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 Thailand:
Yes, I did experience culture shock, or poverty shock, to be more accurate. The language barrier was challenging too. But prior to moving here, I was living a nomadic life, moving from city to city trying to find where I belonged. So in many ways, Thailand is good for me because it's kept me stationary.
After my first two or three trips, the culture shock was gone. It took me about a year before I started understanding how things work here. Once I decided to stay longer than a year, I began looking at Thailand as home versus a place to visit. Much like an onion, Thailand’s culture is full of layers. You think you understand it but keep finding layer after layer. Even now, I still learn something new every day.
At first, it was impossible for me to figure out why Thais, even in the big metropolis of Bangkok, walked so slowly. I constantly found myself rushing to get passed them, like the broken field running of a quarterback. Eventually I had an epiphany: The real goal is not to get anywhere quickly but to stroll leisurely and enjoy the sights. Thailand taught me this.
Before talking about the culture shock I experienced in Chiang Mai, I want to point out that I have a better quality of daily life in Chiang Mai than in the US. Inexpensive/affordable and good health care, low cost of living, delicious food, low crime rate, and the Thais' relaxed approach to life have made the living pretty easy here in Chiang Mai. But there have been adjustments.
One night, Angela and I heard some screaming coming from a neighboring townhouse. We shrugged it off as our neighbors just having a small party that was getting rowdy. But then, two Thai ladies ran over to our townhouse, urgently asking to help them get "a fox" out of their house.
Travel! Whether you’re on the other side of the world, or just a couple of countries from your home country, make sure to travel as much as you can. It will be a once in a lifetime opportunity so make sure to enjoy it to the fullest!
In some ways though, our lack of preparation and small budget on arrival have led us to some of the best outcomes in retrospect. That old classic car is much loved by our audience for its character, and the breakdowns we have had forced us into situations we would never have experienced otherwise.
There have been plenty of things that have surprised or shocked me in the moment, but I don’t feel like I ever went through a period of ‘cultural shock’. I was actually surprised how quickly I adjusted and how natural it felt for me to be here. Even though I’d like to think I now have a decent grasp on the culture, I still learn or figure out something new (or make a social faux pas) every day.