Q1. Where did you move to and when?
I moved home to Ireland in December 2020.
Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?
I worked for two years in a government school and four years in an international school.
Q3. What was your main reason for moving?
My daughter. Ireland offers free education until she is 18 plus free healthcare and free dentistry until she is 7.
I don’t like how she is treated here. She looks very “farang” and is treated very differently to other children. We do not live in Bangkok and I am not joking when I say we cannot go to Tesco or Tops without people pointing, shouting “Kao Kao” or trying to touch her. Seriously, in a worldwide pandemic, people not only disrespect social distancing, they try and pinch her cheeks.
It really affects my mental heath. Even a walk in the park leads to stares and shouts. It is horrible. I’m sure others will say I’m overreacting but I just want my daughter to have a normal life. How will she feel when she is 6 with all this attention for being farang? How will the teachers treat her? She can never blend in here and never be one of the crowd. I just want to go to the park with my daughter and walk without strangers butting in for. I cannot have a normal outing with my daughter here.
And don’t get me started on education. The thoughts of educating her here terrify me. We have all seen the scandals in the last couple of years and having worked here for 6 years I would not want my daughter subjected to the Thai side of education (I mean the rote learning, constant exams from the age of 6 etc.). We have all read about horrible teachers that were simply transferred to a new school after doing something horrible. No thank you!
The cost alone of an average school is crazy. Education should be a right as it is in Ireland. My wife cannot understand that all schools here use the same curriculum, teach the same way, don’t charge anything and all teachers are vetted and must follow a strict code of conduct.
Healthcare is also a huge concern. My daughter had a runny nose so my wife insisted on taking her to hospital. The doctor advised checking her in for 2 or 3 nights so they can monitor her. I refused. So the hospital prescribed her 4,000 baht of different medicines and liquids to wash her nose. I refused (not for price, for fear of the drugs on my daughter). And guess what? She survived at home with rest, lots of water and rice soup. Healthcare here is for profit and that can be very dangerous.
Q4. What are the advantages of working where you are now compared to Thailand?
I’ve enjoyed working in Thailand. Good salary, very good working hours, good holidays, great co-workers. I loved the working side of Thailand.
I guess Ireland offers salary scales that increase every year, I will have convenient pension contributions and my working hours will be much shorter (09.00-15.00). Eventually I won’t have to rely on yearly contracts like I do in Thailand, the post will be permanent. That security will mean so much.
Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?
Cheap car insurance, cheap taxis, cheap Thai food, beautiful temples, people taking their shoes off, excellent shopping malls.... a lot of small things,
Since I’ve been back there are so many little things here too that I enjoy.... fresh air, actual footpaths, bins everywhere, road safety, shop assistants who let you browse, strangers say hello as they pass, punctuality.,..
Both places are awesome in their own little ways.
Q6. Would you advise a new teacher to seek work in Thailand or where you are now?
Come to Thailand but not to raise a family. It really is a great place to work.
Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?
Only on holidays.
Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?
As teacher I was limited to Bangkok for the top jobs. This meant we had to live very far from my wife’s family and had little support. In Ireland I can work in any school throughout the country and receive the exact same salary and benefits,
The weather too.... I can take my daughter outside any time of day here! In Thailand between 08.00 and 17.00 were usually way too hot for her. She loves her walks and exercise.
My daughter seems so much happier here. We can go anywhere we want here and there is no pointing or shouting of Kao Kao. Nobody tries to touch here either.
She will be starting free pre-school classes soon (yep, free).
I see a much brighter future for her here.