This post was written by Scott Beckman.
Though a major TEFL hotspot, Thailand doesn’t seem to have the reputation for that countries like South Korea and Saudi Arabia have for being great destinations to earn a living as a TEFL teacher.
Salaries in Thailand, when considered in terms of US dollars, don’t come close to the vast sums paid by those aforementioned countries. Benefits like housing and airfare reimbursement are also less likely to be included in Thai contracts. Regardless, Thailand is rich in culture, beauty and tranquility for those that want to do more than scrape by teaching there.
I have read stories from both sides of the coin; those that found Thailand to be a bank breaker and those that were able to live quite comfortably. So what makes the difference?
Where You Live
Like the rest of the world, the cost of living is significantly higher in the big downtown areas of Thailand than in the smaller, quieter places. Find a small but comfortable place outside of town and you won’t need to work two jobs to pay the rent each month.
Where You Teach
Salaries tend to adjust for the living expenses of the area where they’re located. So if you can teach in Bangkok but live outside the city, you’ll find quite a bit of extra spending money each payday.
The TEFL teachers that tend to be most vocal about their salaries also tend to be the ones you’ll find out at the clubs every other night drowning their brain cells. If you can avoid the temptation to live like a college student on spring break, you’ll find a lot more money in your pocket come Monday.
My advice for building a life for yourself in Thailand that will help you put some money away? Make friends with other TEFL teachers who share similar financial goals. If you start to run with the crowd that likes to blow their paycheck the day it’s placed in their hands, you’ll be more likely to follow suit.
Ready to live it up (and save some serious cash!) in Asia? Check out our Teach in Thailand program – TEFL certification combined with a job placement!