Q1. Where did you move to and when?
I moved to China in October 2019
Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?
I studied then worked in Thailand for around 7 years in total.
Q3. What was your main reason for moving?
I just got married and started reassessing my priorities. Although I absolutely love Thailand, the salaries offered have a limit. It seems for the vast majority of jobs it ranges from 30K-60K. Getting jobs with a higher salary requires serious qualifications and are very far and few between.
Q4. What are the advantages of working where you are now compared to Thailand?
The number one advantage in China is the salary. An NES teacher with a BA and TESOL can get their first job here for 90K baht per month (20k yuan), and after a few years experience this can rise to 110K baht (25k yuan) per month. Add a masters degree and you're looking at around 140K baht (30k yuan). On top of this, health insurance and housing are provided for free and living costs are as cheap as Thailand for the most part if one doesn't have any vices.
Clear career development with a more professional environment and opportunities for getting regular salary raises made China the sensible next step for me personally.
Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?
Absolutely everything! I have a Thai spouse so have permanent connections with the country.
Luckily I have minimum of three months paid holidays every year here in China and in non-covid times went back (and will go back) to Thailand at every chance. Surprisingly I seem to enjoy it more as a holiday destination for now as when I do return I have a good amount of savings and don't need to resort to eating 30 baht kao pads everyday as I used to do when I lived there. I have been broke in Thailand and that is one thing I DO NOT miss. So having money to properly enjoy my three months there when I go back makes me enjoy it much more than living on a budget for the full 12 months of the year.
Q6. Would you advise a new teacher to seek work in Thailand or where you are now?
Thailand is a great place to transition into the ESL industry. It is an excellent destination for starting out and getting your initial two years of experience. Beyond that you will soon hit a ceiling in your earning potential. For some this is OK and I'm not judging that. But personally I am focused on advancing to the highest level I can in my career and saving some money since I'm a late starter.
Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?
I will visit Thailand during all of my holidays - it's just a 2-hour flight from China. And if I ever wanted to take some more time off I can always return on a marriage visa. Furthermore I have plans to buy property in Thailand and eventually use that as one of my main retirement locations. At that point I may teach for a few years (for fun and to get citizenship).
Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?
Make a long-term plan of what you would like to accomplish in your life.
Thailand can definitely play a role in that, but it might be wise to look beyond it too for certain periods in your life when you need extra income such as when you are married and/or have kids and need to save money.
The COVID situation has taught us that we need substantial savings to be secure in our lives as things can change at any moment, so we should use this opportunity to invest in our future to make sure we are in a good place when the next catastrophe hits the world. Good luck to all in your paths.