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The Expat Thread

Mr Herbert

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There seems to be quite a few Expats on this board so thought this thread might be interesting. Some discussion points:

Where are you from and where are you working?

What industry are you in?

What drew you to working overseas - money, experience etc

Did you get moved with your company and get the fat uplift or did you do it off your own back?

Worst and best things about working where you do? What do you miss most about your home? Will you go back etc.
 
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nice thread, happy to play and answer questions from others pondering it...

Originally Posted by Mr Herbert
Where are you from and where are you working?

I am Australian and working in Vietnam. Been here 7 years.

I was based in Singapore for just under 2 yrs before I came up here.

What industry are you in?
I run a PR firm.

What drew you to working overseas - money, experience etc
Mostly experience, I wasn't dangled a fat package as an incentive, but was at a weird, kinda bored career point back in Melbourne when someone came along and said 'I want you to work for me, do you wanna go to Sydney or do you wanna go to Asia?'

I figured I can go to Sydney any time (blue passport with kangaroo and emu on it, means they have to let me in there, it's like a rule or something) so I said "I'll take Asia thank you Paul" - mostly motivated by a sense of adventure and having studied abroad (in the US) for two years a few years prior.

Did you get moved with your company and get the fat uplift or did you do it off your own back?
Company moved me and provided assistance with expenses (or which there weren't many). They flew me in and put me up for a week or two on arrival, paid for me to move my things - which there were not a lot of anyhow. Certainly not fat-relocation-allowance though.

Worst and best things about working where you do? What do you miss most about your home? Will you go back etc
Hmm, I'll answer that one later. It's a big question, to which the small answer is, I'm in no rush to go home. I miss Melbourne, but my family is in Adelaide, and I kinda hate the place, so certainly won't be moving back there any time in the foreseeable ever.
 

spb_lady

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Might be an interesting thread, thanks


Omg! I just started to count how long ago did I move to Vietnam and realized that it will be 4 months in several days! Where did the time go?


Originally Posted by Mr Herbert

Where are you from and where are you working?


I'm from Saint-Petersburg, Russia - moved to Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon), Vietnam.

Originally Posted by Mr Herbert
What industry are you in?

I work in fashion, currently as a brand manager of Versace and Versus in Vietnam.

Originally Posted by Mr Herbert
What drew you to working overseas - money, experience etc

I wish I could say something like "money" here


It was a mixture of reasons actually. I've got about 3 years of working experience in fashion in Russia, but I was also doing some traveling on business, mostly to Hong Kong and Copenhagen and I kind of noticed that fashion world outside my country lives different life. So after I quit my last job as a fashion buyer and had a violent break up with my ex, I realized that it might be the first time in my life when nothing seriously holds me back home (like university, relationships or job). I started to think over where can I go abroad to either study or work in fashion... London, Barcelona, Copenhagen and Hong Kong were mostly considered. But as it usually happens, you plan one thing and get something completely different... especially when
is the reason.

So ya, I moved to Vietnam to be together with Matt and get some international experience in my job.

Originally Posted by Mr Herbert
Did you get moved with your company and get the fat uplift or did you do it off your own back?

I tried to find a job distantly when I was still back home, but nothing actually worked out, so I moved to Vietnam on my own with no idea if I will be able to get a job here at all. Was pretty scary to tell the truth. But Matt supported me a lot in this question, he knows LOT'S of people here, so he introduced me to those from fashion business straight away. Still it took me a month with all these interviews before I got a job.

Originally Posted by Mr Herbert
Worst and best things about working where you do? What do you miss most about your home? Will you go back etc.

Best thing is of course that I'm getting new experience and knowledge on an every day basis, so it's a great time for self-development now. I haven't been that much into operational side of fashion business before, so it's very interesting to get to know it as well. I'm being treated very well in the company, as foreigners usually have more weight and respect here. I've got Versus firstly, in a month I've got a personal assistant, in 2 months I've got Versace in pair to Versus. So I've got the best company's brand straight away basically.

All communication at work is done in english, which is good for my language skills.

I won't point out something with a label "worst thing" in my work, I'd better say "unusual difficulties I experience here". I mean here cultural things that I have to deal with. It's first of all vietnamese habit to say "no" to any ideas that you suggest. Not because they're bad, but because nobody has done it before and it's not written in their instructions and it's (attention) IMPOSSIBLE. Awwww... how I hate this word here. The funniest thing is if you give situation just 5 min of your attention to go though all the reasons of your impossible request, you'll get "ok" at the end. But you always need to go through this magic ritual and step by step tell them how to deal with the task. Laziness, lack of creativity, curiosity and initiative. That's what I have to deal with on an every day basis in my office.

Saigon is a nice city... and it's warm here all year round (just talked to my parents yesterday - it's -20 in Moscow now!), but there are few things that I miss from back home. First of all, of course my family and friends. Then my dog. Aw, I really miss that one. I'm planning currently on flying her down here... hope to get it done by the middle of summer.

I miss walking. And I love walking. I could walk for hours in Spb, when the weather is nice, cause it's so nice and beautiful there. Here you just have no space for it. It's a city with no foot traffic. That's sad.

I feel I don't get enough of cultural experiences here. Even the simplest one - cinema, which I used to go out for 2-3 times a week in Saint-Petersburg, here I couldn't find anything nice to watch since I moved. I'm not even talking about museums, exhibitions, theaters, etc.

Generally I'm pretty satisfied with my life here now, I settled down and things are going well. But I definitely wouldn't stay here longer than 2-3 years if no big reasons appear for that.
 

Mr Herbert

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thanks for your reply spdg in a way i couldn't think of more different countries than russia and vietnam, but then i guess they also share some familiar history
 

ter1413

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be interesting to hear some of these stories...
 

Eason

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Originally Posted by Mr Herbert
There seems to be quite a few Expats on this board so thought this thread might be interesting. Some discussion points: Where are you from and where are you working?
I'm a dual US/UK citizen who grew up in the USA, I'm working in Guang Dong, Shitfuckistan (China). Right on the SE coast.
What industry are you in?
Tertiary Education (Exercise Science Lecturer)
What drew you to working overseas - money, experience etc
Better weather, interesting cultures, exciting lifestyle.
Did you get moved with your company and get the fat uplift or did you do it off your own back?
Off my own back.
Worst and best things about working where you do? What do you miss most about your home? Will you go back etc.
Relatively low cost of living, the friends I've made here are really just fantastic, lovely people. If it weren't for people of their caliber I'd have gotten the fuck out a long time ago. It's also a relatively convenient location, I can literally walk into Macau (after an hour+ in line) with my passport, and Hong Kong (which I find to be an overrated city if there ever was one, IMO) is an hour's ferry ride. I miss good salads. The olive garden. Passion-fruit puree and habanero-infused vodka cocktails. My friends in America. Clean air. Clean water. Clean streets. Architecture. Freedom of speech.
 

medtech_expat

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I've been fortunate to be based in a number of countries going back to school days. In chronological order, these include: Spain, Denmark, China, France, Singapore, Switzerland, Belgium and Australia.

Originally Posted by Mr Herbert
Where are you from and where are you working?

I'm an American of Chinese descent, with most of my youth split between Chicago, Boston and San Francisco. I'm currently based in Texas - which some may argue is my most "foreign" posting thus far.


Originally Posted by Mr Herbert
What industry are you in?

Medical devices.

Originally Posted by Mr Herbert
What drew you to working overseas - money, experience etc

I've had a life-long interest in languages, so starting at 16 I cobbled together scholarships and other programs which allowed me to experience other cultures (with host families and local schools) while allowing me to make progress towards my secondary and university degrees in the US. Pre-MBA, I was working in Singapore, and I went to grad school in Switzerland partly to enhance my marketability for other international assignments. This interest continues to be primarily personal, although I've been fortunate with the globalization of the world economy and find my experiences in increasing demand. Not so much a key driver but a nice benefit nonetheless: the money is significantly better.

Originally Posted by Mr Herbert
Did you get moved with your company and get the fat uplift or did you do it off your own back?

I've been fortunate to always have a generous relocation package, whether it was a company moving me from one country to another, or a new company "importing" me to join them. Back in school, moving was always on my own.

Originally Posted by Mr Herbert
Worst and best things about working where you do? What do you miss most about your home? Will you go back etc.

The Texas winters are mild, but to be honest there are days when I feel like a stranger in my own country. What I miss most is the combination of mountains and the sea, and the cultural openness and demographic diversity of port cities. San Francisco, Barcelona and Sydney have been my faves so far.

I'm already queued up to move overseas again, either Europe or Asia with specific destination TBD.
 
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I realised at about 3pm today that today is actually my seventh anniversary here.
 

Eason

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Originally Posted by Matt
I realised at about 3pm today that today is actually my seventh anniversary here.

*firecrackers*
 

impolyt_one

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I live in Shitfuckistan, actually.
 

Joffrey

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Originally Posted by spb_lady

... especially when
is the reason.

So ya, I moved to Vietnam to be together with Matt and get some international experience in my job.


[Thread Hijack] Uh, when did this happen? And are you the reason [email protected] let the "What Did You Do Last Night?" thread die? [/Thread Hijack]
 

globetrotter

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Originally Posted by Mr Herbert
There seems to be quite a few Expats on this board so thought this thread might be interesting. Some discussion points:

Where are you from and where are you working?


I was born in the US, moved to Israel as a child - my father was actually on assignment as a civilian employee of the US corps of engineers, and live up until a few years ago outside of the US. this included stretches in Africa, Germany, India and Jordan, as well as Israel. so I am not really an ex-pat any more, but spent a good part of my life as one.
What industry are you in?
medical. I've also sold telecommunications stuff, and military surplus

What drew you to working overseas - money, experience etc
mostly experience, probably, but I needed a job and it was a good fit. when I got out of the army I had a technical skill that I could sell in the 3rd world, and I learned that there was more money and more fun in being on the business side of it. then interesting things happened - the wall came down and Eastern Europe opened up, after Gulf I some of the Arab countries opened up, India changed some regulations and that market opened up - I tried to be in the right place and more or less the right time.

Did you get moved with your company and get the fat uplift or did you do it off your own back?
most times moved myself. the biggest fuck up was with india, I was offered either a relocation package, that was huge, or to commute every week. in order not to fuck up my wife's career, I commuted. that cost us a chunk. but I don't regret it, it kept my wife happy.

Worst and best things about working where you do? What do you miss most about your home? Will you go back etc.
honestly, I would go back to the ex-pat lifestyle in a minute. my wife prefers to raise the kids in a stable environment. I think that their are pros and cons of each.
 

JustinW

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Born in the US, moved to Australia soon after my first birthday. I travelled around a lot and lived/worked in Australasia for several years during my late 20s, where I picked-up a third citizenship (honorary and practically worthless, as much as I value it). Five years ago I moved to the US for what was to be an extended holiday (I was pretty burned-out and in need of some new scenery and my dad, who was living in Texas at the time, was about to start cancer treatment at the VA).

I like having a base-camp in the first world, but miss spending time overseas. I'm not sure if I could take being away from my family for extended periods, though.
 

spb_lady

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Originally Posted by Eason
I miss good salads.

damn, yes! I never found cesar or greek salad here, that was any good... and I love those


Originally Posted by Jodum5
[Thread Hijack] Uh, when did this happen? And are you the reason [email protected] let the "What Did You Do Last Night?" thread die? [/Thread Hijack]

nah... I think the reason for that was Matt getting old
 

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