Are you a teacher who once taught in Thailand but decided to seek out pastures new? Has the grass been greener on the other side? Maybe you swapped Thailand for the financial lure of Japan or Korea? Read about those who have left Thailand, and their reasons for moving...

Submit your own Great Escape


Steve

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

Moved to Doha, capital city of Qatar, this September 2011

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

I worked in Thailand for 6 years in total before moving to Abuja in Nigeria as the Deputy Head of a British international school and then came back to Bangkok for one year as the DoS at a large Catholic school in Nonthaburi.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

I really enjoyed being back in Thailand but another opportunity came up and I was offered a fantastic contract at a school in Doha.

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

Gosh! The tax-free salary and all the ex-pat benefits that go with it. Doha is a very very safe city and the school has some wonderful professional development opportunities. I am currently being trained up to be a program manager for Cambridge University as the school has recently been accredited as a teacher training centre for Cambridge diploma courses. Fantastic opportunities lie ahead. In terms of the money......well I am able to put away 200,000 baht a month into my Thai bank account (transfer every month)

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Everything. Thailand is where my home is and I will retire there. I keep my Thai up to speed by constant online practice and of course I visit the ajarn discussion forum regularly.

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

For a new teacher cutting their teeth? Thailand of course, especially if you're young. Qatar pays some great wages but you only get those if you are a 'credentialed' teacher.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Absolutely! See above.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

I started off as a 'tefler' in Thailand. Enjoyed teaching so much that I went back to the UK to do my PGCE and NQT year. Have never looked back since. Thailand gave me the opportunity to be a teacher and to realise that teaching can be an extremely rewarding career and not just financially.............so dreams are possible to be realised.


Chris

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia 2008

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

2 years (2000-2002)

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

Unstable employment, low pay, and crazy corruption.

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

A stable contract, a relaxing work-environment, better pay, less hours, and no-one interferes in my classes.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Fresh and cheap food, gentle people, my bike! cheap apartments, food, food oh!, did I mention the lovely food?...and of course a plethora of beautiful girls!

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

If single and open-minded..YES! but not in Bangkok. I lived in Chiangmai the whole time. It's a whole world of different up there. Much quieter (I like it) than Bangkok and the countryside is easily accessable. There's a lot to do and there is tasty cheap food everywhere. The folks have plenty of time to sit and chat and provide company for you - if you're 'open' to that!

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Yes. I had a 10 month 'holiday' there last year. I took my baby son to Chiang Mai for medical treatment and we did all the touristy things - Tiger Kingdom, monkey show etc. It was a wonderful time. Lovely. Paradise!

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Unfortunately Thailand won't offer enough to live and save on or to raise a kid etc unless you can stand living in Bangkok, which I certainly can't. The best parts of the country are truly heaven on earth, but unless you can somehow get money for free and get a long-term visa, it's only a holiday destination. It seems politics have 'side-lined' the farang as forever 'temporary' servants/english teachers.

If I ever strike it rich I will retire there, but until then I have to work somewhere else.


Paul

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

Back to the USA in May 2011

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

One year

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

As a certified, qualified, experienced teacher from US, I felt one year was long enough to teach in Thailand. The pay and lack of benefits is simply much too low to be able to save for the future. The Thai students are not interested in learning, and the teaching environment itself is highly problematic due mostly to Thai-style (read: corrupt) politics. There is plenty of blame-gaming going around, and the farang teacher is always the one who gets blamed first and the most for the problems at the school. I learned plenty enough about living and teaching in Thailand within one year to know it is not a good long-term plan for a qualified teacher.

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

Security, comfort, benefits. Reasonable expectations, a more secure social environment. Lack of government corruption. Far more stability.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

The great natural beauty of the physical and cultural geography. There is much to love about Thailand. Despite its problems, Thailand is an amazing country full of lovely, if uneducated people (this applies to expats as well as the Thais.)

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

A new teacher would do best to teach in a location where the people take education more seriously. Thais are lovely, fun-loving people, but they are not committed to improving themselves through education. I suppose they feel they do not have to, as they are quite blessed with a lovely and abundant country. They would rather eat, drink, and be merry than become better educated. I suppose this works for them in its own ignorance-is-bliss way. While teaching there, I often felt I had been hired to simply look the part of the amusing white farang, there for their own amusement. Keeping gradebooks and records straight was an absolute joke, but it gave the administration a reason to try to make me feel inferior.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

For a holiday, yes. To fulfill a teaching contract, no.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Anyone considering teaching in Thailand should not be fooled by its appeal which can be experienced on a vacation there. The obvious beauty of the country makes a vacationing teacher imagine living there. Once one begins actually working there and seeing how screwed up its government and politics really are, however, it can become a sour grapes experience. I'd like to conclude with leaving open the possibility that there may be some schools in Thailand that are not
infested with corrupt politics and back-stabbing colleagues and school administrations, and if these schools can be found, perhaps a teacher may have a more positive overall work experience than I did. Good luck!


Raymond

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved to the eastern province of Saudi Arabia in September 2011.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

I worked in Thailand for about 6 years: 4 years in the Bangkok area, a year and a half in Rayong, and 6 months in Chiang Mai.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

The main reason was money, and mostly because Thailand has not allowed me to financially save for my future, which also means for my spouse and children. However, there are lots of good things about working in Thailand, especially working with Thais.

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

I work in a situation that focuses on the right things. I am now working with a university based out of Canada, and that affords me the space to practice and develop my art of teaching. Being paid well enough allows me to just focus on my contracted job rather than constantly seeking extra work outside of the contracted job.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

My wife and my children. I miss the relative freedom of life in Thailand, and having interesting things to do that are easily accessible. I also miss my many friends.

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

It depends on the teacher. However, I would say it is much better to save money out here, and go travelling during the ample holidays. But if one isn't the type who can "work for the weekend" then Thailand is a better choice. However, I also would suggest to serious teachers that working in the Middle East is a great place to hone your skills.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Yep. On my first holiday.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

I want to give an honest assessment about bilingual (EP / MEP) programs in Thailand. I think if you follow your heart, you will see that they are both bad places for your kids and incredibly difficult places to work. I have not had a great escape but I have had a reality check.


Matthew Noble

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved back to my hometown of Cambridge, Massachusetts (a suburb of Boston) last July.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

I worked in Bangkok for six and a half years. I worked at several different places and lived in a few different parts of the city. Thinking back now, it's actually pretty hard to believe I was there that long. I guess time flies when you're having fun as they say.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

I had a few reasons to move back. First, I was ready to enroll in an MA TESOL and I didn't want to do an online course or a Thailand-based grad program. Second, my wife was interested in graduate and/or other education for her in the States, and wanted to experience life abroad. Third, I was simply feeling 'ready for a change' and a little bit worn out/down by Bangkok life. So, here we are. The visa process was a bit of a hassle and it was certainly tough to uproot from a life I had begun to feel very settled into, but I'm glad we did it.

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

I work at a place called The Boston Language Institute. There are several things I really like about it. The management is great. I'm listened to, changes are made when needed, and there's a sense of teamwork in the air. It's a friendly place with an overall good atmosphere. There are plenty of teaching materials and they've order several new books upon my suggestion.

I really like teaching diverse populations. I could count the non-Thais I taught in the LOS on two hands. Here, I've been teaching Chinese, Iranian, Georgian, Slovakian, Brazilian, French, Haitian, Japanese, Korean, Colombian, and Saudi students. It just makes things much, much, much more interesting.

The Boston area is extremely expensive and I'm not making much more per hour than I was before I left Bangkok. This math ain't good. If I didn't have a supportive family network here, things would be more dire.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

I miss the food, the buzz on the streets, people everywhere. I got used to that. I miss the usual stuff. Certainly the getaways to beaches and waterfalls, etc. There are great spots around here, but it just ain't the same. I also miss being able to practice speaking Thai. I fear I'll lose my Thai eventually.

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

I'd say Thailand because there are more jobs and the quality of life is better if you're suited to it all. Why not take off and get away from all this American political crap and lack of delicious spicy food? There is plenty of ESL work in and around Boston as it's a major international education hub. But it's almost all part-time and short-term. You can make 24,000 dollars a year or so running around teaching classes here and there.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

I'm pretty sure we'll be back. I didn't leave for any negative reasons at all. I miss it a lot already. I think once both my wife and I are topped up educationally and have some more 'time away' to scheme and plan for return plans we'll know if and when the time is right to come back. We don't have kids yet, so that may change things. But I invested a lot in Thailand and find it hard to imagine getting stuck back here in the West forever.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

I don't know...there's the feeling of getting 'stuck' in Thailand. I got familiar with that for stretches of time. There's all the endless entertainment and cheap activities, and the overflow of potential work. It's so easy to put off leaving, even if it makes sense to. My advice is to just bite the bullet and go where you need to go. Thailand will always be there, waiting for you to come back. That said, if you're happy with your lot in the LOS, enjoy and appreciate it...and have a nice steamy plate of pad krapow at bahg soi for all us deserters around the globe just pining for a little honest two-dollar streetfare.


Showing 5 Great Escapes out of 258 total

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