TravelBud - Teach English Abroad

TravelBud

About

At TravelBud everyone you deal with is someone who has taught or volunteered abroad before. We all passionately believe in the life-changing power of the teach & volunteer abroad experience, both for those we place and for the students who gain new mentors from around the world. We carefully select each program to ensure it both makes a beneficial impact on the community it's based in and is a rewarding and life-changing cultural experience for the teachers & volunteers too.

Something we're extremely proud of is our comprehensive support system. Whether it's before departure or once you're overseas there is always someone just an email or phone-call away to answer any question you might have no matter how small - we've always got your back. And it doesn't end there, we've kept in touch with many of our alumni for years after they return back to life at home. When you sign on with TravelBud you'll become part of our global family for life!

Website
Founded
2013
Headquarters

Office SG101B1, Great Westerford
Corner Dean St & Main Rd
Rondebosch
Cape Town
7700
South Africa

Teach English Abroad: Summer 2019 Options | Thailand, Korea, Vietnam, Myanmar & Panama

Our next Teach English Abroad intakes, closing soon:

Thailand: Start September 30th | Closing 5 August
Vietnam: Start October 14th | Closing 19 August
South Korea: Start October 28th | Closing 19 August

Reviews

Default avatar
Marco
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

When choosing a programme to work overseas, you require a lot of guidance. TravelBud gives you so much more. Along with pre-departure support, you receive guidance, administrative support and a great TESOL/TEFL course. Above all of that, you work closely with your individual agent. I found that my agent, Lucy, was an exceptional guide. She gave me emotional support and provided me with the tools to ensure that I would be comfortable upon arrival in Thailand by always being ready to communicate and answer any questions that I might have had. The agency and Lucy often shared their personal stories and travel experiences. At times, I find myself referring back to their advice and stories, to get me through whatever challenge stands before me.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Always say yes and be open to any opportunities that come your way, because that’s when your world starts opening up.
Josh
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Travel Bud was extremely helpful with all our pre-departure planning. They made sure we were constantly up to date and in the loop with what was happening and what we needed to do. They assist you in getting all your relevant documentation together. You are made to feel at ease knowing you have everything you need.

It is almost always very scary going on adventures like these, and I can confidently say that Travel Bud really make you feel a lot calmer and less nervous while leading up to your departure. They are always available to help you when needed and answer any questions you have (even when you have very many - sorry Lucy! ;))

Travel Bud is also great with communication. They always check up to make sure you are okay and checking if they are able to help in any way.

I would (and already have) highly recommend Travel Bud to anyone.

Default avatar
Marco
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Using a travel agency to start working overseas comes with many benefits. When working with TravelBud, not only do you get administrative support, a great Tesol course and you get to make connections pre-departure, but you also get emotional and honest communicative support. My agent, Lucy, communicated well and was always ready to answer any questions or guide me through any difficulties. I recommend using TravelBud because you will be working with individuals who have experience in what you are about to embark on. There were many times leading up to my departure where the agency and Lucy would share stories about their adventures and give their advice. Now, in Thailand, I often refer back to those stories and little gems in order to get me through whatever challenge I can overcome.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Always say yes and be open to connect. When traveling abroad, opportunities you never even dreamed of come your way. When you embrace these chances with open arms, that’s when life really starts moving.
Fruzsina
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I only did the orientation week as I already had teaching qualifications. In the orientation week, they tried to squeeze lots of information in about culture, history, language, expectations in school which was helpful. Even though we were asked about our priorities for placement, it was not clear how it actually worked, how it was decided who goes where. For me, it worked out well, but for some, it was completely the opposite.
In general, I found the program quite expensive for mainly getting only some advice on life in Thailand and getting a placement, we had to pay everything on top of that (accommodation, food, etc.). It's nice to have all this information in one place, and get prepared for the life in Thailand, but I feel that we've just been passed from agent to agent, and that inflated the costs. Apart from that, I'm happy that I met like-minded people at the orientation week, and we were always kept busy with programs. However, I don't find it essential for teaching, as most of the time, you'll only get the answer: "it depends on which school, which region".

What would you improve about this program?
As many people come here without experience and only with an online TESOL course, it would be helpful to get more info about lesson planning, different teaching methods, grading system, classroom management.
Response from TravelBud

Hi Fruzsina, thanks for the review and for taking the time to go into so much detail with your feedback.

Lucy mentioned what a great time you're having in Thailand and that's fantastic to hear :)

I just wanted to take a moment to highlight some of the other benefits you get from our program - even though you didn't need our TESOL course - I apologize if you're enrollments coordinator didn't highlight this properly for you. You'll also benefit from our lifetime placement guarantee. What this means is that once you're finished your contract in Thailand, you can renew there at the same school or a different one, free of charge. You can also opt to switch out to another program destination which you may qualify for such as Myanmar or Vietnam to teach there - you also wouldn't be charged for us or our partners facilitating that again.

And just quickly to touch on the agent system you mentioned in your review - I know it can seem a little intimidating and perhaps confusing. In Thailand, there are thousands of agents who recruit teachers for schools within the country, most of these don't have the means to reach quality candidates to hire them directly. They then reach out to ground handlers in Thailand like our partners you were fetched by and accommodated with when you arrived. These handling partners make sure you have a smooth arrival into the country and are as prepared as possible to be a responsible and effective teacher by putting you through the intensive (but fun) orientation you had. They also handle on-the-ground issues which your agent or school may be unable to solve for you. These can include things as serious as major medical or legal emergencies or language barrier issues and basic culturally-sensitive conflict resolution. We handle the outreach, marketing and recruitment on behalf of all parties you've dealt with in Thailand. We have long-standing relationships with these partners and know their management personally - we also regularly do visits and meet-ups with our partners to assess the continued quality of service being provided to everyone.

Regarding your suggestion for improvement, I'll have Lucy reach out to you but our program does come with access to many of these online resources for teachers. If you could take a look and if you feel they could be improved, please send us or our partners an email so that we can build on that feedback and improve the resources for you going forward.

Again, thanks for the review and we're thrilled to see you having a good time in Thailand!

Default avatar
Reanne
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The reason why I chose to do this program with the TESOL is to learn more about the culture and prepare myself for my placement. This placement did it as whilst learning to teach, we were able to travel to different cities during the first month. They offered a few classes to learn more about history and language but I felt it was better for myself to experience it.

But the only thing I would say is, always plan for the unexpected because sometimes things change last minute and you need to be able to handle that as you are out in another country on your own.

Other than that, I have really enjoyed myself so far teaching here as the people who I've encountered with have been friendly! Living here isn't so expensive and travelling places is quite easy to use! Just make sure you are prepared for the month especially if it's your first time!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Honestly just do it, I’m always the one that kicks myself if I miss an opportunity like this. But you can head home if you don’t like it, but just know that there are people in the same situation as you whilst you’re out here! Whether it’s your first time working/travelling abroad, it’s a journey you can’t miss!
Response from TravelBud

Thanks so much for the wonderful review Reanne! So glad you're having a great time in South Korea, it seems like you embarked on this venture with the perfect attitude of open-mindedness to make the absolute most out of everything coming your way.

If there are any changes you're finding difficult to adjust to in Korea, please give Saskia a shout, she's great for advice or even just to be a listening ear, if that's what you need :)

Jobs

Programs

Alumni Interviews

Alumni interviews are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Tim Mansfield

Teaching English overseas in Thailand

T

Why did you choose this program?

I honestly chose this program after some extensive research and feeling quite confident that this program was not a ‘scam’ and was about giving people the experience. It made out it would!

The program on the their website was clear and precise and has detailed information about the teaching program in Thailand. This putting at ease that their wouldn’t be any curve balls to come at me later on.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

My program provider was Travelbud. They assisted me with any questions or queries I had and always had an answer for me. Always we assuring me that big or small all questions were important to them in order to help me with my progress for beginning this new chapter. Things being from visas, money exchange, transportation, what clothes to bring, etc., etc.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

If you have nothing holding you back at home, I say go for it! Throwing yourself out there, doing something completely foreign to you in a new country, really pushes your comfort zones and you grow a lot from it. I have had a great time whilst teaching over here in Thailand and I highly recommended anyone thinking of teaching abroad to do it!

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

Whilst doing the program and getting my TESOL accreditation, a typical day would be 8 - 4pm in the classroom, studying and learning required teaching knowledge with practical practice I’m class. Once competent, we would have placement teaching days putting our theory and practice into work giving us first hand experience.

A typical day for me now whilst teaching consists of Monday-Friday 7:45am - 3pm

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear was committing to this program without knowing some information, worried that something would come up which would be really off putting and frustrating. However, as I mentioned earlier, this was overcome by Travelbuds proactive and friendly staff who would reassure me and help me with any questions or queries I might have. Once arriving in Thailand, I knew exactly what to expect from their insightful help.

What advice do you have for future travelers?

Prepare to be patient...

The simplest of tasks can become quite challenging and even frustrating and you have to adapt to be patient with this. Things I have faced due to the language barrier are getting a haircut and asking for a trim and instead getting a buzz cut!! Having my laptop break and having a black screen, telling IT that it had a black screen and that it wouldn’t turn on. After two weeks, I chase them up only for them to tell me it has a black screen. I already knew this; what’s causing it and can it be fixed!?

The simplest of tasks can be difficult but you learn from these initial struggles and find ways to adapt to get your message across and it does get much easier.

More Interviews

Staff Interviews

Staff interviews are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Sarah Jansen Van vuuren

Job Title
Enrollments coordinator
Sarah is an Enrollments coordinator that has just come back from Vietnam; on her travels, she managed to meet many people and gain many experiences. She will be your guiding hand on planning your adventure.

What is your favorite travel memory?

My favorite travel memory was going to Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park. It is a protected area in north-central Vietnam bordering the Hin Namno Reserve in Laos. I remember taking the train super early to leave 'Vinh city and only had one day to venture around this place. It was honestly the most beautiful place I'd ever seen.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I have grown a lot since I have started at Travelbud. I have learnt a lot and really have enjoyed teamwork. I have really enjoyed helping applicants embark on their adventure abroad and really give them first- hand experience advice.

I love how Travelbud always strives to make everything easy and convenient for all our applicants.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

I think the best stories I have heard were from the students that went on the TESOL course with me. We were from all parts of the world, coming from different backgrounds, but we all decided to be there at the same time. I experienced many memories and just watching everyone grow and become closer was incredible.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I would love to do any of our volunteer programs, I am so excited that there are these new programs. My favorite one would definitely be the volunteer program in Zanzibar where I could help provide educational support to the community and experience a different culture. It would be amazing to stay on the beach and taste all the different food that the Island has to offer.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

Travelbud is unique as we always try and get to know our applicants and really see what the best program would be for them. I am excited to introduce more of our volunteer programs to our applicants so that they have a chance to experience Africa as well! I am proud of our team as we always try and work together and highlight each other strengths.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

I feel that the biggest factor in being a successful company is having a collaborative and passionate attitude in all that you do. Being able to relate to each of our applicants and see what's best for them. It's also extremely important to be compassionate and always try and do your best. I feel that at Travelbud we try and do that every single day.

More Interviews
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