Expat Forum For People Moving Overseas And Living Abroad banner

1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
369 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Expatriation

A long read ... your only investment is the time it takes to read this ...

Expatriation and the many questions ... Will you succeed?

Visiting a foreign country comes in four basic flavors; transit or passing through (1-3 days), vacationing or visiting (1 - 4 weeks), short term relocation (less than 2 years), and, long term residence (many years, decades). The first three flavors are relatively easy to accept as they are not forever and you know when you will return home. It is the last flavor, the long term residence or "forever" flavor that requires a unique type of personality and preparedness to successfully achieve.

Living in a foreign country, whether by choice or by requirement (employment assignment) requires a significant amount of adaptation. Your approach to the adaptation will determine your success in your assignment, goals and well being.

Culture; The many challenges you will face can be summed up in one world "culture". You will be exposed to cultural differences that will both amaze and confound you. You will experience a vast array of "things" that will make absolutely no sense to you. You will need to accept that these "things" are part of the culture and this is the accepted way of life. You cannot change these things and any attempt to do so is not only futile but will also be frustrating. The key to this is tolerance. Accept what you see for what it is - their way of life. You will need to adapt to their way of life as they will NOT adapt to yours.

Environment; Another important aspect of residing in a foreign country is it's environment. Among the many concerns in this category are: climate extremes, seasonal changes, pollution, natural disasters (such as; typhoons, flooding, earthquakes, tsunamis, etc.) You must be aware of the possibility of the aforementioned problems and prepare for the worst. The old adage; pray for the best and prepare for the worst applies itself well.

Language; to what level are you fluent in the host countries language, both spoken and written, you need to shop, do you understand the signs and costs? Do you recognize a bargain versus a rip-off? Is there an adequate supply of interpreters to aid you? Can you trust what you hear? Will you have friends to converse with in your mother language? Can you understand the host countries humor?

Economic; Do you have enough money. What is the taxation you will be subject to? What is the true cost-of-living to maintain the life style you will have and will you be happy with it? How much insurance do you need and at what cost? What will adequate housing and utilities cost? Will you rent or buy?

Food; what is your preferred menu? Can you eat the local food? How much will it cost you to eat foods you will enjoy? What will be the impact of drought or flooding on your food budget?

Shopping; are your desired amenities available at a reasonable cost? Can you live without your preferred brands of personal items or will you pay extra? Can you ignore the perceived prejudice of the two tier pricing schedule? Will import taxes be a serious burden?

Transportation; Where will you live? Is public transport available? Will you own a car? Motorbike? Can you adapt to the local driving habits? What cost is insurance? How bad is the traffic? Transportation times to and from shopping, attractions, work, the beach, your friends? What happens if your involved in a traffic accident?

Medical; What type of medical insurance will you carry? Will it be enough? Do you need inoculations and vaccinations? On-going medicines and medical care? Doctors and Dentists visits? Preventative medical procedures? What about accidents, infections, and disease? Age related maladies?

Religion; Will you have the freedom to practice your chosen religion? Is there a place of worship close to your residence? Will your spiritual needs be satisfied?

Currency; Do you have an adequate nest egg? Where will you keep your money? In your home country? In your host country? What are the taxation implications? What impact will currency exchange fluctuations have on your budget, investments and nest egg?

Political uncertainty; Do you have an exit plan? What can happen if the government collapses? Do you have an emergency fund? An escape plan? A safe house? If necessary, can you leave on a moments notice? Abandon all property and holdings in your host country? Can your embassy protect you? Will your embassy evacuate you?

Legal; What type of visas do you qualify for? What type of visa do/will you have? What are the legal requirements to maintain that visa? Can you fulfill those requirements? What will you do if you need legal counsel? Can you fund a foreign legal defense if necessary?

In closing ... this Post is "food-for-thought" ... a list of some, but by no means all, the questions an individual must answer before expatriation. There is absolutely nothing that can help your venture succeed more than a well thought out plan.

I ask the experienced Expats who frequent this forum to please contribute your wisdom, experiences and advice to other Expats and the potential wannabe Expats who will be reading this thread. Allow them to benefit from your experiences. Provide them with your lessons learned in the hopes that some of our mistakes will not need to be repeated.

Good luck to all.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,684 Posts
From people's experience, what advice to 'would-be' expats in Thailand?

In September I posted this on another thread:

I met an expat yesterday - a rare event here. On just day three in the country - already had a considerable list of gripes: the heat, the sun, the people, the food, the lack of English-speakers . . . sure there were more but I had 'somewhere I needed to be'

Are there successful expat groups operating in other areas?
What kind of activities do they hold?

Debate and discuss politely: "Who needs expat company?"

Firstly, the person I met that day (late 60s at a guess) returned to their home country after three weeks. Thailand is not for everyone, and as per the early complaints - well, those things are not going to just 'go away'. Even in a more expat-friendly area (ie one with more than just a few expats) issues around heat, food, people, language will not totally go away.

A second example, a 70+ year-old man moved here 'for a year or two' a few months back, we assisted in helping him find rental accommodation, gave lots of suggestions and advice on things to do, places to see within short travel distance. It hasn't worked out for him, been a lonely existence, a weekly trip to Tesco-Lotus 12km away and swims at the local pool have been about it, and he is heading out of the country, back home, next week.

I am a very long way off 70, however in 20-odd years I can't imagine packing up and moving to another country on my own. What is it? Mid-life crisis is one thing, but to make the move at that age, very brave I think.

On the other hand - we remain in regular contact with a couple of 'old blokes' (no offence intended!) who live in Phuket, one moved there in early 50s (now 65), the other at the tender young age of 72, turned 78 2 weeks ago and may live to 90. Phuket may be 'Thai-lite' in that it's easy to live the best of both worlds, beaches, sun (rain too), and a blend of local and expat life (and food). Choose as much, or little, as you want.

I've copied this from another post, about things to consider when selecting location, quite valid I think.

All of them could be expanded, added to, but it's a good start.

Most people have to make a trade-off involving......

  • location
  • facilities
  • utilities
  • convenience
  • accessibility
  • costs
  • comforts of home
  • communications
  • isolation
  • loneliness
  • wildlife
  • and often the wife’s family.

You are unlikely to find a cheap classic house and land that is in walking distance of a bar full of foreigners.​

What do you think?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
161 Posts
Dunno. I left the UK 40 years ago to live in Switzerland and am now living here in the deepest deepest part of Isaan. Some people can live without the Daily telegraph and fish and chips every day, some can't. I employed people from the UK occasionally and told them, 'you do realise that Switzerland is not the UK don't you?' Ha ha. Two weeks after starting they complained that they couldn't watch Eastenders, couldn't get fish and chips, got paid for what they worked. And didn't realise that not everyone that didn't speak English was stupid.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
369 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Happiness is where you make it

I've been fortunate in my life, much travel, and have worked and resided in several different countries, the America's, Europe and Asia. They are all the same. All have pros, all have cons. Balance is the key.

Like countries, all people are the same. Everything (happiness included) comes from within. This including a successful ex-pat relocation or move.

What advice to ex-pats in Thailand? Or, "Things to consider when selecting location."

The advise I would offer to a potential ex-pat is to do some internal soul-searching, define and document "What I Want out-of-life".

Step 1: Document and prioritize the answers to the "What I Want out-of-life" question.

Once you have this list you can begin your investigation.

Step 2: List the pros and cons of living in Thailand for each item.

After you have done this you will have a greater understanding of the potentials of an ex-pat relocation.

Step 3: Visit. Complete a test run. Have a one month vacation. Review. Then have a three month sojourn. Review. All still "OK".

Step 4: Complete a one year visit. All still "OK". Now you can relocate with success.

The key to this plan is to always have the backup "bailout" plan. If you go into the adventure with the backup return trip you will not fail. Treat the first couple of visits as "test runs" and you will succeed. You cannot fail.

Failure comes when your expectations are not met. The answer is to manage your expectations. Shangri-La exists where you make it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,743 Posts
I think that we all know that a lot of "expatriation" success / failure is down to the individual and not the destination itself.

But also, its down to the circumstances under which the person moves.

When I arrived in Spain I had no home, no job, (luckily no kids), still had student debts and no way of paying them.

It was really tough and 6 months after trying to get work I could quite easily have given up.

My move to Thailand will be completely the opposite in each of the circumstances I listed above, but, of course, I have no way of knowing if it will work out or not.

How can I find out before hand? Short answer: I can't.

I have enjoyed my brief visits to Thailand (Bangkok) and I am 95% ceratin that my wife will also enjoy it as we have travelled quite a lot together.

But I cannot be sure that professionally I will adapt, nor that my wife will find either a job or a suitable pass-time to not get bored and fed up.

Nor can I do a trial run of how my kids will get on in an international English speaking school.

Expatriation is therefore to a relatively large extent "trial and error" and the first and biggest obstacle is getting together the courage, and wherewithall to leave what you have in order to try something new.

Those that try and fail, go home after a short time are often criticised, even ridiculed for not having researched properly, having excessive expectations or whatever.

The real "losers" however are those that never even try it out.

I'm not a believer in "seek and ye shall find" because it's true that some people seek the non-existent but I am a believer in the wise words of the Beastie Boys when they said "It's like Lotto; you've gotta be in it to win it".
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
161 Posts
Before I moved over I didn't worry about whether I would be happy here or not. I am, by the way. I had, and still do have, an escape plan, not that I will be using it unless I have to go home for medical treatment. Knowing that you can go back is a key to peace of mind I think, many people don't have this possibility.
I'm sure that many people plan to emigrate some time, buy the books, join forums and then never do it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,684 Posts
Some more I'll add to that list of considerations in Post#1

Most people have to make a trade-off involving......
  • location
  • facilities
  • utilities
  • convenience
  • accessibility
  • costs
  • comforts of home
  • communications
  • isolation
  • loneliness
  • wildlife
  • and often the wife’s family.
- transferability of pension/superannuation - varies from country to country
- medical care/insurance. With age-limits and high costs in force many people here have no medical/accident insurance at all
- climate; the temperatures are not suited to everyone. The image of sitting under a palm tree by the beach in a cool breeze won't last forever
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
245 Posts
The image of sitting under a palm tree in Portugal lasted about as long as the first cold Atlantic winter squalls, and they don't even seem to build houses here to deal with winter, it is as if they almost deny they are part of the European climactic process... how many centuries has this being going on? Salazars stultifying regime ended nearly half a century ago, yet at the grass-roots level, little has changed... traditions should be reserved for regiments, in many cases traditions serve only to please the latest wave of the dying generation, and deny their children the changes they so desperately need.

The takeaway for me is not to try to change Thai society, but make sure I rent a far better house there, than the one I had in Portugal!

Oh, and treat the Thai 'adventure' as a test run... My thinking upon entering Portugal was far too optimistic, this was to be 'our' happy ever after -until my wife decamped without ever having set foot in the place (and yet my friends here call me a pessimist! Go figure!)
 
  • Like
Reactions: CBJD

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
I enjoyed reading your post. I am thinking of moving to Thailand for work. I am currently in South Korea and have found what you stated to be so true. We do need to have a lot of tolerance for what is different than our home country, there will be many. An open mind and even an appreciation for what is different can make your time in a foreign country a difficult one or a learning process and to gain a more global knowledge of the world we live in.

Also, I agree with having a basic understanding of the language we are going to can be so helpful. I came to a different country without that knowledge and it was very difficult. So great advice for others, wish I would have read this before arriving to a foreign country. The transition would have been more smooth. Thank you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Yes, I agree we need to watch out our expectations don't let us down. I've travelled to lots of places and with the exception of Patong Beach, I've gone away being very happy that my experience has been positive. Oh, and a quick Patong visit a few years ago was the reason I nearly didn't go back to Thailand, but luckily I found the rest of the country, and can't wait to get back to live.
Planning is a very large part of the experience, and lots of excitement in itself. But make sure all the right planning is being done ... as previously mentioned by more experienced people than me.
Do your research! Don't tell me people move to Thailand and then complain that it's hot! For real??? Look at the country before moving there. YouTube, forums, Facebook, Twitter, etc etc. There's no excuse for ignorance.
But above all, it's an adventure, nobody can predict everything that will happen and that's life! Enjoy!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
I am surprised that this topic has not mentioned visas.
A person of 50+ can enter with a non Imm O visa and convert it to an annual retirement extension by having 800,000 baht in the bank for 60 days for the first application and then 90 days for subsequent extensions.
Or
A letter from your embassy to prove that you have an offshore income translating to a minimum monthly income of 65,000 baht.
The Brit embassy charge the equivalent of £50 for each letter.
You will have to submit a report to immigration every contiguous 90 days you are in Thailand.
If you stay at a friends house, the friend will have to report your arrival within 24 hours or risk a 2,000 baht fine.
Of course many travellers can be granted a 30 day visa waiver, then you can buy a 90 day non Imm O and before it expires, gain the retirement extension. You would need the proof of income letter twice for this to work....
Yes you can get multi entry tourist visas in your home country and depart/return to re activate the visa but
Beware, Thai Imm have cracked down on back to back tourist visas......
With a retirement extension you may not get a work permit.

Western foreigners are called Farang.
Ferang are sort of tolerated and that's about all.
There is a long list of jobs that are prohibited for Ferang.
A Ferang is often regarded as nothing more than an ATM with legs.
Expect double pricing and being ripped off.
Someone has already pointed out that medical/accident insurance is hugely expensive as you get older.
Though I am married to a Thai, I have never been a bar fly and all the things that go along with that life.
We spend our time at home in her new three bed house in a gated community or
Travelling to holiday all over Thailand, visiting temples etc. or
Spending time with her family members.
I cannot read Thai and my spoken Thai is very limited.
Thai TV is hopeless, like looking at children's programs so nothing for me.
It's often too hot to go outside during the day and early mornings and evenings are reserved for the Mosquitos so exercising can be a problem.
We have a small home gym.
I have Thai car and m/c driving licenses but only ride a scooter in our local, out of the way small roads. You take your life in your hands whenever you travel in Thailand.
Apart from visiting temples, I don't find much to do.
Thank heavens for the Internet and a smart TV.
On the other hand, the local markets have an amazing variety of fresh exotic fruit n veg and I am lucky that my wife is a great cook.
It is also lucky that I get on well with her family and that I like visiting temples.
Oh yes, you may only buy alcohol between certain hours in the shops.
We spend the winter in Thailand and the summer in Spain and that may be the best of both worlds.
Sorry if I mentioned too much detail on some of the cons.
The pluses will speak for themselves.
Good luck


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top