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Joanna

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved back home to Sydney, Australia a couple of months ago when the coronavirus started to take a grip.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

I taught at a large government school near Bangkok for almost an academic year from March 2019.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

I was in two minds about whether to stay on and do a second year because I loved the school and the students and most of the staff (I got on far better with the Thai teachers than the foreign teachers it must be said) I was beginning to have family problems back in Australia involving a younger sister and while I did my best to help out from a distance, it's not the same as being there.

Then when the coronavirus started spreading around the world, I had a gut feeling it was going to make life difficult for a new and still relatively inexperienced teacher who didn't have a great deal of money to fall back on. I hate to say I've been proved right but my heart goes out to those teachers not only in Thailand, but all around the world, who are suffering financial hardship at the moment. Let's hope we come out of this crisis soon!

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

I haven't managed to find a job yet but obviously with the lock down situation, it's become a case of sitting things out and waiting for the situation to return to some sort of normality. I made certain that I didn't burn my bridges while I was away and kept in touch with my ex-colleagues, so I'm hopeful of going back into local administration at some point.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

I miss the great Thai friends that I made and I'm so thankful that we can keep in touch on social media. I also miss the amazing street food and the opportunity to live really cheaply if you choose. I don't miss the Bangkok suburbs though and if I ever return to do a second stint, I'll be sure to pick somewhere a bit greener and more laid-back. I don't need to be surrounded by foreigners!

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

I think Thailand is a fantastic experience for a new teacher. Sure, it has its downsides, but doesn't everywhere.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

I'm keeping my options open but no one is going anywhere at the moment and I don't see much point in making plans for the future until at least late 2020. I'll try my hand at finding gainful employment in Sydney first but if that fails, Thailand could well be on the cards for another adventure. Perhaps I might venture down south next time. I have a good friend who teaches in Hat Yai and while I appreciate it's another big Thai city, my friend seems to love working there.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

If you are going to work for a teaching agency, choose your employer carefully. Although the agency I worked for were generally OK, I heard so many horror stories of teachers not getting paid and just being left to fight for themselves. Stay safe everyone.

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