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Anyone relocated to thailand with kids?

(25 Posts)
flymo79 Tue 10-Nov-15 10:04:50

Hi all
Really need some advice. DH and I have for a long time wanted to see whether his job (teaching) could take us further afield. I am more of a home-body than him so now we are tentatively setting the wheels in motion I am terrified! We like asia and have been many times to various parts. It seems that good jobs are more likely to be in Thailand (for international Schools that pay well) and we have some friends who have lived there, however none had kids. We have one DD. It will be a real wrench for us, and leaving the wider family breaks my heart a bit, but DH especially needs to scratch this itch and I feel like if we don't do it now, before DD starts school, life will take over.
So I'm asking to see if anyone can help, please. I need tips for relocating with kids to make this start to feel possible. DD is 1.5 and at full-time nursery here. I also need tips for not being so massively home sick it ruins things. Galvanising words needed for a small family starting to think about a big adventure

fatowl Tue 10-Nov-15 23:06:42

I don't live in Thailand, but we did move to Malaysia when the DDs were 9, 6 and 2.

Assuming you mean Bangkok or Phuket rather than out in the sticks somewhere, there are big expat communities all in the same boat away from home and families.
We become each others families and pull together in times of need etc (exactly as families do)

I'm a teacher too, the right international school can be a great working atmosphere after the nonsense and endless toil in UK state schools now, and will look great on his CV.

If his contract is the standard two years, it will go very fast, even if you are homesick. It takes six months to settle and get over the "holiday" feel, a year to enjoy and then six months winding down, getting ready to go back.

You'll meet some amazing people, both Thai and from all over. Great opportunities to travel etc.

But it is a stupid amount of time to get home if you need to.
My dad is ill at the moment, and I can't just pop and see him. Even a skype call takes some planning due to time differences and how he's feeling.

I've been in Asia 12 years now. DD1 is back in the UK at uni, DD2 going next year. DD3 is 14. DHs job is insecure (oil and gas) and we can't maintain our lifestyle here on my wage alone, so we are looking to go back before DD3 starts GCSEs. That is now almost as scary as when we first came out!

flymo79 Wed 11-Nov-15 09:15:26

thanks so much for the reply fatowl, I SO much appreciate it! twelve years seems a really long time from this side of the decision, but a close friend of mine was in HK for 10 years and that just flew by, both for me and for her, it is reassuring that life just takes over.
The sick parents is a big issue for us, and we only have one grandparent left between us who we're very reluctant to not see... but these things can't stop progress.
I'm reassured by the comments about dh's work and that it is well-regarded on the cv, that's something we couldn't be sure of, I suppose we have some more work to do in terms of research.
How do you find malaysia and assimilating as a westerner? We are considering thailand first (you're right in suggesting phuket or bkk), but also really liked penang when we visited and KL, it's very different to be on holiday and to be thinking 'i could live here' though....

flymo79 Wed 11-Nov-15 11:52:37

also, can I just ask (and anyone else watching this thread) what you do when kids reach school age and you want to come back? DD is two in august next year, if we go for two years max she would be due to start at school in Sept 2018... do we apply from abroad??

fatowl Wed 11-Nov-15 23:02:02

Regarding assimilating as a westerner - in KL not an issue, very comspolitan, lots of different nationalities here rubbing along.
Most of the Malaysians I know are either through work, or one half of a malaysian/british couple.

When we first came out, DD1 started Y5 here, and we were due to go back to start Y7. Dh's contract was extended and we didn't go back (still here!)
So I have not done a UK School application for the UK from here. I believe from other people that if you are applying for State school, you need to wait until you are back in the UK. (LEAs may vary though)
If your dh is a teacher, free schooling would likely be part of his package- you might decide to stay for school! Even if you think you wouldn't it would be worth asking at the negotiation stage

Peppapogstillonaloop Fri 20-Nov-15 09:48:07

When we moved back it was a little after school apps and we were naughty and put down the address we knew we would be moving to. Otherwise you apply from abroad but will be considered behind the rest who are in catchment so may not get your preferred school even if you are going to end up living right next to it..
Depends how competitive school places are near you I guess?

flymo79 Fri 20-Nov-15 10:57:25

thanks peppa! as we assume we will be renting out our house and moving back to it I think we might consider being naughty as well... or else moving back a little earlier than planned.
Where did you move from Peppa?

Peppapogstillonaloop Fri 20-Nov-15 22:34:08

We were in Singapore but I had friends there who had previously been in Thailand teaching and they loved it..we loved Asia I would def go for it if I were you!

threewords3 Thu 26-Nov-15 00:47:19

I moved to Thailand last August when DS was 3. I'm a teacher and so he attends my school. I have lived abroad before so found it fairly easy, even with a child in tow!
At 1.5 there are lots of support groups/playgroups etc plus there are lots of nurseries she could attend. It's a fantastic place, so many expat families and it's very easy to meet people and make friends. Plus although you don't have family near, you can easily afford a nanny and/or maid which makes the lack of family support a billion times easier in terms of day-to-day living.
If you want any specific advice then please let me know.

flymo79 Fri 27-Nov-15 09:02:22

thanks threeworlds, I have tonnes of questions so will be in touch!

flymo79 Fri 27-Nov-15 09:02:10

oops, threewords!

mmgirish Tue 01-Dec-15 15:59:49

Thailand is great for children, we like live there. The locals love children and are welcomed everywhere you go. We once took our son who was 2 at the time into quite a fancy restaurant (he hadn't realised how nice it was) and no one batted an eyelid when he happily made noise and was chatting to everyone.

ThunderboltandLightening Thu 10-Dec-15 10:00:46

I try to spend winters in Thailand. Lots of expats here and the locals are generally lovely. Kids are welcome anywhere and everywhere and as someone else mentioned help can be found cheaply.

I am tempted to live here year round but have elderly parents so not sure about relocating completely. And the hot season is just too darned hot!

ThunderboltandLightening Thu 10-Dec-15 10:01:38

Meant to add, my kids love it here!

meatpie24 Sat 09-Jan-16 08:46:06

Flymo79, just reiterating what others have already said- Thailand (certainly Bangkok) is a great place to live with children.
The expat community is huge & you will find others in the same circumstances as yourself. There are so many condos in the city with families living in them.
There are plenty of activities for children around the city & of course, you are only a few hours flight away from other SE Asian countries to explore (cheaply).
Food wise, many of the supermarkets (Villa Market, Foodland, Tesco Lotus & Big C) stock things you will find back home (albeit a little more expensive).
You can pick up expat TV, which will still mean you can watch the same shows as back home.
And there are some great hospitals which are very modern- Bumrungrad & Samitivej to name two.

If the opportunity is there, then why not give it a go smile

ohtobeanonymous Thu 28-Jan-16 15:16:23

Can only add to the recommendation for Thailand and if your DH is a teacher, schooling will be free at his school! You will also join a ready-made community of families, and will find children settle really quickly and the social life with colleagues/spouses is great.

So inexpensive to live here too (apart from all the annual visas / re-entry permits you fork out for!) and food, climate and lifestyle is great.
It's not always easy to be a foreigner, and I often feel completely illiterate (Thai is hard to learn to speak, letalone to read!) but you can get by with a few basic phrases and English is widely spoken and understood.

You are more likely to regret not giving it a go, than not even trying. The trip back to the UK is not that bad (and, it would be a lot worse if you chose Australia or New Zealand...) YOLO and all that....

vgladstone Wed 04-Jan-17 14:16:52

Hello, I know is an old post but would like to ask fatowl how are the kids in uni doing? Did they adapt ok after so many years in Thailand?

We are very doubtfull because we have two kids of 11 and 12 and a year and a half baby and wish to go and live in Thailand but not sure how to do it with our older sons since is a difficult age. Anyone in the same situation? Any tips? Thank you

fatowl Thu 05-Jan-17 12:14:51

My eldest DD has now graduated and is working in the UK, DD2 is in her first year at uni.

DD1 managed well enough- she said the toughest thing was cooking for herself (she knew how to cook, but found it such a chore), and the busss. She'd traveled all over the whole world, been on planes on her own since she was mid-teens but had never been on a public bus!
She found some people at her uni quite insular (until she found her people- but I think that is true of anyone going to uni to be fair). She found she got on with the foreign students but more easily in general. That said, she now has three very good friends, all brought up in the UK.

It's early days for DD2 yet, but she has found similar.

fatowl Thu 05-Jan-17 12:17:19

She has a very high tolerance for poor customer service and bad admin. When her "British" friends are jumping up and down with anger over something that's gone wrong, she does the Asian shrug and just deals with it!

DD2 loves that you can get everything in the shops (after years of stocking up on things when we're in the UK and making them last as you can't get them in Asia)

Wadeley Tue 31-Oct-17 08:44:54

Hi. I'm a single mother thinking of moving to Thailand or China with my 5 year old son at some point next year. Can anyone give me some advice and idea of what to expect. I have an honors degree in psychology and are going to do a tefl course. I've been told I won't have a problem finding a job as a teacher as I am currently teaching in South Africa. What is schooling like for expat children. And what would like be like for a single mother and her child on one income.

caffelatte100 Tue 31-Oct-17 19:18:08

my first thought it that sounds like it might be tight financially for you if you have to pay private fees. Most jobs in primary international schools (where you would get free/discounted children's places) would prefer a primary teaching qualification and experience. For other jobs such as teaching business English there's a lot of competition from other people teaching English, and salaries and the part time hour can reflect that too. It can take a while to establish oneself as an independent teacher.

Cantseethewoods Wed 01-Nov-17 08:59:39

Any reputable international school in China will require teaching qualifications although you may be able to get ‘English language assistant’ roles without that. These are not as well paid though and won’t confer the free/ heavily discounted school place. With a TEFL you can teach in language schools but this is not well paid ( 20k or thereabouts and usually require you to teach one weekend day). Therefore unless you’re prepared to put your son into local ( mandarin medium) school, I wouldn’t recommend China.

Wadeley Wed 01-Nov-17 09:30:12

What if my bachelors had a strong academic focus? Because my intention is to do a Masters degree in psychology of Education now that i have finished my honor's degree. My research is contradictory to the answers I'm getting. I am going to contact some schools directly and find out.

caffelatte100 Wed 01-Nov-17 09:49:38

I don't think that a strong academic focus from your first degree would make much difference at all to your pay and opportunities in Asia or anywhere else to teach English. You are now looking at quit different fields quite entirely. Masters degrees are very theoretical and won't help you teach English though of course it wouldn't hinder you. Find out directly though so you would know for sure though. It's tough but good luck!

Cantseethewoods Wed 01-Nov-17 09:52:18

Sure, but if you're aiming for a school teaching position then I wouldn't bother with the TEFL as it won't help you. TEFL is only really required if you want to teach English as a foreign language either in a language school or as the native English TA in a mandarin medium school (there are various government schemes). The other option is pre-schools. There are a lot of unqualified pre-school teachers in HK and I imagine the same is true of China. However, again, pre-school teaching is not brilliantly well paid.

What I would advise is to contact the most reputable international schools in Shanghai and Beijing and see what they say. There are also a number of agencies that place teachers into overseas jobs so may be worth contacting one of them.

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