Q1. Where did you move to and when?
Hong Kong in 2007.
Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?
I did two stints. The first one was 1993-1995 teaching ESL at language schools in Bangkok and Lopburi. The second one was from 1999-2007 at a Sarasas school in Bangkok.
Q3. What was your main reason for moving?
My mum passed away in 2006 and I guess it got me thinking. I was approaching 40 and didn't have a lot to show for it. I loved the life in Thailand but I wasn't really saving much. Also, life was just a bit too comfortable and there didn't seem like a lot of challenges anymore in Thailand. I just seemed to be existing. When an opportunity in Hong Kong came up, I jumped at the chance.
Q4. What are the advantages of working where you are now compared to Thailand?
Apart from the financial benefits, the students here in HK have a better standard of English overall than the students in Thailand. HK is generally a safe place. It's also in a good location to travel to other Asian countries for a vacation (Thailand included). I also like the change of seasons. Summer is very hot and humid, but the other seasons are very comfortable. Finally, when dealing with bureaucracy (government departments, banks etc), it is just easier to get things done.
Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?
I miss my friends who still work there (but we regularly communicate on Skype).
I miss the 2-month long summer break I used to get in Thailand (I get 5-6 weeks here).
Finally, I miss the rainy season. Sure, it rains here. However, I miss sitting on my balcony in Bangkok with a few beers, watching a thunderstorm build up throughout the afternoon. And then, as things get very black and windy....BOOM..
Q6. Would you advise a new teacher to seek work in Thailand or where you are now?
Sure, Thailand is a good place to get some experience. However, if you are looking at teaching there for the long term, get qualified and try to get the better paying jobs. As I mentioned before, I wasn't really saving much and life was just a bit too comfortable. Some people may like that, but for me, I had to go somewhere else.
As for HK, the money is very, very good. I've been able to buy and invest in a lot of things I could only have dreamed of while working in Thailand. If you want to work here, make sure your qualifications are in order, be prepared to work hard, and you'll do well.
Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?
Sure, but just as a tourist. Once I'm ready to retire, I hope to live in Laos with my wife. I'm sure there will be various trips over the border when the opportunity comes up.
Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?
Nothing springs to mind.