HCMC Dining Guide

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Next Stop

The second most-common question I get here, after "How long have you been in Vietnam?", is "How much longer will you stay in Vietnam?" Every expat hears these questions regularly, both from other foreigners and locals. While I don't have a precise exit date yet, I do know I will be leaving sometime next summer, most likely July, though that depends on a couple of outside factors. Of course, the next question is, "Where's next?"

While I still have a while to decide, I have spent some time thinking about an answer. Returning to the U.S. at this point is unlikely since jobs, especially in the writing/publishing industry, are hard to come by. Plus there's other parts of the world I want to live in first. I'm only 24, I've got plenty of time to head back to the States at some point. One of the top contenders is Prague, a city I visited and immediately loved back in 2010.

Another strong potential is Seoul, South Korea. I've met a lot of people here who previously lived there and I've heard nothing but good things. I'm spending four days there next month in what I'm half-seriously calling a 'try-out' - I'll see what I think of it and that could help me make a decision. A video I watched this morning made me even more interested in Seoul - the first episode of a new TV show focused on the lives of expats in the South Korean capital and megacity. I already knew Seoul was vastly different from Saigon, but this interesting look at the lives of four foreigners really highlighted some things I don't like about my current city. In one scene three of the expats stroll through a huge, peaceful park. Those don't exist here. People were also wearing long-sleeves and pants and not sweating. While I like dressing casually, I'm tired of the exact same temperatures 365 days a year. I need seasons! (and not just wet and dry) Finally, it seemed from the video that there is more of a creative expat culture in Seoul. While there are people doing cool things here in Saigon, it seems that the majority of people are content to just sit around drinking and going to the same tired clubs every week (The fact that this show exists is a perfect example, as there is nothing remotely similar here in Vietnam.) I can't wait to check out Seoul first-hand in a few weeks - though the winter cold is going to be a slap in the face at first.

Check out this show, it's well worth a watch:
Episode 1: "The Expat Life" from Semipermanent on Vimeo.

4 comments:

  1. Hey Mike I'm thinking about moving to Hong Kong after uni so I wanted to ask how it was leaving your family behind and moving to a country where you didn't know anybody and didn't know the language? I always thought it'd be easier to move to places like UK or the US but when I look at you and other people I think when could they why can't I btw I'm from Prague and it's a great city but there are better places Seoul is a good choice

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    1. It can be tough at first, obviously. I really wasn't sure what I was getting myself into when I moved out here, I sort of just hoped it would work out. The good thing about moving abroad is that there are plenty of people in the exact same situation, so it's pretty easy to make friends and talk about things that you're going through. Also with Skype and blogs and all of that stuff your friends and family are always a click away, though that obviously isn't the same as seeing them in person. Moving to the US or the UK would definitely be easier in terms of culture and language but they are expensive and it's tough to find jobs there (as I'm sure you know.) I'd be interested in talking about Prague with you. Also I've heard great things about Hong Kong.

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  2. Thank you for your reply it's very motivating actually the only things I'm worried about is finding a job and expensive accommodation cause English is fairly used in HK and I'd be glad to help you I just wonder what do you like so about Prague cause almost everybody I know wants to move abroad after school but I guess that's normal

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    1. I liked how it was so historical, and I loved the pubs and the beer. It was just so different from anywhere I've been, thought it would be a cool place to live for a bit. Plus it's really central and close to a lot other places in Europe I'd like to visit.

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