By Taylor Rexrode
Applications for a teaching in Thailand program will be available to May graduates until this Saturday, less than a month before they are selected to leave for Bangkok.
The Chitralada Palace School teaching program will allow Baylor graduates the opportunity to teach English as a second language to Thai children from May 20, 2013 to March 31, 2014.
In past years, between eight and 10 teachers have traveled abroad, instructing hundreds of students in English.
The number of participants for this year’s program is yet to be determined.
Kathryn Mueller, senior lecturer in sociology and director of the Baylor in Thailand program, said the best students to go on to Thailand are cognizant of cultural differences, are adaptable and are caring.
“I find Baylor students are able to fit that,” Mueller said. “To me, most students here are very polite and kind. I want people who go over there to remember the Christian ethic and how important those ethics are.”
Much of Thailand practices Buddhism and the palace school operates under Buddhist tradition.
Mueller said the fact that Baylor graduates will encounter a different religion while having their beliefs met with respect and understanding makes the experience an “amazing gift.”
The program has been around for 25 years, allowing Baylor graduates the chance to immerse themselves in the Thai culture.
Airfare, housing, health insurance and transportation to and from the palace school will be provided in the program. Teachers will also receive a monthly salary, which Mueller said many people use to travel to other Asian countries, including Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines and China.
School hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a small holiday in October.
Teachers work with Kindergartners through seventh grade students, teaching English grammar and conversational English.
Baylor admissions counselor Jessica Steptoe, who graduated from Baylor in 2011, taught in the Chitralada Palace School and taught the prince of Thailand.
She said her experience on the other side of the world, though challenging at times, was rewarding and life changing.
“There were some days you just hated it and then there were times when you think you don’t ever want to go back home,” Steptoe said. “You challenge yourself. You grow. I was ready for the American dream and thought that it was the best quality of life, and then I went and experienced that. My eyes were open and now I have an appreciation for what we have here, but I will never forget what I had there either.”
Students graduating in May with student loans will need to contact their lender about deferment or forbearance on their loan.
Students interested in applying for the teaching opportunity should email Mueller at Kathryn_Mueller@baylor.edu.
They can also visit her office at 316 Burleson Hall to pick up an application and set up an interview. Her office number is (254) 710-6235. Interviews can be scheduled for today, Friday and Saturday.