Nic Brown arrived in Thailand just over a year ago. He came to the country to teach English after traveling to an astonishing seventeen countries around the world over the last five years. After finishing his teaching contact he decided to stay on in Thailand and obtained a tourist visa.
Last summer Nic Brown was exploring Chaing Mai and went to a bar in an upscale part of the city that he described as “not a dangerous place”. When a fight broke out in the bar between a Thai patron and the bar tender Brown assisted in breaking up the fight. Although he was successful in stopping the fight, later the patron returned to the bar with a gun.
Brown was left paralyzed from the waist down following the shooting, and after four months in hospital Thai doctors have told him that they don’t know if he’ll ever walk again. Currently, the shooter’s family is paying for Brown’s medical expenses, but the bills are starting to pile up. Additionally, he’s not sure what sort of medical expenses will be covered when he returns home.
When travelers leave British Columbia for more than seven months, they return to no medical coverage for the three months it takes for B.C. Medical Services to kick back in.
The Canadian Victims Abroad fund is paying for Brown’s plane ticket home in December, and he hopes he will access to the services he needs to cope with his paralysis.
Ben Glickman of Footprints Recruiting Inc., a firm that connects more than 1,000 Canadian teachers with jobs in Korea and Southeast Asia each year, says while Brown’s experience is unfortunate, it is not typical for the vast majority of globetrotters.
“I think for the most part, it is safe. In fact, a lot of these countries are safer than being at home, a lot of them have less crime and less weapons than you’d find in a typical North American city,” he says. Glickman warns that all travellers and teachers abroad should make sure to have travelers insurance, register with the Canadian consulate and make sure family and friends know how to contact you.
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