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A note from the Thailand GapYear Internships Course Director…

One of our recent Instructor Development Courses (IDC) is a perfect example of what first attracted me to the idea of working as a PADI Course Director. When we met on day one for introductions and an orientation, we found that the 17 candidates on the course came from 11 different countries. Each had made their way to Koh Tao, a tiny island in the Gulf of Thailand, to further their knowledge and create new opportunities for themselves in a career which they are passionate about.

Likewise, the instructional staff of 7 Course Directors, Master Instructors and IDC Staff Instructors, each hailed from different countries and had diverse backgrounds. Nonetheless, we were able to find a way to work well together to not only effectively impart the needed information, but to do so while ensuring that the process was fun for the candidates. We enjoyed bringing our different experiences into our teaching and showing people how their strengths outside of diving can be applied to their dive careers.

Koh Tao IDC

Though Mark and I received our university degrees in the same field, Philosophy, we come from opposite sides of the world and have had vastly different journeys in our lives. Our paths converged about 9 years ago when he first asked me to come along and assist on an Instructor Development Course that he was teaching. Since then, we have become great friends and good business partners.

From our perspective, the strength of our IDC is in our diversity. Today, Mark’s interest in the industry lies in the academic side of the IDC’s. He is truly amazing in the classroom and his knowledge of diving is impeccable. He will soon be doing his Dive Medic Technician course to allow him to gain further knowledge on the medical aspects of diving.

PADI IDC on Koh Tao island

On the other hand, I still love the water and am always seeking out new areas to explore. I’ve been a qualified technical diving instructor for many years and love searching for new adventures on wrecks and pushing my dive limits. My wife and I are always looking for off-the-beaten track places to visit on our holidays which offer distinct and unfamiliar dive experiences for us. I have recently rediscovered my fascination with cave diving after a 15 year spell away from it. That’s one of the great things about scuba diving- it offers such a wide range of experiences that it never gets old!

As each IDC nears its end, I am pretty familiar with the many differing emotions which will fill me in the final days. In the beginning, I’ll be relieved that it’s over and I will be positively buoyant at the successful achievements of my candidates. Some will remain to further their careers through the Master Scuba Diver Trainer (MSDT) Internship and I know I will enjoy teaching them further. I will at times feel a sense of sadness as many from this group of people that I have invested so much of my time in, will leave the island to make their way in the world as new PADI Instructors. I will feel hope that they find as much fulfilment, adventure and fun as I have had as a dive instructor. But most of all, I am grateful that they have entrusted me with the task of teaching them.

New PADI instructors after their Thailand diving internship

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