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Filipina working in Cambodia?

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Joined: 22 Nov 2011
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 2:28 pm    Post subject: Filipina working in Cambodia? Reply with quote

Hey everybody. Allow me to introduce myself quickly, since this is my first post. My name is Dan, and I'm a 29-year-old American with a B.A. in History and a 120-hour TEFL cert. I was in the Navy for five years, which is why I'm so old for a college grad haha. I got my TEFL cert in Thailand about a year and a half ago, but injured myself in a motorbike wreck and had to go back to the US. Now I'm giving it another go, this time in Cambodia.

Anyway, getting closer to the question at hand. I'm getting married to my Filipina girlfriend in January and then we're headed to Cambodia. We're hoping she can find work there, as I understand Cambodian salaries are pretty low for a single earner household. Also, she's the eldest child and feels a responsibility to support her family, but she doesn't want to ask me for money. Soooo . . . what's the likelihood of a Filipina finding work in Cambodia? She has a B.A. in Sociology and some kind of certification to teach young children in the Philippines, plus she is really good with kids.

The problem is that her English isn't perfect. She has no problems communicating with native speakers, but only because native speakers can look past the mistakes in grammar, vocabulary, and spelling. Examples would include mixing up the genders of pronouns and replacing "f" with "p," as is typical of Filipinos, or with using the wrong word, like when she told me she is allergic to cat feathers.

We're really hoping she can find some work. I heard Cambodia is still kind of the wild west of TEFL, and that there are plenty of teachers who would surely be worse than her. Anyway, she's a sharp girl and I'm sure her English would improve from hanging out with expats. Does anyone here have experience with working with Filipinos in Cambodia? Any info would be helpful. Thanks.
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Joined: 24 Aug 2010
Posts: 480
Location: New Taipei City, Taiwan

PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not sure why she would want to move to Cambodia. Hell that's like going from the proverbial third world frying pan into the third world fire.

No she won't easily get work. And that is simply because doesn't look foreign enough.

I heard of Filipinas getting work in Thailand and remote parts of China teaching English.

My advice is to go there.

If Cambodians are going to shell out money for English you can friggin bet they want the "real" thing.
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Joined: 04 Oct 2011
Posts: 73

PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 5:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I heard (never been there) that Phnom Penh is modern. Isn't that true?
Hey V,
Why not just stay in the Philippines with your lady and find work there instead of going to Cambodia?
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Joined: 22 Nov 2011
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 2:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies.

Creep, she's going to Cambodia because I'm going to Cambodia, and she wants to go with me. I'm looking at Cambodia mainly because of the ease of getting a visa. Seems like you can never really get a legal visa in Thailand and end up teaching at the mercy of the local authorities and whether or not it's convenient for them to have a farang around. Plus, I simply do not like Thailand. I once heard someone say something about Thailand being the land of smiles, but behind every smile is a set of teeth . . . that's about how I feel about Thailand. Still, I wouldn't entirely rule out working there if a job just fell in my lap. We'll go through Thailand to visit my friends anyway. China is a possibility, but I understand visas are a pain there, too.

Isn't it a problem for Asians to get TEFL work anywhere in Asia, because people want White teachers? She is part Chinese and has a light complexion, if that helps.

I wouldn't necessarily call the Philippines a third world frying pan. She's actually quite happy there, and it's been established from the beginning of our relationship that the Philippines will be our permanent home.

Flying, I would love to stay in the Philippines and get work there, but there are two problems. One, I need a permanent residency visa, and I need money for that. I don't have money. Two, there isn't much work to be had in the Philippines. The Philippines exports workers.

Anyway, I got the whole idea from an article I read. I lost the link, but it was about how this guy worked at a Cambodian English school and the teachers were drug addicts and perverts and half-crazy, and he mentioned that a couple of Filipinas worked there who barely spoke English. I figured if those people could get work, we could, too!

Thanks for the advice, folks. I didn't think any of this would be easy anyway.
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Joined: 26 Mar 2003
Posts: 5782
Location: Coastal Guangdong

PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vaughandw, anything's possible in the TEFL world. Might be best to set yourself up in Cambodia first and then invite your gf to visit/stay with you a bit later on. Just make sure you've got enough money to initiate Plan B if necessary. As someone else already pointed out China's a good option as well. Plenty of work and lots of people from Philippines working/teaching here (and they're not all in remote places).

Nice to see another ex-military guy on this forum. Good luck.
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Joined: 14 Nov 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are approximately 10,000 Filipinos / Filipinas working in Phnom Penh, and more than a few of them are teaching English and other subjects. However, if your girlfriend's English is not so good, she may have problems getting or keeping a job. The standard of English in Cambodia is generally much higher than in Thailand and Khmer students, quite rightly, demand their money's worth. They will not usually tolerate anything they perceive to be a sub-standard product, and in this respect Filipinos are at a disadvantage before they start. This is assuming she manages to get past the initial interview. There is also the question of whether she should even be attempting to teach a language in which she is not competent.

Your girlfriend may be better looking for work with kindergartens and nursery schools, since you say she is good with kids and has some sort of certification for this. She will be in competition with Cambodians for jobs, and her rate of remuneration will likely be on a par with theirs; i.e. less than yours. I also believe she will require a work permit (which currently you do not). Networking with other Filipinos when she gets here might yield a few nuggets, though I understand from an acquaintance who is married to a Filipina that the community is rife with malicious gossip, personal agendas and backstabbing. So caveat emptor.

Phnom Penh is a very livable city in my view, more congenial and less gritty than Manila. Poverty and squalor there certainly is, in parts, however I don't think it is quite as omnipresent and in your face as in the Philippines.

By the way, if your decision to come to Cambodia is based on garbage gleaned from Off the Rails in Phnom Penh by Amit Gilboa you are making a serious error of judgment. Firstly his 'account' was grossly exaggerated (I have heard it said that he never actually spent more than a few weeks at a time in Phnom Penh anyway, as he was actually based in Thailand), and secondly the book was published in 1998. The situation in Phnom Penh today is really quite different.
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Joined: 22 Nov 2011
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, definitely gotta think about China. I've just heard too many stories about visa nightmares to be excited about it. Leaving my wife at home while I move on ahead might make more sense financially, but it would kind of ruin a honeymoon, now wouldn't it? lol. I have a couple grand to go through before plan B (back to the US for grad school) and that woman can really stretch a dollar.

Patty, teaching in a kindergarten is a great idea! As for dealing with malicious gossip, personal agendas, and backstabbing, she's had plenty of practice from dealing with her cousins. Zing!

I really hope you've been outside of Manila in the Philippines. Judging that country by Manila would be like going to the worst part of Pittsburg and thinking that's America.

I don't think I read the book you to which you refer. All I read was a short article, and it seemed like the guy who wrote it had been reading some Hunter S. Thompson recently, so I did take it with a grain of salt.

Anyway, who is actually in Cambodia now? I need to do some networking of my own.
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Mr. English

Joined: 25 Nov 2009
Posts: 298
Location: Nakuru, Kenya

PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

China is definitely a possibility. Though it is harder for them to find jobs than it is for Americans/Brits/Ausis/etc, there is work for Filipinas here. Don't stray too far from Hong Kong and border runs are easy.
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Joined: 18 Dec 2011
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

beep beep
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Joined: 18 Sep 2010
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Visas are not that hard in China. For you, at least, as an American with a BA, it should be a snap. She can come on a dependent visa and pick up freelance work, or possibly get a school to sponsor her own visa. I think it would be way easier to make a living and maybe save up a bit in China than in Cambodia.
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