job placement after finishing the courses. All those made me decide to come to Thailand.
What is the best part of living there?
I’ve found my passion! I absolutely love teaching! The town I’m in is very small, and not easy to travel around to other parts of Thailand. And the school I’m at is amazing.
What is one thing you’d change?
I wish I could be at this school but in a different town. I wish I had spent more time learning more of the language before I came.
Best food and where can we find it?
Thailand is full of great food!! You can’t go anywhere without seeing all the food stands and smelling all the aromas. There is a lady on the walk home from school that is known as “pad thai lady.” I’m convinced she makes the best Pad Thai in all of Thailand! I try to limit myself to only eating there 3 times a week. But it’s so good and so convenient; it’s hard to do that!
What do you wish you’d known before you moved?
How hot it gets in Thailand. I knew it was going to be hot but didn’t know what exactly that meant! I wouldn’t have wasted packing space and weight on some clothes I brought with me. Also that I didn’t need a converter for my electronics. That was more wasted space and weight!
Is there anything you miss from home?
Lots of different foods! I seriously thought I would miss my family and friends most, but with technology, I don’t miss them near as much as food. And since I’m in such a rural area, it’s hard to find Western food. I’ve made a trip to Bangkok just to get a Western food fix!
What is the one piece of advice you’d share with someone interested in moving/living abroad?
If you find someone that is living abroad, don’t feel bad about asking him or her all the questions! I remember I reached out to an acquaintance that was teaching English in Thailand and felt terrible asking her so many questions. I’ve had someone recently start contacting me. And I keep trying to reassure her that I don’t mind all the questions. I remember how overwhelming it was for me, and am glad to help her out! I know that my friend felt the same way. I love that people are willing to step outside their comfort zone and want to help out as much as I can!
My original plan was to be over here a year. I sold basically everything and was ready to be over here a year and then just go wherever after that. But since I’ve been over here, I’ve found that I don’t love living abroad. I have absolutely no regrets, and it’s been the best 6 months of my life, honestly. I’ve learned so much about myself. And like I said early – I’ve found my passion. I was a lost soul before coming here. But I know that staying here any longer will make this great experience awful! My contract is up on 9/30 and I am heading back to America after that – and will begin the process to get my certification to teach in Texas. Something I probably never would have done if I had stayed in Texas. I know that I will never regret moving over here! I’ll never wonder “what if.” And I know now that I can do pretty much anything I want!
All photos courtesy of Beth Ann Allison.
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