INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF SAMUI
Gap Year Program
About the Placement
What is a Gap Assistant?
The roles and responsibilities of a Gap Assistant at the International School of Samui (ISS) involves undertaking a 4 week or 8 week placement to gain work experience within a busy and professional international school setting being fully invested in every day life of the school and its students. But it is also having the opportunity to work in a structured workplace with responsibilities and strong expectations of you. This way, you will also get plenty of opportunities to discover the Kingdom of Thailand and South-East Asia before going onto University. A student undertaking a Gap Assistant role at ISS, although unqualified, is considered an integral member of staff with access to all the same facilities. They are expected to show leadership qualities, to be a role model to all the students and to develop appropriate relationships with both staff and students.
What does the role involve?
Your main role would be to assist in different teaching departments whilst fitting into established teaching programmes. A mentor and the school staff would work closely with you to enable you to gain experience and develop your strengths in the areas in which you are most interested, but that also fit within the needs of the school. During your placement, you will need to show some flexibility and dedication to the tasks which are expected of you. An outline of your duties could be for instance: taking part in practical lessons ; assisting with PE/ team sports sessions ; providing classroom support with reading or numeracy or project work ; be involved in or run extra curricular activities ; administrative support in various areas of the school ; organising equipment for activities and lessons ; assisting with school productions or house activities ; offering your support on school trips ; being involved in creative projects to enhance the image of the school ; supporting the development of the School Garden. You will meet your mentor during your induction week to establish which areas may be best suited to you.
You will need to learn to work within a set timetable and be motivated to always be professional within that school setting. You will have the opportunity to work with children and students who may be learning English for the first time and require some support to boost their confidence and language skills. Your role may at times make you feel you lack confidence however your mentor will be there to support you and you will receive regular feedback from our team.
You will work approximately 7 hours per day from 8am to 5pm with an hour for lunch (you may on occasion be assigned lunch duties). You may have additional time off during the day on some occasions. You will work on average around 35 hours per week from Monday to Friday. On occasion, you may be required to support an activity which does not fit within those timings.
Number of Gap Assistants
The school can cater for between 6 - 8 Gap Assistants during one 4 week session.
We strongly encourage pairing-up with a friend on this placement (if this is feasible). If you share this experience with a friend or acquaintance you will feel more able to enjoy everything the island and the Country have to offer.
You will be living in the Residence adjacent to the school – a 7 bedroom comfortable house with plenty of indoor and outdoor space and built in 2019 to very modern standards. All bedrooms have fans, air-conditioners and are tastefully decorated. 5 bedrooms share 3 bathrooms and 2 bedrooms are en-suite. The house has 2 fully equipped kitchens, a chill room with TV, a large games room with pool table, ping pong and table football. Plenty of peaceful outdoor space to relax. The school facilities are on your doorstep and will give you plenty of space to relax. The house has a full working garden with chickens, rabbits, cats and a large amount of vegetable and fruit growing.
You will mostly have an option of Western or Thai/Asian food. The housekeeper is very experienced at making lots of different dishes Thai or Western. School lunches offer both options. There will be staple supplies for your weekends but if you enjoy cooking you can ask for what you need or go to the market with the Housekeeper to choose your ingredients.
During your placement the renting of motorbikes or hitching a ride on a motorbike is strictly forbidden. There is access to a car if the Gap Assistant has been issued with an international driving licence. You will be required to sign an agreement abiding to these strict safety rules. Samui and Thai roads are notoriously dangerous (refer to the British Embassy website for more information), stray dogs are an issue, sand and potholes are a real hazard on Thai roads as well as inexperienced fast drivers who do not consider motorcyclists. You will be required to sign a motorbike disclaimer to this effect. As a foreigner you will normally be deemed to be at fault no matter what the circumstances of any incident on the roads.
Koh Samui has a number of high quality international hospitals however these are expensive if you need to be treated. You will need full comprehensive accident/injury and medical insurance which covers you for in and out-patient care including Covid insurance.
ISS was founded by Jeremy and Victoria Lees in 2007 for their eldest daughter Arabella, with both her and her younger 4 siblings spending many happy and fulfilling years there. Jeremy continues to oversee the school from a Board level perspective with a dedicated CEO reporting directly to him. The school caters for students from all corners of the Globe from Nursery years to A-level and follows the British Curriculum operating an independent school ethos which includes plenty of sport, extra-curricular activities, a strong house system and a happy and positive learning environment. Students at ISS sit their iGCSEs and A-levels and then move onto many universities around the World. Many students come to ISS with little or no English but leave full of confidence and a strong mastery of English.
Koh Samui is a popular tourist island on the south-eastern coast of Thailand in the Gulf of Thailand. Samui is a small island surrounded by picture perfect tropical white sandy beaches and coconut palms. The ring road runs mostly around the coast of the island whilst the interior of the island is hilly and full of vibrant green jungle. The hills and beaches provide picturesque hikes with astounding views. Since 2012 Koh Samui has developed considerably however, the island still remains a special place to live and work. The island is 1 hour direct flight from Bangkok or an overnight bus or train ride to Donsak (nearest port to Samui on the mainland). The ferry from there takes approx. 1.5hours to the southern most part of the island. You can drive around the whole island in around 90mins. The sun sets around 6:30pm and rises around 5:30am every day of the year. Nearby the island of Koh Phangan is reachable by fast ferry in around 40 mins and the island of Koh Tao in around 90mins. They both offer very different weekend getaways and plenty of stunning scenery and activities. On the whole, Koh Samui is a picture perfect tropical paradise which is why so many tourists who discover it end up moving there for good!! (just as we did all those years ago....)
Climate and Weather
The climate of Koh Samui and Southern Thailand is generally hot and humid. Temperatures in the hottest season (April to June) can reach 40 Degrees Celcius. The rainy season can be anytime from October to December, one year is rarely the same!! The tropical climate has very high humidity levels which can make the day feel quite tiring and sweaty so bring suitable clothing. Drinking plenty of water is essential for good health. Most of the year the weather on Samui is sunny and hot with beautiful clear nights.
Bugs and other Wildlife
Mosquitoes can be an issue in the Tropics therefore, it is wise to come prepared - bring bug repellent and long clothing for the evenings. The school and the house are fumigated weekly to decrease the amount of mosquitoes which is effective. Beaches can have sandflies but this mostly affects untouched beaches so shouldn't be an issue on well trodden ones. In the Tropics, where the jungle is prevalent it is not unusual to come across snakes, scorpions, centipedes and other beasties which are all part of the fantastic ecosystem and the charm of discovering such stunning habitats. Be wise and don't venture out with the the wrong clothing and footwear and you will make memories!
Road safety remains our biggest concern and riding on a motorbike is forbidden during your placement. Never travel alone on a road or a beach after dark by foot. The island is a tourist island and therefore travelling alone to tourists nightspots is not generally considered wise. The island has some wonderful night markets which are a favourite of the locals and expats alike. For a wonderful evening experience the village of Fishermans’ (around 10 mins from the school) ticks all the boxes with a wonderful atmosphere and plenty to do and see. Many of the high end hotels also offer day passes with access to their beach and pool facilities for weekend chill-outs.
Night-life and Safety
Our recommendation would be to never travel alone after dark in Thailand or South East Asia. Furthermore be cautious when hailing a taxi as they are not as regulated as in the West. Find a taxi driver (preferably female as alcohol can be an issue amongst the male ethos of the country) that you are able to trust and pre-arrange the return journey with them. Do not ride on a Taxi motorbike after dark. Before Covid, Songtaews (sort of a local bus) were plentiful as well as an island bus service which ran a regular route around the island, however both of these services have more or less been suspended since Covid. So you will mostly rely on taxis or driving yourself (if you are licensed!.
Logistics & Travel
Flights should be booked directly to Koh Samui (USM) on the same ticket.
All flights should be fully refundable in the event of Covid rules into Thailand restricting travel into the country at short notice.
All Covid paperwork needs to be completed prior to travel via the Thailand Pass website
Passports and Visas
Your passport should have a validity of 6 months or more to travel to Thailand. If you do not have a British passport please inform us. You have two options for your visa:
Apply for a Tourist Visa at any Thai Embassy or consulate (normally London or Hull in the UK). You will be will be issued a 60 day Visa. Once in Thailand you can extend this for another 30 days maximum. After that you must leave the country. You should not exceed this 90 day limit.
Arrive in Thailand without a tourist visa and you will be issued a 'Visa on Arrival' visa lasting for 30 days. You can extend this visa twice, 30 days at a time, to a maximum of 90 days. After that you must leave the country. You should not exceed this 90 day limit.
For the ease of administration you will be enrolled at ISS as a Year 13 Plus student.
Airport Meet and Greet
Currently we cannot meet you at the airport. A dedicated driver will pick you up to take you directly to your test and go hotel. Once the Covid rules are fully relaxed in Thailand we will be able to welcome you and meet you at Samui International airport arrivals. The airport is a 10 mins drive to the house and the school.
4 week placement - THB 94,599 (approx £ 2,200)
8 week placement - THB 189,198 (approx £ 4,400)
What this fee includes?
A fully immersive work experience placement working at the International of Samui fulfilling the duties of a Gap Assistant as outlined in "About the Placement". You will undertake a full working week of around 35 hours and gain invaluable experience within a robust organisation.
Full lodging in our dedicated school Residence which is adjacent to the school grounds with large beautiful gardens, very comfortabley furnished rooms with aircon, including a large games room with pool table, and a full time housekeeper.
Full board for the duration you are on placement (breakfast and dinner will be served at the residence and lunch will be served at school, weekend meals are not catered for, however supplies will be provided).
A personal housekeeper who will provide breakfast and dinner on site during the working week and support you in managing your lodgings for the duration of your placement.
A cleaning team will look after the house and communal areas twice a week.
Access to the school's sports and leisure facilities on your doorstep including a 25m outdoor lane pool ; basketball court ; music facilities ; plenty of outdoor space in a safe environment; tropical garden and a fully equipped games room.
Collection from the airport (depending on Government Covid Rules at the time of your placement).
Emergency night duty support as required.
Communication and planning prior to your arrival on the island.
Support and guidance throughout the registration process.
Mentoring during your placement.
Support with, and organising of, weekend activities, additional volunteering opportunities and additional paid courses.
Support with making the most of your time on the island!
What this fee does NOT include?
Your flight to and from Koh Samui
Any COVID restrictions which need to be adhered to such as testing and quarantine hotels
Any visa costs and renewal costs
Additional transport costs whilst on the island during your free time.
Access to a rental car if needed (provided you have experience of driving and hold an international driving license).
Any additional volunteering or professional qualifications you may undertake during your weekends or after your placement
Local mobile phone SIM access
Money transfer or charges
Any additional flights, train or ferry costs you may undertake to travel within Thailand or South East Asia during or after your placement
Any clothing costs which may be required for your working days (a couple of school polo shirts and a school PE tee-shirt will be supplied though)
Any costs of damages or breakages or loss to your personal electronic items such as phones / laptops / ear pods or headphones …etc etc
There are two additional en-suite guest-rooms in the annexe within the residence if family members or close friends wish to visit. These rooms cost £55 per room per night on a room only basis.
TERM 3 - 2022
1st 4 week placement* - Monday 25th April 2022 to Friday 20th May 2022
2nd 4 week placement* – Monday 30th May 2022 to Friday 24th June 2022
(End of term is on 24th June)
* Students on an 8 week placement option can stay at the residence for the week between the 1st and 2nd placement for free. We do recommend however that they take advantage of the time to go diving on Koh Tao. It is one of the best diving sites in the world.
Recommendation: Allow 1 week prior to starting dates in order to fulfill any Covid quarantine requirements and Induction training.
Payment is required in full at least 30 days before the placement starts.
Invoices will be issued in Thai Baht from the school, and are payable by bank transfer to Thailand.
Refunds will be issued if cancellation is made at least 2 weeks before the placement starts, less 20% of the invoiced fee to cover administrative costs.
In the event of circumstances changing due to COVID, please see our COVID policy & Visas page.