Q1. Where did you move to and when?
Back to the UK in April 2018
Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?
I was in Pattaya for 3 and a half years.
Q3. What was your main reason for moving?
I left Thailand due to a number of reasons.
- the hellish visa process and bureaucracy that got worse by the year
- stagnant wages
- always being the farang
- scams, corruption and pollution
- no real growth or seeing any future in TEFL in Thailand. I'm still young but the thought of spending my life going paycheck to paycheck in a less-developed Asian country worried me.
Q4. What are the advantages of working where you are now compared to Thailand?
The hours are a lot better. I work 10 till 6 Monday to Friday. No weekend seminars, lesson planning or extra curricular bs outside of work hours. Also the fact that Britain has actual employee rights where you can't get ruthlessly exploited like in Thailand.
Then there's life in the UK itself. As much as going on social welfare sucks, its still there. You probably won't starve to death in Britain if you lose your job. Can the same be said for Thailand? Likewise, a trip to the hospital won't bankrupt you.
The UK is so multicultural that you could probably be a 7 ft green alien and still not get stared at, unlike the "omg white person" stares and harassment in Thailand.
And its amazing to be back around all my favourite comfort foods, my good friends and with no language or culture barriers.
Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?
Despite the above, I miss a lot of things. One of my plans while in the UK is to do teacher training so I can get a better paid gig in Thailand.
I miss my beautiful, modern apartment with its gym and pool, the view from my balcony and the weekly housekeeping. I miss riding my motorbike along the beach and through jungle.
I miss the simplicity of life in Thailand. It seems like theres so many rules and jobsworths upholding them in the UK in every aspect of life.
Work was much simpler in Thailand too. I spent nearly 3 months looking for work when I came back before I found my job. It seems that TEFL in Thailand isn't worth diddly-squat to UK employers and oftentimes actually hindered me in my jobsearch ("so he's been bumming around Asia for 3 years instead of knuckling down" is often their view of it).
Most jobs in my city are painfully boring, menial and minimum wage paying. While at work in the UK, there are so many quotas to meet, boxes to tick, T's to cross and I's to dot and theres always some supervisor breathing down my neck. To think now that I'll get berated by some team leader 10 years younger than me for a typo when I used to be in such a respected position in Thailand is practically soul sucking.
I miss the weather and scenery in Thailand so much it hurts. Waking up every morning, looking at the hills and coconut trees from my balcony, never needing a jacket, the eternal heat and epic thunderstorms, always being tanned and being able to spend weekends at some random island somewhere. I miss the travel opportunities and that every day was an adventure.
And as bad as it sounds, the women. I'm a young, decent looking guy with a lot to offer but England really does suck for dating. It seems like everywhere I go, especially on nights out, the women are outnumbered 3 to 1 so they can be as picky as they want. Even my female friends notice this. Coming from Pattaya, the UK is a single man's hell.
Q6. Would you advise a new teacher to seek work in Thailand or where you are now?
I definitely recommend Thailand for a year or two or maybe even more. I only planned to stay a year and end up there for three. Its an adventure, there's so many travel opportunities and despite what UK employers might think, there's so much personal growth and development had by uprooting your life to a crazy country halfway round the world.
But, if you are the kind of person whose life is organised and structured to a T and who follows rules without question, Thailand will probably annoy, baffle, frustrate and possibly offend you. You'll need to leave your Western ideals at home and learn to be adaptable to be happy there.
But if you're prepared for the differences, its an amazing experience.
Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?
Definitely. Until I can get teacher qualified and get an international gig out there for good, I plan to spend my holidays there as often as possible, getting my fix of sun, sea and Walking Street.
Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?
The big thing needed is to have a plan. Whether it's a plan upon return to your country, an escape to somewhere else or a decent paying international gig if you are planning to stay there. TEFL at the government schools in Thailand really is a dead end. The amount of lifers I saw in Pattaya on 35k a month, approaching 60 with no plan, savings, assets or anything to go back to in their country scared me of my own future there. Always build on yourself.