The CELTA Way: A Handful of Basil but the Course Ain’t Fawlty!

You may or may not know but I’m currently in ChiangMai, Thailand, studying the intensive 4 week CELTA course with International House Bangkok. The description of the course is accurate; give up your social life!. We are well outside CM, in the middle of agrarian countryside with few, if any, local amenities. We do have the incense factory at the end of the street, a quaint shop/coffee-house in an open plan living space and a few street-side eateries hanging on to the paddy fields.

Life is a cycle of sleep and study with little downtime even at the Assaradevi Towers where we stay. “Basil” (behind reception) is essentially helpful but a little dizzy, blessed with a Herculesian physique that suggests the choice of gym over academia. The accommodation is pretty good but the service eccentric to say the least. This was the response to a request for outdoor seating, “Owner does not like guest drink, go to room or Chiangmai”. We therefore sat for an hour or more on the rotting poolside furniture, one archaic sun bed collapsed. The matriarchal owner referred to is fearsome and “in control”; if you fail to order breakfast the night before you are severely admonished.  That said I’m relatively comfortable here with decent room and a good hot shower. The Internet connection is the speed of an Indian ticket dispenser which travellers will know is more tortoise than hare. I can envisage Ma Fawlty frantically operating her wind up ISP service in her kitchen. At the training centre the connection is swift and efficient.

The people on the course are great and the atmosphere generally positive.  The teachers are mostly great; Rufus, our last week, was fantastic.  We’ve lost a few “bods”; one went AWOL (apparently not the first time) on the second day and another a couple of days later because she’s scared of being in front of people (not good if your teaching). A third departure is as yet in abeyance. The training centre food is also pretty good as is the local fare on the B road to school; on Saturday we demolished “the dogs bollocks soup” which can be viewed in the slide show.

During the week we’re driven in to continue our endless cycle of read, write, observe and study. Our day begins around 6 with self-study in our rooms after which we are shipped to the at or around 8:45 am for a breakfast of eggs plus … The day is a packed maelström of activities which concludes with observations or teaching practice from 5:45 pm – 8:00pm, then its dinner and a ferry back to Basil. I often carry on studying to around 11:00pm before collapsing into my shut-eye.

This weekend (as there’s no bus) we walked into school and back and managed to snap a bit of iphoneography using the VSCO app. The weekend highlight is the Supermarket Safari to Big C where we can get KFC, real New Zealand cheese (I hate Korea), excellent bread (I hate Korea) and Gin. Heres the sideshow.


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2 thoughts on “The CELTA Way: A Handful of Basil but the Course Ain’t Fawlty!

  1. A very illuminating post Gary, I’m interested to see your thought as you progress. Do you have any insider tips for someone who may be deciding very soon wether or not to do CELTA at IH Chiang Mai?!


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