Q1. Where did you move to and when?
I moved to Seoul in South Korea in March 2019. A teaching colleague had moved over there a year earlier to teach at a public school and we had kept in touch. He seemed to be enjoying life immensely and I needed to earn a better salary than I was getting in Thailand so I thought why not give it a go?
Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?
I worked in Bangkok for almost four years at two different government schools (two years at each)
Q3. What was your main reason for moving?
The significant pay increase was too good to turn down. The school offered me some decent benefits as well.
Q4. What are the advantages of working where you are now compared to Thailand?
I just feel a bit more valued as a teacher and the school has really looked after me since the day I arrived. They organised my work visa in no time at all. They paid for my flight over from Thailand. They organised a very nice studio apartment just a few minutes walk away. I get a decent health insurance package and the option to pay into a pension scheme. I get a decent allowance for sick days and holidays and teachers also get free meals at the school (and they are good quality too!)
Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?
It can sometimes perhaps be misconstrued as laziness but I miss the laid-back attitude of the Thais and their love of fun. Things are a lot more serious here and to be honest, it took a bit of getting used to after four years in Thailand.
Q6. Would you advise a new teacher to seek work in Thailand or where you are now?
I think it's a great country to start out as a teacher because there's no real pressure on you. You don't have to be an amazing teacher to progress. As long as you turn up on time and don't rub Thai staff up the wrong way, you'll do fine. Look on it as a TEFL stepping stone. You can gain good classroom experience there and perhaps move on to somewhere else and a better-paying job when you feel more confident. Thailand can be a hard act to follow though.
Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?
I'm not sure at this stage. I'll certainly come back for a holiday some time in 2020. I'd love to do some travelling around the north on a motorcycle. It was always an ambition of mine but I somehow never found the time when I was working there and constantly had a full teaching schedule.
Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?
If you are willing to put in the effort in Thailand, then you will be rewarded. Go out of your way and be nice to people (and I'm talking mainly about the Thai staff and your Thai colleagues) then they will turn out to be some of the most kind and helpful people on earth.