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


Antonio

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved to Beijing China about 4 months ago

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

I lived and worked in Thailand for about 2 years.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

I wanted more money. I was tired of the humidity and go-go bars. It was a 'perfect storm' of events that all colaborated together I suppose...

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

So far - none really. More money, but the same ol' problems. You have to get on a plane to do a visa run from Beijing! Oh gawd!

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

I miss that first year as a teacher there - when everything was brand new and so... exotic isn't the word. You know when you hear the Thai national anthem for the first time and see all the students doing the wai. It's like being on another planet. I can still remember my first students. I'll never forget them.

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

Do not come to China without at least one year of teaching experience. You will get ripped off harder than you would in Thailand. For example: Where I work now I make $1666 a month. There is some young kid at the same school who makes $2500 a month, even though he has no experience - but he was a direct hire. Then there are two girls with no experience also, and they are making $800 a month. Our agent is screwing them hard because of their lack of experience. She's screwing me too, because I should be making $2500 a month!

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Maybe to become a monk or do Muay Thai (Thai boxing). I don't want to end up strung out on Hong Tong again...

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

No.


HJ

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

Tbilisi, Georgia in September 2011

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

2 years

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

I wanted to try a new country, environment and culture.

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

I gained very valuable experience, especially in the Cambridge curriculum. The visa and work permit processes were also infinitely easier to navigate and resolve.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Everything! The easy low-cost living, the warm weather, the friendly people, my old Thai neighborhood where I knew everybody and everybody knew me, the excellent food!

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

Thailand definitely!

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Yup, all my friends are there.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Working in different countries can be very advantageous but be aware that the differences between one country and the next can be very dramatic and can catch you quite unawares. Even though Georgia was a country I dearly wanted to work in and even though I thought I was prepared for a teaching year there, I suffered quite badly from culture shock and depression (from the cold sun-less days) - something I never had in Thailand.


Franklin

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

First to Vietnam, then back to the US.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

Nearly five years.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

The flawed school system. I got tired of being blamed for students who didn't master English in two months, never came to class, or more importantly, didn't "have fun". Oh, and the fact that even on 50,000 a month, I still couldn't save any money.

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

After so many years of living in a fantasy of cheap food, great weather, and amazing holidays on isolated tropical islands, the one glaring advantage of being back in the US is owning up to the reality of life's responsibilities: namely, paying bills, saving money and getting old. The notion of a retirement fund has yet to eclipse the thrill of budget excursions to Laos, but hopefully it will soon.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Waking up in the morning and knowing that I was only a bus and boat ride away from some of the most spectacular beaches on the planet. The relaxed pace of life in a small town. The incredible food. The unique travelers on the night train to Chaing Mai. The surprisingly state-of-the-art movie theaters. And of course the option to have a wild night on the town for under fifty bucks.

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

Of course, come to Thailand. My only advice is to set a timer. If you're happy and where you want to be when the buzzer sounds, then reset. If not, move on because nothing is worse than telling yourself that the food/weather/shopping is worth the hassle of being misled or outright lied to by sneaky administrators and jaded principals.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

I left and returned three times already. The last time I spent about six months retracing steps and absorbing all the breathtaking flora and fauna. Most of Southeast Asia is beyond description and if I go back, Thailand will be just one stop on a multi-country trek. But even if I wanted to teach there again, I know too much about how it works to put up with all the drama.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Teaching in Thailand was a great excuse for me to live out my wildest dreams of travel, but at the end of it all, the classroom is the last place I think about. My experience was uneven but I hold on to the good stuff; brilliant students, and lots of "this is why I teach moments'. When it was good, it was great.


Aaron

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

Back to the United States, December 7, 2012.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

For almost exactly four years.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

Thailand has a number of problems that are not going away, and some of the biggest obstacles are part and parcel of the Kingdom's attitude toward public education: there is an intensely rigid class system which is readily apparent in Thai art, as seen at the Grand Palace, as demonstrative of an incredibly hierarchical concept of social relations. Also, there are many great mysteries the country will face politically. I shouldn't elaborate here, as that would be most un-Thai.

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

Predictability, professionalism, pro-active attitudes (that are not encumbered by a fantasia of disorganized activity) make life much more predictable and comfortable in terms of consumer welfare. There isn't a political apparatus in which accountability is the very most insignificant consideration. Human welfare actually does occur to some of the local population as a consideration.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Cheap taxis and hotels (don't be fooled, those are Thailand's only bargains...everything else is quite expensive). I miss the beaches I could never afford to visit.

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

I would advise a new teacher who has some chops and knows it to seek private lessons and a long-term visa through an agent. Thailand's schools rank (according the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Survey) as among the very worst schools in Southeast Asia: Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia outperform Thailand by significant percentages. This means that Thailand offers better salaries to workers without work permits (unless you're Burmese, a quick bribe will nearly always handle matters) than to those with permits.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Vacations are nice, but Thailand is nothing short of a hell-hole for those uninitiated and who understand that tropical tourism destinations rarely make quality work refuges.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Thailand is a disaster of a country: floods that they can hardly manage (I believe their last initiative was to turn on a bunch of boat engines and hope the water flows out of the Chao Praya faster), political vultures and citizenry that trusts itself about as much as a Russian Gypsy trusts a Kremlin shopkeeper. It is ranked by the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy as one of Asia's riskiest countries. I worked in Korea for one year before I moved to Thailand. In my mind, Korea is a golden paradise of rationality compared with Thailand. Good luck to those foolish enough (without hope).


Jim

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved to Nanjing, China in August of 2011.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

I lived and worked in Bangkok for roughly 9 1/2 years.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

I wanted specific experience in a specific international curriculum that was not available to me in Bangkok. Kind of a Catch-22 situation. I couldn't get into the schools I wanted to work at without this experience, but couldn't get the experience there without already having it. So I had to leave to get it.

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

The aforementioned professional experience and development, the opportunities it should hopefully allow to materialize in the future, and the money. It was strictly a choice made to enhance my career possibilities.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Seeing my fiance regularly, friends, food, nightlife, weather, people, ease of everyday life, beach getaways to Phuket or mountain escapes to Chiang Mai/Rai, cleanliness (yes, Chinese cleaners don't have any idea of what cleaning is) and the inexpensiveness of it all. Bangkok is better in nearly every way in my opinion. The only thing better in Nanjing is that it does have a proper Spring and Autumn, which is nice and it is a fairly pedestrian friendly city with real sidewalks to walk on. Watch out for the cars and electric bikes though.

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

It depends on what they teach. I would definitely advise against coming here to teach ESL. I just don't see the salaries as being very good for that here. You couldn't live well in my opinion on the salaries they offer. If they want to enjoy life then they shouldn't come here to Nanjing. If they want to come and work at an international school or at a Chinese school running an international curriculum then it is a different story. In that case if they want to earn money, advance their careers, and just see something different for a couple years then they should keep the option on the table. Nanjing probably isn't all that bad actually, but after nearly 10 years in Bangkok this place just isn't doing it for me.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Absolutely. This is a temporary thing. A three year hitch and then I'll try to get into a good international school with solid curriculum experience and a professional leadership position under my belt. I also have a Thai fiance and we own and operate a small business in Bangkok, which is doing fairly well.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

I get a pretty decent one bedroom apartment in the city near my job paid for by the school. An annual flight home to the United States, good health care coverage and an after tax income of about 118,000 baht a month. I am here to work and that's what I do so I'm saving about 95-100,000 baht a month in additon to getting great experience. My school has paid for me to do professional development in Hong Kong twice and KL, I'll go to Africa on a school trip for two weeks and I get 11 weeks paid vacation a year. But it is a really challenging job and there are high expectations. It is a high profile teaching job and and highly scrutinized with mutiple lesson observations a year by multiple people, work scrutiny by peers, meetings out the kazoo, a million people to please, many of them unreasonable...you get the idea. I start the work day at 7:30 am and although I am free to leave at 3:30pm I usually leave around 5:30 or 6 on average and stay as late as 8pm often. This is a big reason why I save 100,000 baht a month. I go home and fall face first on my bed.


Showing 5 Great Escapes out of 330 total

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