Q1. Where did you move to and when?
I returned to England last month (May 2022)
Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?
I was there for one year, working in a Thai government high school just outside Bangkok (but within easy reach if you needed to go into the big, bad city). I arranged this job through an agency while I was still in the UK.
Q3. What was your main reason for moving?
Thailand, or rather Bangkok, just didn't do it for me. I'd had enough of teaching after one year and I guess it just isn't for everybody. I found the heat and humidity, day in and day out, hard to deal with and started to miss the four distinct seasons. Although I liked the school I worked at, and the agency was very good to us, there's a lot of backstabbing, jealousy and bitterness between foreign and Thai teaching staff. That was certainly another factor.
Living in Bangkok also cost a lot more than I thought it would. A salary of 40,000 baht leaves you with barely a thousand a day once you've paid your rent. You cut your cloth accordingly and somehow you survive, but there's always a feeling that you're going without when you peer over the fence and see how other expats (non-teachers) are living.
Q4. What are the advantages of working where you are now compared to Thailand?
I'm still contemplating my next move and actually haven't started another job yet. There seems to be plenty of opportunities around though.
Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?
I certainly miss the social aspect of life over there. We had a good group of about 10-15 foreign teachers who generally got on well with each other and would play football together as well as socialising on the odd Friday or Saturday night. Unfortunately, due to an ever increasing workload, I got little chance to see what Thailand has to offer outside of the capital (I went to Pattaya several times and I did a long weekend down in Hua Hin) I think that could be my biggest regret.
Q6. Would you advise a new teacher to seek work in Thailand or where you are now?
Thailand is a TEFL destination that you could certainly stick for a year or two but unless you're pulling in the big bucks at an international school, then life is sure to become more of a struggle as you get older and perhaps less desirable in the eyes of employers. I saw with my own eyes a number of older teachers who had stuck around too long without a plan B and were now effectively in a trap of their own making.
Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?
Not at this stage of my life. If you asked me to summarize Thailand in a sentence, I would say 'a country that for me didn't quite live up to the hype'
Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?
As I've already mentioned, I didn't find the time or make the time to travel extensively outside of Bangkok. Perhaps my opinion of Thailand might have been different if I'd experienced some of the islands or travelled around the north or north east.