Students given opportunity to teach in Thailand

Elisha Angrisani

The Chitralada Royal Palace School is recruiting Sacramento State students for an opportunity to teach English for one year in Thailand.

The program was started by communication studies professor Thomas Knutson in 2006 and continues to pick applicants each year to teach in Thailand at the Chitralada Royal Palace in Bangkok.

Knutson returned this month from his 51st trip to Thailand and said it is a remarkable experience.

“Thai people are so hospitable and accommodating,” Knutson said.

The school year will start on May 22 and ends in March of next year. Student teachers will be instructing K-12 students and working 14 to 16 hours a week. Students are provided with round-trip airfare, single-living arrangements, a monthly salary of about $750 and transportation to work and lunch while working.

The Chitralada Royal Palace School is within royal residences in Bangkok. The school was founded by the monarch HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej and has built a reputation for being the most prestigious school in Thailand. The students speak both English and Thai, so being fluent in Thai is not necessary.

The palace started out to educate the personnel’s children and expanded to include other people.

“I went as a first-year student at Sac State and it was tough because I’m not really a teacher,” said Dwight Turner, communication studies graduate from Sac State.

Turner has been living in Thailand for three and half years, where he helps run a charity project called “In Search of Sanuk” and also is a co-founder of a major Thailand food blog.

Turner said he has a lot invested in Thailand now and he would like to stay as long as he can. He said he is 70 to 80 percent fluent in Thai and that he has more friends there than back in America.

Through this program Turner was able to experience being abroad without having to pay the price for it. He said he was able to work and even make a little money to live and really learn more about the Thai culture.

“The program is great because your flight is reimbursed and the trip is paid for,” Turner said.

Being in the first batch of students to go to Thailand to teach Turner was able to give some advice to future applicants who are thinking about applying.

“Be prepared and know as much as you can about the culture,” Turner said.

Knutson and Turner said they both agree the people are very hospitable and one can learn so much from their culture.

“In their culture the value of social harmony is so great and you learn so much from them,” Knutson said. ”The opportunity to go to Thailand and teach is a remarkable one and the students have really built a strong bridge between Sacramento and Bangkok. Royalty knows about Sac State.”

Simone Guazelli, graduate student said the program encouraged her to think about teaching overseas.

“I felt like this program opened up a doorway to the world and the opportunities that lie within, hence my new zeal for travel and the possibility of teaching abroad again,” Guazelli said.

For interested applicants, professor Knutson can be contacted at (916) 929-7651 or by email on [email protected].

Elisha Angrisani can be reached at [email protected].