By Shannon Barbour
In a month, a group of Baylor University graduates will travel to Thailand to teach at the Chitralada Palace School.
Graduates will be paid to teach American English to the future king of Thailand and other Thai children, without needing any previous teaching experience.
“I’ve been to so many places around the world. To have something like this offered, I don’t know any other place that does this. This is like teaching at the Polytechnique in Paris, France. This is an amazing program,” said Kathryn Mueller, senior lecturer in sociology and volunteer director of the Chitralada Palace School program.
The Chitralada Palace School program is not a Baylor study abroad program and will last until the end of March 2016.
Mueller will host information sessions every hour from 5-7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday in 341 Draper Academic Building.
The program was originally proposed by Mueller, who noticed a need for students in Thailand to learn American English instead of the British English they were being taught. The program has been going on for 20 years.
“I thought at the time, ‘these children should be exposed to American English,’” Mueller said. “We’re fortunate that American English is the standard English used all over the world. I thought it would be good for these students.”
Graduates of all majors are invited to apply to the program and are not expected to know how to speak Thai. However, students must be American citizens to be eligible to teach at the school.
Jessica Steptoe graduated from Baylor in 2011 and said teaching at the palace in Bangkok was an honor.
Steptoe was an education major at Baylor and was able to teach the prince of Thailand when he was a baby.
“It helped me to expand upon my confidence,” Steptoe said. “I’m more appreciative of the opportunities we have here in America, but I’m also very cognizant of other cultures. I feel like I’ve become a student of the world.”
Those who participate in the program will be paid a salary, which Mueller calls above average for instructors, in addition to paid work visas, airfare, room, some board and utilities. Transportation will also be provided.
Mueller said students should take advantage of this program while they are in the transition between undergraduate studies and graduate school or a career.
“I loved what this program was able to do for me. Personally, spiritually, financially, it was great,” Steptoe said. “Any student who is looking for an opportunity to challenge themselves in a unique capacity should look into this program. The benefits will pay for themselves.”
Applications are due Wednesday and can be found in Mueller’s office, 314 BurlesonHall.
For more information, students can contact Mueller at Kathyrn_Mueller@Baylor.edu or visit her in her office.