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Living Abroad

by Kiran on February 8, 2011 · 18 comments

in Q & A, Travels

.. is like a new chapter in your life. Learning to take baby steps all over again. Well, not really baby steps. But sometimes I truly wish it was easier. When we moved to the States a few years ago, Hubby was assigned as a Software Professional and I instantly immersed myself in completing my online MBA. I begin blogging as a way to keep in touch with my loved ones back in Malaysia and India. But here’s the thing. We are yet to share our experiences as expats over here in the States. The living abroad guide if you may.

Well, here are some important notes that WE strongly feel you should consider before and after making the move. Keep in mind there are different circumstances that forces one to move abroad, either due to career or personal decision. In our case, it started out as a career move.

Research. Research. Research.

I cannot stress enough how important researching is in this day and age where we are overwhelmed with ample of resources, such as technology. A simple Google often reveals decision making information and gives you a picture of what should be expected upon arrival. There is simply no excuse not to research. Or at least, prepare yourself to fit in the new location or environment. Unless, you are one of those who loves surprises. Me, not so much!

Trust me, it’s not the same …

Many are inclined to move after vacationing at a certain place. Hello? It’s never the same during vacation vs. calling the vacation destination as HOME. A short first impression isn’t enough in comparison to long term commitment. The ball is in your court to re-access your thoughts by exploring options before settling. Always set realistic goals by lowering your expectations.

Language

Isn’t a barrier for us (I hope), though we are yet to adapt a Southern accent ;) Adapting is the key here in order to communicate and fit in the society. Learning a locale language often eases the transition. On our agenda: we are currently learning French – don’t ask.

Economical and political considerations

Well, I try not to get into too much of political and economical jargon’s. But if you are planning to retire abroad, understand the political and economical dynamics and what repercussions or otherwise, it might bring to your long term goals. Yes, living abroad can be a very risky, serious yet fun mix all together!

When you’ve made what you think is a very wise decision, how would you try to fit in this new country? Where do you start?

Make new friends

Not by watching E! News 24X7 because Justin Bieber’s fever is all over the place! Start in your neighborhood. Invite your neighbors for a party to get to know more about them and feel welcomed by learning about each others culture through festivities. If you have a BLOG, this is a great way to SOCIAL NETWORK! I have made great friendships through networking with Orlando local bloggers and businesses.

If your better half can’t work, volunteer

This scenario might not apply to everyone. I came to the States with the plan of completing my MBA, whilst the Hubby earned a living. I enjoyed volunteering my time. Another great way to learn more about your new surrounding and networking. My fellow blogger friend, Caitlin shared great details on where and how to begin volunteering.

People watch

… but don’t be a stalker ;) I found that by observing the locals, one tend to learn a lot quicker. For e.g. When I first arrived in the States, I found it bizarre and scary that strangers would give me a smile or a “Hi“. Where I came from, that was unusual. But by observing others, only then I realized it’s a common courtesy and that is how Americans spread their friendliness :)

Stay in touch with your loved ones back home

I cannot bring myself to imagine living seas apart from our parents and not keeping in touch. Sheesh! We frequently communicate via phone calls, Skype, Facebook, Twitter and of course, BLOGGING. One of the many perks of advancements in technology ;)

Before you make a decision, ask yourself this, “how much determined am I to make this transition?”. Are you living abroad, experienced and have tips that you want to share?

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Divya Vikram February 8, 2011 at 1:06 PM

I can very much relate myself to many things mentioned in this post :) Beautifully written Kiran.
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2 Kiran February 14, 2011 at 8:51 AM

Divya,
Thanks yaar, this means a lot to know that we are not going through this journey on our own :)

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3 Pangeran Wiguan February 9, 2011 at 9:10 AM

Ah, it seems you’re from Malaysia as well?

Well, I once living abroad and far from family and friends.
But I like it, and take it as new challenge and experience in life. :D
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4 Kiran February 14, 2011 at 8:53 AM

Pangeran,
Yes, I am from Malaysia :) and welcome to my blog! Are you from Malaysia or Indonesia? True, there is nothing better than facing challenges and experiences living abroad.

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5 Pangeran Wiguan February 14, 2011 at 9:58 AM

Yes, I’m Malaysian. :D
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6 Kiran February 15, 2011 at 12:25 PM

Pangeran,
Kami Anak Malaysia! So nice to meet you, my fellow Malaysian :)

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7 Dinu February 10, 2011 at 2:50 PM

last 3 shots are awesome !!

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8 Kiran February 14, 2011 at 9:00 AM

Dinu,
Thanks.. Lately, you’ve been commenting about photos only. Kya yaar, kuch par teh bhi ho? :D

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9 Angry Ganu April 16, 2011 at 4:15 AM

I am one of those who would love to live abroad and would enjoy the surprises and experiences of living in a new country.

I have lived for a few years in a couple of countries other than India and had some of the best (and worst) experiences there.

But overall living abroad is very much for me.

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10 Kiran April 19, 2011 at 4:48 PM

Ganu,
Welcome to Chatterbox, and thank you for your comments. I agree with you. Overall, living abroad is our thing as well. There’s always pros and cons wherever we choose to be. Just have to make good out of it.

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11 Devendra May 11, 2011 at 2:20 PM

Nicely written Kiran!! So u know french too, thats really amazing! I too would love to take some experiences,it is true we learn through experiences. :)

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12 Kiran May 25, 2011 at 7:35 PM

Devendra,
Thanks! No, I don’t know French (planning to learn). I am thankful that all these experiences are a way for us to learn new things every day.

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13 Rajani September 29, 2011 at 3:10 PM

Hello Kiran,

Just happen to stumble into ur blog as I was reading someone elses blog… I have been in the US for a long time too and I remember those initial days when I was also like u… figuring out how to stay… came here right after marriage so had a few thigns to learn … te new hubby, a home to keep, cooking (I had no idea to cook then but thanks to sanjeevkapoor.com . i learnt :-) ) then also thanks tomy hubby… he wanted me to be independent and showed me all the right ways to make me more out there. He wud always say, go and ask and find out…. I was soo concerned about my accent… I am from India. So wasnt sure if people will understand here. Your episode where u felt awkward when someone said ‘hi’… that happened to me too!!!… they wud smile, say hi or good morning.. and some wud even add.. hi hun… and i would find it soo weird…..Well nonetheless its something we all go through and we learn….. all this was 10 yrs back… and now am more an american, I think… LOL!!

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14 Kiran October 3, 2011 at 9:43 PM

Hi Rajani,
Welcome to Chatterbox and thanks a lot for sharing your experiences, which I can totally relate to as well! I guess, we have to adjust to living wherever we choose to be. Otherwise, life would be too boring :D

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15 Tanvi September 29, 2011 at 8:21 PM

I like reading old posts and knowing more about you! :)

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16 Kiran October 3, 2011 at 9:49 PM

Tanvi,
Thank you so much honey. I’ve been digging the archives on your blog as well. Love reading those hidden gems in the archives :)

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17 Chopinand @ ChopinandMysaucepan March 27, 2012 at 1:52 AM

Dear Kiran

Interesting post and perspectives. Having lived in Sydney for so long now, I consider this place home rather than KL in Malaysia although going to KL still has its novelties.

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