Submit your own 'Great Escape' »

Rolando Tomasse

posted on 18th May 2012

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved to Jeddah Saudi Arabia about a month and a half ago.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

I lived in Thailand for one school year (two semesters) or about eleven months.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

The short answer? Money. Don't get me wrong, I love Thailand very much, but unfotunately I hate 'bein' broke' even more. The whole time I lived there I realized that I was always the only teacher on campus who actually had a bachelor's degree that didn't come from Kao San Road. Insult was added to injury when I found out that those teachers where getting paid more than me; they knew the scams, they knew that they had to nail the agent down to a higher salary. I just thought she was such a nice lady, I thought I could trust her and I got screwed.

Q4. What are the advantages of working where you are now compared to Thailand?

The short answer? Money! I make about 100,000 baht a month out here, and that is actually what they pay you when they are 'ripping you off' in this country!

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

I miss my friends and the culture, the entire Thai aesthetic. I am living under strict Sharia Law now, so I definitely miss girls and beer, nightclubs and movie theaters. All of that is illegal out here.

Q6. Would you advise a new teacher to seek work in Thailand or where you are now?

I would tell any new ESL teacher to understand Thailand for what it is: If teaching English overseas were a board game (and for most of us it is at times) then Thailand would be the first square on the board - the starting point. So you should start your ESL career in Thailand, but you should never finish it there.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Well I am only eight hours away and the semester here ends at the start of Ramadan (in August) so yes, I will be back in the land of smiles in just over two months. As luck would have it, I met a nice girl on my last night in Bangkok, so I am looking forward to seeing her and catching up with friends. Except this time I will be staying at the Baiyoke Tower instead of some crappy 200 baht a night guesthouse near Koa San Road.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

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About was started as a small hobby website in 1999 by Ian McNamara. It was a simple way for one Bangkok teacher to share his Thailand experiences and pass on advice. The website developed a loyal and enthusiastic following. In 2004, Ian handed over the reins to Phil Williams and 'Bangkok Phil' has run the ajarn website ever since. has grown enormously and is now the most popular TEFL site in Thailand - possibly even South East Asia. Although best-known for its vibrant jobs page, Ajarn has a wealth of articles, blogs, features and help and advice. But one principle has always remained at Ajarn's core - to tell things like they are and to do it with a sense of humor. Thailand can be Heaven or Hell for an English teacher. It's always been's duty to present both sides of the equation. Thanks for stopping by.