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


Brian

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

China, Zhangjaigang to be precise, which is roughly halfway between Shanghai and Nanjing. I decided enough was enough and left Thailand last October.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

Two years on and off, in both high and primary school.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

Poor managment and organisation. This was a consistent problem during my time in Thailand. Very often I was grossly misled about the position that I applied for or to to put it bluntly, lied to.

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

Far better teaching facilities, double the salary, colleagues that can actually speak half-decent english, reasonable living conditions, enthusiastic students. The list goes on...

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

The weather and the food mainly. Also the luxury of being able to have a long weekend sunning myself on the beach.

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

I would advise a new teacher to cut their teeth in Thailand before moving on to another country with better working and living conditions. Thailand is not a place to work long term if you have any ambition or hopes of self improvement. You will simply become stuck in a rut. One or two years will be a great and rewarding experience. Any longer and you will be running on a treadmill.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Without a doubt for an extended holiday but I would be very reluctant to teach again in Thailand until the profession becomes properly regulated. I met and worked with far too many cowboy teachers with dubious ethical standards who would struggle to gain any employment in the west, let alone become a teacher.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

If you are applying for a job in Thailand be very careful about the company you choose to work for. There are many less than reputable recruiters that will try to suck you for every penny that you are worth. Be particuarly aware of Western owners or managers who are in general far worse than Thai employers, who on the whole are pretty honest about the positions offered. Remember that in Thailand demand for teachers more than often outstrips supply meaning you can pick and choose your employer. Avoid any job or company with 'fun' in the title.


Tom

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved back home to Brighton in England because of a family emergency in June 2012.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

About 2 years

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

Actually it was to save money and then move to Japan. I was offered a job that paid 52k a month for just 17.5 hours a week.

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

Very little. In Brighton I can't find work so I have to teach private students. The economic situation here gets worse by the day. I'm poor even though I don't pay any rent. I'm due some inheritance soon with which I'll be able to study Japanese full time in Japan for a year. Can't wait to leave.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

I was rich and had copious amounts of free time. I worked out nearly every day in California Wow, I (somewhat oddly) studied Japanese a lot, I went out to lovely places with my friends and over 2 years had two of the prettiest, funniest most lovely girlfriends I ever had. And that's even after living in Japan for 5 years.The photos on my Facebook profile speak for themselves. I just feel sorry for my friends in the UK stuck in the 9-5 routine.
Also, the usual: lovely food, weather, people, islands etc. And the super cheap taxis.

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

Going because you want to sleep with go-go girls is the kind of sad thing middle-aged men with no friends do. And you wouldn't be able to afford it much on 30k a month anyway. You'd be better off somewhere that pays well, probably South Korea. Even Cambodia would put you in a better position. If you can find a job that pays 40k+ it makes a big difference.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Yes. Once I get a few years experience as a japanese - English financial translator I plan on working freelance in Bangkok. First world income, developing world prices. I love they way Thais are so laid back. I was in Tokyo last April and everyone looked so miserable and stressed that I was actually shocked.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

I'd just like to take issue with a few points made by other people. I've read a few posts where people have complained that jobs don't pay well, things are expensive and all the girls are rotten prostitutes, the students were lazy and the schools themselves run by cowboys.

Maybe I was very lucky but that wasn't my experience at all. I was earning 1,000 GBP a month and my minimum living expenses were 200 GBP a months. (160 pounds a month for a nice clean apartment + swimming pool and gym). I was able to save nearly 800 GBP a month and paid very little tax. My students were some of the brightest and most motivated I've ever taught. Phd students, MA students, you name it. I was basically teaching TOEFL. The school was well run, very fair and very friendly, although there was no training ever.

The girls I met tended to be a bit hi-so/posh (but half westernized). They were modest, intelligent, friendly, beautiful and hot! There's always been a glut of rich, well educated, beautiful women in Thailand because their peers tend to marry women from a lower social level.

I think men who go to Thailand and shack up with an uneducated bar girl kind of get what they deserve. These girls are living very difficult lives in extreme poverty. Their whole existence is different to yours. And even if you see them as an equal, a fellow human being on earth, they never will. You'll just be cash and a visa and hope for her and her family. Is that really too difficult to figure out? Best avoided. If you can't find a good job don't go unless you are prepared to work in a mickey-mouse school.

As for going on a one man crusade to change Thai society by arguing with your school directors and getting angry with your students because they're lazy, I've never hear anything so silly. When in Rome do as the Romans do. They ask you to pass the students, pass them. It's no skin off your nose. It's not your country. If you don't like it leave, or even better, don't go in the first place. They didn't ask you to go there and enlighten them with your superior western ways.

Some people aren't built for travel, but it's surprising how many of them go to Thailand and complain about it on this site. Mai pen rai dude, don't go to Thailand if you're the kind of person who tends to get their knickers in a twist.


Setzer

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved to Beijing one month ago.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

Three brief (and agonizing) months

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

I spent a pitifully short time in Thailand I know. However, I had just come from spending two years working in the coast of China, and one year working in Malaysia to working in Thailand -- a place where education is NOT valued at all. I worked in a fairly respectable university in Thailand and encountered the "no fail" policy... thinking it wouldn't be much of a problem. Ultimately, though, I realized that "working for your future" is an empty notion in Thailand. After weeks of battling with administration, and with the unparalleled laziness of students... I had enough.

Prior to coming to Thailand, teachers had told me that schools were relatively less stressful than in China. Perhaps for the students, but not for a teacher who works hard to teach his students.

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

A better salary, and clarity about my teachings schedule. The schedule is unchanging. Even though some of the "big man small man" dynamic exists in other countries, you are at least told what the hell is going on.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Very little. The food is cheap, but the portions are so small compared to a typical Chinese meal. However, I should say that I do miss how easily Thai people can let their hair down at parties. I went to a couple of faculty parties where people drank, sang, and danced around the room. In China and Malaysia people will go to a karaoke bar, but their demeanor is still guarded.

Other than that... I am ecstatic to have left the country.

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

It depends. While my experience was negative, I think it could be a valuable start-off point for a teacher (perhaps one without a teaching certificate). However, for someone with experience in another country (particularly East Asia or the Middle East), then I would advise them to steer clear. It's probably not a place for someone who truly values teaching.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

God willing, no.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

If things start out badly, even at a well-reputed place, then don't "stick it out" for a few months to see if it gets better. Thai employers wait out the clock to make sure that you're in a bad position to look for other work, but there is ALWAYS other work. Don't be afraid to walk away.


Stephen

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved back to England and do not regret it for one moment. It was the end of September 2012 when we arrived back in England, I brought my Thai girlfriend with me and she is loving it here in England.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

I worked in Thailand for exactly six and a half years, maybe I stayed too long because in the end I hated it in Thailand.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

After working at several schools for different agencies it was clear nothing was ever going to change. Same old arguments with the Thai teachers when it came to exam times, nobody can fail. What a load of old bollocks that is. I remember one school where I had a class of 43 girls in my M4 class, 8 of the girls would do each others hair with hair dryers may I add. I approached the Thai teacher responsible for this class, but nothing happened until I failed them all. They all got a big zero because that what they did. As usual I was told I must give them a pass mark, I flatly refused to do it and the class was taken away from me, and this was not the only problem class. Thailand deserves the low educated people it has, because until corruption is wiped out in the education system and kids who are lazy and stupid buck their ideas up, nothing will ever change. Glad to be out of it. Even worked in a very well known private language school and even there it was no one fails because they pay.

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

In England where I am now I pay more tax and insurance, bills are higher but I earn a decent salary. Back to being among people with a work ethic unlike Thailand. It was difficult getting up and running in England but I have many qualifications so I got a job straight away. My girlfriend can't understand why companies really check up on you before you get a job and the hoops you have to jump through to rent houses unlike Thailand. She is gradually getting to grips with things though.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

To be perfectly honest I don't miss Thailand at all and will probably never come back, not even to visit my friends and family. The fact that I can drive without the police stopping me for tea money and what else? - stupid useless dangerous Thai drivers, unintelligent people who think they are better than anyone else because of their brainwashing, also that Thais think Thailand is the only country in the world. Thais live in a goldfish bowl so will never improve in my opinion unless corruption is wiped out and this will never happen.

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

In my opinion, anyone who is doing okay in their own country - stay there! You will never make a difference in Thailand. Save your energy and work hard at what you are doing now. If you are on the dole then maybe it would be a good option for you, or if you are not very well educated, get a TEFL certificate and someone will employ you for a pittance. For anyone in England the grass is not greener on the other side. Stay where you are.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

None whatsoever. I may have to come out to help with my girlfriends settlement visa, but if I don't have to I will not be coming back to Thailand. My salary is more than enough for her visa requirements so hopefully we can get it fairly easily as we can provide all the correct documentation. She is here on a six month visitors visa and has settled in very well. We have a nice house, car and I have a good job, so she is very happy here. Also we are lucky enough to live within a few minutes of some fantastic beaches, which she loves walking to.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

For those of you thinking of moving out to work in Thailand, think very carefully. It can be hard work and you will have to work more than one job to get a half decent living. Things are getting expensive in Thailand very quickly so your money won't go so far unless you live like a local, eating cheap street food. This is not a good idea. Make sure you always have money spare for emergencies. Do not go for all the wrong reasons - bargirls, gogo bars, cheap sex. My advice is find a decent girl if you can but they are few and far between as many have been prostitutes at one time or another. Glad to be home in a civilised country.


Harry

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

Moved to South China in September 2012 after gaining teaching certification in Australia.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

Worked in Thailand for 6 and a half years.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

Six and a half years was enough. Wanted to travel more and earn and save more money.

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

No great advantage. Life is more dull here and not as fun as in Thailand. Money is not good enough for a certified teacher unless you're working for a top line international school, which I ain't. if you're interested in travel then South China offers Hong Kong , Macao, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and nice enough weather.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Bars, eye candy and easy access to travel to any nice destination in Thailand. The weather is also cooler here at the moment, so do miss the weather at times, although the heat in Thailand on a daily basis can be gruesome.

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

Start off in Thailand, because it's more fun. Both China and Thailand just want a white face, so educationally speaking they're both as bad as each other. The schools are basically the same with bad management and not knowing how to utilize a foreign teacher's expertise. Also it's more easy to change jobs in Thailand. In China the need for a release letter and payment of contract breaking fees make it more difficult to leave and change jobs within China.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

If things don't work out here, it's possible I might return. I would not stay long term though. Just a short time to get my bearings together before I decide what to do next.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Both China and Thailand are not for qualified teachers with masters degrees. I felt there and here that foreigners have a 'lack of voice' and that management was/is embarrassing. Eye candy is good though and that's why most foreigners are there and here.


Showing 5 Great Escapes out of 330 total

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