Submit your own Great Escape


Robert

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

Actually I haven't left Thailand's shores yet. I'm in the process of packing up my things, tieing up a few loose ends and hoping to be out of here before Songkran in the middle of next month.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

I've been here for two years, working at a large primary school on the outskirts of Bangkok. My first year was through an agency for 40,000 baht a month but in the second year, the school hired me directly and my salary went up to 50,000 plus a few small benefits like free school meals and better health insurance.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

It's been a really tough decision, but I'm hitting my late 20s and just feel ready for a change of scenery. If I was to continue with a teaching career in Thailand, I would want to return here with better qualifications and try and get a job at an international school (and that's still a route I might take, who knows?) I don't want to stay here year on year earning slightly above 'survival wages' until I'm so set in my ways that moving on no longer seems like a viable option. I've worked with so many older teachers who to me look 'stuck' here, and I don't want to become one of them.

The decision also means splitting up with my Thai partner of almost one year and while I hate to break a young girl's heart, it feels like there isn't any choice. We explored the option of me dragging her around Europe or wherever I end up, but at the end of the day, it's just not logistically or financially viable. Better she stays here in the country that's her home.

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

Obviously this question doesn't apply to me but my options at the moment are either to go straight back home to England and try to pick up a job in retail management (which I did in the past) however, retail is on its arse at the moment in the UK. Alternatively, I have a few old friends and good contacts in some of the Spanish and Greek beach resorts. With the Summer holiday season about to kick off, I might just give a season in the sun a final go. I briefly worked in the tourism industry in Spain when I was in my early 20s and had a blast.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

What will I miss? The basic simplicity of day-to-day life, a job that had little to no pressure or stress, and not having to worry about sky-high utility bills.

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

Oh definitely! Thailand is a fabulous experience and the Thai people have been fantastic to me. Sure you will make more money teaching in other Asian countries but I bet you won't have half the fun.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

My future life feels like a book full of blank pages at the moment and I'm both apprehensive and excited to see what the next chapter is going to look like. I think my parents would like me to come back home and get a proper 9-5 job but they have that classic old school mindset and the world doesn't work that way anymore.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

My number one piece of advice to anyone thinking of being a TEFLer in Thailand is 'be a likeable person'. Don't be the foreigner who moans all the time and is critical of Thai culture just because it's different and sometimes extremely frustrating. Be the foreigner who is always smiling and friendly because when Thais, especially your Thai work colleagues, warm to you, then they'll go to great lengths to help you out if you have a problem.

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