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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Jan 15, 2017


Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

An Aussie expat in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam has had no problems setting into the culture there. Read about some of his experiences and his take on culture shock.

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Ho Chi Minh

Did you receive any cross-cultural training for your move abroad? If yes, was it before or after the move?

Not at all.

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If they speak another language in your new country, do you speak the language? If yes, did you learn the language before you moved or while abroad? If no, are you planning to learn the language?

No... I don't speak Vietnamese and I'm not planning to learn, no need for that.

Were you worried or concerned about culture shock before you moved abroad?

No I was not. In a few days you know it's country of good people excellent weather brilliant food and city is alive 24 hrs... what kind of shock? Maybe traffic in peak hours but it was more funny then shocking.

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How significant was the culture shock you experienced when you moved abroad?

There was not any

Expats often talk about going through the "stages of culture shock." Examples include the honeymoon phase, the irritation-to-anger stage, the rejection of the culture stage, and the cultural adjustment phase. Do you feel like you went through these or any other stages as you settled into the new culture?

No

What, if any, were some of the changes you noticed in yourself that might have been caused by culture shock? These might include things such as anger, depression, anxiety, increased eating or drinking, frustration, homesickness, etc.

Not really, maybe more partying and drinking but not because of shock, just enjoying life.

What are some things you appreciate most about the new culture?

Prices mate, prices! Taxi $3 from anywhere to anywhere, but people are so nice, everybody calls you sir and I was feeling embarrassed being sir all the time, food is magic and so cheap. Honestly we here in Perth don't have night clubs like those in HCMC.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

Sorry I don't have answer, its just good life and no chalenges.

Did you "commit" any embarrassing or humorous cultural blunders? If you did and you'd like to share them, please do tell!

Yes! First time I went there was to do my crown teeth, flights, hotel and 15 teeth cost me less than 2 teeth here and service they provide is pick up from airport.

And waiting for me was this little lady very cute - hahaha now we talking shock - we became friends and after I was done with dental. I lifted her up in reception and kissed her.... and she hit me with good slap in face I had no idea why, but she explained later on the phone... NO KISSING IN PUBLIC IN VIETNAM.

Do you have any advice or thoughts about culture shock you would like to share?

It's all in you, boys and girls, man or woman, gents and ladies, if you are typically easy to be scared just stay at home and lock all doors and windows.

Culture shock is myth, for weak people but I'm talking about Vietnam.

I know there is countries where I would get a shock or two or more but we all know about those countries and we just don't go there.

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Cigna Expat Health InsuranceExpatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance in Vietnam from our partner, Cigna Global Health.
Get a Quote

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If you're moving to Vietnam, healthcare and health insurance require careful consideration. This article covers the quality of healthcare at hospitals and clinics in Vietnam, the availability of prescription medications, vaccinations and more.

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Support your favorite restaurants in Ho Chi Minh as they recover from the pandemic. Submit a free listing for them on Expat Exchange to help spread the word about them to the expat community.

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An Australian expat in Ho Chi Minh advises newcomers to bring plenty of clothes for very warm weather since clothing there runs very small. He also recommends looking at a lot of apartments before choosing and taking into consideration proximity to work, supermarkets, swimming pools, because traffic is a major issue.

Retirement in Ho Chi Minh

A retiree in Ho Chi Minh city talks about returning to Vietnam after serving there during the war. The cost of living, friendly Vietnamese people and the relaxed lifestyle all brought him back to HCMC.

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