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


Jock Strappe

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved back to Scotland in April this year.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

I arrived in Thailand in 1992 and after 6 weeks of travelling I looked for a teaching job to tide me over when the money started running out.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

I'm now past the 50 mark, and it was increasingly obvious that there were fewer jobs around for people my age, so it was not a hard choice to make that I should return home.

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

If I had a job, it would be that I was earning more than I did in Thailand. As it is, I am on the dole and living with my nephew's family in Dundee for the time being.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

The girls, the bars, the food, the atmosphere of the rooms where all the teachers huddled together and laughed and complained in equal measures.

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

Well, there's almost nothing to do here in Dundee, so I would advise a new teacher to go to Thailand and live the life I did for a few years. But don't get rooted to the place. Stay 1-2 years and then look for another teaching job in a different country.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Until I get enough money together - which looks unlikely - that seems a distant dream for now. But, I hope that one day I can return, even if it's only for a two-week break.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Yes, enjoy your time in Thailand, because when it is finally time to leave, you should have no regrets.


James

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved to Sri Lanka in early 2011

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

8 years

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

I had simply had enough. I ended up working in Bangkok and realised that I was actually getting sucked into the rat race, Thailand had lost some of its charm and a lot of friends had moved on. It was time to make a change.

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

I got a two-year working visa and no questions asked when I arrived, no tax, ten weeks paid holiday, excellent training and professional development. My salary is about 80,000 baht a month. Living costs are much lower than Bangkok. And Sri Lanka does what it says on the tin when it comes to contracts, laws and all those grey areas you have to navigate in Thailand.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Most things really, just not the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, I miss speaking the language, the culture, the people and though I never thought I would say this - the 'mai pen rai' attitude. I still regard Thailand as home.

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

If you are young and starting out, then Thailand is great, I dont regret any of my time there and I moved up from 'enterteaching' to academic management which gave me the skills to do the current job that I have. In Thailand one thing you can say is that you will get a job and learn as you teach - which is a godsend in this economic climate. If you want to really save some money and work at a professional place then Sri Lanka is better than Thailand. The general level of English is very high and the kids here are immaculately behaved. All that and Thailand is just three hours and a cheap flight away.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Thailand is not far away. I can leave my house and be in Bangkok for a late lunch. Perfect!

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Yes, most jobs I see advertised in Thailand are in the 30,000 baht a month bracket. That's an awful salary if you are going to live in Bangkok. It seems that Thailand is going to continue to make a mess of its native speaker recruitment for years to come judging from all I hear on this site. Well, mai pen rai eh!


Rolando Tomasse

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved to Jeddah Saudi Arabia about a month and a half ago.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

I lived in Thailand for one school year (two semesters) or about eleven months.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

The short answer? Money. Don't get me wrong, I love Thailand very much, but unfotunately I hate 'bein' broke' even more. The whole time I lived there I realized that I was always the only teacher on campus who actually had a bachelor's degree that didn't come from Kao San Road. Insult was added to injury when I found out that those teachers where getting paid more than me; they knew the scams, they knew that they had to nail the agent down to a higher salary. I just thought she was such a nice lady, I thought I could trust her and I got screwed.

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

The short answer? Money! I make about 100,000 baht a month out here, and that is actually what they pay you when they are 'ripping you off' in this country!

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

I miss my friends and the culture, the entire Thai aesthetic. I am living under strict Sharia Law now, so I definitely miss girls and beer, nightclubs and movie theaters. All of that is illegal out here.

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

I would tell any new ESL teacher to understand Thailand for what it is: If teaching English overseas were a board game (and for most of us it is at times) then Thailand would be the first square on the board - the starting point. So you should start your ESL career in Thailand, but you should never finish it there.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Well I am only eight hours away and the semester here ends at the start of Ramadan (in August) so yes, I will be back in the land of smiles in just over two months. As luck would have it, I met a nice girl on my last night in Bangkok, so I am looking forward to seeing her and catching up with friends. Except this time I will be staying at the Baiyoke Tower instead of some crappy 200 baht a night guesthouse near Koa San Road.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

http://rolotomasse.blogspot.com


John Dixon

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved to Thailand from Australia in May of 2002 and was recruited by University of Melbourne on behalf of Joseph Upatham School in Nakhon Pathom and finished there in Feb 2012.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

Ten years at the same school, but chances of promotion or doing anything other than teach English there were zero. Worked with some really great people and some complete nut jobs as well. My school was overall good and many teachers have been there for 10 years plus. But if you want something more than to cruise along for the rest of your life till your pension arrives, it is not the place for you.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

Two reasons, my Thai other half of six and a half years died and as stated no chance of going up or even sideways career wise. The boss, while having her good points was always inconsistent on saying one thing and wanting or expecting you to do something else. Remember you are only there to make them look good. I did get a good offer of a job in 2008 at Trinity International in Bangkok but had to turn it down because of caring for my other half. I have sons back in Australia and family as well so that was the main reason for coming back in Feb of 2012.

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

I don't see any advantage of coming back to Australia. It is expensive, over-regulated, over-policed and everyone is over-worked (if they have a job) and no one really smiles and the weather at least in Melbourne is crap. Not afraid to admit I have made a mistake so will be back to Thailand one way or another ASAP.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

I miss the warmth, my Thai and farang friends and the smiles. As a professionally trained teacher, give me teaching Thai students to teaching in a school in Australia any time.

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

Test the waters first. There are many good schools to work at in Thailand (and some not so good ones). But do your homework first and the more qualifications you have, the better the job you will get. Teaching in Thailand can be a great experience. But if you have not been sent there to work by an international company you won't make a fortune, Like the old joke goes - how do you make a small fortune in Thailand? Answer; start with a large one! Also take take the time to learn at least some basic Thai.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Currently in Melbourne and having to do (more) training (Two degrees and a teaching qualification not enough) to teach refugees English. Though this is a stop gap. Turned down one job last week in Chaiyaphum as I don't really want to be working for an agency. The Thai school year is starting soon and the International School year in August so as soon as a satisfactory job comes up, I will be back in Thailand.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Give me Thailand to Australia any day.


Lin

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

Guangdong, China; August 2011

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

Seven years in Bangkok.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

I hit the top of the pay scale for international school teachers hired in-country. I was tired of school owners with no education background that run schools too much like a corporation. Also, too long in Thailand does not look good on a CV for international schools.

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

Better pay, lower cost of living in a secondary city, more professional colleagues. My school now knows that the amount of good foreign teachers here is not abundant and genuinely tries to retain its faculty.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Beaches, the calm and slow pace of daily life and the food. Fewer squat toilets versus where I am now!

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

I think that Thailand is an easier country for someone starting out to find their feet. The language and the people are easier to deal with than the Chinese.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

I can't say for sure. People I know call me with 'job leads' thinking I'll come back but I'm under contract and trying to add to my CV. I'd really have to hear high praise from someone I trust about a school to go back. I think timing will also be a big part of whether or not I come back permanently but I do visit often.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

I'm not sure what the future holds for teachers in Thailand, but that's been said a lot. I really thought that my last job in Thailand would keep me settled there. Turned out that the last 'next big, new school' was a huge disappointment and I realised that I was constantly seeing the same problems in Bangkok. Many people that I know that lived there and left say that Thailand is a good place for a holiday but a bad place to work.


Showing 5 Great Escapes out of 330 total

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