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


Mark McTaggart

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved from Nakon Sawan to Bulgaria, Varna. This was in Sept 2002.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

I worked in Thailand for about a year. I worked in 2 different schools. One in Rayong and one in Nakon Sawan.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

The main reason was to get a better job with more prospects. I applied for the British Council and was offered Bulgaria! I would have loved to have found a well paid, enjoyable job in Thailand, but didn't want to live in a busy city, especially Bangkok.

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

One of the differences is that I blend in more so I don't have everyone staring at me all the time. Also, it's much closer to home, so trips back are not such a mission. Also, learning to read and write in Thai was very difficult for me. I have found Bulgarian easier to learn as many of the words come from Latin.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

I miss the people. Thai people are so friendly and always smiling. I also miss the food. I adore Thai food and often try to cook it myself...still it's not the same.

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

Difficult question. Both Thailand and Bulgaria have a lot to offer. I think that Thailand has more to offer culturally, especially as its so different to European culture. However, Bulgaria is developing fast and it's good to come and see it before it completely changes.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Yes! I love Thailand. I have been back several times for holidays and will come again in March 2007. I'd love to set up an English Academy in Thailand and this is a future ambition of mine.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Teaching started off as just something fun to do and a way to stay in Thailand. I only planned to do it for a year then go back to London. However, I realised that I wanted to stay in teaching and by making it a career, I could work wherever I wanted and with experience also earn a decent salary. My own school, English Academy Varna, is also doing very well at the moment which is very satisfying.


Chris Harkins

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

From Bankhae Bangkok- Youngin City South Korea

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

about a year and a half

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

It was definitely for the money. I love Thailand but the pay is really low compared to Korea

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

Money Money Money, my salary here in Korea is over 100,000 baht and the extra work I can do such as private tutoring will get me an average of 1,400 to 2,000 baht an hour.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

The fun , the cheap taxis, the nightlife, the soi dogs and the bad television acting

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

I think that Korea is a wonderful place to save up money. The transportation system is good and they will pay for your apartment but the people here seem too serious. They aren't rude by any means but It's definitely not the land of smiles.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Yes definitely, I love Thailand and my wife is Thai so I'll be back as soon as I have saved enough money to buy a house or something.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Thailand is great but being broke in Thailand sucks. so go make money and then come back


Andy Francois

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

Saudi Arabia. I moved to Thailand in October 2002. At first I taught at a state college in Minburi for one 1 term and then moved on to a large state school just outside Bangkok.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

One year.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

I left because working in the Thai state system proved to be nothing short of a 'nightmare', complete chaos (no books) and in the latter of the two schools a lot of back-stabbing.

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

I went to Saudi Arabia for the money. People only come here for that reason.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

I miss many things about Thailand. In particular I miss seeing women walking around. I also miss Tiger beer, the food, Koh Samet and other islands.

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

I would advise people to work in Thailand and Saudi Arabia. However, both the positive and negative aspects will have to be made clear to any prospective teacher.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

I love Thailand and spend many holidays there.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Don't take the teaching too seriously in Thailand, especially if you work in the state system. And, if you work in Bangkok make sure you escape at the weekend and see the beautiful places that Thailand has to offer.


Kris Kincaid

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

Vietnam. Better money, I'd never been and always wanted to go, and the location was right on the beach. Sounded perfect.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

One year.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

I was a little fed up with Thailand and wanted to move on. Also wasn't getting any interest in having me stay from the administration at my school. They didn't have a high teacher retention rate.

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

I'm not in VN currently. The advantages of working in Vietnam were, for me, that the pay was higher and the students significantly sharper. Ineptness and crookedness in administrative positions there was on par with Thailand, though.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

The Vietnamese are in general a lot less pleasant than the Thais. Coming from Thailand Vietnam can be a tough transition: it's significantly less-developed, more chaotic, and harsher in many ways. I had a friend come in from Thailand to work in VN who loathed the place for a solid six months and constantly bemoaned the wonderful paradise he'd given up. My initial feelings about Vietnam were more ambiguous. I never hated the place but it took me awhile to be quite sure I liked it (whereas I loved Thailand from Day One). I never met anyone who moved from Thailand to Vietnam who made an initial favorable comparison of the latter.

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

Thailand over Vietnam for a first-timer in a heartbeat.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Here now. Just on vacation. Teaching here again is unlikely, if not 100% off the table.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

If a new teacher wants to live in a remarkably laid-back and nice place for a year or so, I've never been anywhere that beats Thailand. If one is looking for something a little more... "challenging," Vietnam is worth a go. My feeling about Thailand is that there are a wonderful array of superficial pleasures but there isn't terribly much depth. Vietnam takes a lot of getting used to, but the rewards, I think, are of a more lasting variety. Thailand isn't a place that prizes education, and the "mai ben rai" attitude that I initially found so refreshing became grating by the end of my year here. Vietnam is much more serious, much less immediately genial, but if you're willing to give it time and patience it has a lot going for it. It certainly ain't everyone's cuppa tea.


Bob Todd

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I went back home to the UK, screaming and kicking I hasten to add, way back in September 1997

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

About 3 and a half years in total. Although I can't really call it work as much as voluntary entertainment. Most days I would slip on the invisible clown's outfit and amuse the class, any class, with lame jokes, funny faces, and stories that were so full of egotistical exaggerations that even the lies weren't true! All this for loose change which barely paid for a pie and a pint down at the Ole Ship Inn!

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

Near death! Thailand is full of thrills and frolics for the better balanced members of society, but for a chronic alcoholic and borderline pharmaceutical drug addict, it's a free ride to hell.

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

I don't really work any more. I ended up with a bit of a job allergy! Plus I've been back here (Thailand) for a few years now. There were no real advantages of working in the UK for those few years that I went back. I was employed as a slave in one of those modern day sweat shops. What do they call them now? Oh yeah, Call Centers!

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Nothing cus I'm back! But when I was at home, I dearly missed the grub, the heat, the humidity, the pollution, the heckling, the hassling, the scamming, the Soi dogs, the pretty gals in dingy bars, and all the shattered people on the broken footpaths along the Sukhumvit road. Why? Because all this matches my insides, that’s why, and this makes me as happy as a pig in muck!

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

If they are young and just want to chill out or use Thailand as a training ground, then come here without further ado. If money is your thing, then sod off to where the cash is. You won't strike it rich over here in the teaching game, but you will get by so long as you don't have too many expensive habits or vulnerabilities.
If you're a near down-and-out coffin dodger, then you'd best find one of God's waiting rooms a little closer to home, wherever that is, or you may well end up as a physical, mental, and spiritual wreck before you can say 'Nana Plaza'. If you're over 55 and want to launch a Teaching career, go somewhere, how can I put it……………less suicidal!

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

See 4 above.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

No


Showing 5 Great Escapes out of 286 total

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