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The world has become a global village recently as more and more people move from their country of birth to go and live in other countries. There are various reasons why people live in other countries with the most popular being for work and to study abroad. Some people are really fortunate to work online and this enables them to live in any country they choose as long as they have a laptop and a stable internet connection.

Living in another country is an amazing experience but there are some things that travelers need to take into consideration. There are many countries across the world that don’t have black people living there and so the natural reaction from mostly white countries is to stare. Most times it’s purely out of amazement because they don’t see darker skin every day. Seeing black people in South East Asia is starting to become more common. Let’s look at some of the other things you should expect in Asian countries.

Hair Care

Asian people have straight beautiful hair and therefore don’t need to use half the products that we use on our hair like relaxers and treatments. Because of this it is literally impossible to find products for ethnic hair care in places like Thailand. There are one or two salons run by black women but they charge a fortune and they are not located in convenient locations, also you have to make appointments to meet them.

I came across this amazing online store that sells brands like Cantu and Shea Moisture. They don’t have a very huge variety but have the basics to keep your hair in a decent state like edge control, sulfate free shampoo and conditioners, leave in conditioners and hair moisturizers. I love shopping on Look fantastic, delivery is also free to all locations in South East Asia and usually doesn’t exceed 15 days for delivery from the date the order was placed.

They also have sales every other week so make sure you enter the code when you checkout your items you want to purchase right before you pay. I missed out on sales opportunities a few times because I never added the code for the day when checking out my basket.

Staring – Prepare to feel like a celebrity

In most cases at least. Truth is there are thousands of black people that travel around the world and South East Asia is no exception. So Asians see black people more and more frequently. However, expect to get the occasional stare especially if you are in a non touristic area. The locals will look on in curiosity and some will look on because they are racists unfortunately. Asian people have been taught that darker skin is a sign of poverty, which is a common misconception around Asia. And so they treat darker skin Asians pretty badly too. Not everybody though.

if you travel around Asia long enough you will see the obsession that they have with white skin. They purchase thousands of skin whitening products to make their skin look whiter because they are ashamed of their natural skin. They also assume that every white man is wealthy and they are often disappointed.

So anyways, just smile back gently and move on.

Religion

The most common religion you will find across Asian countries is Buddhism. 95% of Thailand and Cambodia’s population is Buddhist. The second largest religion here is Islam. Without going into too much detail about the statistics which you can find online on Wikipedia and various other sites, you will find that Christianity is one of the minority religions here. With that being said I have come across a lot churches more recently here in Thailand, indicating that there are actually a lot of Christians here. But most of their churches are in Thai. There are a few English-speaking churches in Thailand like the Evangelical Church of Bangkok and Christ Church Bangkok which are located around the Silom area in Bangkok.

You will find churches in areas where there are many foreigners such as Koh Samui and Phuket too. So if you are Christian just be aware that churches are a little scarce and usually only have services on Sundays and sometimes during the week.

There is also a large Christian following in South Korea according to a number of my South Korean students ( who are all Christians).

Another great option is to tune into pastor Steven Furtick’s sermon’s online via YouTube with Elevation Church. They often have great guest speakers to and the recording plays multiple times during the week.

The Food

Don’t get me wrong here, Asian food tastes AMAZING! But if you have been eating it for 10 months or so you start to miss the food you had back home. There are a lot of western food places and some specialize in hamburgers and wings, but it’s nothing compared to the taste back home.

In Thailand, I couldn’t find anything that even slightly resembled the taste of South Africa’s chicken licken and Nando’s chicken. It’s always the very first thing I have as soon as I touch down at the airport in Johannesburg. There are a bunch of Nando’s franchises in Malaysia though but I haven’t had the pleasure of traveling to Malaysia just yet.

Some spices and seasonings from back home are available so you can whip up a nice home cooked meal whenever you feel a little nostalgic.

You Miss Home

If you have made the decision to live abroad for a bit chances are you will be there longer than six months. Everyone I have met living abroad have been here for two years or longer. I felt like such a newbie only living abroad for 10 months. None the less, you will often miss your family and friends and certain comforts you had back home as you realize that things are very different.

Thank goodness for awesome technology these days like what’s app, FaceTime and Skype that enable you to have videos calls with family and friends!

However, you will make tons of new friends and see beautiful new places and experience new things. If you choose to focus on the negatives and what could go wrong, you will continue to attract more negative circumstances to you. So enjoy the journey and make the most of every day. You only live once!

 

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