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


David

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

Cambodia, in 2002

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

About two and half years.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

The visa and work permit thing was always a pain. In my last job, I was asked to re-submit another copy of my academic transcript, together with a letter from my university. My employer already had these, but the government powers that be wanted me to go through the whole process again.
I started teaching at another school, and the Chinese owner promised to get my visa/work permit for me. She didn't. I had had enough.

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

Easy to get visas......and no work permits.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Decent healthcare at very affordable prices, people obeying the rules of the road, and Thai food.

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

I would advise them to seek work in Thailand first. See if you like it, and research your move thoroughly. Come for a holiday first, and visit some schools/ universities. Cambodia is not for beginners.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Definitely, but only for holidays as long as the archaic bureaucracy exists.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Cambodians are extremely friendly people, genuinely so. Accommodation is noticeably more expensive, and decent healthcare is ridiculously so. If you get seriously ill (and you will), you will need a decent healthcare plan with med-evac options. In addition, the traffic will stress you out.


Danny

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved to Shanghai, China, around two months ago, mid August 2011. I'm now teaching mathematics at an A-Level school for Chinese students who want to attend university abroad.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

I taught English in Chiang Mai for a year, at one of the private missionary-founded schools.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

I really had an amazing life in Chiang Mai - but with few oppurtunities for career advancement, I knew that I would need to get my education degree to move up in the world of education.

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

Money is of course a big plus. I can afford a much nicer apartment and can splurge on nice meals and big nights out without worrying too much Shanghai is a massive city with endless oppurtunities for entertainment, so I'm never at a loss for things to do. Plus I'm getting valuable experience teaching A-Level mathematics which will come in handy in the future.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

The friendliness, politeness and warmth of Thais. Living simply and enjoying life. Cheap and delicious food.

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

Thailand is a great place for a few years if you're young, unqualified and just want to enjoy life. Its also a fantastic place if you are highly qualified and can get into a well paying international school. However, for recent educaton graduates, Shanghai is ideal because there are many well-paid positions for subject teachers. It can be a great place to start a career in education.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Absolutely. Thailand isn't perfect but it has so many good things going for it - low cost of living, pleasant culture, good weather, amazing food, relative safety, and terrific holiday opportunities - that few other places can compete.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

The year I spent teaching English in Chiang Mai was probably the best year of my life, and there are moments when I wonder why I left. At the same time, I'm grateful for the opportunities to develop as a teacher and enjoy a nicer lifestyle.


Will (AKA Wild Bill)

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved to Lancaster, near to where I was brought up and where my family still live, in May 2008.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

Worked in Chiang Mai for 18 months after visiting as a backpacker and meeting my then girlfriend who is now my wife.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

Mainly financial. I was a little bit naughty and used my overdraft to fund my move to Chiang Mai and after over a year of no payments, the bank was sending nasty letters to my parents' house! Wanted to catch up with my friends and family too as well as giving my wife the opportunity to see where I come from and get to know my family.

Needed to also top up my HND into a degree which I completed this year.

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

Obviously you get paid more money, which allows you to save for the future. The problem with Thailand is although you can live quite well, it is very difficult to fund a trip home, so many farangs don't get to see their homeland for years on end. Also there are real prospects for promotion and a career, although right now that does not motivate me.
Not dripping with sweat is also nice but I would swap it for being battered by rain and wind on my walk to work or falling over on the ice in winter!

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

The simple things really, like going shopping for food at the local market; riding my Honda Dream in my shorts with the warm air blowing against you as the sun drops; drinking a few Leos whilst catching ridiculous -sized catfish a local fishing lake; meeting chilled-out and happy people wherever you go; and eating 'aroi' food wherever and whenever. Basically I miss it all, apart from the pollution and the sunburn!

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

Thailand is definitely a place to 'cut your teeth' so to speak. It is easy to find work with relatively few qualifications and experience and you are usually left alone to learn on the job.

Kids don't always want to learn but usually want to have 'sanuk.' So don't expect too much from them but at the same time put as much effort as you can in to getting some fun activities together that teach a little bit to everyone each class.

Teaching young adults employability skills in the UK is actually quite similar but may be a tougher gig to start with. I have found that if you have the carrot of a job opportunity for the learners you can motivate them to learn quite well.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Although living in the UK is OK and my wife has settled in really well (many folk at work actually think she is a born and bred Lancastrian!) I have a definite plan to return to Chiang Mai in around 15 months time to build a small house on my wife's land and probably stay and teach for at least a year.

Ultimately I want to take a PGCE in the UK and also buy a house to rent out. Then I can return to Chiang Mai and live my days out in financial security with the house acting as a 'nest-egg' for when I retire. Long way off though - I am only 29!

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Two points: if you are in the UK and have considered teaching in Thailand, but have not bit the bullet, do it! I moved over with no experience, very little money and managed to get a TEFL, get teaching and earning a decent wage within three months and may have still been there if it wasn't for the bank catching up with me!

If you are in Thailand and are worried about coming back or want to show your Thai partner where you come from etc; then again, it is probably worth biting the bullet too. Living back in the UK has been good for our relationship as my wife can now understand a lot more about me and my life before I met her. I joke with her that she is currently three years into her PhD in Northern English. In two years she will be fully qualified and ready to return to Thailand to act as much like a farang as me!


Christian

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved to a city called Jiaxing, near Shanghai in China on May 1st 2010. Now I live and work in Chongqing, South West China.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

I worked in Thailand for 3 years.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

I always wondered what differences there would be in the TEFL Industry in another country and to gain more experience.

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

I think the advantages are ( in order ) money, free apartments that are well furnished and modern, fewer visa issues and twice yearly flights home paid for after six and twelve months.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Soooooo much. Despite the advantages of living in China, I still crave to be back in Thailand. The simplicity of life in Issan, islands from heaven, great food, smiley people and all my friends.

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

Yes. Despite the problems that Thailand has, it is a great country. Most people who left Thailand, in my opinion, were looking for too much. They left their home countries and came to Thailand expecting things to be the same but different ( as the saying goes). My advice to anybody is do what I did. I came to Thailand several times before making the leap. Get to know people. Discuss life there, work there, ins and outs, how to go about the job market and learn some Thai etc. Most important of all.....you have got to love teaching, if not, you are already backing a loser.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Yes. I will return after my current contract ends here in Chongqing.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

You need to be prepared. We have a saying in the UK: You can take the person out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the person. From what I have seen of expats in Thailand, this is very true.


Jonathan

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

USA in 2007

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

Four years

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

Money, fair treatment, and professional advancement

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

I save a lot more money and have a great retirement plan and family insurance. I get two months of paid vacation and the company I am with offer solid professional development

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

I miss the bad treatment, the double standards and hypocrisy of the school management - and the constant gossip.

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

If you are a fully certified teacher, try to apply early to one of those Tier 1 schools in Bangkok. The rest of them are not real educators.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Never again

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Thailand is not a great place to bring up a family.


Showing 5 Great Escapes out of 258 total

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