Everybody who has spent time in a different country knows that expat life is not quite like anything else in the world. The confusion of the first few days and weeks, the slow, but steady process of acclimation, the little peculiarities and quirks that might strike you about your new surroundings: almost any situation you encounter can make for a great story. If you are so inclined and want to blog about it, of course!
Our InterNations recommended blog section features talented expat bloggers from around the world. Their offerings to the blogosphere have been selected for their great entries and high quality, whether they may be funny, informative, interesting, deeply personal or a combination of all of the above.
Let’s hear from our featured bloggers in the Philippines:
My transition here has been eased by the fact that everybody speaks English and that we live with family. Of course it also helps that your dollar goes far too. Local restaurants and services are very inexpensive. For example, I got my iMac fixed for just 1,000 pesos, roughly US$25. On the other hand, my favorite American shampoo brand is twice as expensive. So, it’s just a matter of eating and shopping locally. After all, why move abroad if you’re not willing to try new things?
One that comes to mind involved a store clerk who had to leave the department where I was shopping in order to check on the availability of merchandise in which I was interested. Instead of saying, “Please wait” or the equivalent Fil-English “Awhile”, she asked “Can I hold you?” I felt like replying “But will you respect me in the morning?” Instead I just held my tongue and nodded.
Every day unfolds a new adventure for me in the Philippines and it Phils fabulous.
I have been in the Philippines several times before in the last 25 years, so I didn’t experience any culture shock. My Filipina wife has not lost her identity and we had many Filipino friends in the Netherlands and Germany. So we were well prepared for a life here. The preparation took about one year, we have done it thoroughly and we have not forgotten anything.
I had visited here several times and I was somewhat prepared, but I believe that no one will be fully prepared for the adjustments you have to make. It's just something you have to make work for you. I'm told it takes about 5 years to fully adjust. I didn't believe that at first. It thought I could adjust faster, but I was wrong. I now believe it will take about those 5 years.
I was fully prepared and I would never regret that I moved to the Philippines. Many expats just came here - very blue-eyed and then complaining. My advice: plan first before you move here.
We were really lucky to have the expat package that was provided by my wife’s company. It made the transition as easy as it could have been. I really don’t think any additional amount of preparation would have helped us. When you’re living in a place that is so completely foreign to what you’re used to, it just takes time. All things get a bit easier over time.
For me, any experience you have is amplified if you share it with others. Travelling on your own is one thing but it can be a lonely place, so it’s a good idea to make an effort to make friends here or come with others.