Second season syndrome is dreaded by many football fans around the world.
The first year is majestic, your team is battling, and you manage to end the year on a high. But in the second year it all goes wrong. The motivation has gone, the attitude is not right and in the end it leads to failure.
Having just passed my 2 year anniversary in Thailand I thought I would look and see if I suffered from Thai second season syndrome and how it might affect you if you decide to come to Thailand.
After arriving and jumping straight into my CELTA upon arrival I was keen to find a job. I signed up on the jobs section of this site and was offered many jobs within a few days. After a bit of research I took a job in Pathum Thani at a government high school. However, the agency lost their contract with the school after only 3 months which meant I had to move on.
This gave me the chance to sit back and check my options. My 33k a month salary was getting spent very quickly so I decided to look for a better paying option. It was at this point I decided to take a job at a language school paying a higher salary and offering better working conditions.
Year 1 result: Mid table
In my second year I am still working with the same company and really enjoying my job. I would love the odd weekend off but I get the option to choose my holidays when I want them. So not much has changed in this aspect of my life. Maybe some would say I should be aiming to progress every year but I'm happy to be where I am.
Year 2 result: Mid table
Travelling and Socializing
I have put travelling and socializing next as they seemed to go together in my first year. Meeting new friends who were all excited to travel meant I was visiting a different place every week. If we weren't going somewhere we were looking for a new party spot.
From north to south I traveled around Thailand having many amazing experiences. Full Moon parties, trekking in Khao Sok national park and temples in Chiang Mai - I ticked off all the boxes of the Thailand guides. I would love to go to Thong Lor for a few drinks and try new bars and restaurants around the city.
Year 1 result: Top half
Now this has changed quite a lot. Many of my friends went back to their home countries after a year here. They were on gap years or just had enough of Thailand. I also realized that if I was to live here I shouldn't go out partying every week and had to start saving some money. I still go out and have a few beers with friends but only a couple of times a month.
I also travel a lot less, maybe every 2 months. I went to so many amazing places in my first year that I don't really feel the need to go again for a while. I think my lifestyle in terms of socializing and travelling has changed dramatically and some would say it's for the better and others for the worse.
Year 2 result: Bottom half
Standard of Living
When I started teaching here in Thailand I lived in a small 28sq. metre studio. I was initially happy enough with it as I felt I was living the "simple life" I had wanted. However, after 2 months I was sick of staring at the same 4 walls. I then moved to a 1 bedroom 44sq. metre condo in Ladprao when I started my new job in Bangkok and the change was huge.
I had a separate living room, basic kitchen and my own private internet connection and TV package. I was happy there. With a new job I could afford the higher rent although my disposable income after this was around the same as before. Most months I would always spend my complete salary on going out and travelling and have to keep a low profile for the last few days of the month.
Year 1 result: Mid table
In my second year I bought a condo in the outskirts of Bangkok. I have to send money back to the UK for this each month but I now have a place to call my own. At 64sq. metres I have lots of space, 2 bedrooms and, hopefully, a good investment for the future. I'm also a lot more careful with my spending and, excluding accommodation costs and can get by on around 20k a month.
I still get to do lots of activities and eat out 3 or 4 times a week. I think the main difference now is that I know the true value of items and where to get the best deals.
Year 2 result : Top half
Other Second Year Successes
- Figuring out bus routes to stop paying so much for taxis.
- Not feeling the need to eat foreign food every week.
- Being invited out by Thai friends to new places.
Other Second Year Failures
- My Thai language skills are equally as useless as they were during my first year.
- Still getting stressed when I visit immigration.
- Inability to eat somtam with more than 3 chilies without crying.
I think overall I have avoided second season syndrome but I understand how it could be a problem for many people living here. For me I am happy to be avoiding the party areas and feel much more like an expat during my second year than someone here just for a bit of a party and gap year experience.
There is nothing wrong with a plan to come here for a year and fully enjoy your time, travel and make new friends, but if you're planning to be here for longer you will need to accept that that lifestyle can't last forever.
Top Tips to Avoid Second Season Syndrome
- Accept you are here to live and this isn't a "long holiday"
- Learn the true value of items to help save a little every month, you never know when you need some extra money.
- Live somewhere nice. Have somewhere you look forward to coming back to, somewhere that can become a home.
- Try to make a variety of friends.
If you enjoyed this blog, check out my website - Life in a New Country