Itinerary: The trip begins with a night in Chiang Mai, where we’ll get acclimated to Thailand and get to know one another. We form a team and explore a bit of Chiang Mai, including shopping in the night market.

Then, we move to one of two villages located just two hours outside of Chiang Mai by truck. Either Ban Lao or Maekon is your home for the duration of the program. Both communities are similar and offer a simple guest room in a quaint village about ten minutes walk from the school, surrounded by a community of teachers, students, and families. Accommodations are rustic and offer mosquito nets and cotton mattresses on the floor of a large wooden room. There is electricity and bathrooms with running water. (There is limited phone and internet access for emergencies, but students should not plan on being connected to internet during the week.)

Weekdays will be fairly structured. Most days, you wake up around 7am for breakfast, a variety of Thai foods and tropical fruits. Throughout the school day, you are either studying and practicing how to teach English, or teaching English to your peers or in a classroom. You will have a chance to teach alone and in pairs, and to get and incorporate feedback from your classmates and your instructor.

Learning to teach English to speakers of another language is fascinating, difficult, and rewarding. It requires patience, enthusiasm, and a willingness to try, fail, and try again. But it’s also fun!

Your two weeks in the village will be a chance to incorporate art, music, movement, stories, games, and other activities into your classroom, establishing a connection with your students and helping them learn.

To receive TEFL certification, you must pass a final exam, which includes a written component, teaching exercise, sample lesson plan, and in-class teaching component. We will prepare you to pass this exam, which you will have on your last day in the village. In addition, you will have to complete a grammar course and pass a grammar exam, which you will do online from home before the trip begins. By moving this component online, we are able to use your time in Thailand for in-person communication and teaching.

In the afternoons, you have time to study on your own, but also time to interact in our village community. Maybe you’d like to teach extracurricular classes in art, dance, singing, volleyball… anything you’d like! Maybe you’d like to work with the teachers in the community to help them supplement their curricula.

We’ll also get involved in community efforts such as planting rice and helping out at the organic garden or community forest. There may be crops to harvest, animals to care for, time to play sports or visit the local shaman, or even a building or planting project to help with. Whatever's going on in the community, you'll be a part of it! This is not a canned experience, so it evolves based on what's going on in the village - it's really what you make it!

On some evenings, you will have a chance to switch from teacher to student and learn Thai in an informal setting.

Each Friday we head to back Chiang Mai for a weekend of adventure. We’ll trek to hidden temples, bathe with elephants at the Elephant Nature Park, swim under waterfalls, zip-line through the rainforest canopy and take in everything the ancient city has to offer. On Friday and Saturday nights, you will stay at a small hotel in Chiang Mai with your instructor and have a tour guide to show you all around the city and give you a much-deserved mini-vacation!

We will have an experienced staff member running our programs throughout the week. They will be a key piece of your connection to the village, as they speak the local language and are from the community you'll be working in… and it doesn’t hurt that he can cook some truly amazing meals! You might even be able to help out and learn some Thai cooking secrets.