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


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


Nick Scholfield

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved to Tokyo 7 months ago.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

For three years and four months.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

Personal development. After a while I felt like i was going backwards and needed to get back into the first world as my ways were becoming rather relaxed. I mostly love the Thai way of doing things, but when I felt myself developing too many of the local habits I felt that it was time to hit the road.

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

Better money of course although i did manage to save a fair bit in Bangkok. I have enjoyed the four seasons and related activities as well as seeing how first world Asia works (which gets dull quick). After over three years in Thailand it was great to get out of the Thai bubble for a bit but having been there that long there is some indescribable force compelling me back there.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Everything - my daughter, the food, the people, the weather (kind of), the islands, chaos, smiles. I just got back from two weeks in Thailand and realised how much I have missed everything.

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

My advice would depend upon the character of the person of course. Easy going, fun loving, relaxed, simple - Thailand. deep, complex, intellectual - Japan.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

I would love to but I don't think I can teach ESL for too much longer. I would like to become a qualified teacher back in New Zealand then head back so I can be a part of my daughters life.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

If resentment starts to set in - get out quick.


Oliver Franks

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I returned to the UK in November 2005

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

I was actually working from early 2003 right until the time i left, so about 2 and a half years.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

Like some of the other people on here, i really loved working in Thailand and it was a hard decision to leave, but i came to realise that the job i was doing would eventually bore me to death, and i didn't want to reach that point. Now i am pursuing other lines of work and i can still remember Thailand in the fondest of lights.

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

Since i am not really doing a comparable job, it is difficult to compare, but i would say simply the levels of professionalism are often low in Thailand and the prospects for future progression are also limited. In terms of life style / friendships / fun Thailand is the best.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

The life style / friendships / fun. The entertaining students. Also talking to happy go lucky thai people and travelling around in buses to different beautiful beaches and mountains etc etc.

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

I always advise new teachers to go to Thailand, it's all i know and i have only good things to say about it. From what i hear of some other TEFL places you will have a much more memorable time in Thailand.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Definitely, but it is somewhat pie in the sky in terms of the actual logistics at the moment.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Don't develop a distaste for Thailand / Thai culture / Thai people, it's a complete waste of a truly great country.


Doc McCoy

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

Moved to China in August, 2007 for a position at a University.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

Worked in Thailand for 4 years. Both at a private school and government schools.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

There is no one, singular reason, but instead a combination of reasons. Teaching in a private school sucks the life out of a person. Teaching in a government school also sucks the life, motivation and desire to teach out of a person as well. Money is virtually non-existent, given all the time that one does not work, and hence does not get paid. At the end, government schools were hiring non-native English speakers at a fraction of what they were paying native speakers, and were putting too many demands on all of the teachers, such as remaining on campus during all school hours, even if one had only two classes a day. The biggest dissatisfaction came from the Thai education system in general, and the expectations that were being put on foreign teachers. The expectations were unreasonable, and could not be met, especially in classes of 50 to 55 students, most of whom had no desire to be in an English class

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

Initially, fewer hours - 10.5 per week - and more money and benefits. (Medical, significant travel allowances, housing, etc.) Of course, with fewer hours, the possibility for extreme boredom is prevalent, but can be combated. The teaching conditions are better both in the classroom and the expectations of the University. Here, foreigners are certainly making more than the native teachers, but there is very little resentment. Many of the native teachers will regularly attend foreigner's classes trying to improve their own level of English.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Hard to say what I miss about life in Thailand. The weather is probably the main thing. I am very adaptable, to a degree, and China is similar to Thailand in many respects.

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

I would advise a new teacher to work in Thailand first for a few reasons. Initially, and assuming that the new cultural course requirements are worth the paper it is written on, that would be a benefit for anyone wishing to teach in Asia. A second reason would be the new teacher can get some experience and hone his/her skills before moving on elsewhere in Asia. The expectations on teachers for actual teaching abilities and skills are much lower in Thailand than in other Asian countries. On a personal note, and purely selfish, the more incompetent teachers that a country starts to entertain, the stricter the regulations are going to become for everyone. This is what Thailand is experiencing now. More of my views on teaching in Asia can be found on my blog: www.oldcodger.org/blog/?p=20

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

For a visit, most likely. Have many friends there yet. To live there - probably not. The government is too unstable now, and the requirements for visas are onerous and ridiculous, in my opinion. Here in China, I can have a residency visa in just a few years, without any financial requirements. Given my advanced age, that is going to work out quite well.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

I could probably add quite a few things, but that might offend quite a few of your readers. So, I will save you the unpleasant task of having to censor my comments.


Mark Wyatt

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

Nepal and then Oman a few years later. I left Thailand in May 1997.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

I worked there for over 6 years.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

I needed a change. I did well in Thailand, working as a teacher, a senior teacher, an area head teacher and a manager within a chain of language schools. However, I needed to move on, and I have, from CTEFLA to Dip TESOL to MA TESOL, and I’ve almost finished a PhD. In the last 6 and a half years I’ve worked in teacher education. A few months after I left, I remember cycling to work in Kathmandu on frosty wintry mornings, with the city still half asleep (classes started at 7am), the sky sometimes clear and blue, and white mountains visible, and think ‘Wow, I’m glad I made this move!’ And then in Nepal, there was such cultural richness and diversity. No matter how much you’re in love with a place, and I have very fond memories of Thailand, of Krabi and Chiang Mai, Phitsanulok and Isaan, a change every now and then is good for the soul.

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

Direct comparisons aren’t easy. 10 years ago, Thailand was still the best place for me to live, although I was thinking then about leaving (as I did a few months later). I believe that there is a time and place for everywhere you’d like to be. I’ve always sought out countries noted for the friendliness of their people, and chose Oman carefully, but Thailand was also kind to me and so was Nepal. At present, I have a very rewarding job, in in-service teacher education, teaching a couple of days a week and visiting schools to help teachers relate theory to practice. I would be happy to do this in other countries too. I had a rewarding job in Thailand, too, but that was earlier in my career, and I worked long hours.

The pay and benefits are better now. My salary is substantially higher, I live in a villa (rather than a flat), and have a company car (rather than take the microbus or a taxi to work). I finish work at 2.30 everyday, so there’s more time for the family (and the PhD). I can

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

I miss all sorts of things; the hustle and bustle, the camaraderie of the teachers’ room, the traffic jams, Loy Krathong & Songkran, Buddhas, temples, lotus pools, Wat Arun, the ferry up to Nonthaburi, the VIP buses down South, the songthiew ride to Ao Nang, particularly the point when Chicken Island comes into view, Kheng Nua, durian, Kheng Kwian Gai, soulless shopping malls, Baskin Robbins, the cinema, ten pin bowling, being covered in sweat by the time I got to work.

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

Thailand, definitely, but preferably work in a large school with a buzzing teachers’ room. I learned so much in the first couple of years from the people around me.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

On holiday, yes, and maybe a presentation at Thai TESOL.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Just to say ‘thanks’. I like the website, and, though I’m very happy where I am, enjoy browsing it occasionally. Going to Thailand was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life.


Showing 5 Great Escapes out of 282 total

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