An interview with Emily – an American expat living in Thailand


Emily Weyand relocated to Bangkok from USA, after her dad was transferred on assignment. As a very new expat, she shares her experiences of life in Thailand. 
 

About you

 
Q: Where are you originally from? 
A: Boise, Idaho USA
 
Q: Where are you living now? 
A: Bangkok, Thailand
 
Q: When did you move here? 
A: March, 1
 
Q: Did you move here alone or with a spouse/family? 
A: Family
 
Q: Why did you move; what do you do? 
A: My dad was transferred overseas.
 

Living abroad

 
Q: What do you enjoy most about your host city? How would you rate the quality of life compared to your home country? 
A: There is much to do, and the food is amazing. South East Asia is super intriguing and I am very motivated to travel to the places and countries surrounding Bangkok.
 
Q: Any negatives? What do you miss most about home? 
A: I miss the familiarity of everything, but since this is my first time abroad, and I very recently just arrived, I’m sure the feeling will be short-lived.
 
Q: What are the biggest adjustments you had to make when settling into expat life here? Did you experience any particular elements of culture shock?
A: The language, street directions, traffic, scary drivers and crossing the street, transporting via public transportation and cabs. 
 
Q: What’s the cost of living compared to home? What is cheap or expensive in particular? 
A: Very cheap on the streets, restaurants are very comparable as well as the international products which tend to actually be more expensive then I found in the US. 
 
Q: How would you rate the public transport? What are the different options? Do you need to own a car?
A: 10/10. Very different and popular than when living in the North when the transportation was very unsanitary and not as popular among citizens. I have no desire to own a car.
 
Q: How would you rate the healthcare in your city? Have you had any particularly good/bad experiences with regards to doctors and hospitals? Are there any hospitals you would recommend?
A: Healthcare looks very reliable and modern. The hospitals are beautiful and I have heard only good things about the care they provide.
 
Q: What are the biggest safety issues facing expats living in your host city or country? Are there any areas expats should avoid?
A: Expats should be aware of dangerous driving incidents, dark areas as well as leaving a bag unattended or out of one’s attention.
 
Q: How do you rate the standard of housing in the city? What different options are available for expats?
A: 10/10. Apartments I have found are very popular among expats.  
 
Q: Any areas/suburbs you’d recommend for expats to live in?
A: Phrom Pong 
 

Meeting people and making friends

 
Q: How tolerant are the locals of foreigners? Is there any obvious discrimination against particular religions or women etc.?
A: Very tolerant, friendly, and very respectful. Locals refer to me as ferong, and I am expected to pay more for cab rides.  
 
Q: Was it easy meeting people and making friends? How did you go about meeting new people? 
A: Since I have been here less than a week I have been introduced to the city by my family, but through means of activities in groups it seems very simple to meet other expats and people to interact with socially.  
 
Q: Have you made friends with locals or do you mix mainly with other expats? What advice would you give to new expats looking to make friends? Any social/expat groups you can recommend?
A: I have met few expats while going to dinner with my dad who has been working here for 6 months, and I have joined, graduating early from high school to join him, and it’s easier for me to interact with them.  However once I become more confident in the Thai language I think I will mix well with the local Thai’s.  
 

About working here

 
Q: Did you have a problem getting a visa or work permit? Did you tackle the visa process yourself or did you enlist the services of an immigration consultant?
A: No, the US government sent me a passport and visa which was easy to obtain because my dad had set up the process.  
 
Q: What’s the economic climate like in the city? Do you have any tips for expats looking to find a job there? Which resources did you find most useful?
A: Humid and hot but very bearable and most often quite nice. I hear teaching English is a very common job to obtain through schools or language classes. 
 
Q: How does the work culture differ from home? Do you have any tips for expats doing business in the city/country?
A: The work culture differs in that you are interacting with a diverse population.  Becoming fluent in languages and interactions can mke it easier. 
 

Family and children

 
Q: Did your spouse or partner have problems adjusting to their new home? Do you think there are any specific challenges for a trailing spouse?
A: I am 17, but my mom and I are new here joining my dad and it has been an easy but different adjustment.  The hardest part so far is the language barrier and the different environment as well as time change.  
 
Q: What are the schools like, any particular suggestions? 
A:  I have heard the colleges here are top of the line, as well as very advanced.  
 

And finally…

 
Q: Is there any other advice you would like to offer new expat arrivals?
A:  It will take time to adjust. I have been here 6 days and everyday get easier and you will find you’re beginning to get the hang of things. Always keep an open mind.  

~Interviewed March 2016