Q1. Where did you move to and when?
I returned to my home town of Newquay in Cornwall, England last month.
Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?
I was there for about three years. I did a couple of years at a large private school in Bangkok and a year at a similar type of institute up in Chiang Mai.
Q3. What was your main reason for moving?
There were really two main reasons. Firstly, I started to feel homesick. Both of my parents are in their early eighties and not in the best of health so I wanted to spend some time with them in their twilight years as it were. Secondly, I'm contemplating the idea of studying for better teaching qualifications so if I do plan another assault on Asia (and not necessarily Thailand) I'll be in hopefully a better position to earn a higher salary.
Q4. What are the advantages of working where you are now compared to Thailand?
I was lucky enough to earn a salary of between 60-80,000 baht for most of my time in Thailand (with a few sidelines) so I've actually got a decent amount of savings behind me. Let's just say I can afford to do nothing for a year or two. However, I'm doing some bar work in a local pub, a bit of delivery driving and helping out in a local warehouse - just to keep some money coming in. I'm living back at my parent's home so my overheads aren't that costly.
Despite Newquay being a place that relies on seasonal tourism, there are actually plenty of jobs around for those that want them. OK, they only pay minimum wage or just above, but I'm only in my mid-twenties so I'm fit and strong enough to work as many hours as employers can throw at me.
Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?
I worked in both Bangkok and Chiang Mai so I'm guessing a number of readers will be wondering which city I preferred and the truth is I loved them both for different reasons. There's so much to see and do in Bangkok and although the pace of life is slower up north, I never got bored there either. I think it's the freedom and uncomplicated lifestyle I miss most of all. In Chiang Mai, I used to love riding around on my motorcycle, meeting up with friends for coffee and attending various cultural events or just hanging around at the night market. There are so many great places to go just outside the city as well. That said, I'm back in one of the most beautiful parts of England, so it's not been too much of a culture shock.
Q6. Would you advise a new teacher to seek work in Thailand or where you are now?
I think it's a fantastic place for a first-time teacher. I wouldn't blame anyone for eventually moving on in order to make more money or enhance their career prospects but Thailand is a terrific starting point.
Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?
Whilst Covid has put the world on hold, I'm just taking each day as it comes and not really making any concrete plans. Thailand will always be there even if I don't get back until many years from now. There will always be jobs for good teachers and that's quite a reassuring thought.
Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?
Go to Thailand with the intent of doing a good job and not because it's the only thing you can do there. Thai students are great and even though their motivation might be lacking at times, they don't deserve a teacher whose heart isn't in their work. If you show yourself to take the job seriously and always do your best, you'll be rewarded.