Submit your own Great Escape

Rick Rezac

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I left Thailand to go to Madrid for 5 months (didn't really like it), then on to Korea where I have been for 2 years.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

5 years, '03-'08, Universities, High Schools and a lot of corporate work.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

Well, mainly the people and attitudes just got on my nerves, and how they make it so difficult for a foreigner to live and work here. You know, sometimes its all the little things, that and a Thai gay English teacher at my Uni didn't like how I taught and forced me out! But hey, thats another story for the books!

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

Madrid was not that good, at least for an American. If you are not an EU citizen, then you are considered less, and it's so damn expensive for everything there.
Korea is a different story. I'm an EPIK teacher (work in Public School System) and was welcomed from day one. I was put in a Busan elementary school, they had never had a native teacher and they all treated me like a rock star. Still to this day!
Now I know from talking this is not always the case, each school is pretty individualistc, I just got kinda lucky. But they have done very well by me, anything I ask I get and sometimes more!
Free housing is a great bonus, the salary is good, this is really the easiest teaching I have ever done. Their curiculum is very simplistic so the kids get most of the good stuff at the language schools, which almost all go to.
Never a pay problem, pension/saving plan is good, and the internet is killer here! Oh, and they have baseball!

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

I miss the heat/humidity-really! I hate the cold weather here! I miss the more easy-going lifestyle, and this may be strange but the 2nd-3rd world hominess. Being too modern for me is not all that fun! Except for the internet.
Generally, Thais are very friendly, same for Koreans but different. The women are far more friendly than Korean women. And I miss working extra places, Koreans make it much more difficult.

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

Well, Korea is clamping down, hiring Indians/Filipinos more now. Nothing wrong with this, they are just trying to get more for less money.
If you like seasonal changes, then Korea might be good for you, but I find it a bit boring here, just not that much to do.
I think Thai is better teaching, kids are more fun and really more into world things. Oddly enough, Koreans are more ethno-centric, meaning outside music.movies/tv is not as popular as in Thailand. Hey, just an opinion! But, if you have the qualifications, I would do Thailand first!

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Yes! My contract finishes April 30, and will be in Thailand May 1.
I have my batteries recharged and now appreciate Thailand more. Sometimes one needs to distance themselves to really see how it is.
Thailand this time is my final destination.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Security is nice, staying put, working one country, one job, but there is something to be said for floating around a bit. Experiencing other systems, countries and seeing which one best fits you. I have had a little bit of this, not as much as others and more than some. It has made me a more open person/teacher and given me more perspectives on how to deal with different situations. The bottom line is- what is it that really makes you happy. Where to go to get it and how to make it work for you.

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