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Thailand teaching pay/standard of living etc compared to other countries....?


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Hi guys

Im debating where to go next. Im currently teaching English in Oz but as of September my visa is up.

Now can anyone tell me what Thailand compares to in regards to teaching in Colombia or Vietnam?

Yes I know they are quite far apart in distance but Id like to know if anyone has any experience teaching in either and how salary, standard of living, standard of companies etc etc looks compared to Thailand?

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Hi mate thx fir the advice

I hv actually in Thailand before for about 4 years and yes you can't save much but u can save a little

Vietnam sounds very appealing , pay is quite good and from what I've heard it's a pretty cool place to work.

Japan although the money is good, I just don't really fit that type of culture.

Thx again for yr effort , I will look into harbin but it does look cold there lol

Anyone on colombia ..?

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Colombia - number 2 on the world's most dangerous country to drive in. Thailand is number 3.

Indonesia is ok to teach in, the pay is not great but often schools provide a small apartment, pay the air fares, takes care of visas and all the other red tape. Thailand does none of this.

Java pays the best, the other provinces less, but usually not such a frantic pace. Don't expect to pay back any debts in Oz.

The language is much easier to learn, as you can actually read the alphabet! Yes, I know we're not supposed to use L1, but it can come in handy!

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Harbin is indeed VERY cold. On the other hand, you would be, as they say, "A big fish in a little pond.". You would probably be treated very well by the students and faculty. There might be opportunities to make money teaching outside the university when you have the time to do it. About seven years ago, they offered me a job when I visited as a representative of my school's International Education Center. A visiting dean offered me a job in Macau, urging me to " get in on the ground floor." I respectfully declined because I was on tenure track at my school and was planning to retire in seven year's time but I was really impressed with their students' eagerness and attention to their studies. I visited several of their libraries and found every seat to be occupied. They said it was always that way. I could have gone there after I retired. Maybe if I were your age, I would have done it but at my age I prefer the hot climate of Bangkok.

I think that there are opportunities In Harbin for teachers of any age if they are able to tolerate the cold weather.

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University teaching in China pays very little. Average salary is less than 1k USD a month. Those that recommend Japan have not ever taught there. The pay is quite low actually. The wages in Japan have actually gone down since 2002 when I was last there. Housing nor airfare are typically not included. Unless you are doing crazy amounts of overtime, you will only save about 10k USD a year living a modest lifestyle. Korea can save about 15k-20k USD with a similar lifestyle. China EFL teaching pays pretty low also but many can earn about 1,500 USD a month/ vietnam is about the same. Traffic and lifestyle in Vietnam can be rough for many. Thailand living is more laid back. South America in general is very low paid.

Overall all the countries you mentioned are better for daily lifestyle than salary/savings. I am biased and will always choose Thailand.

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Mmm thx guys lots to think about

So far it's looking like Columbia , Thailand is great fun but wanna try a new culture. Korea is an option but no matter if I hv 3 seperate teaching certificate/ diplomas, I've heard they only want degrees

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zeichen: You say, "Anyone who recommends Japan has never actually taught there." I taught in Japan for a total of 25 years altogether and retired on April 1, 2013. I taught in every situation imaginable. From 1978-1983, I was a freelancer. Besides giving private lessons, on certain days at certain times I taught at various companies including Toyota, Ishikawajima Harima Heavy Industries, Sanrio (the maker of Hello Kitty dolls, Hoechst Japan, a stewardess prep school and many more. The list goes on and on. From 1983-1984, I taught at Payap College in Chiang Mai. Then I wised up and went back to California to get some degrees. When I returned to Japan in 1996, I taught only in full-time jobs at universities. The pay you are talking about is for part-timers or those in non-permanent jobs. The pay for full-time university teachers in Japan starts at above $100,000 for people around 35-40. The pay goes up with each year you're on the job. I suggest that people who are young enough take time out to get the prerequisite degrees. I borrowed $80,000 to get my degrees but paid it back within 4-5 years. I realized when I was in Chiang Mai that if I continued to teach in Thailand over the long term, I was going to die very poor. Of course, not everyone can take the same path that I did but if you don't figure out a way to take the steps that will allow you to make enough money so that you can save some up, your old-age is not going to be a pleasant time.

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Pay is low for most teachers in Thailand. Just enough to get by on at a moderate standard of living. I'm sure others can provide you with lots of specifics and details but Thailand is not a place to come to to make money and accumulate savings. You don't say what your qualifications are. They make a difference. To make money, I recommend Japan, China (esp. Macau) and Vietnam. I know that Harbin Normal University is always looking for good native speaker teachers. You might enjoy theIr yearly ice festival when they create restaurants made of ice, not to mention the beautiful ice sculptures with embedded lights. There is excellent skiing also. Another university in Harbin is Koku Ryu (Black Dragon.). I'm not sure about their hiring situation. I feel sure that if you write to Harbin, they will offer you a job. The dean of humanities there has close connections with the University of Macau so you could teach for a while in each place. You can examine all of the details of these universities by Googling them on the web. Harbin provides free housing. Keep in mind as you look for your next teaching location that schools where the climate and living conditions are difficult usually pay the best. They are good places to work hard, endure the climate and save up lots of money so you can RETIRE in Thailand. Don't come to Thailand until you've got your nest egg. You'll never be able to save much here so squirrel away those savings elsewhere and come to Thailand when you're in your middle 50s to middle 60s. Good luck!

Dear DogNo1, what a wonderful piece of advice, congratulations! clap2.gifclap2.gifclap2.gifclap2.gifthumbsup.gif

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Hi,

If you have a teaching degree then I suggest you check out www.searchassociates.com. If you go this route you can interview with some of Thailand's higher paying schools. If you do not have a degree then I would

suggest you reconsider Thailand. Thailand has started to crack down on people wanting to teach with no teaching degree/certificate.

Good Luck

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Yeh I think harbin is a bit too cold.

Regarding Thailand cracking down , I was teaching there 5 years ago and they were doing the same .

I'm quite sold on colombia at the moment but any part of South America would be good . However I am British so my accent not being American might hinder things

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  • 2 weeks later...

China pays poorly but the cost of living is really low (if you don't party and eat Western food every day) plus you get airfare reimbursement and an apartment,usually including utilities paid for.You can save here if you live reasonably frugally.

There are also loads of jobs since the country is so vast.

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As a public school teacher in the big 4 (China, Japan, Korea and Thailand) heres a quick overview on savings at least:

1. Thailand.

- Cost of living is low, but savings are equally low. I worked in trat for 32,000/month. I saw 30,000 of it and saved 10-15,000/month. I wasnt exactly going out or anything. But it meant i wasnt entirely living pay cheque to pay cheque. A few trips to the big smoke though might have seen that collapse a bit. The street food was amazing which keeps all costs way down. So thats nice. Rent is cheapish... could be cheaper but holy hell, some of the places i saw... One of the problems will be that Thai school holidays are looooooooong! So thats almost 3 months of your year not working. And the contract i was on at least meant zero pay outside of term time. In fact, term time for me started 2 weeks after everyone else for the sole reason that the school decided it didnt want to pay the native english teachers for those first two weeks because... reasons... ? Throw in the debacle on getting the work visa (for which i had all my documents ready from day 1 - around april 20th i believe), when i signed the contract last year, and you have a less committed relationship with your school that you might hope for. Which is in part some of the reasons i decided to leave after a mere two whole months teaching in Thailand.

2. Japan:

- Highest wage of the four, and equally the highest cost of living. Lets take my last contract: You get 230,000/month. Youll be on a term by term contract, youll be hit with punitive clauses on sick days and have things like 'contract completion bonus' as part of your total salary (meaning if you miss just one day for illness, you lose 10,000 automatically). Youll be paying your own rent (43,000 is cheapest you can expect for a leopalace box - youll have to pay the equivalent of one months rent when you leave by the way to cover 'cleaning costs' and 'lock changing fees'). Youll be on the national health insurance and pension, which also steals another 30,000 from you per month. Ten thousand will be lost in tax. So that leaves you around 140,000/month realistically. Now, to live modestly in japan youre really going to need about 100,000/month. Throw in that for almost the entirety of August, three weeks around december/january and 2 weeks in march april, youll have either no salary at all (if youre on a term by term contract) or a greatly reduced salary a la interac (60% base), and youll soon find your savings are being eaten into by living expenses in those three weird months of reduced/non salary.

Japan can be rather brutal. Its the reason i got out. I love living there. Its really the easiest place in teh world to live, but its tough to do anything but stay where you are if youre a public school ALT. The jobs arent really there, and the demand is endless from people wanting to experience it.

3. China:

Savings are good. Im working for a company that lets just say dont have one of the best reputations on the internet (though a touch unfairly i would add since theyve been actually rather excellent employers thus far). I know theres better out there. But even then, my schedule is alright (28 classes per week), and 10,000RMB/month. They dont offer free housing, but offer a stipend to cover the rent (way below the market value - 1,200 - i havent actually seen an apartment below 1500, and the apartments i saw at 1500 make me think i wouldnt want to see it anyway). Rent is paid three months upfront which is a beast of an outlay if its not already included in your benefits - which it usually is by the way.
But that all being said, its fairly easy to live here on around 3000/month with plenty of western treats in the process. 100/day seems fairly comfortable. This means that of your salary, youll be squirreling away $1000/month without too many issues. It has its downfalls. Its fairly isolated, its a bit VAST, no real english outside school. and a public transport system that feels a little messy. But definitely a top option if i decide to run down my clock in my 50s (though 55 is the visa cut off age for those outside the country, and 60 is absolute cut off if you arent a specialist i believe). The internet sucks beyond belief though. I thought it was woeful in thailand, but jesus, the great firewall is really worse than youd imagine. It will affect the quality of your life.

Which leaves my personal favorite.

4. Korea:

Korea is somewhere between China and Japan. I mean, um, of course it is. Just look at a map. But in terms of workload, aims, pay, benefits, and everything else it sort of hits that sweet spot. The pay is a little lower than Japan, but the cost of living is also lower. From my Epik salary i was easily saving $1000/month as well as splurging on trips to seoul and japan. Salary was 2.3 in year 1 then 2.4mill in year 2. Of that id say 1 million keeps you happy in your day to day living expenses, whilst the rest of it will be savings. The upshot of this is that even the lower end salaries (2.0) are still going to help you come out with some cash at the end of the day. Hagwon is of course a roll of the dice, but since ive heard more good than bad from friends teaching hagwon who almost universally were happy with their jobs, ill have to assume we only hear the bad news. Id suggest then a 2.2 million job is kinda worth it comparatively with the next best option (china). One caveat might be that over the past years since i worked there (2011), ive seen a few trends...

a) salaries are staying constant. But benefits like flights are being reigned in. When housing goes, which it might. then youre taking a serious pay cut.

B) More and more employers are looking for people WITHIN the country. Its not quite Japan yet, but its following on a similar path. It seems the numbers of longer term NETs in Korea have reached the point that bringing new people in from outside the country is more prohibitive than sending someone to Fukuoka for a visa run.

c) Age is a bit of an issue, as is experience. I will literally have to downplay my experience on EPIK to keep myself competitive by insisting on a LOWER pay package than the one im due (2.6 - 2 years experience in one school on JLP, tefl, degree, almost 10 years experience overall). Schools dont really care who they get. Like in Japan, education and teaching isnt really the be all and end all. Schools get money for placing a foreign teacher in their school. The parents are happy and the school is happy to see it. Effectiveness isnt really the biggest concern. Cost obviously is. And who's to say that an experienced teacher is going to be all that much better anyway? Maybe theyre jaded and sick of it, and maybe they lack the energy and enthusiasm that the new guy or girl has? Swings and roundabouts.

Anyways, thats my <cough> summary.

For me Korea hits the spot. Its why ill probably be leaving China come October when my contracts up again and trying to score a gig there. The nice thing is that having done hagwon of a sorts now in china with this job, i realise that compared to public school teaching, hagwon is a walk in the park. So more options means more chance of scoring a nice gig in the right location (i screwed myself over last year by waiting too long to try and find a public school gig in gangwon do and eventually ran out of time on my apostilled crc - 6 month validity before immi refuse it). So heres to another year of wiped out savings and wanderlust! :)

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Thanks mate great post.

The thing is I don't hv a degree . I hv a delta , celta and around 7 years in all teaching in uk, Asia and Spain

I'd love to try Korea as I've got so many Korean friends there but from what I can gather without a degree it's pretty hard ...

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The problem is that without a degree that rules out Korea, China, and Japan. Inutil's rough estimates are close but there are a few things that he/she forgets to mentiongood My ranking would be 1. Korea- 2. China 3. Japan 4. Thailand Korea's jobs are roughly 2-2.2 million Won for first time gigs. Experience and qualitications scale up quickly but usually cap at around 2.5 for most gigs unless you have contacts. OT and privates are quite common. Low taxes of 2.5-5%, I never needed airfare so I actually traded airfare for no taxes, so I got my base salary Net. If someone like Inutil can live off of 3k RMB a month in China then 1 million Won is over kill. Most people can live off 500k won-800k. If you are living off a mil or more you are a party animal. It is very easy to save 1 million won a month even for party animals. I was saving 2million a month on a 2.5 million salary with the occasional overtime bonus. The real thing that throws Korea into first place is the 1 month severance at the end of 12 months. Last paycheck is usually around 4-4.5 million won which is almost half of the 10k USD Inutil said one could save. Average person saves about 15kUSD from a normal work load. My best year Hagwon teaching in 2007 with a great exchange rate and a 2.8 million won salary was over 30K USD for 12 months. ***exchange rate is pretty good right now*** China Taxes are quite high overall. Usually 10%-25% a month. I worked at an international school and with a 20k RMB a month salary I brought home 17k RMB. If you are making 10k RMB a month you will be bringing home about 9k, then cost of living etc should be more like 4-5k rmb a month if you actually go out and do things. 3k is tight but doable unless you go out on the town. I am slightly different because I live off of only 2k-2500 rmb but I don't drink, eat out ever or do things that cost money. My entertainment is hiking, movies, and sports which are all free. In a 11 month contract, I saved 25k USD in one year but if I was earning 10K rmb would only be able to save about 8-10K USD. Currency exchange is a pain in the rear because it is not a tradeable currency. There is a limit on how much one is allowed to transfer. Paperwork for visas takes at least 1 month and sometimes longer. Japan, salaries for EFL jobs has actually gone down since 2000. Just 4-5 years ago starting salaries were 250,000 Yen. With high rents, cost of living, airfare and taxes even a 250k salary most save less than 100k Yen a month. If you have a 12 month contract you still are only saving about 10k USD or less if you calculate your start up costs like airfare, etc. OT and Privates are available but most I know that earn a lot teacing EFL work at least 50 hours a week. Thailand as stated by many others is a total farse for most jobs. If you only get a 11 month or 10 month contract, they are just trying to get out of paying you for vacations even if you re-sign. Fun for a gap year or if you don't need or care about fair wages. Living on less than 20k baht a month to save 10k baht is ridiculous. Why live so frugally just to save 300 dollars a month. One year of savings in Korea could allow most people 2 years of living in Thailand. But since the OP has no qualifications, his only option is Thailand and even that it is growing harder and harder and less security without a degree. Good luck

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The problem is that without a degree that rules out Korea, China, and Japan. Inutil's rough estimates are close but there are a few things that he/she forgets to mentiongood My ranking would be 1. Korea- 2. China 3. Japan 4. Thailand Korea's jobs are roughly 2-2.2 million Won for first time gigs. Experience and qualitications scale up quickly but usually cap at around 2.5 for most gigs unless you have contacts. OT and privates are quite common. Low taxes of 2.5-5%, I never needed airfare so I actually traded airfare for no taxes, so I got my base salary Net. If someone like Inutil can live off of 3k RMB a month in China then 1 million Won is over kill. Most people can live off 500k won-800k. If you are living off a mil or more you are a party animal. It is very easy to save 1 million won a month even for party animals. I was saving 2million a month on a 2.5 million salary with the occasional overtime bonus. The real thing that throws Korea into first place is the 1 month severance at the end of 12 months. Last paycheck is usually around 4-4.5 million won which is almost half of the 10k USD Inutil said one could save. Average person saves about 15kUSD from a normal work load. My best year Hagwon teaching in 2007 with a great exchange rate and a 2.8 million won salary was over 30K USD for 12 months. ***exchange rate is pretty good right now*** China Taxes are quite high overall. Usually 10%-25% a month. I worked at an international school and with a 20k RMB a month salary I brought home 17k RMB. If you are making 10k RMB a month you will be bringing home about 9k, then cost of living etc should be more like 4-5k rmb a month if you actually go out and do things. 3k is tight but doable unless you go out on the town. I am slightly different because I live off of only 2k-2500 rmb but I don't drink, eat out ever or do things that cost money. My entertainment is hiking, movies, and sports which are all free. In a 11 month contract, I saved 25k USD in one year but if I was earning 10K rmb would only be able to save about 8-10K USD. Currency exchange is a pain in the rear because it is not a tradeable currency. There is a limit on how much one is allowed to transfer. Paperwork for visas takes at least 1 month and sometimes longer. Japan, salaries for EFL jobs has actually gone down since 2000. Just 4-5 years ago starting salaries were 250,000 Yen. With high rents, cost of living, airfare and taxes even a 250k salary most save less than 100k Yen a month. If you have a 12 month contract you still are only saving about 10k USD or less if you calculate your start up costs like airfare, etc. OT and Privates are available but most I know that earn a lot teacing EFL work at least 50 hours a week. Thailand as stated by many others is a total farse for most jobs. If you only get a 11 month or 10 month contract, they are just trying to get out of paying you for vacations even if you re-sign. Fun for a gap year or if you don't need or care about fair wages. Living on less than 20k baht a month to save 10k baht is ridiculous. Why live so frugally just to save 300 dollars a month. One year of savings in Korea could allow most people 2 years of living in Thailand. But since the OP has no qualifications, his only option is Thailand and even that it is growing harder and harder and less security without a degree. Good luck

Great informative post.

However it slightly inaccurate in some parts. China is absolutely full of teachers without degrees or ones working on fake ones. Japan is also very possible as my friend is currently doing that now in Tokyo and does not have a degree.

I have taught in Thailand for quite a while before and it will never be hard to teach there, unless your presentation is bad. IMO

Ill take on board what you are saying as its got some great info. Still it looks like s. America is still top of the list

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"However it slightly inaccurate in some parts. China is absolutely full of teachers without degrees or ones working on fake ones. Japan is also very possible as my friend is currently doing that now in Tokyo and does not have a degree."

As of last year the expert certificate required for the Z visa in china mandates at least a BA/BS. So not innaccurate at all.

A degree has always been a requirement in Japan for as long as I have been teaching in Asia.

What you are referring to is people working illegally. Which ins't recommended or allowed to discuss on these forums.

In Thailand you will be limited to the lower end jobs and with the teacher's license requirement and strictening of regs. will only get harder.

To be perfectly honest, if teaching is a career path, then get a degree. If you are just looking for travel and work options then do what you are doing.

But what is the point of grinding for low wages?

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Pay is low for most teachers in Thailand. Just enough to get by on at a moderate standard of living. I'm sure others can provide you with lots of specifics and details but Thailand is not a place to come to to make money and accumulate savings. You don't say what your qualifications are. They make a difference. To make money, I recommend Japan, China (esp. Macau) and Vietnam. I know that Harbin Normal University is always looking for good native speaker teachers. You might enjoy theIr yearly ice festival when they create restaurants made of ice, not to mention the beautiful ice sculptures with embedded lights. There is excellent skiing also. Another university in Harbin is Koku Ryu (Black Dragon.). I'm not sure about their hiring situation. I feel sure that if you write to Harbin, they will offer you a job. The dean of humanities there has close connections with the University of Macau so you could teach for a while in each place. You can examine all of the details of these universities by Googling them on the web. Harbin provides free housing. Keep in mind as you look for your next teaching location that schools where the climate and living conditions are difficult usually pay the best. They are good places to work hard, endure the climate and save up lots of money so you can RETIRE in Thailand. Don't come to Thailand until you've got your nest egg. You'll never be able to save much here so squirrel away those savings elsewhere and come to Thailand when you're in your middle 50s to middle 60s. Good luck!

DON"T go to Harbin - I went there once and lasted 2 months - it was -30C!!! And the pay was crap.

I came here in my 20s with 1000 pounds which lasted 2 weeks and am still here - bought a new house , kids at private school, nice car. I tried the making money in Japan/Finland etc but was so miserable came back here.

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Pay is low for most teachers in Thailand. Just enough to get by on at a moderate standard of living. I'm sure others can provide you with lots of specifics and details but Thailand is not a place to come to to make money and accumulate savings. You don't say what your qualifications are. They make a difference. To make money, I recommend Japan, China (esp. Macau) and Vietnam. I know that Harbin Normal University is always looking for good native speaker teachers. You might enjoy theIr yearly ice festival when they create restaurants made of ice, not to mention the beautiful ice sculptures with embedded lights. There is excellent skiing also. Another university in Harbin is Koku Ryu (Black Dragon.). I'm not sure about their hiring situation. I feel sure that if you write to Harbin, they will offer you a job. The dean of humanities there has close connections with the University of Macau so you could teach for a while in each place. You can examine all of the details of these universities by Googling them on the web. Harbin provides free housing. Keep in mind as you look for your next teaching location that schools where the climate and living conditions are difficult usually pay the best. They are good places to work hard, endure the climate and save up lots of money so you can RETIRE in Thailand. Don't come to Thailand until you've got your nest egg. You'll never be able to save much here so squirrel away those savings elsewhere and come to Thailand when you're in your middle 50s to middle 60s. Good luck!

DON"T go to Harbin - I went there once and lasted 2 months - it was -30C!!! And the pay was crap.

I came here in my 20s with 1000 pounds which lasted 2 weeks and am still here - bought a new house , kids at private school, nice car. I tried the making money in Japan/Finland etc but was so miserable came back here.

Lol I did 5 years in Thailand , for me that's enough , world is too big

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Yeh I think harbin is a bit too cold.

Regarding Thailand cracking down , I was teaching there 5 years ago and they were doing the same .

I'm quite sold on colombia at the moment but any part of South America would be good . However I am British so my accent not being American might hinder things

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Good to see you speak proper like!

It should never be a disadvantage speaking good English, and in fact in Indonesia, they wanted Australian or Kiwi teachers as many of the students planned to go onto university in those countries. Someone mentioned Macau. Remember you'll need a visa for China if you want to go over the border.

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