Moving 8,000 miles across the world in the middle of a pandemic, was quite the adventure. With such strict measures in place to enter Thailand, the process was a bit stressful. Not only were the entry requirements strict, but the requirements after arrival were also just as strict. With a government mandated 15-day quarantine, the group of teachers arriving in Thailand had to miss out on the typical orientation.
Before arriving in Thailand, I had read many blogs from previous teachers about orientation. It sounded like orientation would be a great place to meet other teachers/OEG staff, learn about the culture, and practice my Thai with Thai lessons. After receiving news that orientation would not take place in person, I was a bit bummed. I wondered what orientation would be like via Zoom. Was it going to be as informational and fun as what the other blogs had made it out to be? I was worried I would not get to meet or get to know other teachers that had arrived with me.
Shortly after quarantine began, we had orientation. OEG had sent us a schedule of live sessions and recorded sessions. It was nice being able to have some type of routine in quarantine, talk with other humans, and learn more about the culture. Our sessions included information about the Thai culture, interesting facts about Thailand, how to effectively teach ESL students, and Thai language lessons. We spent many hours collaborating with current teachers in Thailand and teachers who just arrived in Thailand. Even through Zoom, I made friends and learned a lot about the other teachers!
Once our 15 days was up, we all expected to be picked up by our school coordinator and taken to our school where we would begin our new normal. That was not the case though. OEG had planned a surprise for us! OEG had arranged a day in Bangkok for all of us. As a group, we explored the Grand Palace in Bangkok, grabbed lunch, and then we had the evening to ourselves. Many of the teachers decided to go to the mall, pick up a sim card for our phone, and then ended the evening with a night out. OEG's plan to allow a day in Bangkok was completely unexpected and was exactly what we all needed after being in quarantine for 15 days!
Although orientation looked a little bit different in quarantine, it was still a fun experience. I learned a lot of great information that I will be able to use once I am settled into my new city. I felt like I got to know the OEG staff well and I am confident I can reach out to them if I run into any problems when I begin my new adventure!