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Monica-O

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

Initially Shanghai, China, then Hong Kong, Canton and every other place Lonely Planet has never heard of in China. I was working in Bangkok for an international school and a part time university gig back when they were still importing the parts for the Skytrain, circa 2003.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

Almost three years but played much longer than that.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

Opportunity and the BBD ( bigger better deal). Initially for me, Thailand was to break away from a Sydney Arts job which went sideways with budget cuts, had the quals experience in an Australian uni so I looked at an international setting which I got. A chance encounter with an old friend who was a head honcho with the HK NET scheme and his Chinese partners/gov mob opening up a new international school. I needed the challenge, he needed a PYP co-ordinator/manager so my China history was born. Always had a fascination for China and did two years of high school in HK when my father was working there.

The money was never the motivating factor and the new school, which now has three campuses in Shanghai and became one of the best there, burn out was an issue for me and the professional development which I never got in BKK. A case of you have wings and you want to fly scenario. Never looked back.

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

Every experience in teaching is a learning curve and I certainly won't put mine in Thailand down but there is not enough space for a thousand words on here. The opportunities, the solace, the resourcefulness of the people, the certain je ne sais quoi that draws people to certain places and seduces them into a long term stay.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

The wonderful Thais, the climate, the tuk-tuks, the motocys, the food which can't be copied, the guard in Ekamai where I lived who introduced me to all his chess mates and showed me how to ride a motocy like a Thai with all my flowing skirts and heels intact, the cobras in the South when going for a pee, many things.

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

In Thailand think of it as the next step to a long term plan, unless you meet someone and build a life there. In HK the sky's the limit, be aware of your needs and wants. Are you a career orientated person? Forget Thailand. Money? Go to HK. The frustrations and indescrepancies in Thailand and the red tape will drive you nutters one day.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

I go back yearly, working there - wouldn't consider it, on an international scale for me doesn't match up with what I have here. Love visiting but......there are the always the buts.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Find the crack, meaning, what makes you content about a place, situation or people - then go with it.

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