Garrett Vorce

@garrettvorce

Living & Working in Thailand — My Experience

Overlooking Chiang Mai on Doi Suthep

Why I came to Thailand

It started during my last years in high school. — I visited Thailand for vacation and fell in love with the country and its people.

When I came back to my hometown of Elsie, MI I felt like something was missing from my life. So, when graduation came around I told my parents that I wanted to move to Thailand to study university and surprisingly, they were very supportive.

Studying at university

I got accepted into SIIT, Thammasat University, and simply put, I was the only white dude there. Making friends was difficult because of the language barrier but after a while, Thai people really open up once you start to be around them more often and learn their culture.

Thammasat First Meet with John

I have to say, it was very difficult adjusting to being on my own, leaving everything behind for a potentially better future.

At times I got very homesick and wanted to move back to the states. Thankfully I was able to go back during Christmas time and realize why I moved in the first place.

When you go back home, you realize nothing has really changed for the amount of time you were gone. That’s when I knew I had to stick it out because it would get easier with time.

During my first year somehow, someway, there were 4 other crazy American students studying at the same university. I learned how to ride a motorcycle from one of them named Vito, which became a great friend till this day. It was a little Honda 150cc CBR.

I thought I was going to die.

By knowing Vito, he introduced me to the other guys. We hit it off pretty quick and began doing motorcycle trips south of Bangkok.

Just a warning for everyone riding for the first time, don’t let your friend convince you to learn how to ride a motorcycle during rush hour. I stalled 7 times at the red light with cars honking at me to hurry my little white a** up!

University lasted just over 2 years before I became very sick, which caused me to drop out. I wanted to remain in Thailand to get it sorted out. Then things became interesting. My visa was going to expire in 4 months. I had to find work ASAP!

Finding a job in Thailand

When you are 21 years old in Thailand, it is nearly impossible to find any work (with a work permit and proper visa). I had a little experience making basic websites so I tried to showcase my willingness to learn.

I had gone through 3 separate interviews in Bangkok with no luck — taking on a college drop-out is difficult for anyone to justify.

I managed to find a part-time gig developing WordPress sites for ฿150/hour (a little less than $5/hour). Obviously, that sucked.

I needed something more permanent.

The search began..

I applied to jobs for more than 4 months, ranging from Bangkok to the middle of nowhere and anywhere between. I found a site called Blognone advertising tech companies that had developer positions available.

That day, I managed to apply to over 100 companies in my last attempt to find anything.

The email

How about we jump on a quick call. You are in Bangkok right?

I initially had no clue that the position was based in Chiang Mai.

The emails and phone calls went back and forth until I was invited up to Chiang Mai for a one week trial.

They set me up in a hotel and rented out a motorcycle for me for my time there.

Swimming at the office

Yes, that’s a pool outside the office.

After the week trial was up, the big boss drove me to breakfast on his touring bike. We sat down, I was shaking, he was relaxed.

He made a sudden move, held out his hand and said, “Welcome to the team” 🤝

Two weeks later…

Working as a Web Developer at Buzzwoo Asia

Buzzwoo is a digital agency that specializes in developing web and mobile applications.

It is now comprised of over 25 different nationalities which is unheard of any company in Thailand.

I work as a backend developer, developing PHP (Laravel Framework) applications.

Every day at Buzzwoo is a unique experience. Communicating with 25 different nationalities is not an easy task. We have Thai, German, Russian, Lithuanian, Italian, Belgian, and Swedish.

Songkran Day at Buzzwoo; it got wet.

Somehow, it works.

Living in Thailand

You will find a lot of amazing people in Thailand.

For people looking to relocate to Bangkok or Chiang Mai, Thailand — I definitely recommend it. There are many companies looking for talented individuals, especially in the tech industry.

If you don’t already have a way to make income, it’s better to get that sorted out in your home country before moving everything to Thailand.

Cost of living

The cost of living is lower but it can get expensive, quick.

The cost for a decent apartment relatively close to the city is around ฿8000 ($240) in both Bangkok and Chiang Mai. For a small motorcycle or a scooter, it’s typically around 2,500 baht/month to rent.

Each meal usually costs around ฿35-50 ($1-2).

You can expect to pay around ฿20,000 ($600) per month on living expenses.

Traveling

Most of the foreigners here like to travel on the weekends. It’s best done on the twisty mountains with your friends.

Doi Suthep Peak with Jaime on the CRF250 and MT-07

Final words

Thailand is great. Not perfect in any sense but still, I haven’t regretted a day spent. It has helped me grow as a person.

A big thank you to my company for giving me a shot.

First day on a business trip in Stuttgart, Germany. Prost!

If you have any questions about what it’s like living in Thailand, comment below!

See more stories in the future about web development and living in Thailand

View the original story at http://garrettvorce.com/living-and-working-in-thailand/

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