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Advice for young female teacher please! where is best to work in s.e. asia?

Discussion in 'Teaching overseas' started by littlebluemonkey, Mar 1, 2008.

  1. I am a teacher in the uk and I will have been working in my current job for 3 years come september. After much soul searching I have decided to apply for jobs abroad this year, and I'm really keen on south east asia. Ive been lucky enough to spend time backpacking in thailand, malaysia and singapore a couple of years ago so i know a little about each of these countries, but I could really do with some advice on which is the best place to live and work. Ive also looked at hong kong. Please please please dont tell me to go research the posts because I have already for many hours, and there are both positive/negative posts for every country. i just wnat to know what peoples opinions are on the best place for a 24 year old, single female who wants to teach primary. Im looking forward to experiencing really different cultures but Im also a very sociable person and I need to be somewhere where im going to have the opportunity to meet/be around other people. Is anyone in or has been in the same position as me?
     
  2. I am a teacher in the uk and I will have been working in my current job for 3 years come september. After much soul searching I have decided to apply for jobs abroad this year, and I'm really keen on south east asia. Ive been lucky enough to spend time backpacking in thailand, malaysia and singapore a couple of years ago so i know a little about each of these countries, but I could really do with some advice on which is the best place to live and work. Ive also looked at hong kong. Please please please dont tell me to go research the posts because I have already for many hours, and there are both positive/negative posts for every country. i just wnat to know what peoples opinions are on the best place for a 24 year old, single female who wants to teach primary. Im looking forward to experiencing really different cultures but Im also a very sociable person and I need to be somewhere where im going to have the opportunity to meet/be around other people. Is anyone in or has been in the same position as me?
     
  3. My advice? Chill out and relax. You're unlikely to come up against huge issues as a woman in this region and will more than likely have a ball. Unlike the ME you won't find all eyes on you and most likely won't come up against an real problems aside the usual getting used to a new place stuff. I've just moved to SE Asia, can I ask where you're headed??
     
  4. I love Japan-never felt safer but its a bit on the quiet side outside of the big cities.
     
  5. missrg:
    I dont know where im headed yet, thats what i need advice on! Its not particularly issues related to being a woman in a foreign country that im bothered about having travelled alone before, if im honest its just that im scared of taking the plunge and im worried ill be lonely, so i want to be in the place with the most active social scene/opportunities to meet others, both expats and locals, but also somewhere that offers a good package and a good standard of living. Whereabouts in Asia are you? Do you have anywhere you would recommend? Thanks
     
  6. The response to these kinds of questions will always be ?it depends?. You ask for advice on ?the best place to live and work? but don?t say in terms of what. Do you mean the pay and conditions, the weather, the students, the food, the social life or something else?

    I?m currently in Thailand but hope to move to Vietnam. I?ve also worked in one the ESF?s Hong Kong schools. As you would expect, both places have advantages and disadvantages, according to your tastes and requirements. For example, I was paid almost three times as much in Hong Kong and the school was extremely well resourced but I find it far more relaxing in Bangkok. On the surface, Hong Kong would appear to be far ?better? in terms of the package but I?ve been happier here than there. Not that I was unhappy there; I simply prefer it here.

    Yes, Bangkok is a great place to work and live but I have spoken to many female teachers of all ages who find it very difficult here to have a particularly active sex life. It is true that lots of men come here and try out a new life as a character from a Graham Greene novel, spending most of their time and money on bar girls. A Friday night visit to Soi Cowboy will bring you face to face with dozens of ex-pat male teachers, some in very senior positions, and you will hear conversations almost entirely devoid of features of grammar. ?What you name??, ?Speak Thai?? and ?Live Thailand long time?? echo around the usual haunts.

    This part of the world is certainly safe for women. When I?ve travelled to Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, South-Eastern China etc., I?ve seen lots of single females happily and safely backpacking their way around.

    Your main concern seems to be that you might be lonely. However, if you are as sociable as you say, that shouldn?t be an issue. Many of my friends certainly end up socialising with people they would not even speak to in the UK but I?m perfectly happy seeking alternative diversions. These include making friends with local people but that tends far more difficult than you might imagine.

    It does take a leap of faith to pack up and resettle on the other side of the world but that leap will probably be the best one you?ve ever plucked up the courage to make. Given the highly westernised nature of Hong Kong, it was, on reflection, the best place for me to start. It certainly made subsequent steps much easier.
     
  7. Totally agree with the above, on previous discussions on this topic the 'usual' men weigh in with their experiences___when a woman states how it is she gets lambasted!_____anyhow, was in Bangkok for 3 years, now in Hong Kong which i love. Couldn't wait to leave BKK for all the above reasons and because the education system is more serious here in HK....BKK is great if you want the easy life and relaxed teaching, but i still love teaching and don't want to compromise on resources (and not a dig at the above) but professionalism.
    So i would go for HK over singapore, KL, Vietnam or BKK, it fulfills all of your criteria.
     
  8. I'm in Vietnam. With the issues re feeling lonely etc, they'll be other people in the same boat and if you're in any way sociable you will find your feet soon enough. I headed away on my own about 5 years ago and never regretted it for a minute. Good luck whatever you decide and whereever you end up. If you find yourself in HCMC let me know!!
     
  9. I am probably unqualified to answer this question never having taught in SE Asia, and being old and married! However, I am a great beleiver in fate, apply for jobs that you think sound good in places that you think sound interesting, the one that you still like the sound of after interview and are offered, will be in the place you should go to! Remember it is possible to feel lonely anywhere in the world if you are that way inclinded, it doesn't sound as if you are. You are still young and have no childern to worry about, whatever happens it will be an experience.
     
  10. Totally agree with Luthien
     
  11. Syria1

    Syria1 New commenter

    Shanghai is good - decent nightlife, safe and a large expat crowd
     
  12. Hi!

    I taught in Jakarta, Indonesia for 2 years and had a great time although I did, after a while, begin to wonder whether I would be doing much dating although that was not an expectation when I went out there. I was more interested in the experience of living in Indonesia and having the opportunity to see lots of SE Asia. Most female teachers ended up leaving after 5 years or so because their biological clock started ticking and they were concerned they wouldn't find a man. Irony is that when you reach your mid 30's you just don't date much anyway even in Europe (where I am now) unless you are into all that Internet dating stuff.
    So I would say go for any country in SE Asia really. They are all interesting and the real challenge will be whether you want to be an expat for long. Life can be a bit false and shallow but if you are reasonably level-headed and pick the right friends you will have lots of fun and see expat life for what it is.

    Good luck deciding!

    Emilie
     
  13. I can only speak about Thailand and its suitablilty for a woman as it is the only asian country I have worked in. A lot depends on your status when you arrive. If you arrive with a husband/long term boyfriend then you will stand more chance of not being lonely and getting those needs met that a man is more than willing to fulfil. If you arrive as a single woman then things get much more complicated. Most western women do not find thai men sexually appealing so instantly there are less men available. On the other hand most western men are running around chasing the local girls. Hence, if you can't compete with the thai girls then the chances are that you will find it hard to find a partner. The competition is tough as most thai girls are slim, attractive and don't have issues with older men. A single western woman is really up against it and many turn bitter. I was lucky as I was in a long term relationship.

    If you do go to Thailand then taking a supply of underwear and swim suits is a good idea. It is hard to get a bra bigger than a B cup. On the other hand it can be a good excuse to go up to BKK to do some shopping.

    Thailand is a very safe place and I have never felt threatened. Obviously, one uses a bit of common sense as there has been the odd incident of assaults on women.

    I love Thailand and have no plans to leave but it isn't for everyone. Don't come to Thailand looking for a man - bring him with you.

     
  14. Thormaturge

    Thormaturge New commenter


    I agree entirely with Cant_buy_a_thrill. A well informed post IMHO.

    My professional work here (Thailand) has brought me into contact with more female teachers than male, and many of the single ladies sadly leave before completing their contracts. Positive points are the food, personal security and low accommodation costs, whilst negative points are lack of social life, corruption and often less-than-subtle racism. HK seems to be a popular starting point out here.

     
  15. littleblue monkey...

    made any decisions?

    I'm in a very similar position. I have recently applied to several jobs, particularly schools in China. I'm just waiting to hear of my progress.
     
  16. Thanks for the advice everyone.

    Rosi3R3d...

    Ive been offered a job in bangkok at an international school with a v.good reputation. (yes, i have taken on board the advice of female posters about bangkok but im taking the risk, reckon i can make do without a man for a while)Waiting on the contract to arrive, was all ready to start packing my bags and then a family emergency has made me rethink things. Im sure ill still take the job but im glad i havent signed the contract yet, could do with a bit more time. U had any luck?
     
  17. You spent hours researching the threads? Amazing and hard to believe.

    Your priority is to find a good school that treats staff well and pays on time. You might not get the chance to be too picky. Bad school and you will probably be very unhappy where ever you go. So I would spread the net wide then see what offers come in. Check the schools out.

    Warning though. In places where sex tourism is big it creates mistrust between male and female staff consequently a rather unhealthy situation for friendships?

     
  18. i have been offered a job at a large well known school in shanghai. was wondering how the government restrictions and cruelty to animals and people affect the day to day life of an expat on a school campus
    thanks
     
  19. Thought I might give a man's perspective on this.
    Yes, it is certainly true, many Western women come to Asia and find their stakes in the dating game have dropped consderably. The opposite is true for Western men.
    I think what it comes down to is this (although I am sure there are a lot of cynical women who will have a more negative perspective):
    1. Western men really, really appreciate the way Eastern women treat them. They keep the house clean, cook, wash and iron without any complaints whatsoever. My current girlfriend here wakes up before me and lays my work clothes on the bed and has a coffee waiting on the coffee table every morning. Ah, bliss. Of course, there is also their great figures, beautiful skin, raven hair and those eyes! Also, the difference in culture and language makes them very interesting and exotic. There is always something to talk with them about if you are into learning languages and cultures. Being able to get a point across that would take three seconds with a Western woman can take a fair deal of time with her Oriental counterpart. When you have got that point across, there is enormous satisfaction on both sides.
    2. Eastern women really, really appreciate the way Western men treat them. They open doors for them, talk to them with great respect, do not grope them and generally treat them as equals. On a more risque note, acts in the bedroom tend to be reciprocated. Western men in Asia have a reputation as gentlemen who will not shirk their responsibilities as a fathers. Of course, there is also their white skin (a sign of status and extremely desirable in Asia), blue eyes, peaked noses and strong jaw lines. Needless to say, the fact that all Westerners are perceived as wealthy (which is true) also helps a lot.
    My perspective is that Oriental women offer a lot of competition to Western women and vis-a-vis as Oriental men seldom give us much competition.
     


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    How depressing! I don’t think you have to be a cynical western
    woman to see the negatives in the above post. So Thai women are preferred by
    western men because the hard won sense of equality that generally exists in
    western/western relationships, such as sharing household chores is absent (and
    of course the Thai ladies are slim)


    Your ‘current’ girlfriend (I wonder how many have come,
    cleaned and gone before her) is cherished because she pampers you and is physically
    attractive, fair enough, but no mention of love, loyalty, trust, fun, mutual
    esteem and respect. You admit in your post that conversations of any depth are very time consuming due to the language barrier. I have observed myself on many
    social occasions Thai ladies being completely ignored by their western partners
    for hours on end whilst they chat to cynical western women, and they certainly
    don’t seems to be treated as equals as you suggest but pretty trophies.


    Before I am accused of being bitter I thankfully have a husband who has all of the attributes
    you mention in a western man but who also sees beyond my lack of cooking skills and appreciates
    mine. However I do feel for my funny, intelligent, kind & successful single female friends who can't get a look in.
     

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