A Burmese Student At The Best Friend School

El-Branden Brazil

A Burmese Student At The Best Friend School
Photography by El-Branden Brazil

Located in Mae Sot, on the Thai-Burma border, The Best Friend School was established by Ashin Sopaka, a Saffron Revolution leader, to provide education to refugee and migrant worker children from Burma.

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Rethinking Education

Thanks for writing! jackie

Noony Trudges On


Education is culture under restraint.  Culture is free.

– Leo Tolstoy

What does education mean to a refugee?

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University and Traveling

Love On The Open Road

Half a semester is almost gone and I am on my study break this week. I thought I should share something about traveling and studying in National University of Singapore.

1. You can never get the names of people 

Everyday you are bound to meet people in your course but you don’t know their names. It is always awkward but here is a solution to it let’s just make it simple and call each other “Mate”. This is what we do when Dale and I do when we meet so many people and cannot remember every single name. Sometimes, when we just cannot remember the person’s name we ended up giving the person a nickname. I think we are the oddest couple because we are still having conversations about people who we met a year ago.

In Singapore, when you meet someone in school and somehow they don’t remember your name…

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Teaching English In Thailand

I started teaching English in Thailand to get a new experience and prolong my travels. It was a short term plan until I figured out my future. Six years later that experience has developed into a career with real opportunities. I now wake up every day looking forward to going to work, my job puts a smile on my face. 

I’m 100 % sure that if I was still living in the UK I would not have this feeling. It is not only the job satisfaction, it is also the lifestyle I am able to live. I live in a country where strangers smile at each other, I live 1 hour away from tropical islands and i get to eat delicious food every day. If I was living and working in the UK, I would have to  work extremely long hours every week in a job i probably didn’t really enjoy just to give my self a small chance of visiting a place like Thailand for a 2 week holiday. (In reality I’d probably just earn enough to cover my costs of living!!) Now, I get to visit these beautiful places every weekend and work in a job that I love.

I first moved to Thailand in April 2009 to complete my TEFL Course in Phuket. The 4 week long course was a great way to get started. Since living here I have heard other teachers say many negative things about the TEFL course. I agree with some, however for me it was a great way to establish a friendship network in Thailand. I completed my course with 30 other trainees. These people would go on to become the friends I traveled with every weekend during my first year getting to know this country. The course did also teach useful teaching techniques although, when being faced with a classroom of 50+students I do question how useful they really are. They have certainly been more useful to me now I teach smaller class sizes, however small class sizes is not the norm for Thailand.

On completion of my TEFL I was placed into immediate employment in Angthong province, just north of Bangkok. I spent 3 years working at Satri Angthong School. This was a large government high school with 50+ students in each class. I enjoyed my time working here. However, after 3 years I had decided my future belonged in this amazing country and I needed a better job.

I moved to Nakhon Si Thammarat and began working for Si Thammarat Suksa School English Program. This is a school that offers the chance to climb the career ladder. It offers great bonuses, health insurance and even a pension scheme. It is  a school that takes care of their teachers. With less than 30 students per class it is a much more enjoyable environment in which to work. I can see my students progress each year and enjoy watching their development. I live near the popular islands of Koh Samui, Koh Tao and Koh Phangan, Krabi is only 3 hours away and Malaysia is on my doorstep. Life is great!


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