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Advice on living in Bkk needed - could we live as in the UK?

Discussion in 'Teaching overseas' started by urbangecko, Feb 25, 2011.

  1. Hello

    I've thinking about a job in Bangkok in a small saints school with what looks like a lovely SEN department. The T&Cs on their website offers no medical insurance though the school will reimburse reasonable outpatients, 100% inpatient but no dental expenses). No housing allowance. No dependents allowance. About £400 settling in allowance. Standard economy flight once a year + there and back. No contribution to pension. End of contract bonus payment of two-month net salary. Pay scale starts at about 85000 TB and I expect to be offered may be 90,000TB. I have 6 years experience in the UK state schools, none in international schools.

    The school seems lovely and I think I would love to work there. It seems a small school not part of a chain so that may explain what looks like a small package in comparison to what I find on other schools' website. I am not going overseas to make money but to broaden my experiences. However, I do not want to have less than here and/or make my family struggle financially.

    I am trying to work out how much I will need to live on the same level as I do in the UK.

    We can live like the locals.
    I don't plan on buying a car straightaway but use public transports and taxis to get to work.
    Planning to rent out our house unfurnished here to pay for furniture storage and mortgage payments.
    I am taking with me one fast growing child soon to be officially a teenager.
    I want to keep paying into my pension in the UK.
    How much can I expect to pay for a 3-bedroom apart in a condominium with pool and gym?
    What is the best way to send personal effects to Bkk? (planning on downloading movies + teaching stuff on portable HD but would still need to take a few boxes of personal effects)

    They say when they phone me to offer me the job, they will need a yes or no answer.
    If they offer me the job and I say yes, can I ask that it be subject to agreeing T&Cs? If when the contract arrives,
    I find it is not enough to live on, can I let them down gently without it affecting my future applications in school overseas?

    I would be grateful for anyone who has the time and willingness to share their experiences and/or words of wisdom.
     
  2. Hello

    I've thinking about a job in Bangkok in a small saints school with what looks like a lovely SEN department. The T&Cs on their website offers no medical insurance though the school will reimburse reasonable outpatients, 100% inpatient but no dental expenses). No housing allowance. No dependents allowance. About £400 settling in allowance. Standard economy flight once a year + there and back. No contribution to pension. End of contract bonus payment of two-month net salary. Pay scale starts at about 85000 TB and I expect to be offered may be 90,000TB. I have 6 years experience in the UK state schools, none in international schools.

    The school seems lovely and I think I would love to work there. It seems a small school not part of a chain so that may explain what looks like a small package in comparison to what I find on other schools' website. I am not going overseas to make money but to broaden my experiences. However, I do not want to have less than here and/or make my family struggle financially.

    I am trying to work out how much I will need to live on the same level as I do in the UK.

    We can live like the locals.
    I don't plan on buying a car straightaway but use public transports and taxis to get to work.
    Planning to rent out our house unfurnished here to pay for furniture storage and mortgage payments.
    I am taking with me one fast growing child soon to be officially a teenager.
    I want to keep paying into my pension in the UK.
    How much can I expect to pay for a 3-bedroom apart in a condominium with pool and gym?
    What is the best way to send personal effects to Bkk? (planning on downloading movies + teaching stuff on portable HD but would still need to take a few boxes of personal effects)

    They say when they phone me to offer me the job, they will need a yes or no answer.
    If they offer me the job and I say yes, can I ask that it be subject to agreeing T&Cs? If when the contract arrives,
    I find it is not enough to live on, can I let them down gently without it affecting my future applications in school overseas?

    I would be grateful for anyone who has the time and willingness to share their experiences and/or words of wisdom.
     
  3. Busstopjen

    Busstopjen New commenter

    PM'd you :)
     
  4. Thanks very much. I believe the offer is that of a monthly salary (and I believe it is before tax) and not much else. It sounds tight for two people! As I said, it's not about making money but the experience but if life is a struggle as here... and I worry that my child will make friends at school with expats on corporate packages and that I won't be able to keep up so child will feel second-rate!

    I have a look on the internet for rental prices but I can't put the address of the school here. It seems to vary so much.

    Is there anything I need to consider? Anyone else works or worked at the school or been offered a job there for sept 2011?

    I need to make up my mind quick.
     
  5. Mr robinson

    Mr robinson New commenter

    it is a pretty awful package, but Bangers is an amazing place. You can make it on that salary, but won't save a penny. Tough decision, but good luck in whatever you decide to do.
     
  6. MisterMaker

    MisterMaker Occasional commenter

    There'a several saintly schools in BKK. Sounds like the package could be a dragon slayer one.
    Whether this is enough for you - presuming they offer you the post - depends largely on your needs. If you want a big apartment with all mod cons you'll find a lot of your salary will disappear. If you can be more realistic you can have a good life there. Thailand has a lot to offer, as with much of SE Asia.
    However, your title, I'm afraid, says enough for me to suggest you should stay in the UK. Why would you want to live as in the UK overseas?
    BTW - The dragon slayer is a decent enough ownership - I know the guy and would work for him again.
     
  7. Apologies I did not express myself properly. I did not mean I want to find the UK in Bankgok, that would defeat the point of leaving the UK. I have lived in KL before and in another European country so Bangkok would be my 4th. We find that we don't miss Marmite and other such things and we can adapt to local life easily. However, in my experience, we also have a stream of family and friends visiting so we do need a 3-bedroom flat, preferably close to school to minimise daily transport costs and times. What I meant by living like in the UK is will I be able to save a little so we can visit SE Asia and also save so I can put money into my pension back here? there is no pension in the package. There's two of us on one salary. I will PM you the name of the school. thank you for sharing your honest opinion.
     
  8. nemo.

    nemo. New commenter

    Hi I lived in Thailand 4 years ago and spent 65,000 thb a month Inc2 cheap hols a year. I know that as I used to be an accountant and keep personal accounts (!)

    That is a couple in a 8k a month 1 bed condo going out twice a week. We lived well and lovely condo. No kids. But how long is. Piece of string? Depends on lifestyle! Exchange rate then was 67 now 50 so thb saved is worth more in gbp. Overseas you can contribute 300 pounds a month gross of 240 net to a personal pension so that's 12,000 thb which you could save.

    The salary seems low but Bangkok is so popular that supply greater than demand for teachers. With 6 years exp you should be on 120-140k in a good int school. But depends on subject etc

    Have fun! And remember eat with a spoon it's rude to put a fork in ya gob!
     
  9. percy topliss

    percy topliss Occasional commenter

    Absolutely not! This place does not sound like a school at all. Consider these points. At one of the better schools in Bangkok you will be earning in excess of 200'000 Baht a month, before tax. ( Yes! remember that you will be paying about 34% tax!) Together with housing allowance etc you would take home about 160'000 PCM. On top of this you would get pretty good medical cover. A flight every two years and resettlement allowances at both ends. 400 pounds will not get very much shipping sent and with a teenage kid you will need it. Someone else stated that you should expect to get 20'000 Baht housing allowance. Thats as may be but the better schools give between 35'000 and 50'000.
    Who exactly at the school will decide what is reasonable? Trust me there are a great many things that you can catch in Bangkok and costs can swiftly mount.

    Basically if you take this job you will always know that these other schools are out there. you will be sentencing yourself to life in a staffroom where people are constantly moaning about money or not going to things because they cost "too much" is that really why they came abroad? Yeuch!. Whilst the "others" stay at the Shangri La and the Sofitel you will hear tell of seedy dives in Pattaya and Ko Samet. All those who work in these types of places will be reading this and thinking yep, thats what its like. Doubtless they will try to defend them but most of these places are set up as cash cows for the owners, teachers are seen as just another resource which normally needs changing every couple of years.

    One last point, you are selling a service. If you feel that the money offered is not good enough then withdraw. No need to let them down gently, if you pay peanuts you get monkeys, that is a simple fact of life. Hopefully the owners or management will get to realise this when enough good people turn them down and their staffroom is full of their third or fourth choice applicants.

    Rant over.

    and out,
    Perce

    Oh Yes, one last thing, this comment has been lovingly laid out with paragraphs and indents, the lot. If, when published, it looks like it was written by a Milliband it is not my fault!
     
  10. The package looks poor especially as you have kids. We left Bkk 2 years ago and were earning about 150,000 each and paid no tax, had medical insurance, housing allowance included in that. Our 2 kids were educated free at the school. We did a lot of travel usually on our 2 year bonus out of Bkk and a lot of Thai road trips.
    Your package sounds mean.
    Contact me for more details if need be.
     
  11. Thank you so much everyone for the direct advice. Just what I wanted to hear, the reality. I'm not looking at working abroad to have a long holiday overseas. I want my child to have a different experience and I too want to go back to some international setting away from the UK. You are right, I am a professional selling a service. I must remember that.

    So, having made the correct choice I think, I'm still in the UK and applied for a job at PTA, for which I have an interview next week. Benefits are so much better as published on their website and salary is described as competitive.

    Will that be the job I take? I wish.

    I'm told interviews at PTA are tough. Anyone has any advice?

    Also, this is the second time this year the job is advertised (I initially applied in December and was not offered an interview but a redraft or two later of my CV and personal statement, I got shortlisted when I reapplied in March).

    The job was already vacant last December so the postholder only stayed one year. Then it was advertised in December and again in March. I can't ask them why at the interview but I am puzzled as it seems a good school.

    Anyone ever worked there?

    Any tips on shining at interview (I will go through their website to prepare and think about what they might want to hear from me but is that enough)?

    Thank you so much for your help and sharing your own experiences.
     
  12. Thank you Percy for your honesty! It has been just the thoughts that I was trying to push away at the back of my mind.
     
  13. Congratulations on the interview! I hope it goes well. :)
     
  14. Hi there

    I left BKK 2 years ago, and was on a very similar salary to what you mentioned, and also in one of the saintly schools (maybe the same one).

    It certainly is not the best pay package out there for BKK, and I would suggest that for your needs will not be enough. I am single and have no dependents, so found it more than enough money. Id didn't save any money over my 3 years there, but that was never my intention. I went away virtually every holiday, and the ones that I didn't go away during were down to my personal choice rather than not being able to afford to go. I was able to explore Vietnam, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Bali, Australia and New Zealand.
    Accommodation wise, I was paying 22000b for a 1 bedroom apartment ( about 1/5 of my monthly income), not far from the business district. I could have afforded a more expensive 2 bedroom place, but set myself a limit on how much I wanted to spend. I now spend about 1/4 of my monthly income on rent.

    If it is the same school I worked at, the school was lovely. Great kids and a great staff team. If you need more advice feel free to contact me on chewster78@gmail.com.


     

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