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Moving country

I know there are plenty of people on CL who have made the move to another country. 

Next month, I will be moving from UK to Thailand. Worked in different countries on short term (2-4 weeks) various times, but this will be the first time living in another country on a more permanent basis. 

It would be great to read some advice, suggestions, even stories, from those who are currently or have previously experienced it.
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Comments

  • Agree with Stu, I moved to Vietnam, avoided the expat area for a while and enjoyed going out of my comfort zone. There will be lots of people in a similar position to you so most will be approachable and friendly. Picking up some phrases does you a world of good with locals, the effort is always appreciated. Thailand having a completely different alphabet makes it tough, but still worth giving it a go.  

    Found Facebook to be a good tool for finding things to do/hobbies, I used to join a weekly football group that played 7 a-side every Thursday. I'm sure there's similar in Thailand. 

    I've only really explored parts of Northern Thailand, did the Mai Hong Son (spelling might be wrong) motorbike loop with some friends over Lunar New Year a couple years back. Chiang Mai was really nice and the nature there is great. I also enjoyed Pai but it's very "backpacker" so depends if that's what you're into or not. 
  • @DartfordAddick where in Vietnam you based? I’m down in Saigon. 
  • Seems like an Addicks in ‘nam meet up might have to happen at some point! 

    I absolutely love Vietnam and it’s my regular weekend getaway destination as I’m only 4 hours from the border. 

    Sorry for the hijack s@stoneroses19
  • If you have any medical problems (hope you haven't) get them fixed when your out there (assume you will have insurance) I got my knee sorted in Singapore (2009). Had a torn cartilage wasn't in any pain but my leg kind of jolted when I bent it/straightened it.....got an MRI scan and got it operated on within a couple of weeks of the scan after seeing the surgeon.....had no problems since......might seem a bit of a strange post but something to think about depending on your personnel circumstances. 
  • jamescafc said:
    @DartfordAddick where in Vietnam you based? I’m down in Saigon. 
    Other side, up in Hanoi. lol, I convinced myself I was the only Charlton fan in Nam.. Never met another! 

    @stoneroses19 Are you doing EFL/TEFL by any chance? 
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  • jamescafc said:
    @DartfordAddick where in Vietnam you based? I’m down in Saigon. 
    Other side, up in Hanoi. lol, I convinced myself I was the only Charlton fan in Nam.. Never met another! 

    @stoneroses19 Are you doing EFL/TEFL by any chance? 
    I know a couple of Charlton in Nham, Dagenham
  • jamescafc said:
    @DartfordAddick where in Vietnam you based? I’m down in Saigon. 
    Other side, up in Hanoi. lol, I convinced myself I was the only Charlton fan in Nam.. Never met another! 

    @stoneroses19 Are you doing EFL/TEFL by any chance? 
    Believe it or not, there’s a few, I met another in a German beer festival in Cam Ranh a few years back. 


  • Try not to fall straight into an ‘expat’ group for absolutely everything and avoid the temptation to search out British food. Thai food is amazing, especially up in the north. 

    Most importantly start learning the language as soon as possible.

    Where abouts will you be moving? 
    Thanks Stu, great advice on the expat scene. 

    I have signed up for Thai lessons at a local school in Bangkok, so hopefully will improve quickly on my current skills. 
  • jamescafc said:
    @DartfordAddick where in Vietnam you based? I’m down in Saigon. 
    Other side, up in Hanoi. lol, I convinced myself I was the only Charlton fan in Nam.. Never met another! 

    @stoneroses19 Are you doing EFL/TEFL by any chance? 
    I work in the travel sector, and been designing holiday itineraries for UK/European market to Southeast Asia and Japan for the past few years. Will be continuing with that side of things (hotel consultancy, travel writing). 

  • edited March 16
    I lived in Cambodia for 2-3 years (bit of a blur) and Hong Kong for 10 years. If we didn't have kids I'd probably still be living abroad. Loved it. Feels like you're on holiday every day. 

    I think when it comes to living overseas, there are two kinds of expats. The first kind (the majority) hang out with other expats, go to Western bars/restaurants, etc.. don't integrate. The second kind try to do what the locals do, eat where the locals eat, drink where they drink. If you're going to live in another country, just my opinion, but it's a more authentic experience to be in the latter and you'll learn a lot more and find more gems.

    Not to say I didn't also frequent The Globe (British pub in Hong Kong) for a touch of home.

    One of the other great advantages of living there is that you've got the rest of Asia on your doorstep and just a short flight away. Japan especially is a world of its own, must have gone there 7 times. 

    It's not essential, but it does help if you either speak the language or know someone who does. When it comes to things like setting up internet/TV/phone, companies have people who speak English. But if you need some work done, plumber, handyman, etc.. Then it's much harder. 

    Enjoy it mate, I'm jealous!
  • Gribbo said:
    When I first moved (admittedly not to Thailand), someone told me “say yes to most things at the beginning. You’ll soon meet plenty of people so that after about a year you should be able to separate your new network into groupings of dickheads, weirdos, acquaintances and mates”. Was fairly good advice…

    but you might not want to apply the principle to some of the Thai ladies unless you want a surprise…
    (France) -

    Language 
    Learn as much of the lingo as you can and get the confidence to use it. Sounds obvious, but the amount of expats in France that cannot only not speak French, but have not intention of learning, is staggering. (Put my house on it that they're the first to moan about people not speaking English here).

    Advice 
    Get it from the horses mouth - eg local mayor, council office, research thoroughly online. For example, after dealing the people in the actual tax office, I've had arguments with non French speaking tax avoiding expats, who got their advice from the farmer down the lane. People tend to think the French farmer is the oracle when it comes to every aspect to living in France and even across the planet. Nb - most French farmer still plant their crops to the moon cycle (although they seem to do alright by it).

    Friends
    Choose your friend for who they are, not where they're from. Also sounds obvious, but the amount of expats we dealt with who only mixed with Brits (or French, Dutch etc who spoke English). We also found pretty early on that any (Brit) expat that went out their way to be your friend, were generally the ones to avoid. There's a lot of "networking" goes on amongst the Brit communities in France, from Stich & Bitch sewing groups, to walking groups, to just outright wino groups. We avoided them all, although a French and English woman did start up a French conversation group, aimed at the French and British, which was good for a couple of months until most of the people there were just never going to learn the language and were there only for the social. So, ultimately, our remaining friends from 12 years Frenchside are probably one English couple and a bloke from Borough of all places, then French, Dutch, German, an American couple and a Swede.
    Definitely this ⬆️⬆️⬆️!

  • I work in the travel sector, and been designing holiday itineraries for UK/European market to Southeast Asia and Japan for the past few years. Will be continuing with that side of things (hotel consultancy, travel writing). 

    Sounds great mate, usually we're all English teachers so always interesting for me to hear about doing someone doing something different. Hope it all works out, I'm sure you'll love it. 
  • edited March 16
    Another vote for avoiding other expats as much as possible.

    Apparently I'm now considered boring and weird by the Brits and Irish (who seem the worst for not being able to let go) in work because I don't want to spend every weekend getting blitzed, watching premier league football in the British/ Irish pubs of Madrid.

    It gets very tiring very quickly and honestly just ruins the experience of living abroad. Embrace the culture shock. 
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  • Brother lived in Thailand for a few years as a diving instructor. Meant he was mainly with other young westerners and tourists, but he managed to get fluent in Thai and Burmese (all the staff at the resort were from Burma and not very well treated). Quite funny seeing him arguing with taxi drivers. Thailand is an amazing country and people are very nice there, but definitely try and learn the language and get to grips with the idiosyncrasies of the culture 
  • I live half the year in Thailand since 2018. What part are you moving to ?
    Thai people are very friendly.
    Food cheap. Accommodation cheap, beer cheap.
    Corruption rife, if you want something, pay the price (cheap!)
    Somehow it works and I feel more relaxed there.

    I don't like the rubbish and I don't like the way they treat animals, but nowhere is perfect!
  • Should you come back to the UK for holiday/to visit family; avoid travelling around meeting as many friends and family as possible. Stay in one place, let them all know you are back, and let them visit you. We exhausted ourselves wizzing around the country the first two or three times we came back; the best breaks we had were when we stayed in one place!
    That's a good tip our 2 week break back 'home' was manic was glad to go back to Singapore for a rest.
  • Should you come back to the UK for holiday/to visit family; avoid travelling around meeting as many friends and family as possible. Stay in one place, let them all know you are back, and let them visit you. We exhausted ourselves wizzing around the country the first two or three times we came back; the best breaks we had were when we stayed in one place!
    That's a good tip our 2 week break back 'home' was manic was glad to go back to Singapore for a rest.
    Not sure why, but always thought you were down Hastings way, @Hastingsaddick ?
  • Gribbo said:
    Should you come back to the UK for holiday/to visit family; avoid travelling around meeting as many friends and family as possible. Stay in one place, let them all know you are back, and let them visit you. We exhausted ourselves wizzing around the country the first two or three times we came back; the best breaks we had were when we stayed in one place!
    That's a good tip our 2 week break back 'home' was manic was glad to go back to Singapore for a rest.
    Not sure why, but always thought you were down Hastings way, @Hastingsaddick ?
    Singapore 08-09, then Lee for a year and Hastings since then (from Oct 2010).
  • Gribbo said:
    Should you come back to the UK for holiday/to visit family; avoid travelling around meeting as many friends and family as possible. Stay in one place, let them all know you are back, and let them visit you. We exhausted ourselves wizzing around the country the first two or three times we came back; the best breaks we had were when we stayed in one place!
    That's a good tip our 2 week break back 'home' was manic was glad to go back to Singapore for a rest.
    Not sure why, but always thought you were down Hastings way, @Hastingsaddick ?
    Singapore 08-09, then Lee for a year and Hastings since then (from Oct 2010).
    😉 
  • Try not to fall straight into an ‘expat’ group for absolutely everything and avoid the temptation to search out British food. Thai food is amazing, especially up in the north. 

    Most importantly start learning the language as soon as possible.

    Where abouts will you be moving? 
    He said mate, Thailand!!!!

    I apologies! Another late goal conceded does this to you!
  • edited March 16
    I want to provide a bit of balance on the "stay away from Brits/westerners" advice.

    I lived in Taiwan for 5 years and China for 7...

    During both of those experiences I thoroughly enjoyed having ready made community with other foreigners from around the world (and in Urumqi I'm talking a handful or Brits and Americans and a whole bunch of central Asians, Russians, Saudis, Pakistanis)  who would seek each other out to socialise and e.g. form football teams etc. It brings people together in a way that you just don't get "back home". Like.... people are a lot more open to mixing with each other and less discerning about who they might socialise with...and...there are lots of positives to that. Whenever I've moved back to the UK I've missed thay sense of community and found it much much harder to make friends and find people to socialise with.

    Having said that, at the same time I managed to learn decent Chinese and integrate well with locals through e.g. football, snowboarding, work...and...well...being single at the time. 

    So.... it's not an either/or... and I'd say that tapping into local foreigner networks in Bangkok is a good way to start to integrate into your new environment.....

    I'm guessing you will be going with the Mrs (remember you got married recently). It's different for western women in SE/E Asia... in a whole manner of ways. There are (as far as I experienced) far fewer western women living in the orient than men. There are a wide range of factors at work, but not insignificant amongst them seems to be just feeling big compared to local women. That's what I was told, anyway.... but yeah... Foreigner communities could also be useful in that regard.... as well as, crucially, making those connections with the locals...

    Hope that helps. Feel free to pm me for any reason. 

    Love Thailand .... especially the diving... and just...how easy it is to travel there and how friendly the general feel is to the place 

    You've made me want to move there just from bringing it up. Have a great time 
  • edited March 16
    .
  • If you suffer from any form of mental health issues, including addiction to alcohol or drugs, don't go.
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