If you’re like many expats in Thailand, you’re emigrating to this country because your company assigned you here. You’ve likely been assigned to a major city like Bangkok or Pattaya in Chonburi, so you’ll have to choose your place of residence if living arrangements haven’t already been made for you. You’ll need to prepare your visa and passport, arrange for your personal belongings to be shipped and inform your bank and other institutions about this important change in your life.
But even with all the assistance you receive from your employer, emigrating to and living in Thailand permanently can be challenging. There are language barriers to consider, as well as cultural differences and all sorts of new processes to adopt. And if you’ll be bringing your spouse and children along, that adds to the pressure and anxiety of such a big move. Our advice for you is to take a deep breath and read on. Thailand is an amazing place to raise a family! Here are some of the most important things you need to know.
Is Thailand good for families?
Of course! When it comes to aspects such as healthcare, childcare and education, the country’s cities get very high marks.
In case you didn’t know, Thailand has made medical services a major come-on for foreigners. In picturesque locales, medical tourism thrives. Hospitals there may look more like hotels than medical facilities, but their services are world-class, and surgical procedures are considerably less expensive than in Europe or the United States. Even with airfare, lodging and other expenses factored in, international patients still enjoy considerable savings — and a peaceful vacation all at the same time.
For expats such as yourself, we recommend private city hospitals. Staff in most private hospitals speak English well, and most received training in Western institutions. Facilities and services are top-notch, but cost way less. It’s therefore not rare for a UK or US citizen living in Thailand to recommend the country’s medical services to their loved ones back home.
You and your family are required by law to have health insurance. As a legal worker, you’ll qualify for social security, which will grant you free consultations and certain treatments at a particular hospital, as well as free generic medicine. However, you may still seek care from the private hospital of your choice, via private health insurance coverage.
In Thailand’s cities, it is normal for middle- and upper-class households to have in-home helpers and nannies because of how affordable their services are. If you’re interested in getting one or more, you’ll want to approach an agency to ensure that they are good with children, adept at housekeeping and are bilingual. Having someone who knows how to speak Thai in your home will help your children learn the language faster, which is a plus.
However, if having other people living in your home does not appeal to you, you can hire part-time babysitters or go to childcare service providers. For toddlers and even infants, there are nurseries that provide age-appropriate activities that foster their development. Their fees are inclusive of your children’s snacks and meals, though you’ll likely have to be the one to provide their milk or baby formula.
Preschoolers can be enrolled in kindergartens. A few public schools have kindergartens, but take note that Thai is the teaching language there. International schools also offer preschool services, but their tuition fees are expensive — at least THB100,000 (approximately GBP2,500 or USD3,300) per term. Since preschool is not required in Thailand, you can opt to send your kids to a private nursery instead.
Did you know?
Thai people love children! Generally speaking, Thais let kids be kids and don’t mind them running around, even in places like coffee shops. And if for whatever reason you can’t find someone to take care of your children for you for a day, you can usually just bring them to work with you.
In Thailand, the first 12 years of a child’s education is covered by taxes, provided that they go to state schools. As previously mentioned, lessons are only taught in Thai in public schools, so if your kids haven’t totally grasped the language, you’ll want to send them to an international school.
The most popular types of international schools are American, British, French and German. They follow the curricula of their respective countries, but all of them also teach Thai as a second language. In an international school, your kids will get to make friends with children from all over the world and become exposed to their cultures. They’ll acquire a global outlook that is informed by diversity.
In addition to providing world-class education, top-notch international schools foster the complete personhood of their students. Instead of merely offering academics that are often highly focused on linguistics and logical-mathematical intelligences, such schools provide an abundance of extra-curricular activities where kids can discover more of their strengths and interests.
To illustrate, our school (Rugby School Thailand, near Pattaya) has fully equipped gyms and offer athletics programmes to hone children’s bodily kinaesthetic intelligence. We have community action programmes that develop students’ interpersonal intelligence by heightening their awareness of other people and teaching them about empathy and understanding. We also offer outdoor education to help children become nature smart, too.
If you’re concerned about how heavy traffic day in and day out will wear out your young ones, many international schools have boarding accommodations. Our boarding house will practically be a home away from home for your children; and we even offer transport services to get them home and back to school safely.
Knowing what you know now, you can see that moving to Thailand from the UK or another country will be an amazing new adventure for you and your family. We hope that we have alleviated some of your worries about emigrating here.
If you wish to learn more about Rugby School Thailand, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We also offer comprehensive campus tours. If you’re ready to take a closer look at our sprawling campus and purpose-built facilities, book a tour now.