Over the years, the number of expatriates relocating to Southeast Asia has been booming. This is a result of several factors, including but not limited to advancements in commercial opportunities, careers, improved living standards, and in search of better and quality education. However, what most people are not aware of is the cultural differences between Asia and Western countries. These cultural adjustments can be overwhelming especially when someone is found unaware.
Generally, no country on this side of the world is similar to the West in terms of people’s way of life, customs, and perception of its people. Therefore, adjusting to this new lifestyle may take a lot of time, effort, and perseverance. So, before embarking on your new and exciting journey into the unknown, some reading and a little research about the countries you would like to visit would be helpful. As it is commonly known: travel is fatal to prejudice, therefore below find advice for expats on essential tips for living abroad successfully.
Prefer renting a property rather than buying
Once you have moved in, the pressure to settle down is usually high, especially when you have brought your family with you. Renting has been the preferred option compared to buying, at least initially, as you must give yourself time to explore the new neighbourhood and see if you are loving it. Additionally, if you intend to stay for a short time only, renting would save you a lot of money.
Explore your options before renting your house
Most people may prefer renting a property for a long time before actually making their next move. This can be unwise. It is advisable to first stay in a place temporarily and then decide on what you would like to do. Instead of renting online by paying hefty premium prices and realtor, inquire from the expatriate support locally to help out, colleagues, or perhaps friends for the best options.
Once settling down, you might wish to start focus on boosting your career growth. Most Asian countries are willing to hire foreigners, through simple normal online application processes. Subject to local law and regulation of course. However, you must have considered the local wages in the country you are applying at. Also, do take note of other essential perks such as housing, allowances and a free flight back home at least once each year.
It is also advisable to seek help and assistance from the expat support community in the country you’re staying in. Interact and ask relevant questions from other expat friends who already live there longer than you. In case there are events and gatherings within your neighbourhood, make sure to socialize and build your network accordingly. You may try looking for no-degree required English teaching jobs in Thailand or Laos and work as your temporary job before you can settle and establish yourself professionally.
The best way to save your money is to shop like a local. Although it might be hard initially, as you are used with your home brands, it’s important to note that the local products and services are worth exploring. Most of them are fresh and healthier. It is also a great way to show your support to the local community.
Prepare for a different way of life
Take time and imagine how your new life abroad would be like. Think about the details of your daily routine, work, and leisure time. If you cannot get a clear picture of your daily life in your new destination, you can arrange for a short trip in advance to familiarize yourself. By learning more about the country you intend to visit in advance, you can decide whether it would be convenient for you or not, and look for a different country if need be.
It is easy to be mistaken for a tourist when you are in a new country. Some local people may take the opportunity to purposely hike some prices of the products or services out of this situation. You can avoid this by informing the community and sellers that you just moved there. As you stay along, you will find yourself enjoying the local culture and beginning to feel comfortable with your new way of life. By then you will notice that becoming an expat in that country could be one of the best decisions you have ever made in your life.