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


Doc McCoy

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

Moved to China in August, 2007 for a position at a University.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

Worked in Thailand for 4 years. Both at a private school and government schools.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

There is no one, singular reason, but instead a combination of reasons. Teaching in a private school sucks the life out of a person. Teaching in a government school also sucks the life, motivation and desire to teach out of a person as well. Money is virtually non-existent, given all the time that one does not work, and hence does not get paid. At the end, government schools were hiring non-native English speakers at a fraction of what they were paying native speakers, and were putting too many demands on all of the teachers, such as remaining on campus during all school hours, even if one had only two classes a day. The biggest dissatisfaction came from the Thai education system in general, and the expectations that were being put on foreign teachers. The expectations were unreasonable, and could not be met, especially in classes of 50 to 55 students, most of whom had no desire to be in an English class

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

Initially, fewer hours - 10.5 per week - and more money and benefits. (Medical, significant travel allowances, housing, etc.) Of course, with fewer hours, the possibility for extreme boredom is prevalent, but can be combated. The teaching conditions are better both in the classroom and the expectations of the University. Here, foreigners are certainly making more than the native teachers, but there is very little resentment. Many of the native teachers will regularly attend foreigner's classes trying to improve their own level of English.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Hard to say what I miss about life in Thailand. The weather is probably the main thing. I am very adaptable, to a degree, and China is similar to Thailand in many respects.

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

I would advise a new teacher to work in Thailand first for a few reasons. Initially, and assuming that the new cultural course requirements are worth the paper it is written on, that would be a benefit for anyone wishing to teach in Asia. A second reason would be the new teacher can get some experience and hone his/her skills before moving on elsewhere in Asia. The expectations on teachers for actual teaching abilities and skills are much lower in Thailand than in other Asian countries. On a personal note, and purely selfish, the more incompetent teachers that a country starts to entertain, the stricter the regulations are going to become for everyone. This is what Thailand is experiencing now. More of my views on teaching in Asia can be found on my blog: www.oldcodger.org/blog/?p=20

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

For a visit, most likely. Have many friends there yet. To live there - probably not. The government is too unstable now, and the requirements for visas are onerous and ridiculous, in my opinion. Here in China, I can have a residency visa in just a few years, without any financial requirements. Given my advanced age, that is going to work out quite well.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

I could probably add quite a few things, but that might offend quite a few of your readers. So, I will save you the unpleasant task of having to censor my comments.


Mark Wyatt

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

Nepal and then Oman a few years later. I left Thailand in May 1997.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

I worked there for over 6 years.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

I needed a change. I did well in Thailand, working as a teacher, a senior teacher, an area head teacher and a manager within a chain of language schools. However, I needed to move on, and I have, from CTEFLA to Dip TESOL to MA TESOL, and I’ve almost finished a PhD. In the last 6 and a half years I’ve worked in teacher education. A few months after I left, I remember cycling to work in Kathmandu on frosty wintry mornings, with the city still half asleep (classes started at 7am), the sky sometimes clear and blue, and white mountains visible, and think ‘Wow, I’m glad I made this move!’ And then in Nepal, there was such cultural richness and diversity. No matter how much you’re in love with a place, and I have very fond memories of Thailand, of Krabi and Chiang Mai, Phitsanulok and Isaan, a change every now and then is good for the soul.

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

Direct comparisons aren’t easy. 10 years ago, Thailand was still the best place for me to live, although I was thinking then about leaving (as I did a few months later). I believe that there is a time and place for everywhere you’d like to be. I’ve always sought out countries noted for the friendliness of their people, and chose Oman carefully, but Thailand was also kind to me and so was Nepal. At present, I have a very rewarding job, in in-service teacher education, teaching a couple of days a week and visiting schools to help teachers relate theory to practice. I would be happy to do this in other countries too. I had a rewarding job in Thailand, too, but that was earlier in my career, and I worked long hours.

The pay and benefits are better now. My salary is substantially higher, I live in a villa (rather than a flat), and have a company car (rather than take the microbus or a taxi to work). I finish work at 2.30 everyday, so there’s more time for the family (and the PhD). I can

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

I miss all sorts of things; the hustle and bustle, the camaraderie of the teachers’ room, the traffic jams, Loy Krathong & Songkran, Buddhas, temples, lotus pools, Wat Arun, the ferry up to Nonthaburi, the VIP buses down South, the songthiew ride to Ao Nang, particularly the point when Chicken Island comes into view, Kheng Nua, durian, Kheng Kwian Gai, soulless shopping malls, Baskin Robbins, the cinema, ten pin bowling, being covered in sweat by the time I got to work.

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

Thailand, definitely, but preferably work in a large school with a buzzing teachers’ room. I learned so much in the first couple of years from the people around me.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

On holiday, yes, and maybe a presentation at Thai TESOL.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Just to say ‘thanks’. I like the website, and, though I’m very happy where I am, enjoy browsing it occasionally. Going to Thailand was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life.


Nick Fardell

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

We moved to Seoul in South Korea in Feb. 2005

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

About 3 months

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

Ran out of money and couldn't survive in Thailand as we was voluntary teaching.

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

We had an income, that was it. We loved (and still do Thailand).

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

The warmness and friendliness of people, my friend the monk "Nutterwood" in Pai, , driving my moped to school, the kids, the school, the food, the country, learning the language, Eid the teacher and other warm people i met along the way..... in other words absolutely everything!

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

Do voluntary work in the poor areas in the mountains. They will survive better with English, and they have hearts of gold. I loved every single one of them. They touched my heart.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Definitely!

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

I wish i could afford to live in Thailand. My professional study loan repayments keep me in England. If not for them, i'd be there in a flash now.


Jeal Labrador

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

From Bangkok to China in August 2004.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

5 years (1997-2002)

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

Visa Run and Money. I got tired of going in and out of Thailand for visa plus the salary was not enough to live a decent life.

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

Definitely, the salary is much, much better. I am not a native speaker of English but they pay me like a native speaker because my qualifications and teaching experiences are more important with my present employer. I've been here for 3 years now and will be here as long as they want me. Teaching load is nothing compared to Thailand. I teach 4 days, 16 hours a week. I only have to be in school during my class time. I can go anywhere I want to when my classes are over. On top of that, I have a free single fully-furnished apartment (inside the campus which is good for my security) with a computer and 24 - hour internet connection, and even my drinking water is free. Air tickets are reimbursed at the end of a year contract. My university gives us travelling allowance, which is good enough to travel around China), a bicycle to go around the place and a year-end bonus. So many paid holidays like 7 days in October (for National Day), 40 days in January or February (for Spring Festival) and 7 days in May (for Labor Day). What more can I ask for?

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Thai Food

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

I would say new teachers must seek work in their home country first before they explore other countries.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Yes...but just for traveling.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

All I can say is that there's life after Thailand. To all my fellow Filipinos out there, don't lose heart in finding jobs in other countries. We are not native speakers of English but there are many employers who want to hire us because we are hardworking, shrewd, and ingenious people. Mabuhay tayong mga Filipinos!!!


Alex Lapp

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved to Seoul in March 21 2006

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

Only about 4 months - in Bangkok near Chatuchak Market

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

After my contract expired with the school I realized that I was not wanted. The pay was low and the general "mah ben rai" attitude was starting to get old. Also the head of the English department had no idea what to do with us. It's like we were dumped on the sidewalk and had to be given something to do or we would be back on the streets. We had no curriculum and no feedback from any of the fellow teachers. Like I said " mah ben rai".

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

Besides the obvious one which is money; the kids are more enthusiastic to learn English, there are no stray dogs, and the bars are open until morning.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Weather, islands and general laid back attitude. And Chatuchak park!

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

New teachers can definitely afford to shop around Thailand for a year. If one has no qualifications:( only BA from Uni) then you can learn a lot from today's TEFL industry. Unfortunately, mostly it will be negative info. Current government doesn't make things work to our advantage as well. So work for a few months and if you likes it, get certified or even get MA and thus have more options in the future.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Got girlfriend waiting, so planning to come after the end of my current contract.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Don't get too comfortable in the Land of Smiles.


Showing 5 Great Escapes out of 239 total

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