Submit your own Great Escape


Q1. Where did you move to and when?

Korea, Thailand, Korea, USA

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

One year

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

Trying to advance my career

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

I am progressing professionally, gaining real-world skills, actually working in my field, making a real income and saving for retirement.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Feeling alive for the first time in my life. Seeing the gritty side of life first-hand made me feel like a human. I woke up everyday feeling invigorated rather than like a robot. Back in the U.S., as I am sure is the same with other countries, we put ourselves in this safe cocoon where we remove all things unpleasant from sight. Corruption is still there, but it is less obvious.

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

First, I would recommend China and not Thailand. Although China does not pay as much as other places, there are many, many opportunities in different areas of teaching and teaching leadership. Not to mention it is not too difficult to move out of teaching if you would like.

Second, if you are going overseas to get the experience, not because you really want to be an English teacher, give yourself a deadline. As you can see on here, it is all too easy to get sucked in and you end up in a Bermuda Triangle type life. You have no idea where the past years have gone and you really do not have much to show for it. When you do return back home, it is almost as if you have a black hole on your resume because those skills do not transfer well.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

It would be a dream come true, but only if I am to return on a corporate assignment with a western company.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

I had a wake up call recently that changed my life. I was stuck in my fun life in Korea before I realized that this was not what I wanted. Gaining international experience was important to me, but I also had dreams and ambitions. Yeah I was a university professor, but that was not my dream.

I can only compare it to being on an addictive substance. Leaving my life overseas was like going cold-turkey. I had the withdraw symptoms at home and I did try to get back in the game. It still hurts sometimes, but I am doing well. At first I had to take a lower paying job but I just found a job that pays $15,000 more a year than I ever made overseas. I'll be starting grad school this year too at a very good school.

Folks, this is your wake up call. For those of you who came overseas for the experience and not to really be a teacher, take a look at your life. Are you really where you want to be professionally? How long have you been "weathering out" the bad economy? Are you really gaining any skills that will make you competitive? Is your quality of life improving?

You had your time and it was fun, but it is time to wake up. It is time to live. For those who know who I am talking to - it is time to wake up.

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