If you are one of the fortunate few that have accepted a foreign posting to exotic South East Asia, this article was written with you in mind. Living and working in a foreign country can be very stressful, especially in a non-English speaking nation like Thailand, and in order to help you prepare, here are a few important aspects to consider when working in a foreign country.
- Understanding & Respecting the Culture – This is very important, as if you are going to live and work with local people, you need to have a basic understanding of their culture, and the Internet is full of resources that will give you a deeper understanding of the country, its people and culture.
- Learning the Language – If you are posted for 2-3 years, then make a point of learning the local language and the locals will respond warmly to this. The more you practice speaking and listening, the faster you will progress, and while no one would expect you to be fluent after a couple of years, you should be able to have a basic conversation.
- Child Education – If you are bringing your family along, it is quite easy to find a top-rated British school in Thailand, simply search online and a list of international schools will magically appear. Your employer should pay for your child’s education, and that’s good news because international study is never cheap, and regardless of the year your child has just finished, he or she can start the next grade in the international school.
- Health Insurance – This is something to discuss with your employer, and more often than not, the company will take out a comprehensive health insurance policy for you and your family. Do check, as you would not want to be living abroad and get sick, as costs can be enormous, especially if you require surgery.
- Business Culture – If you are relocating to an Asian country, you would do well to enroll in a short course about the culture and how to be polite in a business environment. Your boss might have already covered this, as it is in everyone’s interest that you are knowledgeable about the culture and customs; failing that, search online for specific articles on business etiquette in that country.
- Accommodation – You should expect this to be in the upper range of places, either a detached house for a family, or a modern condo that is fully furnished. Some companies simply pay the rent, while others give you a monthly accommodation allowance, which leaves you free to rent your own place.
As soon as you are offered a foreign posting, start searching online and learn about the customs and culture of your soon to be home for a couple of years. This will stand you in good stead, and the posting should be a memorable experience and who knows, you might wish to stay there for an extra few years.