In April 2017 I took a vacation to Thailand on an Instagram inspired whim. While in Thailand I met many people who were teaching both in Thailand and South Korea and I heard the same name keep coming up “CIEE”. These people were very pleased with their decision to go through an agency as they took care of the “work” that can be very overwhelming as you prepare to live and teach abroad.
Making the decision to work and live abroad is large and daunting but CIEE helped me through the whole process. I decided to move to Thailand in May of 2017, however, because of personal circumstances, I didn’t begin my program until August 2018. CIEE kept in constant communication with me throughout that time (over a year!!), putting me in contact with alumni and current participants as well as just checking in on me and sending me things to get excited about my big move.
While, some may hesitate at the idea of paying a program fee I found the fee to be so incredibly worth it. CIEE finds you a job, place to live, negotiates the terms of your contract, and provides emergency medical coverage which are all things I am certain I wouldn’t have been able to navigate on my own.
Before departure, CIEE assists with the visa process providing you with simple step by step instructions. This involved obtaining a lot of paperwork so I am so thankful for the “for dummies” guide CIEE provided me with. They also created a pre-departure course that covered things like phone plans and Thailand work. The pre-departure course included an hour long skype call with someone who had taught abroad where they answered FAQs as well as our questions we had during the chat. I found this to be incredibly helpful as they answered questions I hadn’t thought of but valued hearing the answer.
The most invaluable thing CIEE provides is their network and communication. Being a part of CIEE connects you with a network of people living throughout Thailand which helps you to never feel alone. CIEE participants are a family; we follow each other on social media, check in on each other, and travel with one another. Your relationship with CIEE doesn’t end once you are in country they are always available to provide you with resources, answer your questions, celebrate your teaching success, and let you know about happenings around Thailand.
A move across the ocean to work a job in a culture that is foreign to you is never going to be without stress. However, CIEE’s thoughtful and purposeful preparation process gets you as close to worry free as one can be in the situation. WIthout, CIEE I know for a fact I would not be in Thailand right now teaching and living my best life.