Submit your own Great Escape


Stuart

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

We left Thailand in November 2022 and moved to Madagascar in August 2023 after a year travelling

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

Four years either side of the pandemic.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

After two years in Chanthaburi, myself and my fiancée had saved up enough money to travel around Central and South America for nine months. It was her idea, and she really sold me on it, but it was also an opportunity to visit her family in Brazil.
I also wanted to get better qualifications; I originally only went to Thailand with a TEFL, with the intention being 1/2 years and then back to university for a PhD. But I soon discovered both a real love for teaching, and the reality that I would soon hit the salary ceiling unless I decided to get better qualifications.

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

The school is wonderfully diverse (my class of 24 students has 14 different nationalities) and the school both embrace and celebrate the diversity of the school.
The school also provides insurance, return flights to a country of our choice and free accommodation, with car included.
My year 6 students are a real change from my old P1/2 students, and I really enjoy teaching more advanced content in maths and science, alongside having debates in history and other humanities subjects.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

100% the street food, since Malagasy food is a lot less diverse. Also, while the typical Malagasy person is helpful and friendly, the crime rate is high, with robberies and muggings quite common. I would need quite a few hands and fingers to count the number of times I left my phone or keys or wallet in my bike in Thailand only to run down an hour or so later to find them untouched. Definitely not something that would happen here.

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

Thailand is a great place to live and start your teaching career, but the drawbacks of a government have been well advertised in this great escape section. Madagascar is a pretty mad place to live, and the nature opportunities are second to none, but there are negatives here as well.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Nothing concrete, but after we complete our PGCEs we will be looking for jobs that match our qualifications. If Thailand offers those sort of jobs, then I don’t see why not!

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Malagasy beer and rum is good, but they still don’t hit the spot like a Chang/Leo or Hong Thong

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