How Long Does It Take to “Make It” As A Freelancer?

By David

When we first set our sights on living abroad, teaching English was the only option we thought we had. It remains a very viable option. Many, many people do it all the time. Alexis is doing it right now. But it’s not the only option.

I planned on teaching English when we moved to Thailand as well, but had a bit of a life-defining crisis the day I got offered a job. I turned it down and that same day created a profile on oDesk.com.

That was in July of 2014.

Work was slow at first. My first paying job was for $2 an hour. I was eager to get some positive reviews under my belt, so I accepted.

Six months later, I am not only making what I would have been had I accepted that teaching job, I am making double that amount. 

Proof

I started freelancing in July but my first paycheck didn’t come until August. I made $516 that month. Screen Shot 2014-12-27 at 5.00.53 PM Continue reading

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Expat Life Lately: 4 Months in Thailand

By Alexis

At the back of Wat Monthian in Chiang Mai’s old city

Now that we’ve been living in Thailand for about 4 months, I feel like we’re really starting to get into the swing of things. The cultural adjustment doesn’t feel so huge anymore, I’m picking up a little bit of Thai, and it feels like we’re really starting to settle in. We’ve been doing a lot lately, so here are a few updates… Continue reading

Freelancing: The Pros and Cons and Perception vs. Reality

As I promised last week in my post Working in Thailand, I want to shed some light on the pros and cons of freelancing as well as the perceptions I had going into this type of work and whether those perceptions have turned out to be true.

In general, I am enjoying it very much for the simple most important factor of being in control of what I do with my time. It feels empowering doing something for yourself rather than working for someone else’s dream. Despite the overall positive experience, it’s far from perfect; here’s why:

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True Stories From Thailand (part 2)

Teaching a first grade class with one student who’s particulary good with English…
Student [interrupting the lesson]: How do I get the shell out of here?
Me: What??
Student: I heard it in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie…

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Helpful (and Free!) Resources for Teaching ESL

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Since I started teaching English as a second language (ESL) at an elementary school here in Chiang Mai, Thailand, I have gathered quite the collection of sites to help me in my lesson planning. Recently I’ve found myself using the same handful of resources again and again, so I thought it would be helpful to list those here for any other ESL teachers out there.

I teach English to grades 1, 2, and 3 (focusing on phonics and conversation), so this list is geared toward young learners in those subjects.

Check out some of my favorite resources here!

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Working in Thailand

By David

This wasn't always the plan, but this is what my office looks like now.

This wasn’t always the plan, but this is what my office looks like now.

Alexis and I both had the intention of teaching English when we moved to Thailand. Had moving to Thailand specifically to become English teachers been our main impetuous, it would have been much smarter to move here in April or October. The school year in Thailand runs from May to March with a four week break in October. This is the equivalent of our Christmas break. The reason arriving in April or October is ideal is because the month before each semester starts is the main time schools are hiring.

This is all according to what we had read before coming here, of course, because teaching English wasn’t the main impetuous for moving to Thailand and we didn’t arrive in April or October. We moved here in June, smack dab in the middle of the first semester.

Also from everything we had read, had we moved here during the main hiring months, finding a job would be really easy, especially if you have a Bachelor’s degree and a TEFL (which Alexis did; I only have a BA but no TEFL). Our situation as it was dictated that we’d get here in June because our wedding and subsequent honeymoon took first priority in terms of schedule. Arriving in the middle of the semester was slightly concerning and we wondered if we’d be unemployed for five months until school started back up in November.

Turns out, even arriving in the middle of the semester didn’t prove to be an obstacle. Alexis found a job within our first week of being in Chiang Mai. You can read her full account in How I Landed a Teaching Job in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

The Hunt

On her first day of work, I decided I had better put in some effort too and hit the pavement. In Thailand, finding a job works best the same way finding an apartment does: on foot. Well, I suppose you could also drive or bike, but I mean on foot in the figurative sense as in: not online. There are websites that list job openings like Ajarn and Dave’s ESL Cafe, but for the most part, an email will get you nowhere here.

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