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Craig Berry

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

Saigon, Vietnam in October 2007.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

I was there for 2 years working for Chulalongkorn & Ramkhanhaeng on the Nonthaburi project and at ECC part-time for a year.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

A fellow teacher moved to Vietnam & kept hassling me to move, telling me how much better it was in every way. So I finally went over to have a look for a weekend & what he'd told me seemed to be true, plenty of work, a far more professional working environment & much better wages.

Q4. What are the advantages of working where you are now compared to Thailand?

Working two jobs in Thailand I was saving about $200US a month & I had to be pretty careful to do that. Now I easily save $500 a month & I'm eating out twice a day & going out as much as I want. I now work full time for a large language center, teaching mostly adults & older teens in TOEFL & IELTS classes. All my students are motivated & really want to learn English as they understand just how much of a difference it will make to their lives. In comparison, in most cases, Thais are just not interested in foreign languages or culture, they prefer their own, end of story. When I first got to Vietnam I taught some classes in public high schools, in nearly every way it was a far easier & more rewarding experience

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

I never went out that often in Thailand but it was great to have a vast range of places to go to. I certainly don't miss the in your face seediness of many areas of the city. I do miss the niceness of Thai's, in general I liked them, however the Vietnamese are even nicer. I miss the endless visa & work permit hassles like a hole in the head. Now my school looks after the lot, free of charge, I never have to go near immigration or a border.

Q6. Would you advise a new teacher to seek work in Thailand or where you are now?

Thailand is a great starting point because it shows you just how bad it can be and so after that any place is appreciated far more.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

I've already been back for a short holiday to visit friends & I'll probably do it again. I also went back for bicycle supplies as there's little available for a serious biker here.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Vietnam has it's problems of course... pollution, street vendors, not so developed. But overall it's far more rewarding than Thailand.

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