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James

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

Shanghai

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

Eight years

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

There were 3 main reasons.

1. Finance - being married with a young son, I was very concerned about saving. I'd been in Thailand 8 years and had nothing in the bank. On a good month I could save 10-15,000 baht but our annual Xmas trip to England would use all of that. Bills, paying a mortgage, car repairs...it all mounts up and Thailand is getting more expensive too. Now I'm on a salary similar to what the best international schools in Thailand pay with all the benefits.

2. Living conditions - after 8 years in Thailand I came to the conclusion that the climate is not for me, swelteringly hot all year round. Having to wait until 5.00pm to go outdoors is not for me. I'm a Londoner, we walk to many places, but Thailand took that away from me.

3. Career progression - I worked at a fairly good school just outside Bangkok but couldn't break into the international school circuit, well not the decent ones anyway, and that's with a PGCEi. Now I'm at a good international school and really feel I'm developing as a teacher. It has been a big step up and I am enjoying it.

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

The school
Professionalism and organisation far beyond what I experienced in Thailand.
The salary and benefits package.
The students' English levels.
Being appreciated by school leaders and management.

Shanghai itself
All encompassing metro system.
Tree lined streets.
Pavements.
New and interesting food.
Things running on time.
Not being refused by taxi drivers.
Parks.
Beer selection at Family Mart.
Cashless payments.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Beaches, which I rarely got to enjoy. In fact, we'll probably visit the southern beaches of Thailand more now than when we used to live there! I also miss some good friends.

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

If you're a new teacher and qualified go there only if you get into a top 10 international school making at least 100,000 baht a month. You will have a fantastic time and be able to save for your future.

I wouldn't go like how I did, with a TESOL and making 30-40K a month for my first two years there. It is easy to get stuck in Thailand and before you know it will be 5+ years in with very little future proofing.

If you have a family go somewhere where the money is good and there are things to do for everyone. Like Shanghai, Seoul or another Northern Asian city. Oh and one with four seasons!

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

We have a house there which we rent out so it's possible, but right now there's no plan to return. Except perhaps for Chinese New Year in February.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

I used to read this section and think most of the teachers sounded bitter that they had left or of course they'd say the new place is way better. But I can honestly tell you that leaving Thailand was the right decision for my family and I.

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