Submit your own Great Escape

Mark Wyatt

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

Nepal and then Oman a few years later. I left Thailand in May 1997.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

I worked there for over 6 years.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

I needed a change. I did well in Thailand, working as a teacher, a senior teacher, an area head teacher and a manager within a chain of language schools. However, I needed to move on, and I have, from CTEFLA to Dip TESOL to MA TESOL, and I’ve almost finished a PhD. In the last 6 and a half years I’ve worked in teacher education. A few months after I left, I remember cycling to work in Kathmandu on frosty wintry mornings, with the city still half asleep (classes started at 7am), the sky sometimes clear and blue, and white mountains visible, and think ‘Wow, I’m glad I made this move!’ And then in Nepal, there was such cultural richness and diversity. No matter how much you’re in love with a place, and I have very fond memories of Thailand, of Krabi and Chiang Mai, Phitsanulok and Isaan, a change every now and then is good for the soul.

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

Direct comparisons aren’t easy. 10 years ago, Thailand was still the best place for me to live, although I was thinking then about leaving (as I did a few months later). I believe that there is a time and place for everywhere you’d like to be. I’ve always sought out countries noted for the friendliness of their people, and chose Oman carefully, but Thailand was also kind to me and so was Nepal. At present, I have a very rewarding job, in in-service teacher education, teaching a couple of days a week and visiting schools to help teachers relate theory to practice. I would be happy to do this in other countries too. I had a rewarding job in Thailand, too, but that was earlier in my career, and I worked long hours.

The pay and benefits are better now. My salary is substantially higher, I live in a villa (rather than a flat), and have a company car (rather than take the microbus or a taxi to work). I finish work at 2.30 everyday, so there’s more time for the family (and the PhD). I can

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

I miss all sorts of things; the hustle and bustle, the camaraderie of the teachers’ room, the traffic jams, Loy Krathong & Songkran, Buddhas, temples, lotus pools, Wat Arun, the ferry up to Nonthaburi, the VIP buses down South, the songthiew ride to Ao Nang, particularly the point when Chicken Island comes into view, Kheng Nua, durian, Kheng Kwian Gai, soulless shopping malls, Baskin Robbins, the cinema, ten pin bowling, being covered in sweat by the time I got to work.

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

Thailand, definitely, but preferably work in a large school with a buzzing teachers’ room. I learned so much in the first couple of years from the people around me.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

On holiday, yes, and maybe a presentation at Thai TESOL.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Just to say ‘thanks’. I like the website, and, though I’m very happy where I am, enjoy browsing it occasionally. Going to Thailand was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life.

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