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


Casey

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved to Kyoto, Japan in April last year.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

Three years

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

I'll be completely honest: I had a good resume and a good education. When I chose Thailand as a place to live and work, I wasn't sure how it was an escape from all my problems back home. The truth is that I just didn't think much about it at all. I thought "Bangkok is a huge cosmopolitan city, how hard can it get?"

I started self-censoring myself all the time. I didn't even know whose face I was saving or why I was becoming a pussy to please people who'll never be pleased no matter what I did.

It's not in Thai people's nature to be in-your-face aggressive but they don't really like to co-operate and you are often treated with contempt.

Pollution, humidity, bad urban planning. Life just seemed to consist of being in my condo and going to the shopping mall.

Other expats or frustrated men. There's a low glass-ceiling for anyone who's not Thai. That leaves you with a bunch of jaded and frustrated men. These people do not make good friends. I couldn't go out and bond with people. I couldn't go out and bond with nature. I couldn't go out and volunteer. I sure as hell couldn't get a promotion.

If I slacked off all day I was a "typical foreigner" and if I tried hard at work someone would try and cut me down sooner or later.

I mean none of this was my plan for Bangkok. Certainly not the social hermit part but it's how things are here and none of my positive thinking could have changed that. My good qualifications didn't change reality.

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

One of the biggest differences are is that people deliver. If I'm expected to get paid at the end of the month, I'll get paid at month's end whether P'James or P'Somchai like me or not.

In Thailand P'Gai or P'James have to *like* so all of us could work well together. There's more pressure here but people deliver what they promise. In Thailand people promise and say yes, maybe, Yes but who the heck knows how that pans out?

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Thailand life can be very simple (because it's also very limited in terms of activity). There were mornings and days and weekends when I woke up and I felt truly at peace. I loved my big house. My wife taught me that love means taking care of each other and helping out other people.

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

Would your send your kid to work at McDonalds? The pay is low, working conditions are sub-par, and co-workers aren't very nice. How do you expect to ever get a better job when your self-esteem is zero every day?

Teaching in Thailand is like that. Maybe you'll get paid and life will go on. But will you ever be anything more? Will you be allowed to accomplish more?

And say you want to retire in Thailand after working in Thailand for a long time, who'll help out with the pension? My wife's parents depend on my wife and not on the state pension. That's how the system works.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

It's July and I'm back and it's still humid, hot as hell and you can't get around outside which is why I'm writing this. It's almost six months (from end of February) with this weather.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

The good thing is that I'm still married and things are still going fine (my honest bit that's hard to write but I'm still doing it is also) I wanted to move on and try this out for myself because I was becoming resentful at my wife and how many opportunities she was getting and at how I was stuck despite trying so goddamn hard. I know it's not my wife's fault. It's the reality and the system whether you are from the UK, US, Malay, Burmese, Lao -- Thai people tolerate you but they also make sure that you don't succeed.

People say how they are disappointed with all the negative reviews and I'm also disappointed with positive reviews because they set up new teachers for failure and make it harder for teachers who are suffering to move on.

My experience isn't negative. It's honest. Do you think I could have made friends with that dodgy teacher from Jersey who invited me to smoke weed at his place or that (too good to be true nice) nice Kiwi teacher who stabbed me in the back at the speed of light just because he could? No. because I didn't plan for any of this. I didn't see any of this coming. I wasn't running away from my problems, I was moving to Bangkok.

If my "negative" experiences help someone move on or not make the same mistake, then at least they are worth something. I don't believe people who said they were paid 150,000 THB and who were hanging out with the "lads" all the time. I never met anyone like that in person.

If you really feel there's something 'better' in life for you than Thailand, then read these reviews. Teachers are jaded because people treat them badly. It's hard to "rise above it" when you're working in a country infamous for its poor education system.

Know that you are not alone, and try and be positive. Build your life step by step so you at least give yourself a chance of trying something new. You may fail at first but you CAN do it.


Lance

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

Back to the USA (Las Vegas) in May of 2017

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

5 Years

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

Family concerns, as my mother is struggling. I mentioned this in my cost of living survey I did (November 2016). I have no other family who can help out and it was either put her in a senior home or move back and help.

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

Work - fair pay, a proper pension and labor laws being followed. No 90-day check ins or work permit hassles. I can drive to work and own a nice car for far less than what it costs in Thailand. Able to be in a management role without being micromanaged. Also, my wife has more job options and makes more than she did in Thailand.

I used to work in sales and marketing (My best year was pulling in 145,000 USD) before I got stressed, my health was getting worse and I was sick going to work. So I went back to University/student teaching to get a teaching license and went overseas. Now that I am back in the USA I chose a less stressful job managing a recreation center. Yes the pay is only 50,000 USD a year but I have my evenings, weekends and sanity.

Life - The variety and affordability of food, cheap buffets at the casinos, being able to drive to California on the weekend and there is far more entertainment in Vegas than in Thailand. Also, no state tax is a huge plus.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

My brother-in-law. He is amazing and we’d kick back with some beers on a Friday night and attempt to talk in each other’s native language. He taught me how to fly drones and fix minor computer issues. Just a great guy and I could not have asked for a better brother-in-law. Hopefully he can visit next year.

I also miss the simplistic way of life and was less stressed in Thailand. Yes, Thailand has it's fair share of problems but no country is perfect.

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

If you are qualified and have a teaching license then yes. At the very least get qualified to be a substitute teacher in your homeland before seeking work. Also, before you go to Thailand do some tutoring or coach youth sports too as it really helps to have some background in education to build up your resume.

Going to Thailand with few skills and qualifications, you will have a rougher time I feel.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Of course, as my wife and I plan to retire there. Depending on my mother's situation, maybe we will return earlier.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

My wife loves the USA and I enjoy seeing her find new things of interest. Such as “WOW! They have slot machines in the airport?” “WOW! Brittney Spears performs every night?” and when we stopped at a 7-11 en route to California and she bought the largest drink possible just because “It looked like a fun American thing to do”.

I was worried she would not adapt to the USA and Vegas would be sensory overload for her but she has adapted quite well. Her English has got a lot better, she enjoys her job too and has made new friends.

We don't plan to be in the USA forever so our attitude is just to enjoy the experience for now.


Alec

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

Back to my home town in Kentucky, USA. June 2017.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

Three and a half years in various cities.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

Money. I was making good money in Thailand and really enjoyed life, but I wasn't making much progress toward planning for a future or a real safety net. I'm now in my mid-20s and the reality of not having a concrete financial plan and savings was starting to sink in.

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

I went back to work for the same company I worked for before moving away. So the money is good, I have a long relationship with the company, no hassles with visas and the uncertainty that goes with life in a foreign country.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Everything! I miss the food, as cliche as that is. American food is just too heavy now. I miss how easy it was to travel, I miss the cheap cost of living, the laid back attitudes, my friends and the places I became familiar with. Three years isn't a very long time, but I can say that Thailand absolutely felt more like home than where I went back to.

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

Yeah. I moved there as a teacher and did my time to work up the ladder before eventually getting out of teaching. But I'm forever grateful to those years I spent teaching, especially as a 21-year-old looking for something new. I met good people, made great memories, and loved every second.

Thailand is what you make it. Some people aren't cut out for work there, whether it's teaching or whatever else.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Yes. My intention is to spend my time in America getting on solid feet financially and building my own work. I love living in Thailand but I am over working there. Ideally I would like to live there whilst still doing what I do now.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Teaching in Thailand was a great experience, as was working for other Thai companies. But one can easily fall into the comfort and the fun of living there while neglecting any sort of forward planning.

If you're young and looking to spend a few years abroad, or if you're older and at a point where work isn't necessarily a requirement, then I think it's a fantastic place to be.

I've struggled to re-adapt to life in America, but "going home" isn't actually as bad as I was anticipating. I truly love Thailand and I'm glad I took a step toward getting myself in a position to live there with less stress than before.


Daniel

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I returned to Texas, in the U.S.A.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

I was there for 5+ years at AUA.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

My mother was getting on in years. I was also worried about continuing to build a pension.

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

Currently I've been looking for work in the IT field but have found it difficult to get in to. I'm still looking.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

The simpler lifestyle. The lack of stress.

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

Yes. It's an experience worth anyone's time.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

If I can't find work in the next month or two, then yes.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

If you're abroad and thinking of returning home, think on it a bit more. The grass isn't always greener on the other side. Plus there is such a thing as reverse culture shock. Even now I'm trying to figure out why we live the way we do in The USA. The high cost of living, high insurance premiums, the need to drive a car, and worst of all the high price of Thai food.


Isaac

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved back home to Seattle, Washington in January 2017

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

About a year and a half in two different secondary schools.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

Two reasons. Firstly, as the months passed, I realized from everyone back home all the weddings, funerals, parties and graduations I had missed in just under two years. I wasn't homesick in any way because I did like the life I was living in Thailand but I felt like I was missing out on moments that I will never get back.

Secondly, I thought about the future. I'm still in my twenties but I'm not saving anything worth bragging about. I don't get a pension and I can't own land? No sir.

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

Its very different. I only see two advantages. First being I'm contributing to my pension and social security again. That was one of my main concerns upon leaving. Secondly, I'm working in the field I studied in to begin with.

Other than that the work is harder and the expenses in The U.S are much higher.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

I miss the weather and just the simple life in general. I miss the currency. It was weird using US dollars again. I also miss the hospitality. You're not 'special' once you return home if you know what I mean.

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

It would depend on the situation. We don't all live the same life.

If you're a qualified teacher sure, but if you're a potential ESL teacher like I was, then know when to stop.

Set other goals for yourself and don't get stuck. I met many older English and Americans, particularly in Northern Thailand, living from paycheck to paycheck, some with marital problems with their Thai spouses, others fighting with the mother of their children on who gets what. Seriously, who would want that?

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Yes, I've always said the next time I return to Thailand it'll be as a tourist. There are still many places I haven't been to and I wouldn't have been able to go to to begin with given the salary I was getting.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

I enjoyed my time in both Esaan and Bangkok while I was there. I accept the experience for what it was but it's not a place I would ever stay long term. Some find their niche and make it work while others just get stuck in a rut.

There's lots to do in Thailand but work-wise there are better options elsewhere and you gotta know when to tell yourself it's time.

Page 3 of 44 (showing 5 Great Escapes out of 218 total)

Featured Jobs

ESL Teachers for Primary Level

1 day, 14 hours ago

฿35,000+ /month

Chiang Mai


Kindergarten Teacher for December Start (45-50K)

3 days, 14 hours ago

฿40,000+ /month

Bangkok


Qualified PE Teacher

4 days, 12 hours ago

฿35,000+ /month

Bangkok


NES Teachers for Bangna

4 days, 12 hours ago

฿400+ /hour

Bangkok


Female Nursery English Teacher

4 days, 12 hours ago

฿60,000+ /month

Bangkok


TOEIC Teacher for weekends

4 days, 15 hours ago

฿800+ /hour

Bangkok


TEFL Courses & Training

Get off to a good start...

Take your course
in Thailand!

Training Directory

Featured Teachers

  • Matthew


    BSc

    American, 42 years old. Currently living in United States of America

  • Liza Marie


    Diploma

    Filipino, 22 years old. Currently living in Thailand

  • David


    MA

    American, 54 years old. Currently living in Thailand

  • Alfredo Jr


    BA

    Filipino, 45 years old. Currently living in Thailand

  • Henk


    PGCE

    South African, 41 years old. Currently living in Thailand

  • Doreen Namatovu


    BSc

    Ugandan, 23 years old. Currently living in Uganda

  • Cpt. Michael


    MA

    American, 57 years old. Currently living in Philippines

  • Eugene


    BA

    Russian, 33 years old. Currently living in Thailand

  • SHAINE


    Diploma

    Filipino, 22 years old. Currently living in Philippines

  • Michael


    PGCE

    British, 64 years old. Currently living in Vietnam

Sponsors

Mediakids Academy

Top TEFL job placement provider with competitive benefits and an unforgettable experience.

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.

Space available

Become an ajarn dot com sponsor

The Hot Spot


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.


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?


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?


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!


Renting an apartment?

Renting an apartment?

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


The dreaded demo

The dreaded demo

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


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.