Q1. Where did you move to and when?
In February 2020, I moved to southern China.
Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?
I worked in Thailand for 3.5 years.
Q3. What was your main reason for moving?
I think it came down to wanting to try a different country to teach. I also wanted to travel more in China. Of course, covid has slowed down travel everywhere.
Q4. What are the advantages of working where you are now compared to Thailand?
The pay is definitely higher. My base salary is nearly three times what I was making in Thailand. Private tutoring rates are much higher as well. I am also treated more as an equal to my co-teachers. Management is more respectful, so far.
In Thailand, I felt I was the "token" English teacher that was hired purely to make money for the school. In China, I feel more a part of the school community and team and I actually found it easier to adjust to life in China than in Thailand. It is easier to find goods and services in China on a consistent basis than in Thailand.
In Thailand, I felt like an ATM because so many people had their hands out for money. In China, at least where I am, they have their own money. It may sound crazy but I have students that are picked in a Bentley (no lie). The school said something to one mom because she picked up her TWO children in a Lamborghini (2-seater)! Mercedes, Audi, Maserati, and Porsche are common. Many Teslas running around too. Yes, I am in China!
Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?
Mostly the beaches. I enjoyed the food, but there is good food here as well. The cost living was lower, but so were the salaries. The lifestyle in Thailand is more laid-back.
Q6. Would you advise a new teacher to seek work in Thailand or where you are now?
It is a nice starting point. I shouldn't have stayed 3.5 years though. Looking back, I should have left after a couple of years because China prefers teachers with at least two years of teaching experience. It is all too easy to get lulled into Thailand's chill surroundings and forget that it won't last forever.
Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?
I will return annually to hit the beaches. They are beautiful.
Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?
Thailand is a nice place to start ESL teaching. It helps a new teacher get their feet wet. That being said, it is not a good long term place to be (unless you are nearing retirement). Thailand doesn't pay well enough to live, travel, and plan for retirement comfortably. In China, my base salary is triple my Thailand salary and I have a free apartment. My annual bonus is basically one month's salary and I get a free round trip ticket home every year, as well as real insurance, including life insurance. Private tutoring wise, the rate is twice that in Thailand or more. I currently receive $100 an hour for groups of 4-6 students. In Thailand, I was lucky to get $50 an hour for 8 students.