Q1. Where did you move to and when?
I moved back to Australia in 2012.
Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?
I worked for about two years in an international private school. I rented an apartment nearby and used to ride to and from school in-between classes to eat at home and swim in my pool.
Great days! though I must admit I didn't like teaching classes of 40 children that couldn't behave and had no real English skills.
Q3. What was your main reason for moving?
Before working in Thailand, I taught in Tokyo, Berlin and back home in Australia, so I have always had a taste for living abroad and teaching. I left Thailand for the same reasons many other teachers do: you have to be serious about the future. It's not a place most will ever make the kind of money needed to cover things like superannuation for a pension or cover much more than living there. There is no future. It is just a great place to have a party. Even if I didn't worry about my own future, I don't want my child to grow up there in that system.
Also the visa stuff was really annoying and they were always coming up with more hoops to jump through that often had to be paid for out of our own pockets.
I don't mind being the foreigner all the time but I do dislike some people's attitude to darker skinned Thais though. Yes, Thais are also sometimes racist and are often very superficial (lots of lovely people too though!)
Q4. What are the advantages of working where you are now compared to Thailand?
I'm working in Australia in ESL at a university. I have been doing this for roughly 15 years on and off. Teaching adults is by far the most rewarding and financially it is the best life. The ESL industry is one of the biggest service industries here, and it was booming when I started with a bit of a dip, I think around the time of GFC, but it has survived.
I have seen so much change in my time and learnt so much doing what I love. Living in your home country where you can buy stuff that you keep is so good after living out of suit cases. I have lived abroad almost 5 years and it is always the same thing: should I buy this thing or that thing to be happier and more settled... but always knowing that you can't take it with you if you suddenly decide to leave.
Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?
It has to be the right time of your life. I broke up with a long-term girl friend and went there a couple of times on holidays to mend my heart. I loved it so much I quit my job and went to continue the party.
I miss relaxed rules like smoking and drinking anywhere, living by the sea, riding my bmx bike everywhere because Pattaya is so flat. Also having my apartment with wifi and pool was all I needed and could jump on my bike and travel around town quickly.
Let's not forget the beautiful women, the food, and living with the other foreigners from all parts of the world that I wouldn't tend to meet back home in Australia. Living in Japan and Germany was similar.
Q6. Would you advise a new teacher to seek work in Thailand or where you are now?
Much like what I have already said above. Everyone has different reasons to work abroad in different places.
I chose Japan and Germany for the particular culture I wanted to explore. I wasn't able to save money anywhere I have lived. I have always dipped into savings to travel and get set up. I would not personally recommend living permanently anywhere in Thailand for anyone but know many who do.
I do however recommend the same as I did; live in Pattaya if you are a single man wanting to minimise the cost of an extended party. There is no way in hell you are going to afford to have that party off the money you make though.
My 40,000 a month salary went a quarter to accommodation and then I lived off a thousand baht a day for simple food and a few drinks. Going out and having a good night every night means you need at least four times that.... and that is never going to happen.
I suggest that everyone goes there for a holiday first and give it a go where you live off 1,000 baht a day and see if you like that life style.
Also some people say once you buy your own place it gets cheaper etc... NO you lose your job at a particular place it is not that easy to find another so you would basically be stuck with your money tied up in one rotting apartment and they are constantly building new ones, so it is just not worth buying in my opinion.
Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?
I do return every couple of years as I married a Thai and have a kid.
I am accepted into Thai life up-country, but must admit I hate having to do the long drive out there. It's nice to be out near the Cambodian jungle border for a day or two. It's such a completely different culture, food and people, but I am happier when I return back down for a visit to Pattaya.
In Isaan, I even got bitten on the face by a scorpion in the outdoor toilets in the middle of the night! With the constant worry about malaria and knowing of relatives who have died from it there, I do like to stay away from that place.
Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?
I'd like to thank Ajarn, as I found my job in Thailand on this site. It was pretty amazing when I went to Thailand for my holiday and then decided I wanted to work there. I returned to Australia, sent my resume off to various schools and in a few days later got a reply. I said I would be back in Thailand in a week and started straight away.
It was like going from a holiday idea to a reality in a week.
I have spent more time in Pattaya than any other place overseas and it really feels like I am coming home every visit I take.
There is something about the Thais and their culture that makes me feel like I belong there. I just wish I could have the job I have here in Australia and live on the pay over in Thailand.