Are you a teacher who once taught in Thailand but decided to seek out pastures new? Has the grass been greener on the other side? Maybe you swapped Thailand for the financial lure of Japan or Korea? Read about those who have left Thailand, and their reasons for moving...

Submit your own Great Escape


Badar

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved back to the USA in 2013.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

10 years including three years in an elementary school and five years at a university.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

Low salaries (no increases since 1990), increased stress, decreasing sanuk factor, increasing uptightness, and the fact that it's far better to be a classy hustler and bum in The USA than a stand-up tool pretending to be a teacher. Oh yes, and the suffocating heat that really hits a farang once they're not a young buck anymore. 35 years old usually.

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

Easy. Live in your car, shower at fitness centers, do all these odd jobs for wealthy people that are easy, work in easy short term service jobs, save all your money, go to Thailand whenever you want. You can have lots of dates easily in the USA using dating apps. Of course, you'll have to have a bullshit story because women are all hustlers there too, but heavens if you haven't learned to hustle as an English teacher in Thailand for 10 years.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

420 is very strong and cheap but this is offset by anti-human laws and a general alcoholic culture that glorifies stupidity. Thai girlfriends? I have a smoking hot Thai wife (who's cool as hell) and a large brood of leuk-kreung kids to look after. I go back and see them whenever I have money by hopping a China airlines barge - which as a bum in a wealthy area is quite often! I actually spend more time with my kids on Skype in the states than I did working seven days a week as a token western-looking face.

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

Do you have any self respect? Go be a teacher in Japan, Korea, Siberia, or just get an education degree and be a real teacher at home. Real teachers get paid well! Go anywhere but Thailand!

If you're a middle age victim of TEFL, suck it up and go live in a van in USA or Europe. Do odd jobs, work, make hundreds of dollars a day instead of tens. Enjoy a cool decent climate - it's easier to turn on heat than air-conditioning. You really want to make tens of dollars a day kissing arse to some cheap Thai boss? Also, its boring and stiflingly hot - unless you have a nice house in the country with a swimming pool to chill in.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

For holidays, of course. If one has a military pension, stay in Thailand forever but for god's sake, don't work there! It will suck your soul. You will become anemic and pathetic if you stay here as a long term farang (my opinion) and it's a fact that numerous teachers literally drop dead here from heart attacks. There are sixty-year olds who've lived here their whole lives and suddenly have no money, can't go home, and end up offing themselves

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Thailand was a promising country back in 2002, but there are serious political/social problems. To me it appears that this area has been designated as a cheap human labor zone by the international bankers who run this planet.


Terrance

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

Moved back to the USA (San Jose, CA) in October, 2016

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

Just shy of 4 years.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

Salary of course. Also, I am 33 years old and don't want to be an English teacher my entire life. It was never the long-term plan, but the years were tacking on one-by-one and I had to break the cycle. Regardless of several bargains, there is no denying that teacher salaries have barely budged in Thailand in the last 20 years, yet the cost of living is increasing everywhere.

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

Contrary to what a lot of foreigners complained about when they talked about "back home" and being tied down to a job they don't like, I actually have more flexibility with work, less overall hours, and a shorter commute, despite being in Southern California.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Meeting new people, especially Thai friends. I never understood my co-corkers who went to the British pubs on weekends to "get away and relax." If I wanted to be around the familiar sights of home, I would have just stayed in the USA initially.

I miss the cheap massages, street food, and exploring new places.

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

Have an exit plan and stick to it. I can't stress that enough. It was a lot harder to leave than I thought it would be initially, but once I committed to it and followed through with it, my quality of life has improved significantly.

Don't become a farang statistic in Thailand. Learn to speak Thai while you are in Thailand - It isn't too hard to learn if you practice. Make friends, but try to make more Thai friends instead of just surrounding yourself with fellow Westerners. Expect a low salary, and if you accept a position, don't whine and complain about the long hours, low pay, etc. It is what you signed up for!

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Maybe. I would want to come again and visit new places and experience new things. Maybe scuba diving or rock climbing, or some new motorbiking routes. It would be pointless to keep revisiting the same country to visit the same places and do the same things over and over. It's a big world.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

If you want to be an English teacher in Thailand, be committed. You need to have at least a little interest/passion in actually being a teacher and improving the lives of children. Too many teachers I worked with in Thailand just wanted to "live the dream" and became teachers because it was the only job available. So sad.


Matthew

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

Back to my hometown of Boston, Massachusetts in 2011.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

I began teaching in Thailand in 2005 after moving from Sri Lanka where I'd started out as an English teacher just under a year previous.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

A few main reasons wrapped up together: wanting to do an MA but deciding not to do it there or distance/online, my wife being interested in living abroad at least for a while, and some level of dissatisfaction with things there professionally.

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

A much more professionalized work situation. A lack of power politics and pomp and circumstance being front and center. Feeling less like a cog in a wheel that you have zero influence on. It's not necessarily better as a whole, but different in ways that are satisfying to me. I've worked really hard to go from teaching to primarily teacher training and I do feel like other opportunities are out there, when I'm ready for them.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

A lot of things! The weather, the friendly people, the food. The appreciative students and culture of respect for teachers.

Although I mentioned opportunity above, I do think Thailand also offers a lot of great possibilities for folks to grow and advance. But you really need to be a) proactive & hardworking b) creative & flexible and c) careful! Laws can change, language and culture barriers can hack best laid plans.

Back to what I miss though...I have to mention the music! I'm a big fan of Thai traditional and country music.

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

Thailand is well-known as a suitable place for TEFL newbies to get a start. There's a lot of work and it's a fun place to live. But it's also easy to get cynical about teaching there, and there's a definite lack of quality professional development support and opportunities for foreign English teachers in Thailand.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Yes. I'd really like to open a small school and also work with new and practicing teachers in Thailand to help my adopted second home reach its English language proficiency goals.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

For teachers currently teaching in Thailand wondering whether a move might be warranted, a thought: there's a big world of amazing teaching opportunities out there waiting for you. Sometimes I felt so content in Thailand that the thought of ever leaving seemed absurd. But if you're young and mobile and love this educational niche, don't settle too early. Keep the wheels turning and keep finding new challenges so you can grow as a professional. If you're getting that in Thailand, great. But if it seems you're 'stuck' at all, a change of state (both physically and psychologically) might be just what the doctor ordered. Thailand isn't going anywhere. :)


Nodd

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved to the United States to teach English in 2015.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

I worked in Thailand for 10 years across all levels in Bangkok, Chumphorn and in Sriracha.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

It was a once in a lifetime opportunity given to a Filipino like me to teach English to American students . Likewise, I also have to think of my children's education as it is free here in the US.

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

It is very systematic and people value professionalism as well as your qualifications. I am not judged here because of my color rather the quality of my work and my passion for the profession.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

I miss the food, massages and the beaches a lot. It is very expensive to have a massage here in the US.

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

Definitely, just be passionate with teaching and a lot of things will come along your way.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

For sure, my family misses it so badly and hopefully I won't be discriminated the next time I look for a job at an international school there .

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Not really.


Mick

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved to Saudi Arabia eleven months ago.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

Four years.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

The extra money. I couldn't continue to live on 32,000 baht a month.

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

I get 125,000 baht a month teaching approximately 10 hours per week. I sign in at 6.30 am and sign out at 12.40. The commute back to my apartment is just 15 minutes, so I'm back home for one o'clock in the afternoon. I have a fully furnished apartment etc all paid for. The company takes care of all the travel arrangements too. They're also very generous with the holidays and I get approximately 3 months per year. I'm based in Alkhobar, Dammam, which is just 30 minutes from Bahrain.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

My wife is Thai and still lives there so being separated from her is difficult. I'm only working in Saudi now so that I can secure my future in Thailand. I love my life there, and have been back for three holidays over the past 11 months. There are so many things that I miss about Thailand.

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

Most jobs in Saudi require 4 or 5 years experience, so I'd recommend Thailand as a place to start your teaching career. Although, you must have a plan and know when to move on.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Yes, of course. I've travelled to a lot of places but you can't beat Thailand. The quality of life, the food, the weather, the beaches. The grass isn't greener elsewhere.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Whether you're working in Thailand or Saudi Arabia, if you treat people with respect, you'll find that they are friendly and helpful.

Page 1 of 39 (showing 5 Great Escapes out of 193 total)

Featured Jobs

NES Teacher for Evenings

2 days, 6 hours ago

฿400+ /hour

Bangkok


Primary and Secondary Positions for March

2 days, 6 hours ago

฿90,000+ /month

Bangkok


Head of Cambridge English Programme

3 days, 3 hours ago

฿90,000+ /month

Various locations


Global Perspectives & Business Studies Head

3 days, 3 hours ago

฿90,000+ /month

Various locations


Secondary Maths Teachers

3 days, 3 hours ago

฿80,000+ /month

Various locations


Secondary English Teachers

3 days, 3 hours ago

฿80,000+ /month

Various locations


TEFL Courses & Training

Get off to a good start...

Take your course
in Thailand!

Training Directory

Featured Teachers

  • John


    BA

    Australian, 55 years old. Currently living in Australia

  • leonard


    Certificate

    South African, 42 years old. Currently living in Thailand

  • Gordon


    BA

    Australian, 50 years old. Currently living in Thailand

  • Peter


    BSc

    Indian, 26 years old. Currently living in Thailand

  • Len Manuel


    BSc

    Filipino, 35 years old. Currently living in Thailand

  • Arianne Joy


    BSc

    Filipino, 35 years old. Currently living in Thailand

  • jason0816572257


    Diploma

    Canadian, 43 years old. Currently living in Thailand

  • Armida


    Diploma

    Filipino, 42 years old. Currently living in Malaysia

  • Nadine Joy


    Diploma

    Filipino, 24 years old. Currently living in Philippines

  • Stuart


    BSc

    British, 57 years old. Currently living in Indonesia

Sponsors

English Planet

To be internationally recognized as the leader in quality English language training.

Smartys

Vacancies for in-house and corporate teachers at the finest schools in Suphanburi City

BSI Broker

Brokers for ajarn health insurance and for all your Thailand insurance needs.

Siam Computer & Language

Competitive teacher packages with benefits and bonus incentives

Kajonkietsuksa School

First bilingual school in Phuket. Vacancies for kindergarten, primary and secondary teachers.

Kasintorn St Peter School

Progressive English program school near Bangkok employing NES and Filipino teachers

Inlingua Thailand

Premier language school with many branches and corporate training.

The Hot Spot


Renting an apartment?

Renting an apartment?

Before you go pounding the streets, check out our guide and know what to look out for.


Teacher mistakes

Teacher mistakes

What are the most common mistakes that teachers make when they are about to embark on a teaching career in Thailand? We've got them all covered.


Will I find work in Thailand?

Will I find work in Thailand?

It's one of the most common questions we get e-mailed to us. So find out exactly where you stand.


The dreaded demo

The dreaded demo

Many schools ask for demo lessons before they hire. What should you the teacher be aware of?


Air your views

Air your views

Got something to say on the topic of teaching, working or living in Thailand? The Ajarn Postbox is the place. Send us your letters!


Can you hear me OK?

Can you hear me OK?

In today's modern world, the on-line interview is becoming more and more popular. How do you prepare for it?


Contributions welcome

Contributions welcome

If you like visiting ajarn.com and reading the content, why not get involved yourself and keep us up to date?