Moving to Phnom Penh in January 2020

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JamesAlexander89
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Re: Moving to Phnom Penh in January 2020

Post by JamesAlexander89 » Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:45 am

Mishmash wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 4:48 pm
rogerrabbit wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 4:36 pm

Even though Cambodia is pretty centrally located, roads and amount of flights connections are still pretty poor and thus flights are more expensive when compared to neighboring countries and bus/car trips tend to take long... and I mean very long.
Yep - traffic, nowadays it takes me a week to get from my house near the airport to the places next door to the hostess bars that I never visit.

Before, it was a 20 minute trip - max!
I learned while in thailand to just take a moto taxi or rent a scooter. I highly doubt I'd take a taxi, drive a car, or get a tuk tuk. Cuts the drive time down by more than half. I'd assume it's the same in Cambodia?
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Re: Moving to Phnom Penh in January 2020

Post by JamesAlexander89 » Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:49 am

explorer wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 6:12 pm
JamesAlexander89 wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:50 pm
i would hope that i land at a job where i feel i am actually making a difference that is sort of the sensationalized/romanticized reason i am going is to really help people learn and have better opportunities due to that learning.
You can make a difference in the lives of a small number of people. I financially assist students from poor families to get a university education. Instead of things like planting rice and catching fish, they should get a decent job. It really changes their lives. But it may be some time before you get to know poor people with a good attitude.
I have already been looking into volunteer teaching in my spare time as well as starting a donation driven course if possible. I hope for the ones I do meet they will have a good attitude
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Re: Moving to Phnom Penh in January 2020

Post by explorer » Thu Oct 24, 2019 9:44 am

JamesAlexander89 wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:49 am
I hope for the ones I do meet they will have a good attitude
You will meet a lot of different people. There are some with smart ass attitude, you wont want to help. Some will lie to you about something they desperately need money for. In other words try to scam you. There are many whose family can afford to pay for their education, but they will lie to you telling you they are poor, to get your money. You need to get to know people to see who is genuinely poor, and genuinely has a good attitude. If you ask Cambodians if they know someone who needs help, they will refer you to their relatives, but not tell you it is their relatives.

Don't just give hand outs, you make people lazier.

It is smart to help people help themselves. Help those who will put in the effort to study.
JamesAlexander89 wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:49 am
I have already been looking into volunteer teaching in my spare time as well as starting a donation driven course if possible.
You will come across many people who will put in very little effort. You will come across people who often wont bother to attend. They don't really care.

But do it anyway. The whole process will be a learning curve for you. See what you can do to motivate them, and get the best results.

Make it fun so they enjoy it.

Think of ways to get them speaking English, when they really want to only speak Khmer.

See if you can come up with games, where part of the game involves speaking English.
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Re: Moving to Phnom Penh in January 2020

Post by explorer » Thu Oct 24, 2019 9:50 am

Consider towns other than Phnom Penh. You may get a good job in one of the other towns, and it is better to live in a smaller town. Depending on where you are, you may be able to go a short distance out of town to a village, where you can teach English.
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Re: Moving to Phnom Penh in January 2020

Post by JamesAlexander89 » Thu Oct 24, 2019 10:14 am

explorer wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 9:44 am
JamesAlexander89 wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:49 am
I hope for the ones I do meet they will have a good attitude
You will meet a lot of different people. There are some with smart ass attitude, you wont want to help. Some will lie to you about something they desperately need money for. In other words try to scam you. There are many whose family can afford to pay for their education, but they will lie to you telling you they are poor, to get your money. You need to get to know people to see who is genuinely poor, and genuinely has a good attitude. If you ask Cambodians if they know someone who needs help, they will refer you to their relatives, but not tell you it is their relatives.

Don't just give hand outs, you make people lazier.

It is smart to help people help themselves. Help those who will put in the effort to study.
JamesAlexander89 wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:49 am
I have already been looking into volunteer teaching in my spare time as well as starting a donation driven course if possible.
You will come across many people who will put in very little effort. You will come across people who often wont bother to attend. They don't really care.

But do it anyway. The whole process will be a learning curve for you. See what you can do to motivate them, and get the best results.

Make it fun so they enjoy it.

Think of ways to get them speaking English, when they really want to only speak Khmer.

See if you can come up with games, where part of the game involves speaking English.
Yes I am fully trained in the ESA teaching approach. Engage, Study, Activate. Games, videos, group activities, audio learning, and partner activities are all different ways to keep students interested and sort of trick them into learning. I think it will work out for what you are describing or at least I hope
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Re: Moving to Phnom Penh in January 2020

Post by JamesAlexander89 » Thu Oct 24, 2019 10:50 am

Thanks for all the replies everyone. The good, the bad, and the confusing it is all welcomed. I feel like I have a better understanding on what to expect and the pros and cons involved.

One thing I dont understand is what people spend their money on. A lot of people have commented saying I will be broke and miserable but from my calculations I shouldn't have much trouble. A friend already in Cambodia teaching said I should expect 1,300 to 1,600 USD a month with my TEFL and some prior experience working with kids. On the lowest range figure 1,100 to 1,200 USD a month.

(Figuring lowest possible wage of 1,100) With a decent apartment costing say 240 dollars USD a month (could go lower) and say 60 dollars a month electricity that should be 300$ a month give or take depending on actual electricity and water usage if water not included. That leaves roughly 800$ USD a month left over for food, taxi, ect..

I really dont see what expenses will eat up the rest of my money and make my life miserable and uncomfortable unless everyone is just partying every day and buying girls every night and not very smart with money management.

the math seems really simple to me plus I will have a ton of savings on top of that. I just dont understand why a good amount of people are spelling out that I will be broke and homeless in 6 months and committing financial suicide. Cant anyone explain am I missing something here?
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Re: Moving to Phnom Penh in January 2020

Post by explorer » Thu Oct 24, 2019 11:02 am

JamesAlexander89 wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:49 am
I have already been looking into volunteer teaching in my spare time as well as starting a donation driven course if possible.
Look for an NGO, or a group of people, or individuals (Khmer or Foreigner) who want to work with you. You will probably find it much easier if you work with others. Up to you.
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Re: Moving to Phnom Penh in January 2020

Post by explorer » Thu Oct 24, 2019 11:15 am

JamesAlexander89 wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 10:50 am
One thing I dont understand is what people spend their money on. A lot of people have commented saying I will be broke and miserable but from my calculations I shouldn't have much trouble. A friend already in Cambodia teaching said I should expect 1,300 to 1,600 USD a month with my TEFL and some prior experience working with kids. On the lowest range figure 1,100 to 1,200 USD a month.

(Figuring lowest possible wage of 1,100) With a decent apartment costing say 240 dollars USD a month (could go lower) and say 60 dollars a month electricity that should be 300$ a month give or take depending on actual electricity and water usage if water not included. That leaves roughly 800$ USD a month left over for food, taxi, ect..
Some people earn less than that. Some don't work a lot of hours. Some are on a lower salary.

It gets down to how good you are, how professional you are, and getting onto a good job. You may start out on a lower paid job, until you find a good one.

There are some English teachers who are not very professional. But they work cheap, so some people employ them. I met one English teacher who would get drunk each evening, and go and teach the next day. He was not very smart, but he worked cheap. Some places would rather hire someone cheap, than someone good. It is all about making money.

The better places do want good teachers.
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Re: Moving to Phnom Penh in January 2020

Post by TWY » Thu Oct 24, 2019 11:17 am

That is what I keep hearing here but I wonder what exactly everyone is spending so much on? I have been talking to a fellow teacher in Cambodia and she guarantees with my TEFL and prior experience teaching children I'll get about 1,400USD a month with 240$ a month for a decent apartment and let's say 60$ a month electricity that's 300$ a month living cost. That 1,100$ a month give or take for good and getting to and from work if needing a moto taxi. the math to me seems pretty simple I cant really imagine what I would spend the remaining 1,100$ on that will make my life there uncomfortable or just scraping by. I'm just confused on exactly what people are spending on to maenit so hard to live? Booze and hookers? by my calculations I'll be able to live comfortable and save money as well as travel when I have time. Maybe i am just completely off?
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James,
Let me start by saying I've done lots of "stupid" things in my life - some have actually worked out ok, and some were - well STUPID.

You will not enjoy living in Cambodia on $1400 a month. AT 21 maybe for a year or two its a great adventure. Beyond that your taking a huge step backwards.

The expats that I meet that are miserable fall into a few categories:

1. Have no real reason to be here. It is difficult for many to try to assimilate. Language isn't easy to learn. Culture is somewhat conservative. Leaving the expat community as the source of many people trying to make new friends and build a support network. Well, the simple truth is that the expat community here isn't always the best source of "decent" people. There are many for whom Cambodia is the last stop. Many here because no other country will give them a visa (and some stopped trying to renew visas years ago). Some for the drugs. And some because I don't think they had any friends where they used to call home (and not much changes on that front).

2. Are here because they heard "its cheap". Yes, you can live for $300 a month. Heck, in the village where my wife is from and where we lived for a year you could do it on $200! yes, $200 for a one bedroom home! Has hot water and toilet. Even an AC in the bedroom. $140 a month rent - $40-50 electric and $10 water. No stove or oven so will have to budget for replacement canisters when using small portable grill. Need to be at the market every morning at 6-7 to get chicken or fish. No supermarket or convenience store in this town. Don't get to the market? Well there are a few restaurants along the road through town, I ate at each - once.

And for enjoyment you can take a walk along the river - its very nice and pleasant. And after that you can...……………… well you can either take another walk along the river or go to sleep. Basically at 8pm everyone is inside and soon asleep - only exception is for weddings or holidays. Now, the people are nice. They speak Khmer and some will have a bit of broken English.
I saw four expat teachers come while we lived there, teaching at two different schools - NONE lasted more than 2 months. Nothing to and can't communicate with the locals.

3. I'll teach English and drink beer and get a local girlfriend and none of the things about my home country that I don't like will exist in Cambodia. Well, yes you can teach English. The quality of the schools range from professional to garbage. The support system they offer for expatriates? Basically nothing, your on your own - just as the job was easy to get, so to is the next expat seeking greener pastures. And guess what - there will be a long list of things you don't like here.

The excitement soon fades when you realize your working for a Cambodian administrator that has the job because his/her parents are "connected". Your students aren't much interested, and they are far behind where they should be given their age. Many of the other teachers are...… well lets just say they aren't folks you want to be spending your free time with. Your landlord doesn't actually fix any of the broken things they said they'd fix. The power keeps going out. Broken down 20 year old cars sell for how much???? The neighbors burn plastic every freaking night. And surprise surprise Cambodian women are concerned with similar things as Western women (and English teachers at crummy schools aren't real high on their list)? Oh, and Cambodia is corrupt and you'll just have to deal with it because no one cares what you think.

After about 6 months these folks can't remember why they came, hate their job, have few friends and are beginning to use drugs. They speak daily of going to Laos or Burma or the next "paradise".

We now live outside Siem Reap. Have met even more generally unhappy expats that expected to live on $300 or $400 or $500 or even $1000 a month. Yes, you CAN get a fan room for as little as $50. And a somewhat decent one bedroom apartment for $150-$200 dollars. And if you spend little time at home it MIGHT work for you. But what ends up happening in reality? People don't make as many friends as they imagined. They spend more time at home. They realize they are basically living in the "pits". Starts to make them depressed. Then they start drinking more, feeling worse physically, and it spirals down from there. Soon they are seen arguing with Burger King workers over ketchup packets (yeah saw that this week).

Others spend more for more livable conditions but have the same issue - don't make many friends other than other expats.

Do not move to Cambodia thinking you will live well on $1400 a month. You will not. Your single. Women are expensive (and I'm not talking prostitutes). Health care in Cambodia is expensive and anything serious will require a trip to Thailand. Import taxes make many things here more expensive. Getting basic things you currently don't even think about can be a struggle. Friend at home getting married? Can you fly home and stay at a hotel and get a rental car for four days on $1400 a month? What if you meet a great woman and are going to have a family? Do you have the resources to move her back to the USA, buy a house, car, etc while you re-establish a life? $1400 isn't going to cut it.

I knew a gentleman here that lived on his pension - a bit less than your $1400. Everything went well for him for two years. He lived "comfortably". $400 or so for his apartment. Travelled a bit. Told me once that he came because he had $37 a day to live on. Then he had a moto accident and needed an operation on his leg. He ended up choosing to have the operation in Cambodia instead of getting to Thailand. Why? No insurance because you don't buy insurance on $30 a day. It didn't go well (sometimes you get what you pay for - and in the case of Cambodian doctors sometimes you pay for a doctor when you get a quack). That is NOT living well. He ended up having a family member buy him a ticket back to his country and last I heard was waiting to have another surgery to fix the botched one in Cambodia.

So I wish you well with your endeavor. Just make sure you aren't lying to yourself about the financial situation your heading into. Your in the heart of your prime earning years. You don't get those back. I stick with my previous statement - if you have a few million - great. If not, think long and hard. Best of luck.
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Re: Moving to Phnom Penh in January 2020

Post by Soriya » Thu Oct 24, 2019 11:22 am

Kammekor wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:30 am
Soriya wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:20 am
Mishmash wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 4:48 pm
rogerrabbit wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 4:36 pm

Even though Cambodia is pretty centrally located, roads and amount of flights connections are still pretty poor and thus flights are more expensive when compared to neighboring countries and bus/car trips tend to take long... and I mean very long.
Yep - traffic, nowadays it takes me a week to get from my house near the airport to the places next door to the hostess bars that I never visit.

Before, it was a 20 minute trip - max!
i too live very near the airport, and to get to riverside takes me normally 20 minutes 30 max. i will add that is driving myself not using a tuktuk, which could well take hours.
My guess is that's driving a motorbike using the sidewalk as a fourth or fifth lane... :stir:
Using a bike yes.straight down russian boulevard straight thru to riverside.it is never to bad.
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