Q1. Where did you move to and when?
I moved to Seoul, South Korea about two and a half years ago (the end of 2018 to be exact)
Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?
I was there for six years. I taught at a university in Bangkok for four years and then a large secondary school in the north for my final two years.
Q3. What was your main reason for moving?
Money was probably the main issue. As I hit middle-age, I needed to earn more money and therefore save more money. Thailand is a blast when you're a teacher in their twenties but the responsibilities of life will eventually come along and kick you up the backside. I'm a fully qualified teacher so I did think about enduring a few years in The Middle East but really wanted to stay in Asia. Korea just seemed to tick more boxes than anywhere else in the region.
Q4. What are the advantages of working where you are now compared to Thailand?
I am able to save 50% of my university salary here, thanks to having my apartment and utility bills paid for by my employer. I've also grown to really love Seoul as a city. It has a fantastic transportation system and you can get out of the city and be breathing in fresh country air in no time at all. I'm comparing this to Bangkok of course. I also appreciate the changing seasons here; Korea is gorgeous in Spring and Autumn. And a couple of things I would add is that Koreans are every bit as friendly as the Thais once you get to know them and Seoul is really not that more expensive than Bangkok (especially if you don't have to worry about rent). Oh, and streetfood in Seoul knocks the spots off that in Bangkok.
Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?
Honestly, there isn't one aspect of life in Thailand that I can't replicate here.
Q6. Would you advise a new teacher to seek work in Thailand or where you are now?
If you're a qualified teacher, then Korea wins hands down. Find the right job and the right employer and you'll be well looked after. That said, if you're a new teacher looking to gain experience, then Thailand - even with its crazy education system - is not going to be a wasted opportunity. I was there for six years, so it must've had something going for it!
Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?
I came back for a two-week holiday shortly before Covid hit and had a wonderful time on Koh Samui. I'll continue to return for holidays but no, I can't ever see me settling there again. Retirement in Thailand certainly doesn't appeal to me.
Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?
Enjoy the TEFL lifestyle while you are young but always keep an eye on the future. It creeps up on you much faster than you think.