Are you interested in living in Thailand but fear racism? Having doubts about living in a country far from home?That damn TEFL certificate just another thorn in your heel? Well I was once in your shoes. Looking back on it all from the beginning there are some things that I can’t believe I’ve(myself) done.
From the interview to the arriving in BKK
Before I found my first job, I was staying in Baltimore with my parents. I was researching and researching hoping to find a website/blog/forum that would shed positive light on the black experience in Asia but it didn’t exist. If you’ve read my other articles then you know how disheartening most of the information was for me(this would prove to be a recipe for disaster in days to come).
One day I got an e-mail from an Englishmen who basically told me, “Let me know when you can get here and the job is yours.”
3-days later I was arriving in Suvarnabhumi Airport without a know how of whats going on…Completely lost. How Could I know though, right? At this point I had already stepped way out of my comfort zone and there was no point in looking back. I mean the fact that I basically got a response to one of the many e-mails I sent out(sent hundreds!) then flew over to Thailand where he(my manager) promised to meet me at the airport was simply crazy! I remember my mom telling me to be careful cause she thought people could be trying to harvest my organs for the black market…(Thanks mom)!
When I was dropped off at the place I’d be calling home for the next couple years I remember how apprehensive I was. I won’t lie I was still in a bit shock. Surprised to actually be in Thailand, so far away from what I know to reality. Surely enough it has to get weirder before it can become normal…If it ever does(hasn’t yet).
Bombing bad in the classroom
Fresh off the plane and into a classroom! I wasn’t expecting to teach a class but when asked if I wanted to try I really couldn’t of refused. As we all know the first is the worst and my first class ever was just that. I think I finished a 50-minute lesson in 10-minutes. I felt so nervous and had massive pit stains… I was a wreck and to make matters worse there was still 40-minutes to go! Long story short you guys can understand why I recommend a TEFL program.
If I had proper training at the time I think I would of felt a lot more comfortable. I had this nagging fear that I since I was black I’d be a lot easier to sack(fire). Well I’m still here…
“Mafia blah blah” “Dont wear black to school” “Wai Everybody and say krup” “We get paid a lot of money!”
When your new to a country, let alone a job, it’s the people that you work with who will somewhat shape your view on the country and the job. My only advice is to take it all with a grain of salt. Even what I’m telling you now. Everyones experience is going to be different. I was constantly told things by co-workers that ranged from all Thai people are poor to everyone hates black people. Imagine the affect this had on my mind, fresh out of college. I still was too new to string any Thai phrases together so I just took everything at face value. It wasn’t until about 6-months into it that I finally started to think for myself.
I wanted to apply for a job at a language school to teach part-time. One of my co-workers told me that this particular company wouldn’t hire me because their extremely racist. On the other hand, I also worked with a guy who told me never accept information at face value, especially here in Thailand. He told me to always find out for myself because everyone is different. “Maybe they’re racist mate, but you can still be the first black guy they hire, who knows?”.
Hmmm I think i get it…?
I remember exactly how he said it too. How could I be any different from all the others? There was no way of knowing unless I was willing to dive into this head first.What did I do? I immersed myself really. I was lucky too because my Thai homie “U” and his family really made my life in Thailand a lot easier. What eventually happened is I just started to get use to everything. Familiar faces,phrases and places.
I started to feel a lot more comfortable being a foreigner! I was getting out more, meeting people and experiencing.
When you meet someone who knows their shit just listen and learn! I’ve learned so much about creating businesses, drop-shipping, affiliate marketing, creating websites and Thai language(reading & speaking).
You never know whose path you might cross and what you can possibly learn from them, whether good or bad. Yes, there are bad people here and its your job to shield yourself and know when it’s just better to say, “no”.
Similar individuals from different backgrounds
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. The best part of traveling is the people you meet along the way. I enjoy meeting people from other countries. It’s really fun to have a go at speaking their languages too. Maybe the world is getting smaller and globally cultures are becoming more alike everyday. It’s still really cool to meet someone from another walk of life and be able to keep them in regard as you do your close friends from back home.
4 years now and….
I think Thailand will always have a place in my heart. It all comes down to money and I don’t want to be 35 years old making just over 45k per month trying to plan my retirement let alone raise a family. I keep saying it and I still believe 60,000-70,000 baht per month is the magical number. Anything above that and your good to go. Above 80k and you got the sweet apt/condo near the bts sky train and Bangkok night life at your fingertips. Anyway that’s just my opinion. Some people may feel they need much less or much more to enjoy Thailand. It’s all a matter of perspective. We all have an idea of what where we are now and where we want to be. At this point I want to focus on Farangdam and continue giving insight to people who are interested in coming to Thailand. I came to Thailand as a college graduate and will leave an entrepreneur(and come back!).
In the future I’ll share other peoples experience to ripen up the content on Farangdam.
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