You’ve been to Thailand and fallen in love; either with a beautiful Thai lady or Thailand itself. You’ve made the decision to move to Thailand. But the big question is how do you finance it? Well before you figure out how to finance it you need to figure out how much money you need. In this article I lift the lid on some ways to fund your stay in Thailand.
Thailand is quiet a large country that is similar to the United Kingdom, bordering Cambodia and Laos to the east, Malaysia and the Gulf of Thailand to the south, and the Andaman sea and Myanmar to the west.
Thailand Fast Fact
· Capital: Bangkok
· Major Language: Thai
· Major Religion: Buddhism
· Population: 65,444,371(July 2005 est.)
· Area: 513,000 km
· Currency: Baht
· Time Zone: UTC + 7
· Internet TLD: .th
· Calling Code: +66
Thailand is the 49th largest country and it is home to a distinct geographic. If you will go to the north, you will see that it is a mountainous area: Doi Inthanon, the highest point with 8,451 feet. The center of the country is dominated by Chao Phraya River which runs to the Gulf of Thailand. The south consists of a narrow land bridge, known as Kra Isthmus that connects to the Malaysian Peninsula.
Thailand’s climate is tropical. high in temperature and humidity, and dominated by moonsoon. April and May are the hottest months, but June is the beginning of rainy season and it usually ends in the month of October. From November until the end of February, the climate is cool especially in Northern Thailand.
The year of 1997 was the time when Thailand’s economy collapsed. Baht currency reached it’s lowest point of 56 from 25 against the US Dollar. Many foreign investors closed it’s door, resulting for many Thai people to lose their jobs. Banks were bankrupt. Stocks and prices fell dramatically. After PM Thaksin Shinawatra won the 2001 election, there was a rapid growth in the country’s economy. He implemented various domestic programs known as Thaksinomics. Foreign investors open it’s door again for business, and tourism industry was in its peak.Thailands natural resources like tin,rubber,timber etc, also helps and contributes to the country’s economy’s GDP.
Thailand is a Buddhist country. According to the latest census, more than 95% of Thais are Buddhist. Islam is also the second largest religion in the country. You can see lots of Muslims in the south of Thailand, particularly in Yala,Pattani, and Narathiwat. There are also some Christians, but it only represents a few percent of the population.
Thailand is also a constitutional monarchy. His Majesty the king Bhumibhol Adulyadej is the most respected and the world’s longest reigning monarch. He celebrated his 6oth anniversary of ascension on the throne last June. Thais have a deep respect with their king, including the other members of the royal family. Telling a joke or a jest to the Royal family is a grave insult for the Thai people and its country.
Each country has a unique culture and tradition, same with Thailand. Once you visit this country, there are some precautions and standard behaviours that you must follow. Below are some of the do’s and don’ts in this country:
· As I mentioned earlier, Thai’s have a deep respect to the Royal family. Never tell a joke or a jest about them, even pictures or portrait of them must be respected too.
· If you will enter a temple, make it sure that your dress is appropiate.Avoid wearing unsuitable attire. Also leave your shoes or slippers once you entered the inside chapel.
· If you are a woman, never touch the Buddhist monk because it’s forbidden, or even sit beside him. If you want to give something to the monk, hand it to a man, and he will do it for you. In case their is no male available, the Buddhist monk will spread a saffron robe in front of him, where you will lay the things that you want to give.
· Thai’s don’t normally shake hands when they greet people, but instead they wai(pressing the palms together in a prayer gesture). Generally, a younger people wai to the older ones.
· If you will enter any house or office, please leave your shoes or slippers outside.
· Touching someone’s head or pointing with the feet is unacceptable. Thai regard the head as the most sacred part of the body, while the feet are the dirtiest and lowest part of the body.
· Public affection is frowned between man and woman
Working in Thailand
If you are looking for a different experience in teaching English in South East Asia, Thailand is one the best destination to choose from. In my experience, I can say that I’m enjoying my stay in this country with my family. Aside from the low cost of living, there are other opportunities waiting for you, if you are really serious to become an English teacher. Every one who comes in Thailand to work as an English teacher has a different reason. Some are working here to save money; others want to gain more experience teaching abroad; some will tell you that the salary here is bigger compare to their country of origin.
Getting a job here is easy, especially for the native speakers of English. Most schools in this country do hire a white to educate their students even they are not qualified.(This may be a shocking information for Asian teachers, but it’s the truth)Some schools do still hire a teacher based on the good qualification of the applicant no matter where you came from. Others, do require a TEFL certificate even you have or without a bachelor degree.
Everyone who is planning to work in a certain school must check first the school’s credibility to avoid problems. There are some schools do take advantage of foreign teachers, especially Asian teachers. There is a website that I’d like to recommend-www.teflwatch.org. This website gives information about teaching issue in Thailand. Below are things to consider before you work in a school:
· How many teaching hours/credit will I teach?
· Will the school process my visa and work permit? (Effective this October 1,border run will end)
· Will they provide accommodation and health insurance?
· Will I receive a salary even it’s summer or vacation?(Some schools include summer and vacation in the contract, but others don’t)
If you are new to Thailand and new to teaching, be careful. Ask questions to your employer which you don’t understand. If you will sign a contract, never sign it, if it’s written in Pasa Thai. This is to avoid possible problems in the future. Your contract must be written in English, and please keep a copy of it for your future use.
Places to work in Thailand
In this section, I will just give a brief overview of different schools/institutions in this country. I will group them into following: schools with MEP/EP; schools without MEP/EP or Thai Regular Schools; Universities; International Schools
A. School with MEP/EP (Mini English Program/English Program)
· This type of school is well funded. Most of the funds came from the government (if it’s a government school) or usually from the parents.
· The salary here is high. – Native speakers starting salary is 30,000 baht a month and can reach up to 50,000 baht depending on the qualification of the teacher. Non native such as Asian teachers receives 15,000 baht a month up to 30,000 baht (the normal rate) depending on the qualification of the teachers, too.
· Working hours is normally 15-18 periods a week, but other schools are 18-22 periods a week.
· Benefits are also included:BUPA Health Insurance, Thai Health Insurance etc;free accommodation or housing allowance; visa and work permit are also provided
· There are some MEP/EP schools offers some subjects integrated in English such as: music, science, math, social science, PE etc
· There are lots of foreign teachers employed and some do provide Thai assistant teachers.
B. Schools without MEP/EP or Regular Thai Schools
· This type of school is very different compare to other school with MEP/EP.
· Native speakers receive 20,000 baht up to 30,000 baht a month (still negotiable) depending on the teachers’ qualification.
· Asian teachers’ receives 12,000 baht up to 20,000 baht a month depending on the qualification. (I know some schools do pay their Asian teacher/s with an amount of less than 12,000 baht a month)
· Most schools do not pay their foreign teacher on summer or semester break.
· Getting a benefit is a big issue between the employer and the foreign teacher.
· Having a visa or a work permit is a bit slow and will cause a foreign teacher some stress and frustration. Reasons are the following: it’s their first time to employ a foreign teacher; school or employer does not have any idea how to apply and process the visa and work permit of their foreign teacher.
· Only 1-3 foreign teachers are employed. NO Thai Assistant.
C. Thai Universities
There are numerous universities in Thailand. The best universities in this country are the following: (not in order)
· Chulalongkorn University
· Thammasat University
· Chiangmai University
· Kasetsart University
· Khon Kaen University
· Prince of Songhkla University
· King’s Mongkut Institute of Tech North Bangkok
· King’s Mongkut Institute of Tech Ladkrabang
· Mahanakorn University of Technology
· Suranaree University of Technology
Salaries at government universities are different, compare to private universities. Government universities pay their foreign teachers the normal rate of 20,000 up to 30,000 per month depending on the qualification. Having an MA degree or a PhD degree is an advantage. It is also possible to make extra good money. In my own experience, aside from my monthly salary that I receive, I do have an extra job after my school working hours. And it really helps.
Legal Issues and Visa
There are two types of foreign teachers in Thailand: A legal teacher and an illegal teacher. A legal teacher has a Non-immigrant visa, a work permit, and a teacher license (some schools). An illegal teacher has no Non-immigrant visa, a work permit, and a teacher license. And an illegal teacher is always doing the border run visa every month at the neighboring country. I had this experience doing the border run visa while I’m working in this country, and it’s a bit scary. But this so called border hopping will affect many foreigners who are working in Thailand because of the new visa policy which has been effective since October 1 2006.
In order for you to become a legal teacher you must do the following:
· You must obtain a non-immigrant visa at any Thai consulate outside Thailand.
· Thai Consulate at Penang is the choice of many foreigners who wants to get a Non B. You will be given 3 months to stay in Thailand. If you are planning to apply for a Non B, you need to prepare the following documents: a. official letter from the school/director with a valid seal b.school contract c. 2 piece of two by two pictures d. school map e. school registration f. copy of your passport, degree certificate, and transcript of records.
· Once you get your Non B you can now go to the Ministry of Labor to apply for a work permit. The documents that you need to bring are also the same of what I listed above including the copy of your NON-B, health certificate, and the FORM WP 2 from the Ministry of Labor. The amount is 750 baht for 3 months; 1500 baht for 6 months; 3000 baht for 1 year and another 100 baht for the application form. It will take 1 week normally to process it.
· When the work permit is ready you can go to the Immigration Department to extend your visa. The cost for a 1 year extension is 1900. Make sure you have a re-entry visa each time you leave the country. If not, your visa extension will be forfeited.