House Hunters International has frequently stopped by Expat Exchange to provide an opportunity for our members to share their international real estate experiences with their audience. Over the last few years, that has become a reality for a few of our members. You’ll find a post from a producer affiliated with the show via the link above, or you can also apply directly if you are interested in being on HGTV’s House Hunters International.
And here’s a recent Culture Shock Report from Granada, Nicaragua:
Were you worried or concerned about culture shock before you moved abroad?
Yes, since we did not want to find out we needed to return to the USA.
How significant was the culture shock you experienced when you moved abroad?
Actually we did not experience much culture shock or at least less than we expected. Even back in the USA we moved around a lot so having the wanderlust probably helps you adapt.
Sure, there are mornings when you wake up and say “Where am I and why am I here?”. But just as many times you look at a neighboring volcano and think “How can so many people just stay in their home country?”.
Expats often talk about going through the “stages of culture shock.” Do you feel like you went through these or any other stages as you settled into the new culture?
Even my wife and I get the “ugly American” syndrome once in a while where you criticize the locals for some way they do things. I can’t say we went through the stated stages. It is more like some days you are just in a bad mood and don’t want to put up with the differences. My cure is usually to just walk away until the mood passes.
Not knowing the language certainly does not help your adaptation. If I were to do it over, I would have done a family stay Spanish immersion for the first six months to ensure we were more fluent. You learn more in the immersion process in a week than a year of regular Spanish classes.
Please take the time to share your expat culture shock experiences, and expats (and soon-to-be expats) all over the world will read your thoughts. Many will follow in your footsteps and need all the feedback they can get!
China continues to attract a lot of expats. Work in China can provide a lot of valuable experience for young expats in particular, experience that is otherwise real hard to secure. A recent article on CNBC.com, What Foreigners Looking for Work in China Need to Know, addresses this topic:
Foreigners lucky enough to find jobs should also expect lower salaries than what they get at home. Even before the financial crisis, companies began phasing out expatriate packages with cars, chauffeurs and housing allowances – except for the most senior executives. Expats should expect to be paid a fraction of their salary back home until they can prove that they add value to the China operations.
Often the best jobs are in smaller firms, run by executives that can show you the ropes of the Chinese business world. They are more likely to train you, and potentially pay you the high salaries you want. Bigger multinationals often prefer to relocate someone from headquarters – who knows the company culture – to China for several years.
The most successful foreigners often take a low paying job to start. After two or three years of proving their value, learning Mandarin, and networking, they finally find the compensation packages they were looking for.
The article is written by Shaun Rein, founder of the China Market Research Group. The article also mentions learning Chinese – Mandarin is cited in the text – as an important aspect of flourishing as an expat in China. Here’s an article on Expat Exchange about Learning Chinese in Shanghai on one expat’s experiences learning Mandarin in Shanghai.
Here’s a great retire abroad report from Pezenas, France. France is still one of those countries that people dream of living. So, it makes sense that people consider there as an option for the best place to explore as a retired expat.
Here’s an excerpt of this retire abroad report:
What have been the most challenging aspects of being retired abroad?
First, the language. Second,the paperwork and rules. Meeting my neighbors was the easiest. I now know more people here than I did in either of my US homes.
What have been the most rewarding aspects of being retired abroad?
First, the people. Next, the cultural opportunities available (there are weekly free or inexpensive concerts). I live near Roman roads, Greek temples, beautiful churches and old wine villages.
What would you do differently if you were just starting the retire abroad process?
Take more intensive language courses, pay attention to advice from other expats.
What is life like for a retiree in your city and its surroundings? (Is there an active expat community? Cultural Attractions? Recreation? Nightlife?)
We have a large expat, multi-national community since this is a popular retirement area.
Post any questions you have about retiring to France in the Retire Abroad Report today! There are a lot of people out there who need your insight and expertise!