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


Monica-O

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

Initially Shanghai, China, then Hong Kong, Canton and every other place Lonely Planet has never heard of in China. I was working in Bangkok for an international school and a part time university gig back when they were still importing the parts for the Skytrain, circa 2003.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

Almost three years but played much longer than that.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

Opportunity and the BBD ( bigger better deal). Initially for me, Thailand was to break away from a Sydney Arts job which went sideways with budget cuts, had the quals experience in an Australian uni so I looked at an international setting which I got. A chance encounter with an old friend who was a head honcho with the HK NET scheme and his Chinese partners/gov mob opening up a new international school. I needed the challenge, he needed a PYP co-ordinator/manager so my China history was born. Always had a fascination for China and did two years of high school in HK when my father was working there.

The money was never the motivating factor and the new school, which now has three campuses in Shanghai and became one of the best there, burn out was an issue for me and the professional development which I never got in BKK. A case of you have wings and you want to fly scenario. Never looked back.

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

Every experience in teaching is a learning curve and I certainly won't put mine in Thailand down but there is not enough space for a thousand words on here. The opportunities, the solace, the resourcefulness of the people, the certain je ne sais quoi that draws people to certain places and seduces them into a long term stay.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

The wonderful Thais, the climate, the tuk-tuks, the motocys, the food which can't be copied, the guard in Ekamai where I lived who introduced me to all his chess mates and showed me how to ride a motocy like a Thai with all my flowing skirts and heels intact, the cobras in the South when going for a pee, many things.

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

In Thailand think of it as the next step to a long term plan, unless you meet someone and build a life there. In HK the sky's the limit, be aware of your needs and wants. Are you a career orientated person? Forget Thailand. Money? Go to HK. The frustrations and indescrepancies in Thailand and the red tape will drive you nutters one day.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

I go back yearly, working there - wouldn't consider it, on an international scale for me doesn't match up with what I have here. Love visiting but......there are the always the buts.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Find the crack, meaning, what makes you content about a place, situation or people - then go with it.


Louis Minson

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

Back to the UK in 2008. I currently work within the financial services industry.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

6 1/2 years.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

While I appreciate it may sound strange for somebody who worked quite happily within the Thai education system, I just didn't think that for my daughter it was a substitute for the kind of education I'd had, plus we had itchy feet, and my wife is an ambitious lady that wanted to try her luck in the West.

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

I can own property, I can save for retirement, I do not feel at the mercy of ever-changing immigration/labour department/MOE/TCT paperwork requirements.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

The weather, the lifestyle, the food, the prices, the beach....and of course, my old school, colleagues, and students.

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

Of course I would say do Thailand if you feel it's right, just be aware that the longer you stay the harder it becomes to return to your country of origin. Don't come penniless expecting to make your fortune, and don't expect life delivered to you on a plate. Were I to advise otherwise, to stay planted firmly in the rat-race forever, I would consider myself a hypocrite. Do what you need to do.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Maybe, I feel that I've only just got back home really, and have really only got to the stage where buying a house in the UK has become feasible.

Realistically, I can't see myself coming for anything more than family holidays for my wife and daughter's benefit, until such time that my daughter has gone to university, and can afford to retire at which point, we may take advantage of a substantial amount of land my wife owns and build a little lakeside villa in Songkhla province....and maybe become a chilli farmer. Pipedreams at present.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Don't be suprised when you return, if your long experience in Thailand is not regarded as that valuable by prospective employers from outside the TEFL industry, perhaps no more than how a gap-year may be regarded. Don't burn your bridges, and try to maintain as many contacts from your old life as possible. Facebook is a very useful tool, that can help you do this...something I only had for the final year of my time in Thailand.


Bradley Phillips

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved to Japan in 2004 and taught there for nine months and then went to China. I'm still here six years later.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

One year in Ratchaburi

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

I really missed Japan. I spent three years there before teaching in Thailand.

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

I save a lot more money. I have long, paid holidays. And I have a lot of freedom regarding curriculum. I taught at a university in Thailand and also teach at one in China. I'm treated very well here in China. I only have classes four days a week.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

The food, my former students and my former colleagues.

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

I'd advise them to come to China. There are a lot of opportunities here. And the visa process is much simpler.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

For a holiday, but my wife is from the Philippines so I'll spend most of my holidays there from now on.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?


Samuel Sherwood-Hale

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

Benavente in Northern Spain, about two weeks ago.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

About a year: 6 months in Chiang Mai on the TEFL circuit and 6 months in Chiang Rai in an EP at a government school.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

I didn't move from Thailand to Spain directly; I left Thailand, after I felt like I travelled SEA enough, and went back home for Christmas. I wanted to keep teaching English as a foreign language and was interested to see if it's just as easy to get a teaching in Europe as it is in Thailand.

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

Well the wages, but that's a given. The demands are higher and obviously so is the cost of living, so relatively it probably works out the same. If I was looking to save then this country would be better than Thailand but as I like to travel it'll be hard to make my wages stretch to the same extent I could in Thailand. In Thailand most of the mid-range western style pubs and restaurants were aimed at expatriates/tourists which could be annoying sometimes, whereas here everyone's part of the same community.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

The people of course, I suppose I was slightly spoilt being in Chiang Mai so there were lots of other young Westerners around teaching and travelling. But it was definitely an easier country to live in, that's always the first thing people say and there's a good reason why. All the other usual suspects, the food, the weather, pace of life etc.

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

If this is a new teacher then we're assuming they're quite young so I'd always say Thailand, It's a young person's place up North so I'd always say go for CM or around that area. If you're looking to make a positive career move then, unless you're a proper teacher, Thailand might not be the best choice. If you're all about lifestyle and quality of life then Thailand every time.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Never say never, there are lots of countries I'd like to visit but I know how much I enjoyed Thailand so yes I will probably return to work again. Also I think it'd be a waste if I didn't capitalize on what I learnt whilst I was there.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

I don't think I'm who this section is aimed at! I haven't been here in Spain long enough to really say which country I prefer. Maybe I'll do this again in a few years when I feel like I really have made a great escape.


Gary

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

My family and I moved to Japan in March ... about 6 months ago. I had spent about 9 years living in Japan off and on over a twenty eight year period before moving to Thailand. It was an easy transition for me.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

I lived in Thailand for 3 years and worked the last 2 years. I taught P5 at a private bilingual school.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

My main reason for leaving was my new job provided free annual tuition to the tune of $22,000 a year for my daughter to attend middle school. They also provide a $50,000 a year housing stipend and $10,000 a year cost of living allowance. All on top of my salary.

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

For me saving a lot more money is the primary advantage. Other things include not having to worry about a coup or what's going to happen when the king isn't around anymore. As far as transportation goes, the trains and bus system are first class. And if you can get a license to drive, the Japanese are far superior drivers to the Thai.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

I miss the students most of all and I miss the friends I made. I'm from the USA and it was an awesome experience having friends from Australia, England, France, Philippines and a few other countries. I don't miss much about Thailand beyond that.

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

I'm not a teacher anymore but I would probably recommend teaching in Thailand over Japan. It's far too expensive to live and enjoy yourself in Japan on a teacher's salary compared to Thailand. But if you're a properly credentialed teacher from the USA then the teaching jobs at schools like the one my daughter attends here in Japan are a far better deal.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

No immediate plans to return for anything other than a holiday. I bought land in three different places in Thailand and have a house in two of the locations. They're in the wife's name and I'm not too concerned about them. But, it's possible we might though.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

If it's possible you are much better off to get the proper teaching credentials from your home country before embarking on a teaching career in foreign lands, unless you absolutely know TEFLing is just going to be a 1-3 year adventure.


Showing 5 Great Escapes out of 261 total

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