First and foremost I just want to say congratulations! You’re here because you’ve taken the first initial steps to living, traveling or working abroad. Your probably thinking “What?? I didn’t even do anything yet.” Well I disagree. The mere fact that your considering a life abroad is the first step to living a life abroad.
It all starts with our mind and properly priming ourselves to prepare for a new life. No matter where you go, whether a new city, state or country we have to be mentally ready. If this is your first time ever traveling outside of your home country then there must be a lot going through your mind. I know for me before I came to Thailand I had a lot of expectations. What we need to acknowledge is the social norms that other countries follow. So in this page I wanted to talk about how you can mentally prepare yourself for a life abroad.
Prepare for the Stare
Yes, you will be stared at and at times it will feel downright uncomfortable. You’re the diamond in the room. When I first came to Thailand everyone stared at me(not to say they still don’t…). At first I didn’t care, then it started to get a little weird. After a couple of months I just got use to it and went on with my life. The point here is to try not to take it the wrong way.
Did you know that patting someone on the head can be seen as a blatant sign of disrespect? While in a country like the USA that same action would be a sign of endearment. It’s crazy to think how different and similar our cultures are. What’s normal for us may be taboo for others. Which brings me to my next point. Become sensitive to the social norms of the country you’ll be visiting. The last thing you want to do is end up in awkward situation that could of easily been avoided with a bit of research.
Expect to pay more
It’s not exactly a nominal fee that you’ll be paying but don’t expect to get the price the locals get. Thailand is infamous for their dual-pricing system. They simply find no issue with foreigners paying more money. Again in some cases its only a few cents if you actually convert it but when you get here and see how cheap everything really is you’ll understand that expectation for you to spend more wares on you. Until you stay long enough to either make local friends or learn the language when you’re in high tourist shopping areas you can expect to get random numbers thrown at you.Especially if it’s obvious you’re new.
Difficulties with language
Learning a new language(Thai) won’t be easy at first. Whether speaking or understanding it can just get really embarrassing and frustrating. The bright side to this is that people always appreciate when you try to speak their language. There will be times when you’ll say something and won’t be understood. Everything takes time right? So if you’re eager to learn the language consider getting lessons. There’s loads of youtube videos offering lessons to help you get an idea of what you’ll be working with before visiting. Try to learn the some survival phrases and no I’m not saying learn how to say ” wheres the bomb shelter” in Thai! Learn numbers and directions first and take it from there.
Do well to rep your flag but also take notes of the differences between your country and the country you’re visiting. Traveling is the best education out there and helps you become a more well-rounded individual. I think experiencing a culture first-hand can teach you way more than any book ever could. Meet people from all over the world and make life-long connections with people you would of otherwise never met. Trust me, it’s really awesome.
The effects of media are apparent in foreign perception
Now this is my personal opinion but the perception of African-Americans in the 3rd world is somewhat skewed. It’s like you are this this and this because that’s what they’ve seen in the big blockbuster films. All black men act like this, can dance and have huge dicks. Who’s there to tell them otherwise? When I first arrived all my neighbors thought I was a professional soccer player. Sadly most of the time when the black American is in the spotlight it’s for the wrong reason. As an effect the rest of the world sees this and when there is limited interaction then people go by what they see on TV or heard from friends… Yeah you know where I’m going with this. Get out there and show people that they’ve gotten it all wrong.
I’m sure there’s a lot more to prepare for but lets be honest. Most of you will probably find a nice clique of foreigners that you will become very close with. What’s written here is only a resource for you to refer to. At the end of the day you should get out their and experience everything for yourself and develop your own opinions. Don’t forget to share them with us!