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As seen in Transitions Abroad Magazine January/February 2000

TESL Jobs in the Land of Smiles

Temple in Bangkok, Thailand

The American University Alumni (AUA) Language Center, the oldest and largest language school in Thailand with almost 400,000 graduates, is a nonprofit school with an excellent reputation in the country. With four schools in Bangkok and 12 more in other parts of the country, the AUA is always looking for TESOL teachers. Applicants must be native speakers with a bachelor’s degree. Prior teaching experience is highly valued; a TEFL certificate is preferred but not required; inexperienced teachers who are motivated and committed are welcome to apply. Americans are particularly sought after.

Prospective teachers should apply in person after their arrival in Bangkok. Promising candidates will be asked to attend the next orientation course for prospective teachers. Successful applicants are then offered a teaching assignment for the next six-week term. The normal teaching load is from four to six hours a day, and work outside AUA is permitted.

Starting salary is usually between 350 and 500 baht ($1 = 35 baht) an hour, depending upon the applicant’s education and experience. The average teacher earns enough to support a comfortable lifestyle. Regular pay increases are based on length of tenure and performance. AUA’s nonprofit status does not enable it to offer many benefits to its teaching staff. However, there is a health plan for expatriate teachers. AUA also reimburses the cost of a TEFL certificate program for currently-employed teachers who take time off to earn a recognized TEFL certificate.

Life in the capital is never boring. In addition, AUA instructors in Bangkok have an opportunity to teach a greater variety of courses than in smaller schools in more provincial locations.

A U.S. citizen can enter Thailand and remain for 30 days without a visa. Alternately, you can apply for a 60-day tourist visa at home. If AUA intends to employ you, you will be sent to get a nonimmigrant visa in a nearby country such as Malaysia. Upon successful completion of a three-month probation period, teachers with a nonimmigrant visa can apply for a work permit.

A one- or two-year teaching stint with AUA is both professionally and personally rewarding. Most students are either young professionals or college students. The vast majority of them are motivated and gregarious, and all hold the teacher in high regard. Thailand’s marvelous temples, relaxing beaches, and scenic beauty attract thousands of tourists every year. The country’s greatest attraction, however, is its warm-hearted people. Thailand truly is the “Land of Smiles.”

Contact: AUA Language Center,

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