Tech Tips & Tricks For Living As An Expat For A While

Tech Tips & Tricks For Living As An Expat For A While

Range Govindan
Sep 10, 2010

Back in 2006, my wife and I took the decision to go to Taiwan to teach for a few years. We didn't really know how long we'd stay, but we knew that we needed a change of scenery. Leaving your home to live in Asia is one of the best things that we've done. It's been a few years, and we're actually in the process of moving back. Here are some of the tips and tricks that we've discovered.

1. Take As Much As Possible
We came to Taiwan with our suitcases bursting with things. We packed all of our heaviest stuff in our carry-on luggage so that we could escape expensive baggage fees. I had packed a 17-inch LCD monitor, Xbox 360, 17-inch laptop, DVDs, and games.

2. Use Blogs and Social Networking
The best way of getting information about living abroad is reading a lot of expat blogs. Before we left, we talked with a few bloggers and expats that had been living in Asia for a while. If you've got acquaintances or friends already living abroad, they might be able to recommend you to some jobs or opportunities that you wouldn't normally find.

3. Applying to Jobs Before You Leave
Depending on where you go, it's always a good precaution to organize some job interviews before you leave. You can easily use recruiters who will pipe you into a job that will be waiting when you arrive. The good part about this is that they will help you organize with transportation, renting an apartment, and settling in. Having said this, if you're the adventurous type, you should just pack your bags and leave. Recruiters are hit and miss. By applying to jobs yourself, you'll get a much better picture of what's available. Check out the online websites that specialize in the country you're interested in. For Taiwan, it's Tealit.

4. Breaching the Language Barrier
It might be surprising to hear, but living in a country where you don't really speak the language isn't really that much of an issue. You can always get around this fact, if you're smart. Using Google Translate on your smartphone, miming, using an electronic dictionary, printing stuff out, there are numerous ways you can breach the language barrier in a foreign country.

5. Buying Tech Locally
Most of the tech is somewhat cheaper in Asia. There are lots of things available that you'll be able to get at great prices. The trick is to stay away from the heavier items that you won't be able to ship home. This means mobile devices, laptops, and cameras.

[images via National Geographic, Fox Nomad, The Bees Knees, Pitch]

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