Sac State grads get the chance to teach English in Thailand

Erika Bradley

Sacramento State graduates have the opportunity to travel abroad and teach English in Thailand’s most prestigious first and secondary school, through a program administered by communications professor emeritus Thomas Knutson.

The teaching program at Chitralada Royal Palace School in Thailand, began 10 years ago and has had nearly 30 graduates enter the program. In three of the last five years, a Sac State alumni has been awarded foreign-language teacher of the year.

“People from Sacramento State have consistently displayed talents and professionalism beyond that of teachers from other schools,” Knutson said.

In many occasions, Sac State graduates have been chosen over graduates from the most prestigious universities in the country, including Yale, noted Knutson.

Although the preference of applicants include graduates with a degree in communications, English and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, students in different academic fields are encouraged to apply.

Graduates who are selected, will be prepared with pre-departure materials that help explain the differences between Thai and American culture and how to teach in Thailand.

“There will be a lot of culture shock, but that culture shock is lessened by learning about the culture before you leave,”Knutson said. “Out of all the cultures in the world, Thailand is the most hospitable.”

Applicant Muey Saeturn, believes this program is the best opportunity to be exposed to a new culture.

“I’ll get to learn how the world perceives [Americans],” Saeturn said. “Our country tends to be trapped in a cage where we don’t bother to learn about other cultures.”

The program is also intended to serve as an opportunity to embrace other cultures and lifestyles.

Sociology graduate student Deraan Washington, said she hopes to benefit a new outlook in life.

“I’m interested in learning more about culture and and share the experience and and I believe this program will be the first step ,” Washington said.

She said she has never been outside of the country but believes since she would be immersed into the culture, she would adapt quickly.

Some of the benefits of the program include round trip airfare, monthly salary, transportation to school, lunch on work days and free-single accommodation.  

Another benefit is working for King Bhumibol, founder of the Chitralada Royal Palace School.

King Bhumibol founded the school nearly 50 years ago. When Chitralada first opened, only royal family and members of the court could attend. Later, it opened up to the public and still remains to have the brightest students of Thailand.

For Sac State students graduating in May and  interested in teaching English in Thailand, contact Thomas Knutson for more information at  [email protected].