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Advice on Asia Please!

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by Spencer_Mills, Nov 24, 2018.

  1. Spencer_Mills

    Spencer_Mills New commenter

    Hi Everyone,

    We are a teaching couple with two little children. We desperately want to head abroad to save money for their futures since, no surprises here, our current monthly savings as class teachers are next to nothing. Out of the following Asian destinations only, where would we be able to save the most and why?

    1. Singapore
    2. Thailand
    3. Hong Kong
    4. Malaysia
    5. Vietnam

    Any views would be sincerely welcome.

    Thank you
  2. makhnovite

    makhnovite Established commenter

    Hi Spencer, A cursory search of these threads will give you lots of information as this kind of query comes up fairly frequently. Also you could do some research of other websites about the schools, cost of living, visa requirements etc. But in the spirit of teaching solidarity, I will give some simple quick advice. I am sure some of the 'experts' on here will be along in a minute with more detailed advice.

    Hong Kong and Singapore are two of the most sought after destinations for teachers wanting to move abroad and competition is fierce, even quite ordinary schools will get hundreds of applicants, in addition the cost of living in both is very high, especially accommodation. Very 'western' in terms of culture, both school culture and local culture. Lots of expats (bankers!). Good level of English spoken by many locals

    Thailand and Malaysia are also desirable destinations, and competition will still be a factor, they are less expensive places to live, many of the schools are for wealthy locals rather than expats and so they have a different feel to them. Less 'western' in terms of culture which makes them more desirable to a particular type of international teacher. Lots of expats (lots of long grey pony tails and beer bellies). Fair level of English spoken by locals.

    Vietnam, more schools in Sai Gon than Ha Noi, its one of the growing destinations for teachers, and one of the growing countries in the region, economically. Very cheap to live, wonderful travel opportunities, great local culture, few expats, not much English spoken by locals, authoritarian government.

    Good Luck
    grdwdgrrrl likes this.
  3. loislane1

    loislane1 New commenter

    If your children are young Brunei may be a viable destination. Outgoings are minimal and tax-free earnings. There are 3 options, 2 international schools and government schools. All have different positives and negatives. It really is a lovely place to live and work.
    2mature likes this.
  4. james_1979

    james_1979 New commenter

    I like your honesty. But if money is the main drive then widen your net and head to middle-east. Tax free, housing for families is big (and free or eith allowance) and bills paid for if you land the right school. Dubai in particular is good for families as the expat and things to do for adults and kids. Foreign exchange is something to you need to take into consideration. The Malaysian ringgitt is still tanking. But with currencies attached to USD you're already 15-18% ahead.
  5. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    For some strange reason that I have never understood, some misguided people send one of those silly TES Conversation things to an overweight and smelly hippopotamus. Why do they do this?
  6. SPC2

    SPC2 Occasional commenter

    FWIW anecdotally, I've worked in three countries on that list and saved the most in Singapore simply because I was paid the most there.
  7. StrangePanda

    StrangePanda Occasional commenter

    It is definitely possible to save a lot in Hong Kong but you need to be sensible about where you choose to live. It's also possible to get carried away by lifestyle inflation...
  8. hs9981

    hs9981 Established commenter

    Because they are needy? ;)
    576 and SPC2 like this.
  9. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    All the spots you mention have a variety of schools with a wide range of packages. Which job you can land will greatly impact your package and therefore savings.
  10. percy topliss

    percy topliss Established commenter

    You can save a lot and still have a very good life in Bangkok, including overseas hols and trips to the UK.

    grdwdgrrrl likes this.
  11. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    Absolutely true, if you're at the right school.
    The worst schools in Thailand will leave the OP living at a similar standard as they are now, yet unable to pay the mortgage back home.
    The best schools in Thailand will allow the OP to fully fund an early retirement dream.
    And it's much the same across Asia. It's hard to talk about which country pays the most, as the range in each is so wide.
    Go forth, search for jobs, interview, collect offers. In lots of countries. Use numbeo.com to figure out what those offers mean for you.
    grdwdgrrrl and 576 like this.
  12. willow78

    willow78 Occasional commenter

    Too hard a question as it will depend on the school and your lifestyle.

    At decent schools in all of those countries you should be able to save at least one salary.

    Hong Kong and Malaysia have a great bonus and saving scheme respectively.

    I reckon I save as much as I would in Dubai living in Vietnam but with a better life. There are places in the middle East where you can still earn big cash, but they won't be fun with kids
  13. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Hmm. Yes, I think that I would agree with willow78 that the ME is not always a "child friendly" sort of place.
  14. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

    And you have arab culture to deal with.
  15. StrangePanda

    StrangePanda Occasional commenter

    Yes, I forgot to mention the surprisingly low tax and the bonus scheme in HK. Most schools offer a cash bonus of about 20% of the salary at the end of the contract.
  16. taiyah

    taiyah Occasional commenter

    Really? Vietnam schools pay £40k tax, bills free, plus yearly flights for a teacher without any leadership duties? Can you pm me more info?
  17. willow78

    willow78 Occasional commenter

    I earn very close to that after tax as a HOD, no bills paid, but I pay about $150 a month, yearly flights home, my bounus isn't quite as good though. I don't need a car and it it is very cheap to live here if you want too. The school provide a great apartment, transport to the schoool, 100% fees (including uniform) for the children.

    I am at one of the top schools here though, so not sure what the others pay (although I think it is close)

    Also some Dubai schools won't pay 40k a year.
  18. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    Some will. But you don't have to go to the ME or Asia to get that. You'll find that in a fair few schools around the world.

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