Q1. Where did you move to and when?
I haven't quite gone yet but you might say my suitcases are packed and I'm just tying up a few loose ends. I should be moving back to Scotland in July at the latest.
Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?
I did five years, most of that time was spent teaching at a good university in Bangkok. I said goodbye to the students and staff early in March.
Q3. What are your main reasons for moving?
I don't really see a career path here anymore and I felt my teaching was becoming a bit stale because in truth, my heart wasn't in it. When I first started five years ago, I felt like I was in a teachers' room full of like-minded, qualified professionals. We shared ideas with each other, encouraged each other and became a tight-knit little group. Sadly, I've watched most, if not all, of those guys leave over the past few years and I haven't really developed the same bond with the teachers that have replaced them.
Another reason for moving back home is that I feel the cost of living in Bangkok has skyrocketed to the point where it's just another expensive capital city. Even though I was on a decent salary of around 80,000 baht a month in my final year, I think you need far more than that to live at a certain level and to save for the future, etc. I guess the whole teaching in Bangkok thing has run its course and it's time to go.
Q4. What will be the advantages of working back in Scotland compared to Thailand?
I worked for the local council before I came out to Asia and I've been very lucky inasmuch as I've been basically offered my old job back. I suppose it's a bit of a pen-pushing, office job and it wouldn't suit everyone but it's a chance to get my foot back on the employment ladder back in Scotland before I hit thirty. Obviously, I'll get all the benefits from working at a regular job back in the UK (pension, sick pay, etc)
Q5. What will you miss about life in Thailand?
I don't honestly think I'll miss a great deal. I know this sounds a trifle bitter and perhaps it's a jaded soul talking but I think Thailand as a country for a foreigner to live and work in is vastly over-rated. I don't perceive Thailand to be anything special or unique in what it offers.
Don't get me wrong, I've had some wonderful times here and made some amazing friends but let's not get carried away with Thailand being the be all and end all. I'm sure I'd have had just as good a time in Vietnam or China or Japan, possibly even better.
Q6. Would you advise a new teacher to seek work in Thailand?
Yes, why not. If you're a new teacher just looking to gain some experience abroad as a TEFLer, it's a decent choice. If you're a qualified, professional teacher looking for a career path, frankly I'd look elsewhere unless you're qualified to work at the top-paying international schools. Teach at the lower end of the spectrum and there's a more than fair chance that the system is going to beat you down.
Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?
Not at all. Unless I tire of those sub-zero Scottish winter temperatures and those perpetual slate-grey skies.
Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?
I'm looking forward to being back among family and friends. Important birthdays, anniversaries, births, weddings and the odd funeral, I've missed an awful lot in five years. It's going to be nice to be home.