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


Steve

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

Back to Melbourne, Australia in July 2012.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

18 months

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

I saw the Thai educational system for what it was, and I realized that there was very little meaning in what I was doing.

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

Well I'm earning a western salary again, which is great. I also feel that my work is valued and meaningful and that there is a purpose for what I'm doing.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

The cost of living (food, rent etc) and most definitely the weather.

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

It depends on the motive of the teacher. If you are a professional, and put time and effort into your work and want to see some kind of intrinsic reward for that effort, then Thailand is not the place for you. If you are not so serious and just want to facilitate the passing of time for the students and live in Thailand for all it's 'pleasures' then you won't have trouble finding friends and you'll probably have a great time.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Holidays for sure, but I'd probably wouldn't work in Thailand again.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

There's a great mix of people teaching in Thailand. Youngsters on gap years, thirtysomethings trying to find themselves, middle aged men looking for love and retirees just looking for something to do. Most farangs teaching in Thailand are generally there because they don't want to be in their own country, rather than they actually find Thailand to be paradise. It can be fun, the kids are very friendly and nice and you can make great friends. The hoops you have to jump through to get the work permit and the constant trips to Chaeng Wattana for 90 day reporting will slowly but surely eat away at you. If you're serious about doing meaningful work then give Thailand a miss, if you just want to be have a bit of fun or 'life experience' then give it a go.


Tristan

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

Back to the UK fairly recently.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

Two years in several top universities, teaching art and literature, and academic English to post graduates.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

I have a great respect for the academy. I like what I do. I love art and literature. There is zero academic integrity in any of the institutions I encountered in Thailand. Particularly the so called, "best universities in the country." I taught academic English to graduates who knew nothing about their own field. Computer engineers who knew nothing about computers, and civil engineers who knew nothing about engineering. It became clear why the infrastructure in Thailand is such a shambles. It's such a shame.

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

I get paid a lot more. I don't have to beg for my pay cheque. I don't have to be the only person in the staffroom properly qualified, and I don't have to explain the concept of gravity to graduates from the best university in the country (seriously)

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Fresh coconut, Chang mai and my secretary.

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

It's a good experience in Thailand - but if you value your work, move on.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Holidays :-)

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Take it for what it is. Teaching in Thailand is a good excuse to try out new techniques. However, like I said, if you're serious about academic work, then Thailand isn't for you. Live the life you love.


Sebastian

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

Dubai three years ago.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

Seven years

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

Obviously the money was pathetic but generally I was just fed up with Bangkok and all the nonsense that goes on there with the locals and the expats.

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

I make approximately 200,000 baht a month with free accomodation - a very large, modern, two bedroom apartment next to a golf course. I get annual flights, comprehensive health insurance, loads of perks at work and lots of professional development. I'm treated as a professional and I work with highly qualified colleagues from all over the world.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

The food and the beaches but not much more than that.

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

To work in the UAE you need to get at least a Master's degree and have experience teaching at a university or an international school. So, Thailand is a good place to start but if you are not qualified forget it and go home and study. If you don't have enough qualifications (come to think of it, even if you do) you will get paid next to nothing in Thailand. You'd be better off going on unemployment benefits in your own country.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

For a holiday one day perhaps.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

If you want to be a teacher you need to get more than a TEFL certificate.


Stephen

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I still live in Thailand but I don't teach anymore

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

Four years

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

I stopped teaching because of the agents. When I first started in 2007 you could still get good jobs for between 35,000 and 50,000 baht. The agents destroyed that. They take 50% of your salary. The only people who will work for this money are young travellers with no real teaching experience who dont mind slumming it. It's not fair on the kids, the real teachers who want to live in Thailand or the Thai teachers. I worked too hard, got paid too little and the other farang teachers were embarrassing: mainly drug addicts, sexual deviants or at least scamming at being a teacher and lying about their credentials.

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

I own a cafe and a salon in Pattaya. It is like moving away from Thailand, Thailand is a different country when you are not teaching, completely different. You have more money, more time, more happiness and more self esteem.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

I miss the kids from the schools, I loved every class I taught and I loved to see the kids grow and learn. It was heartbreaking leaving them.

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

TEFL teaching is a scam. It is run by agencies who are ripping off the Thai schools, So no do not teach in Thailand unless you can get employed directly by the schools or in an international school. The Thai government should ban many of the agencies. Agencies are destroying opportunities for good teachers and making it easy for lowlifes who wouldn't normally aproach a Thai school to get jobs, ripping of the thai kids with crap teachers and stealing money from the Thai education system.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

I love Thailand and I want to stay here for as long as possible.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Just watch out for those agencies.


Matthew

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved back to the UK in 2003

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

Three years

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

The lack of opportunities in Bangkok and of course definitely the money. The pay was simply too low. Even 30,000 baht ten years ago didn't cut it. Lord knows how teachers survive on that kind of money nowadays.

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

I now work in Cairo. I went back to the UK, trained to be a teacher and it was the best decision of my life. My job opportunites increased hundred-fold. My jobs came with flights, housing, bonuses and huge paid holidays. International school teaching can be the only way forward if you are going to teach abroad and make a carrer out of it.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

It's a great place for someone in the early twenties - as I was when I was there. It's a great place for a holiday too. But I am 34 now. I couldn't imagine working there again. It would simply be for a holiday.

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

By all means work in Thailand because you'll have a great experience. But don't stay more than a couple of years if you are teaching English. I have friends still in Bangkok that I met in 2001. They are still ekeing out the same existence, earning a pittance. But they are addicted to the easy life and the girls, etc. Don't get yourself trapped like that. You will waste your life.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

My girlfriend and I go every year for a vacation.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Go to Thailand for a few years, relax and enjoy it. But if you are teaching English and not working in an international school, don't make a career out of it! You might not be lucky enough to escape.


Showing 5 Great Escapes out of 330 total

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