Starting fresh in Thailand

From an accountant to a passionate teacher - Stephen has found balance by making a drastic life change.

Managing a stressful career and a costly life in Sydney, Stephen felt burdened and in need of a drastic life change. “All I was doing was working to survive, so I came to Thailand where the cost of living is a lot less” says Stephen, who is now teaching English in Bangkok. “Thailand has always called me to come here. It’s the best decision I ever made.”

I just got to the point in Sydney, where I was so frustrated with my life, that I needed to change something.

Stephen’s career has taken him from 15 years in accounting, to 10 years in the travel industry, and finally, to a career that he’s passionate about – teaching English in the tropics. After falling in love with Thailand’s relaxed culture on holiday, Stephen decided that it was where he wanted to be. “I just got to the point in Sydney, where I was so frustrated with my life, that I needed to change something”. What he realised though, is that to gain a working visa, he’d need a degree related to English language. Stephen had never needed one in the past – “I was quite lucky to be employed as a QBE, which means qualified by experience, so I never needed the piece of paper to say that I could do the job that I wanted to do”.

communications student stephen christopher against the wall
Stephen -studied Communication with Griffith University, through Open Universities Australia.

At the time, Stephen was still in full-time work, so he turned to Open Universities Australia for a flexible study option. He enrolled in Griffith University’s Bachelor of Communication, online through OUA, with majors in Screen Studies and Creative Writing. The writing and language skills were most significant to Stephen’s plans, but he thoroughly enjoyed the opportunities to write film and documentary scripts, and short stories. “These were the classes I’d look forward to every semester” he recalls. He even modelled his own class structure after the structure of his writing subjects, teaching his Thai students to become more creative and effective writers. Stephen found his experience so engaging, that he moved onto postgraduate study, taking steps towards his Masters by completing a Graduate Certificate in Communications.

communications student stephen christopher talking with students

Now, a few years after graduation, Stephen finds himself working for one of the world’s most reputable English language companies, Wall Street English. English language is a highly important learning area in Thailand, which allows students to work in international companies based in Thailand and abroad. Stephen takes pride in his work, and loves to see the growth of his students – he feels like he’s making a contribution to their future success. “It’s a great opportunity for me to help them improve their English, so they can improve their lives.”

With a rewarding job to get out of bed for everyday, and less financial strain, Stephen is enjoying his life more than ever. “Studying my Bachelor of Communication has opened the door for me to live and work in Thailand, and live the life that I’ve always wanted to live.”

communications student Stephen Christopher standing

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