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Working in South East Asia

  • sarah7196

    Joined Travelfish
    18th March, 2011
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 12

    Hi Everyone :)

    My partner and I are planning a trip to SEA and we really wanted to stay for around 9 months (Just enough time for Oz to come into Spring) but after researching travel costs and day to day living it isn’t even remotely achievable on our tiny budget (£3000 each – who were we kidding) soooooooo we are going to take a course called TEFL so we can teach in SEA. I was wondering if anybody knows of any useful websites/links that will help us get jobs, Does anybody know roughly how much it pays – if anything?
    Also are there any other type of work out there that people could advise of as I’d love to work in the bars or with animals, we are quite open to all sorts :)

    Thanks ever so much

    Happy travelling xx

    #1 Posted: 14/4/2011 - 14:54

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  • youthinasia

    Joined Travelfish
    13th April, 2011
    Posts: 4

    Once you've completed your TEFL course it is quite probable that the company you do the course with will allocate you and your partner a job in the same school, so you wouldn't really need to worry yourself about independently finding a position. However, should you want to bypass the TEFL (if you have a degree in any field you are eligible to teach in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam or Laos) then start applying for jobs you like the look of on this website:
    www.ajarn.com

    Pay starts at around 30,000bt (Thai) which is around 600 quid a month.

    Good luck and enjoy.

    #2 Posted: 14/4/2011 - 17:04

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6376
    Total reviews: 10

    Do you guys have degrees? What's your educational background?

    #3 Posted: 14/4/2011 - 17:06

  • sarah7196

    Joined Travelfish
    18th March, 2011
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 12

    Hi there,

    Thanks for your responses J

    I don’t have a degree, I’m an accounts assistant completing my AAT’s. Never really took the path of education (wish I had now LOL)
    My partner on the other hand has been in education his whole life, he has just graduated with his Masters in Property development (or something like that), so unfortunately we are going to have to complete the TEFL course which I hope isn’t too difficult
    Has anybody completed it?
    That is brilliant news about them finding us work, what a relief, I was a little worried about us not getting anything or working together, I can’t get this smile off my faces hahahaha
    Have you guys completed the TEFL? If so did you enjoy it?
    Any recommendations where to teach in SEA?
    Thanks xx

    #4 Posted: 14/4/2011 - 19:15

  • sarah7196

    Joined Travelfish
    18th March, 2011
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 12

    Hi there,

    Thanks for your responses J

    I don’t have a degree, I’m an accounts assistant completing my AAT’s. Never really took the path of education (wish I had now LOL)
    My partner on the other hand has been in education his whole life, he has just graduated with his Masters in Property development (or something like that), so unfortunately we are going to have to complete the TEFL course which I hope isn’t too difficult
    Has anybody completed it?
    That is brilliant news about them finding us work, what a relief, I was a little worried about us not getting anything or working together, I can’t get this smile off my faces hahahaha
    Have you guys completed the TEFL? If so did you enjoy it?
    Any recommendations where to teach in SEA?
    Thanks xx

    #5 Posted: 14/4/2011 - 19:15

  • Captain_Bob

    Click here to learn more about Captain_Bob
    Joined Travelfish
    27th May, 2006
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 1645

    Forgive me for painting a slightly less rosy picture, but there are hundreds of people trying to do the same thing, i.e. grab a quick TEFL then get jobs right away and save up to travel again. OK it depends on which country, but since you posted on the Thailand branch... Sure plenty of people eventually manage to find semi-decent teaching jobs and somewhere ok to live and get used to living local-style (cheap) but the likelihood of saving up enough funds on such low wages isn't very promising. You might well end up spending most of your "holiday" stuck in one place rather than having a fruitful getaway.

    What I'm getting at is that somewhere like Thailand shouldn't really be looked upon as a bread earner for an aspiring traveller, and the employment rules are fairly strict (if you follow them). Look for teaching work if you actually want to teach and can give a time commitment, and can nail down a proper work permit in the process (school may sponsor you, but may also require a minimum 6 months or more). Thailand doesn't much like to give jobs to foreigners that could otherwise go to their own nationals, so forget about working "in the bars or with animals" (unless you can pay 50+ quid/day to wash an elephant - get in line with the hundreds of others who are seeking animal "volunteerism" experiences).

    The only reason teaching English is still quite possible for many foreigners in Thailand is that even educated Thais generally speak English very poorly. Other work opportunities (except maybe something tourism-related like SCUBA diving instruction) are very hard for any foreigner to obtain, and still fairly low-paying. It's not like Australia or NZ where you can pick fruit or tend bar with under the table decent wages (tips) for limited time as a means to more travel. Anything highly-skilled will be hard or impossible to get and require a longterm commitment, and anything unskilled will usually be given to a Thai or cheap Burmese laborer willing to work for next to nothing.

    Better to earn the big bucks in your home country (or in AU/NZ with your qualifications) then travel cheap in SE Asia.

    #6 Posted: 14/4/2011 - 23:57

  • Thomas922

    Joined Travelfish
    1st July, 2007
    Location Global Village
    Posts: 346

    Captain Bob is on point. You may get OK work. But don't bank on the cash.

    #7 Posted: 15/4/2011 - 00:07

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6376
    Total reviews: 10

    Captain Bob is, I am afraid, a bit closer to reality here. First of all, the school year starts pretty soon (May I think) so you don't have time to complete the course and begin the new year. You would have to time your TEFL course completion for sometime close to when the new year starts. So unless you are asking about next year, the timing isn't very good.
    Secondly, I'd be very surprised if you found jobs even in the same province, let alone the same school. It's possible, but I don't think it's likely. So you would have to be down with lengthy separations.
    Thirdly, You really should commit yourself to the entire school year. It's just not fair to the kids to lose their teacher mid-way through.
    Lastly, you should only do this if you really want to teach. I can't tell you the number of guys I've met here who teach for motives that have nothing to do with teaching or the kids - and man it shows. We do have some excellent expat teachers here. The difference between those whose heart and soul is into it and those just trying to get a check is night and day. You don't want to be one of the latter, I'm sure.

    #8 Posted: 15/4/2011 - 00:23

  • CrankyCarrot

    Click here to learn more about CrankyCarrot
    Joined Travelfish
    24th March, 2010
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 662

    I could stretch 3000 pounds to 9 months... but I've travelled in the cargo hold on a third class bus using a sack of rice as a pillow and some Thai's motorbike as a footrest. Depends how much you're prepared to improvise and how "kinyao" ('cheap/tight' in Thai) you're prepared to be. At my thriftiest, I was the King of Kinyao, though I've loosened the purse strings a little lately.

    #9 Posted: 15/4/2011 - 00:32

  • sarah7196

    Joined Travelfish
    18th March, 2011
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 12

    Hi Guys
    Thanks for all the feedback and advice
    Hate hearing the truth , the main reason we are doing the TEFL is for when we go to South America, we plan to spend quite some time there and do some serious hard work (volunteering and paid) as we’re in no rush to head home (UK).
    I’ve worked in schools before and I absolutely adore kids (i cant wait to do it South America)- but you guys are sooo right, even on the off chance that we did get a placement – it’s not fair on the kids, we wouldn’t be able to commit to a whole year.
    Well maybe I’ll look into some volunteering instead? Any suggestions?
    CrankyCarrot – love the ‘king of kinyao’ LOL, don’t think i would be able to stretch that far but i was wondering if you had a few tips on how to make the money stretch?
    Thanks again guys – really appreciate it xx

    #10 Posted: 15/4/2011 - 02:36

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  • youthinasia

    Joined Travelfish
    13th April, 2011
    Posts: 4

    I've been teaching English and Humanities in Thailand for the past decade and have met COUNTLESS colleagues who have literally just been passing through or supplementing their spending money with a 4 month stint in a school.
    It's very true that you may not get a position in one of the more popular areas i.e Phuket, Pattaya (but who wants to go there anyway?), Samui etc..but the place you are allocated will allow you a glimpse of the real Thailand behind the gloss of the touristy locations, which if I'm honest are a tedious not to mention expensive affair.
    So, say you and your partner get a job in, I don't know, Nakhon Sawan (North Central Thailand) you will be able to branch out from there during the myriad holidays that teachers in Thailand are treated to, as well as the weekends. In other words you'll be far from stuck.

    My advice would be to contact an agency like 'Mediakids' or 'AYC' (google them) they will be able to sort you out with a 4 month contract (1 term)..save from that and spend the rest of your stay spending your hard earned cash.

    Saying all that, Cranky Carrot has a point, 3000 pounds can go quite a long way over here, provided you stay out of the pubs...

    Have fun..

    #11 Posted: 15/4/2011 - 12:44

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6376
    Total reviews: 10

    One term is too short in my opinion - but if you are filling in for a guy that pulled pitch early, well that's better for the kids than getting someone who just doesn't care - which could easily happen. Again, if you go to someplace like Sakhon Sawan there's a good chance you won't get assigned together. So you'd have to be down with separation. The good news is you would earn enough to live - so you could bank the money you came with until you left. Of course, you have to spend some of that to fund the TEFL course and live while you were taking it, and that would eat a good chunk of that money. But since you need the course for down the line anyway... So you can do what you want. Time your arrival and course attendence, and don't plan to leave until April next year, when school finishes. Assume you don't get jobs in the same province (if you do great, just don't plan on it). I think you should try to bank a little more than what you've got planned, but it might be enough.

    #12 Posted: 15/4/2011 - 13:52

  • youthinasia

    Joined Travelfish
    13th April, 2011
    Posts: 4

    A lot of schools in Thailand thesedays are using agencies due to the financial dividends they reap..back handers are commonplace (if we can keep your school on our agency's books we'll make it worth your while wink wink nudge nudge etc etc)..so this type of school (lots and lots and lots of them) don't give a flying fig about the capabilities of their allocated 'farang' as a teacher..just as long as they've got nice white skin and stand at the front gate of a morning looking all 'different'. The turnover of this type of teacher (and to the OP, you don't sound like a fly by night case at all, maybe I'm just generalising) is either once or twice a year.
    I was at one particular school which operated like this for 3 years and witnessed a head spinning 25 or so 'teachers' coming and going.
    As for working apart from your partner I'm guessing this isn't really an option.However, I have had first hand experience with couples whom have been given a position at the same school on numerous occassions. Believe it or not, the big schools in the middle of Nakhon Nowhere often employ up to 12 native speakers.

    Failing all that, take your money, be frivilous, have a bloody good time and cut the holiday short..

    #13 Posted: 15/4/2011 - 14:16

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