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Hi Jesse Scott:

First of all thank you for reading the long message. I just wanted to be as comprehensive in explaining my situation as possible.

I want some better informed thinking on where and how I can invest my time and money as I learn to scuba dive.

My question is should I sign up for a intern training course offerer in Pattaya (I live in Bangkok) an hour and a half from where I live even though I have no interest what so ever in becoming an instructor ever. What I do want is to learn to become an extremely skilled diver under the supervision of an instructor. What I don't want is just to head out on my own now that I have my open water certification. I don't have the skill or experience to partner with a buddy, a group and a dive master at this point. Furthermore when taking the open water course the instructor didn't recommend that I go on to the advance open water which I had planned to do when signing up for instruction.

I live in Bangkok so I can go to lost of places in Southeast Asia and learn a little bit at a time. My plan would be to take the open water course again and hopefully move on to the advance course but once I started reading about these internship programs I thought I should explore this as another option.

I can't go to live in Pattaya for 6 months nor can I dive every weekend because I work at lot but I have two months vacation per year and I also have several long holiday weekends. There wouldn't be any flying time involved and that means maximum dive time. On the other hand I can't think of a place I imagine to be less interesting than Pattaya as a Dive location. There are magnificent places to dive in this part of the world but I don't have the skill to take advantage of many of them. I did the open water in Semporna at Sipadan; in some respects it was good for a beginner and in other respects it was wasted on me.

I'm over 40 so I'm a late underwater bloomer so to speak.

Thanks again for your time and your consideration.

Hello Eyvonne:
I'm happy to give you some advice.  Since this is just my advice, I would also talk with other experienced divers that you meet that live in your area to ask them also.

First let me star with two statements:
- We learn by doing
- A good diver is always learning.

Every diver, even the most experienced, was once as you are now:  recently trained but with little experience.

There is only so much an instructor can do with you.  You must now go dive.  You have the basic skills to do so. You do have the basic knowledge you need to be a dive buddy, or swim with groups and other people learning just like yourself.  Being around other divers with different skills levels is another way we learn to dive.

I don't think, however, you (or me eiter) will ever be the perfect diver.  We can enhance our basic skills with additional education and experience.  I believe you should continue your eduction with an Advanced Diver class next.  You will gain additionl dive experience in several different areas.  Then pursue some of what I call the essential specialties such as:  Night Diver, Navigation, Boat, and Deep.  Maybe consider Rescue Diver in the future.

When done, you won't be a perfect diver, but you will be a comfortable and confident diver.  And, most of all, remember to have fun.

I have read about the internships available in your area and I think these are intended for a person who wishes to become an instructor or dive master.  If this is not what you want, then I would not pursue an internship.  

In summary:  dive as much as you can with as many different people as you can, and in as many different places as you can.  Have fun, be easy on yourself as you learn, and be willing to make a few mistakes.  Continue you education with a good instructor and seek confidence, comfort, and independence.  

Good luck in all you do!  Jesse

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