Working In Thailand: The Quickest Way To Earn Your Keep

Last year, after the delay of my China trip, I decided to join my friends on a backpacking trip from Thailand to Cambodia. It was sort of a last minute decision and I’m quite certain (whether Doi and Ed would admit it or not) that they were a little ticked when I suddenly told them that I’ll be with them. Ed was actually quick to tell me that Doi will have to make some changes to the itinerary again to accommodate me. I guess it was perfectly understandable since I was invited months before the said trip and I have said no then. Anyway, after that lengthy introduction, I just want to point out that the trip was life changing. The moment I stepped off the plane, I fell in love with Thailand. I fell in love with its people, the rich culture, and the kind of lifestyle that was offered. (Okay, I also had another reason but it seemed silly now so there’s no need to discuss it here.) I brought all these reasons with me all the way to China and I just couldn’t let go of the nagging thought that I needed to go back.

leaving china

So, after the Zhengzhou hullabaloo, I packed my bags and flew back to Bangkok to start all over. Other than my complicated love life, everything else was perfect. All I needed to do was to get settled, find a job, and stand on my own feet after four months. It was a good thing that I had money reserved for circumstances like the one I got myself into. I finally landed on my best job option two months after arriving from China. For some people, two months seemed to be a long wait. But if you are like me who; other than continuously applying, was also traveling around the country, two months seemed enough time. It wasn’t like I didn’t worry. I did. I was just a little preoccupied during the first month. I only started panicking halfway through the second month when my fund was depleting and when I was not getting phone calls from people who I wanted to hear from. Yes, at this point, I still had the nerve to be choosy. In the end, I worked as a Kindergarten Teacher at an international school in Bangkok and started receiving a remuneration that matched what I prayed for. Not bad for a first-timer in Thailand!

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A few months after, I moved out from my friend’s apartment and started renting my own; have added the Laos, Malaysia, and Singapore stamps in my passport; and have funded my mom’s visit in Bangkok. These were just a few of the things that I were able to do because of my work in Thailand.

Because of these, my friends have started to hound me with questions about how foreigners can earn money while living in Thailand. First, I always tell them, unless they were willing to work like a mule, they shouldn’t expect to get rich. Some of my kababayans are under the impression that they can raise millions in a year here. Like what I said, unless you work like a mule (work left and right, from sunrise to sunset) then don’t expect to drown in your own pool of Thai baht. What you will get though is the pleasure of living in the famous land of smiles and enjoying the cultural benefits of residing in this beautiful foreign country. Other perks would include the opportunities to travel more often than usual. Second, I tell them the fastest and the best way to start that cash flowing in their bank account; which was to………

Be A Teacher!

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For foreigners, this is probably the most popular choice to start making money while living in Thailand. Usually, English native speakers have the upper hand for most English teaching posts. I apologize if I offend some readers here but here, if you are a citizen of a country that uses English as its first language then you don’t really need anything else to get started; which is actually quite unfair for other nationals. I have heard so many horrid stories about Asian applicants taking the backseat to give way to English native speakers, despite the former having degrees and a good command of English. But take note, I used ‘usually’ and not ‘always,’ so don’t be discouraged.

However, on the possibility of finding jobs, there are many ways to accomplish this. The trick is to apply during the so-called hiring season for teachers and this falls during the semester’s break and/or summer time. In short, the best time to apply for a teaching position in Thailand is during the months of March, April, or October.

Here are three major ways that I was able to utilize during my application days.

Way 1: Apply Online

My first good advice for prospective teachers in Thailand is to check out the online resources  www.ajarn.com. This site has been around since 1999 and has the most useful information about teaching in Thailand. Further, it has links to many of the schools and has the best job board I have seen so far.

ajarn

Way 2: Utilize the Help of Employment Agencies

Other than applying online, you can try employment agencies. There are countless of them, but the most sought after are the ones connected to top universities in Bangkok such as Chulalongkorn and Ramkhamhaeng. I knew of other agencies but would prefer not to mention them here. All I know is, when you are on a contract with an agency, you don’t get the full salary offered by the school that hired you. A certain percentage will go to the agency and negotiations are out of the question. But the advantage is, the agency will do the leg work for you and will ensure that you get placed.

Way 3: Work It by Doing Walk-Ins

The last way that I can suggest is to try doing the much dreaded ‘walk-ins.’

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Walk-ins are tedious because an applicant will literally school-hop and go knocking about. They are probably the most tiring and the most ineffective for Asian applicants but will never fail an English native speaker. If you decide to give this a whack, don’t forget to bring an umbrella, copies of your resume, bottle of water, and a handful of determination to combat those possible rejections.

I have tried everything but if you ask me which is the best way, I would suggest applying online. It’s more convenient and it merely requires an internet connection.

There are also other kinds of work you can try out in Thailand and you even have an full-time and part-time options but I will discuss them in another article.

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