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Old 25.06.2012, 14:54
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Reverse culture shock - Denmark > Singapore > Thailand > Switzerland

Hello everyone and thanks for the opportunity to join this great forum. I have already found a lot of useful information here.

4.5 years ago I relocated from the small town of Bjerringbro in Denmark (population 7,000) to Singapore. It was quite a culture shock coming from a small town to a very big city in south east asia. After 3 years in Singapore I had to try something else. I felt claustrophobic in Singapore and having spent many a holiday in land of the smiles Thailand, my destiny was sealed and when I got the opportunity I moved to Bangkok.

With a population of more than 14 mill. in Bangkok you would expect it to be equally or more claustrophobic compared to Singapore but that was really never the case. I always felt amazing when I lived in Thailand. The food is amazing, the people are amazing, the climate is amazing and not to forget the cost of living is amazing. To be honest I loved it there and one of the explanations might be that I was lucky enough to find the love of my life there.

However over the course of my period in asia I travelled more than 100 days a year. Many years it was around 150 day and it wore me out. The glamour of the business traveller is highly overrated. I am however eternally grateful for all the opportunities it gave me to see the world. In my years there I always worked on contracts and having to deal with negotiating a new contract almost constantly it gave me a bit of stress. Always having to negotiate and worry where the next asignment was going to take me, so I started looking for something permanent and for a job and a company I could stay with for years to come. I wanted a permanent base and a place to call home.

I found my home here (hopefully) and arrived end of May. Yesterday it was exactly four weeks ago.

I am trying to fit in here but the culture shock is a bit more than I expected. Being from Denmark I should know how it would be like but it is still there - perhaps I've just gotten too used to the 'asian way'? So what is this culture shock thing for me well e.g.:

- The climate is a bit depressing and we are in summer not to forget. When I looked at a person in Thailand and smiled, I would get a smile back immediately. When I smile at someone here, they look away.

- The prices here are horrendous. Especially when you are used to eating out all the time and going out whenever you feel like it. Simply not possible here as it would ruin you the first month.

- Everything is closed when I am not working. Sunday is ruhe tag I believe it is called and the 'ruhe' is like a grave.

There are also positives:

- I now actually only have to work between 40-50 hours a week.
- I get 25 days of annual leave (in asia I had 19).
- Everything seems to be working, especially the public transport.
- There's no direct language barrier here.
- The cops here are not the mafia, always wanting instant fines

So all in all I guess it is just a period I need to get through.... and I will for sure...

For now I am still alone here. My fiance is still in Bangkok but she will be here within the next two weeks and I am so excited about that. Not just because she is coming but because I found out - after staying here in Switzerland for two weeks - that I am going to be a dad in January. We simply didn't know when I left. so what a suprise. I am so excited as this will be my first child we have all the papers ready too and will get married as soon as possible when she gets here.

So a new life starts. I found a new home for us from the 1st of September. So new home, new country, new language, new climate, new job, new colleagues, new family sitaution... everything seems to have changed

Hope some of you made it to the bottom of the post. I wrote a lot more than initially planned but that was my introduction. Hope you are all well and perhaps I will meet some of you around somewhere in the future, who knows.

Keep up the good work !!
-
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Old 25.06.2012, 15:02
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Re: Reverse culture shock - Denmark > Singapore > Thailand > Switzerland

congrats and welcome! You will get used to the prices, maybe to the opening hours of the shops and the weather is, well, the weather! I personally find it quite nice, although the beginning of June was really too much rain!

And, being in Basel you can nip over to France or Germany and find cheap groceries, aren't you lucky?
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Old 25.06.2012, 15:05
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Re: Reverse culture shock - Denmark > Singapore > Thailand > Switzerland

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congrats and welcome! You will get used to the prices, maybe to the opening hours of the shops and the weather is, well, the weather! I personally find it quite nice, although the beginning of June was really too much rain!

And, being in Basel you can nip over to France or Germany and find cheap groceries, aren't you lucky?
Thanks I will most definetly go over the boarder to buy meat.... haven't tried it yet but soon will....
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Old 25.06.2012, 15:06
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Re: Reverse culture shock - Denmark > Singapore > Thailand > Switzerland

just make sure you are aware of the limits allowed for meat! And other goods as well...
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Old 25.06.2012, 15:12
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Re: Reverse culture shock - Denmark > Singapore > Thailand > Switzerland

Welcome, I lived in Denmark as a teenager so know (kind of) what you are talking about.

We moved here a year ago and I remember my first visit to the supermarket and walking round with my mouth open in shock at the prices. Once we got a car we did all our main shopping in France, only getting things like milk and bread here.

As an EU citizen you may find it easier to live over the border in France but there are all sorts of reasons (such as tax) to do your homework first.

Oh and congrats that you will be becoming a dad soon!
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Old 25.06.2012, 15:18
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Re: Reverse culture shock - Denmark > Singapore > Thailand > Switzerland

The negatives you mentioned (e.g. stores being closed on Sundays, people not smiling back, etc.) remind me exactly of the things that bothered me the most when I first moved here. I still find it really inconvenient that stores are closed on Sundays here (and close so early other days of the week!), but I guess I finally got use to it. As for the not-smiling thing... Well, I think there are reasons why the Swiss don't (often) smile. But all I can say is... smile at them anyways, regardless of whether or not they smile back. And most importantly, don't lose your personality!
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Old 25.06.2012, 15:26
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Re: Reverse culture shock - Denmark > Singapore > Thailand > Switzerland

welcome to the forum. Thanks for your book of introduction.

Congratulations to you both on your future parenthood.

Hope all goes well with your new home & your partner moving over.
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Old 25.06.2012, 15:41
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Re: Reverse culture shock - Denmark > Singapore > Thailand > Switzerland

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The negatives you mentioned (e.g. stores being closed on Sundays, people not smiling back, etc.) remind me exactly of the things that bothered me the most when I first moved here. I still find it really inconvenient that stores are closed on Sundays here (and close so early other days of the week!), but I guess I finally got use to it. As for the not-smiling thing... Well, I think there are reasons why the Swiss don't (often) smile. But all I can say is... smile at them anyways, regardless of whether or not they smile back. And most importantly, don't lose your personality!
I will never lose my smile I guarantee.... nor my personality. Perhaps if we just keep smiling like we are high we can get a wave going
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Old 25.06.2012, 15:42
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Re: Reverse culture shock - Denmark > Singapore > Thailand > Switzerland

Welcome to the forum and welcome to switzerland! And congrats on future parenthood

if you have lived in Asia, i think it is indeed a cultural shock. When we moved to Switzerland, must say the prices were the biggest shock. it is not even 6 months now, but we have gotten used to the prices. I don't really look at the price now or start converting to the prices that i was used to. Recently my husband went to Scotland and got me some coffee - some half the price of what i pay here but then i cannot keep going back to London to do all my shopping, can I? Like others have mentioned, you can hop over to the border and you will not only find the prices better but also will find a lot more variety.

Nothing being open on Sunday was another thing that upset me initially. But now i feel its a blessing in disguise. Earlier, Sunday used to be the shopping day and before you know it used be dinner time on a Sunday. In the last 5 months here, we have done nothing on a Sunday except laze around and have some good home cooked food (except maybe cycling when the weather is conducive). I think as time passes, you will thank the fact that there is nothing to do on a Sunday, especially when you become a parent.

And yes, hope all goes will with getting your partner here and i am sure everything will look and feel a lot better when she arrives here.
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Old 25.06.2012, 16:01
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Re: Reverse culture shock - Denmark > Singapore > Thailand > Switzerland

Oh! Congratulations daddy to be!!!

Thailand is a dream in a way, I only lived there for six months but I thought I was in heaven!
Coming from Greece, was a big shock since like you I was used to stores being open 7 days a week from early morning till late in the evening.


Switzerland is home though, give it a chance, you'll see! You just need time to adapt. Perhaps try to focus on the positive like stability, it is a
moooouantinous country so hiking/climbing/walking/river rafting, outdoor sports in general can be a great alternative. Winter sports as well.
Oh and my favorite, castles wherever you go
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Old 25.06.2012, 16:11
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Re: Reverse culture shock - Denmark > Singapore > Thailand > Switzerland

Nice intro and congrats on the move!
Yes, life does throw surprises at you where you get to understand and appreciate your own nature and adaptability. Hope you come to terms and start enjoying the new lifestyle here.
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Old 25.06.2012, 16:15
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Re: Reverse culture shock - Denmark > Singapore > Thailand > Switzerland

Welcome! And congratulations on being a daddy soon!
I am also new in CH, but so far so good.
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Old 25.06.2012, 16:26
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Re: Reverse culture shock - Denmark > Singapore > Thailand > Switzerland

Thailand offers great quality of life if you got a bit of cash, I can definitely emphasize with what you write! But there are so many Thais here in Switzerland, lots of Thai stores, restaurants, karaoke places, at least your soon-to-be wife will feel at home.
Chock Dee Khrap!
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Old 25.06.2012, 16:59
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Velkommen til Schweiz.

If you liked Denmark you will love Switzerland.

Don't worry about prices. It is just numbers. After a while you stop doing a conversion to DKR, Singapore dollar or whatever and you get use to it.

Life in Switzerland is great. I love it here and will never move back to Denmark.
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Old 25.06.2012, 17:51
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Re: Reverse culture shock - Denmark > Singapore > Thailand > Switzerland

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Hello everyone and thanks for the opportunity to join this great forum. I have already found a lot of useful information here.

4.5 years ago I relocated from the small town of Bjerringbro in Denmark (population 7,000) to Singapore. It was quite a culture shock coming from a small town to a very big city in south east asia. After 3 years in Singapore I had to try something else. I felt claustrophobic in Singapore and having spent many a holiday in land of the smiles Thailand, my destiny was sealed and when I got the opportunity I moved to Bangkok.

With a population of more than 14 mill. in Bangkok you would expect it to be equally or more claustrophobic compared to Singapore but that was really never the case. I always felt amazing when I lived in Thailand. The food is amazing, the people are amazing, the climate is amazing and not to forget the cost of living is amazing. To be honest I loved it there and one of the explanations might be that I was lucky enough to find the love of my life there.

However over the course of my period in asia I travelled more than 100 days a year. Many years it was around 150 day and it wore me out. The glamour of the business traveller is highly overrated. I am however eternally grateful for all the opportunities it gave me to see the world. In my years there I always worked on contracts and having to deal with negotiating a new contract almost constantly it gave me a bit of stress. Always having to negotiate and worry where the next asignment was going to take me, so I started looking for something permanent and for a job and a company I could stay with for years to come. I wanted a permanent base and a place to call home.

I found my home here (hopefully) and arrived end of May. Yesterday it was exactly four weeks ago.

I am trying to fit in here but the culture shock is a bit more than I expected. Being from Denmark I should know how it would be like but it is still there - perhaps I've just gotten too used to the 'asian way'? So what is this culture shock thing for me well e.g.:

- The climate is a bit depressing and we are in summer not to forget. When I looked at a person in Thailand and smiled, I would get a smile back immediately. When I smile at someone here, they look away.

- The prices here are horrendous. Especially when you are used to eating out all the time and going out whenever you feel like it. Simply not possible here as it would ruin you the first month.

- Everything is closed when I am not working. Sunday is ruhe tag I believe it is called and the 'ruhe' is like a grave.

There are also positives:

- I now actually only have to work between 40-50 hours a week.
- I get 25 days of annual leave (in asia I had 19).
- Everything seems to be working, especially the public transport.
- There's no direct language barrier here.
- The cops here are not the mafia, always wanting instant fines

So all in all I guess it is just a period I need to get through.... and I will for sure...

For now I am still alone here. My fiance is still in Bangkok but she will be here within the next two weeks and I am so excited about that. Not just because she is coming but because I found out - after staying here in Switzerland for two weeks - that I am going to be a dad in January. We simply didn't know when I left. so what a suprise. I am so excited as this will be my first child we have all the papers ready too and will get married as soon as possible when she gets here.

So a new life starts. I found a new home for us from the 1st of September. So new home, new country, new language, new climate, new job, new colleagues, new family sitaution... everything seems to have changed

Hope some of you made it to the bottom of the post. I wrote a lot more than initially planned but that was my introduction. Hope you are all well and perhaps I will meet some of you around somewhere in the future, who knows.

Keep up the good work !!
-
just a quick note to say congratulations. and do brace yourself, just a few of those changes are challenging enough, but to have them all together...
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Old 25.06.2012, 20:22
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Re: Reverse culture shock - Denmark > Singapore > Thailand > Switzerland

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Velkommen til Schweiz.

If you liked Denmark you will love Switzerland.

Don't worry about prices. It is just numbers. After a while you stop doing a conversion to DKR, Singapore dollar or whatever and you get use to it.

Life in Switzerland is great. I love it here and will never move back to Denmark.
I am not going back to Denmark either..... I don't like Denmark very much to be honest but hopefully I will fall in love with Switzerland.

Bit of contradiction in your post... seems like you liked Denmark but don't intend to go back....?!
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Old 26.06.2012, 10:04
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I am not going back to Denmark either..... I don't like Denmark very much to be honest but hopefully I will fall in love with Switzerland.

Bit of contradiction in your post... seems like you liked Denmark but don't intend to go back....?!
Allow me to clarify.

I don't hate everything about Denmark and the bits from Denmark I didn't like is not found here in Switzerland.

Now....now everything is so much clearer
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Old 28.09.2012, 07:44
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Re: Reverse culture shock - Denmark > Singapore > Thailand > Switzerland

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Hello everyone and thanks for the opportunity to join this great forum. I have already found a lot of useful information here.

4.5 years ago I relocated from the small town of Bjerringbro in Denmark (population 7,000) to Singapore. It was quite a culture shock coming from a small town to a very big city in south east asia. After 3 years in Singapore I had to try something else. I felt claustrophobic in Singapore and having spent many a holiday in land of the smiles Thailand, my destiny was sealed and when I got the opportunity I moved to Bangkok.

With a population of more than 14 mill. in Bangkok you would expect it to be equally or more claustrophobic compared to Singapore but that was really never the case. I always felt amazing when I lived in Thailand. The food is amazing, the people are amazing, the climate is amazing and not to forget the cost of living is amazing. To be honest I loved it there and one of the explanations might be that I was lucky enough to find the love of my life there.

However over the course of my period in asia I travelled more than 100 days a year. Many years it was around 150 day and it wore me out. The glamour of the business traveller is highly overrated. I am however eternally grateful for all the opportunities it gave me to see the world. In my years there I always worked on contracts and having to deal with negotiating a new contract almost constantly it gave me a bit of stress. Always having to negotiate and worry where the next asignment was going to take me, so I started looking for something permanent and for a job and a company I could stay with for years to come. I wanted a permanent base and a place to call home.

I found my home here (hopefully) and arrived end of May. Yesterday it was exactly four weeks ago.

I am trying to fit in here but the culture shock is a bit more than I expected. Being from Denmark I should know how it would be like but it is still there - perhaps I've just gotten too used to the 'asian way'? So what is this culture shock thing for me well e.g.:

- The climate is a bit depressing and we are in summer not to forget. When I looked at a person in Thailand and smiled, I would get a smile back immediately. When I smile at someone here, they look away.

- The prices here are horrendous. Especially when you are used to eating out all the time and going out whenever you feel like it. Simply not possible here as it would ruin you the first month.

- Everything is closed when I am not working. Sunday is ruhe tag I believe it is called and the 'ruhe' is like a grave.

There are also positives:

- I now actually only have to work between 40-50 hours a week.
- I get 25 days of annual leave (in asia I had 19).
- Everything seems to be working, especially the public transport.
- There's no direct language barrier here.
- The cops here are not the mafia, always wanting instant fines

So all in all I guess it is just a period I need to get through.... and I will for sure...

For now I am still alone here. My fiance is still in Bangkok but she will be here within the next two weeks and I am so excited about that. Not just because she is coming but because I found out - after staying here in Switzerland for two weeks - that I am going to be a dad in January. We simply didn't know when I left. so what a suprise. I am so excited as this will be my first child we have all the papers ready too and will get married as soon as possible when she gets here.

So a new life starts. I found a new home for us from the 1st of September. So new home, new country, new language, new climate, new job, new colleagues, new family sitaution... everything seems to have changed

Hope some of you made it to the bottom of the post. I wrote a lot more than initially planned but that was my introduction. Hope you are all well and perhaps I will meet some of you around somewhere in the future, who knows.

Keep up the good work !!
-
Hi Buakaw,
Congrats on future Fatherhood, moving from Thailand to Switzerland is nothing compared to becoming a father.
I have a similar background to you - I grew up in the UK - moved to Geneva and then to Singapore - I never lived in Thailand but one of my friends was marrying a Thai lass and I went over for the wedding.
That's where I met my wife and we now have a beautiful 4 year old daughter.
We recently moved to Shanghai, but the company now wants to move us back to Switzerland in January.
I was hoping to meet some Farang husbands and Thai wives on this forum, but there does not seem to be that many.
Hope all goes well in your new home

Chris
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Old 28.09.2012, 09:04
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Re: Reverse culture shock - Denmark > Singapore > Thailand > Switzerland

Is your future wife from Thailand? If so, take very good care of her. You may be feeling some culture shock, but that is nothing in comparison to what she will feel when she arrives in Switzerland - it will seem cold and sterile, probably very lonely. And her family will not be around for the birth or support with the little one after that time. Best of luck to you both.
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Old 28.09.2012, 09:09
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Re: Reverse culture shock - Denmark > Singapore > Thailand > Switzerland

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we have all the papers ready too and will get married as soon as possible when she gets here.
-
Just to say, if you run into administrative difficulties for your wedding (Switzerland needing a hell of a lot of official papers), you might want to look into marrying in Denmark. I've heard (rumours only, sorry) that it was much easier there. Also, from my experience, the danish embassy in Bern is very helpful if you have any questions.

All the best!
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