Welcome to Mae Sot, Thailand, an amazing culturally diverse city in western Thailand on the border of Myanmar. Have a true Thailand experience here, not full of tourism. A mix of Thai and Burmese (multiple migrant ethnic groups from Myanmar), considered the Gateway to Myanmar with the Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge, a prominent crossing by land between the joining countries. This also includes Burmese/Karen migrant camps that a Workawayer can easily get involved with. Surrounded by mountains with access to a vast array of natural wonders, travelers use Mae Sot as a starting point to visit the largest waterfall in Thailand—Thi Lor Su Waterfall, as well as Khlong Lan Waterfall and National Park, Pawai Waterfall, Chao Por Phawo Shrine, and at least 3 other national parks. Do you want to make a difference in the world, gain personal development, and have a fascinating adventure? Read on!
We are fully accredited school with Ministry of Education
Since 2005, our school has provided English language instruction (ESL) for all ages. Over 140 students come through our doors weekly, with a student body comprised mostly of 4th to 12th graders, and some post-secondary students. Students receive classroom style tutoring and instruction as well as individual tutoring. We currently specialize in English grammar instruction. We have a vision to remarkably expand available programs (see below) to better serve the local students, families, and communities. The current building consists of a three story townhouse-like office (typical store front in Thailand). It’s very comfortable and in prime location.
Those joining us must love children and animals. Must have high level of patience while working with second language learners—all our students are Thai with the plans to include Burmese, Karen and Chinese.
We see our programs as "living programs," meaning that they will continually evolve. We envision great things coming about through the means that we have. We have a giving and serving mindset and know that God will, as he always has and currently does, provide what we need.
Vas has owned and run the school solo since its inception. Besides her, there are no current employed staff at the school. This, however, is possible.
We are a Thai/American couple (Vas--Mae Sot native, and Anoah). We met at a local ice-cream stand in Thailand and been together since. We have both traveled extensively internationally. Some places we have been whether for holiday or work: South Korea, Japan, China, Hong Kong/Macau, France, Italy, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Portugal, Spain, England, Scotland, Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, South Africa, Morocco, Myanmar, Taiwan, Singapore, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Malaysia, Borneo, Philippines, Indonesia, Samoa, New Zealand, Australia, England, Scotland, Canada, Mexico, Virgin Islands, Jamaica, Bahamas, 49 of the States/USA (including Alaska, and Hawaii). We think that's all, but we might be forgetting a few places. We can share stories when we are together. Vas is bilingual (fluent Thai/English) and conversational in Burmese and Cantonese.
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help with Eco Projects
Help around the house
Help with Computers/ Internet
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
*You will be immersed in a Thai language school program and community development; meet LOTS of people in the community—this could count as your ESL/TOEFL internship to gain hours of experience. You’ll be working with a native Thai speaker fluent in English, educated in the USA, who has the knack and experience to guide you, as well as a native English speaker (NES) with experience working in international schools and other international professional positions.
*Thai culture immersion--you'll be working and staying with a Thai family that has been in Mae Sot for over 40 years--we know what we're doing here. There aren't many places in Mae Sot that don't know someone from Vas's family.
*Cultural exchange programs with local Thai, Karen and Burmese communities (2 weeks or longer stays)
*If you're kind and respectful in the community, you'll meet some excellent people and potentially open up opportunities you hadn't dreamed of before. We have connections within Mae Sot to hundreds of families, as well as other organizations around the country.
*Help with visa renewal (for long term stays). Potential for help with multi-entry visas and work visa for those interested in partnering with our ventures.
*Professional letters of reference (30+ day stays). We have helped others get into university programs and references for jobs.
*The work you will do with us will add to your experience professionally, spiritually, mentally, physically, in every way. We provide you the opportunity to practice, and hopefully hone in on and begin to perfect, your talents and skills in a place of service and growth.
*Overall, we provide you an experience of a lifetime that you will wish you could stay with forever. And, who knows, you just might stay.
Though we do have some things especially that we want to develop, we are very, very open to ideas, and you crossbreeding your skills into different services. Do not hesitate to share your thoughts. If you have background in education, ESL/ELL/TOEFL, business administration, marketing, experiential learning, events planning, fundraising, that would be great. Also, painting, murals, gardening (organic only), experience working with youth, youth camps, etc. As you can see that our focus is beyond just the classroom and office.
We very much welcome those with fitting, exceptional skills to consider staying with us for as long as they can—partnership in what we are doing.
We do not expect you to provide a background check, but because you will be around our students (whom you will be an example to), and families, we will communicate with you thoroughly to get to know you. Be honest with your intentions and aspirations, your character and behaviors. We will provide you with an experience of a lifetime. We are loving and kind and sincere, and have healthy boundaries. Good sense of humor and lots of faith and hope and vision. Vas and her family are phenomenal cooks, you won't get better Thai food (in Anoah's opinion).
We expect 4-5 hours of help, at least 5 days/week. If staying less than a week, would like a higher level of commitment on a daily basis. We're flexible though, depends on people's attitude and abilities and the needs of what's going on. Just don't be a slacker.
Here’s a few ideas (starred according to importance to the best of our assessment at the moment)
***Continued grammar ESL curriculum development: 5-month curriculum for a full semester, for each grade. Vas is a master ESL teacher, but we do not necessarily have a “set” curriculum. The goal for all curriculum development is to have packages that can be offered to students/classes/groups on an ongoing basis (something that can be duplicated in multiple locations and to facilitate services provided by future Workawayers and ESL teachers).
***Develop conversational English program: all ages.
***ESL camps: structure and outline of camp schedule and activities, creating and updating curriculum, etc.
***Establishing ESL services for remote Karen and Burmese village schools, NGO’s, and other populations
***Teaching/tutoring individuals and groups at our school and other service locations that we facilitate (More than 2 week commitment; we do not want to have our teachers/tutors being too transient)
***Plan program outline (or part of it) for a 7-10 day “Week Without Walls” to offer to international and local government schools. This entails potentially 100+ students from another school coming to Mae Sot and we provide the whole outline of activities, workshops, cultural exposure, adventure, etc., for them and their accompanying faculty. The schools will be involved with developing specifics per the needs of their students—but we need to have the outline for what their week is gonna look like (think of youth-camp back home, that’s the idea).
***Mentor program for Student-Student tutoring: Students with good to excellent English skills will have opportunity to mentor other students and be involved in helping at Karen and Burmese villages (this is an exceptionally unique endeavor that we are putting together, cross cultural mentoring with this age group)
**Public speaking class—this helps students overcome their fears to prepare for university, occupation and public interaction
**Multi-cultural integrative programs involving Burmese and Karen organizations and schools (with a purpose to eliminate discrimination between ethic groups)
*Design creative activities for students, experiential outings for students (i.e. ELL nature trips, learn as you go, etc). Outside the box ideas.
*Administrative duties of all/any kinds: spreadsheets, financial planning, business planning, etc.
*Empirical lessons based on music, art, movement, theater, etc. that can integrate English language learning (every subject has its own language that can be taught with it)
*Community service projects
*Environmental mindfulness programs.
SCHOOL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT:
**Brochures and flyers
*Fundraising—local, regional, international for all programs
*Collaboration with other service entities (i.e. local sports programs, service programs)
FUTURE EDUCATION DEVELOPMENT:
Full scale international school: We are in communication with other professionals at the moment to create the first international school in Mae Sot, based on American curriculum (and open to other curriculum being implemented as well). We hope to staff the school in a unique way with long-term Workawayers who are interested in partnering in the develop and administration of the school. A fantastic opportunity for anyone interested. We will create a separate host site for this in the future.
**Renovation to school: i.e. Painting, repairs, murals, development, etc.
*Cleaning: daily and deep of school and workaway living spaces.
*Organic gardening: experiential learning gardens for students to participate in, promoting self sustainability and "clean dirt practices." We have connections to a large organic producer in Tak province to help with training in this area.
*What talents/skills do you have?
Chinese (Mandarin): Intermediate
This host offers a language exchange
This host has indicated that they are interested in sharing their own language or learning a new language.
You can contact them directly for more information.
1. We provide a private bedroom in our home, with shared living space. You could also sleep at the school with limited privacy during school hours (see photos). Potential for single or local group housing in the community for long term, partner Workawayers or home-stay with local host families if interested. Private accommodations of your choice are also available at your own expense if desired, very affordable in the community (we can help with this if this is what you prefer--hotel, resort, Airbnb options, etc)
2. 2-3 meals per day (2 meals = 4 hours work; 3 meals = 5 hours work). We will agree on the amount of hours per day prior to your arrival; it's easier for those providing your meals to know. This includes homemade dishes and from the local market or restaurants. You will LOVE the food here!
3. For long term stays (30 days or more), access to motorbike for those with license endorsement and riding experience. Otherwise you are able to obtain a bicycle or your own motorbike (hundreds of bikes come into Mae Sot almost daily by boat and truck; there’s a whole section of a huge market exclusively for used bicycles). Of course, local taxi is very cheap and easy to access. Vas and Anoah both know how to ride motorbikes. Anoah could possibly teach you if you want to rent a bike (100-125 cc are easy to ride). If you know how to ride, a road trip might be in order. Anoah is an experienced touring rider in Thailand.
4. Cultural and recreational excursions (2 week or longer stays)
*Surrounded by mountains with access to a vast array of natural wonders, travelers use Mae Sot as a starting point to visit the largest waterfall in Thailand—Thi Lo Su Waterfall, as well as Khlong Lan Waterfall and National Park, Pawai Waterfall, Chao Por Phawo Shrine, and at least 3 other national parks. Within 20 minute range of natural hot springs.
*Thai, Burmese and Karen markets (You won't find this kind of access anywhere else in the country)
*If you want to learn about precious gems, Mae Sot is the main trade route for gems from/to Myanmar
*Access to Myanmar--if you have a multi-entry visa you can walk across the bridge into Myanmar from Mae Sot. You can also take a boat ride across the river to visit Myanmar; it's the main "international" transport in the area...you might need a local to accommodate you. Those with 30+ day stay with us will get this experience.
*Tak province as a whole is known for its historical significance in Thailand, established over 2000 years ago
*Rent a motorbike (or use ours if you are on long stay) to venture into the country
*The local airport takes you to Bangkok (about 1 hour); or can take bus to Chiang Mai or BKK. Every means of travel is extremely affordable
*There is TOO MUCH to list here to highlight the great opportunities in Mae Sot.
Some personal thoughts. We do not smoke, drink alcohol or use drugs. We expect that those who stay and work with us have a respectful and mindful head on their shoulder. No party animals. No illicit substance use at all. Alcohol use kept to a moderate level, no use at our homes or offices. If you use tobacco or vape or anything like it, must be done off property and not bring the smell of smoke into the homes or offices (including the roof of the school/apartment), especially around the students. Our students are exposed to these things in their community (very much so actually), but we provide a place where they can be free from such exposure. We promote a healthy living standard, and excessive drinking and use of tobacco or vaping is the antithesis of such. We expect that those working with and around our students and within our home/office have proper conduct and respect for Thai culture. This includes not using vulgar language, dress modestly, take off your shoes inside, and some other basic things.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
This host has indicated that they love having digital nomads stay.
More than two
4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week