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


Ben

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved to China in December 2017

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

Nine years.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

Money pure and simple. The salaries in Thailand have remained the same for nearly 15 years.

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

It's cleaner.
Crime-free.
People don't stare and gossip deliberately in front of you.
More money and less to pay.
Taxi system.
Weather is better on the whole.
Organization
Rules are adhered to.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Food
Freedom
Weekends
People from outside the major cities (I don't miss those from Bangkok, Rayong and so on.)
Being able to do as I please.
Diversity
Communities.
Beaches and natural beauty.

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

Thailand for sure. China earns you big money but it is as boring as can be. If you want to do both, make sure you hit China first so you can appreciate Thailand more. If you go from Thailand to China you will drive yourself insane with the mundane way of life here.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Definitely. Hopefully within the next three years, maximum five.
I always look back with fond memories of Thailand. China has nothing to offer other than cash.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Make sure you research the school in China you will work at. Other than the established international schools the rest will sell an image that is not realistic. Their ideas of international schools are not what we think of. Speak to the teachers of the school before you join.


Albert

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved to China in August of 2017.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

I worked in Thailand for seven years. I worked for the same school the entire time I was there.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

If you are an ambitious person like I am, you will want to move up in your career and not downwards or sideways. I realized that was never going to be possible or easy had I stayed in Thailand.

People don't get promoted on the basis of experience and qualifications in my experience there. It was frustrating to see being passed over for people that had no business being teachers, let alone administrators. So when the offer came from China to be an administrator I could not pass it up.

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

The pay is a lot better and the amount of hours a week that I work is a lot less than back in Thailand.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Like most people I miss the food, and all the friends I made over the years.

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

I would encourage any teacher to try Thailand or China. They both have their pros and cons. What I would say however is that you need to have an exit plan. Unless you plan to marry a local and live there forever you should have set goals of when its time to go back home.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Only to visit for now, but if they make me an offer I can't refuse, then why not.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Moving to Thailand is not the hardest decision you will make. The hard decision will be when to call it quits. Like I mentioned before, make a plan. I went to Thailand not knowing how long I would be there and looking back my biggest regret is not leaving sooner.


Jay

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I went to work in Vietnam in 2016

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

On and off for about 7 years

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

I loved working in Thailand. I liked the climate and the cost of living but the main reasons were two-fold.

Firstly, I really couldn't stand the poor attitude and racist behaviour. Sure, there are some nice people but on a daily basis I experienced a level of rudeness that was completely uncalled for.

Secondly, I worked at a so-called international school in Pattaya. It was a glorious looking building in glorious hilly, green surroundings. All looked great. The owner seemed nice enough and the expat headmaster was full of promises and guarantees. Sadly, the head decided to kick out all the existing foreign teachers including Filipinos in favour of young, untried qualified teachers. Working for him was impossible as he had no idea how to run a school. He forced people out one by one and created a culture of complete paranoia.

I love teaching, especially the subject I graduated in and decided to make my own business instead. Though it didn't go to plan, it beat facing that man and his mismanagement each day. I'm an easygoing chap but working for people like that destroyed my confidence and my sense of self-worth.

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

I miss the way of life in Thailand. I miss the food. That's it really. I have the advantage of being single so I can travel around at will and Vietnam has lots to explore, especially on a bike.

The people are nicer here on the whole, certainly more genuine. I love taking photos and there is an abundance of variety on offer here.

The money is better too.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Food and the low cost of living.

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

Yes but read the reviews first - especially international school reviews. The one I worked for is all over the internet with teachers, both past and present, relaying the same horror stories.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Maybe but certainly not to one particular school.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

People talk about bad Thai management in schools. Be very careful regarding expat management, especially if they have their own agendas to achieve, regardless of who suffers.


Tal

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I first moved back to the UK and then to Saudi Arabia in 2013.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

For three years.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

To do a master's and then to try to earn proper money in order to save for the future.

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

The salary is NINE times what I made in Thailand. Also there are opportunities to move out of the classroom in the Middle East, which I have done for over two years now.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

I still regularly visit as I am married to a Thai. Many things I miss about Thailand such as food and bargains. There is also so much to do and see.

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

Work in Thailand first for 2-3 years, then try to upgrade to another country in terms of salary.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Yes, I visit often but will do another 2-3 years in The Middle East, then go back home to do a PGCE, and hopefully then move back to Thailand permanently.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Moving away from Thailand eventually helps to get the love and appreciation back for the place.


Donna

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

The Midlands, UK in November 2017, although I'm moving back to Manchester soon.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

A year. Worked in two different schools, six months in each. First school was a government run one in Bang Lamung, second was a private school in Pak Chong.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

Family reasons and I decided to do a PGCE and become a qualified teacher. That way I can work abroad earning more money and have slightly more stability visa wise.

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

Better money and shorter hours of work. Also knowing that I won't be asked to come in early/stay late without any warning.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Pretty much everything. I miss the weather, the food, the people, the friends I made and even the kids! Although I earn considerably more money here my lifestyle was of a much higher standard while in Thailand. Here I've ran out of money before payday. In Thailand I could save every month even while travelling lots.

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

Depends what you want from life I suppose, but I would encourage anyone to give it a go. From my experience of working in UK schools and Thai schools they are very different, but it's definitely a worthwhile experience working in Thailand.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Definitely. I'm hoping once I have the PGCE and I am a fully qualified teacher that I will be able to find better paid work that will allow me to start saving for the future. In the meantime I'm hoping to go on a holiday back there - I still have so much I want to see and do there.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

I wish I had moved to Thailand years ago, as I could have stayed a lot longer without having to think about retirement plans and savings. But for anyone considering it I would say give a go, you've nothing to lose and you'll probably have the time of your life even if it's only for a semester.


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