Matt Forney
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Living in the U.S. vs. Living Abroad


In this video, I talk about why I moved back to the U.S. after my time in the Philippines. I also give my thoughts on living abroad in general, dealing with culture shock and the peculiarities of foreign societies, how to avoid falling into the trap of mindless hedonism, and much more.

Remember to give me your questions for my 30 Videos in 30 Days challenge, either in the comments here or on the videos themselves.

Remember to subscribe to my YouTube channel for more updates. Transcript coming soon.

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  • bucky

    if you learn the language and stay for years, you eventually get over the culture shock, more or less. at least that was my experience in EE and latin america. i’m stuck in the US right now, but if i could i would go back tomorrow. never tried asia though. admittedly, the language problem would be especially difficult in the philippines, give the linguistic situation.

  • Thanks for the response. Great video!

  • I agree.

    I found many other problems in Philippines but language wasn’t one of them, I found the level of English spoken to be quite high. Besides, unlike Chinese, Tagalog is pretty easy.

  • bucky

    i know that people speak great english there. that’s the problem. makes it much harder to learn tagalog, and then even if you do somehow learn it, you have a local dialect to deal with too. sure, you can go overseas and communicate with the people in english, but you’ll never really “get” the country on a deep level if you don’t learn to talk to the natives in their own language.

    in latin america and the FSU, i had a much easier time learning spanish and russian precisely because very few people speak english well in those places. i tried to learn german in austria once, and that didn’t go nearly as well.

  • Also, you don’t have to start over every time you move country. Getting accustomed to the Philippines, for example, would help you to quickly settle in to other Malay countries. And having culture shock anywhere helps you to overcome it the next time it strikes. Like the mumps.

  • Oh, I just saw you wanted questions. It so happens I have one and you might be just the person to answer it.
    How can a grown man get into a real fight without risking death? Cos that’s where I’m at. Also I’m quite good looking so I don’t want to lose teeth, get a broken nose etc. But I’ve never been in a fight and I’m really curious.

  • Some places are a lot more foreign than others.

    If you’re a farang you’ll never really understand Thailand. The roots of the culture extend deeply into a whole different philsophical/religious understanding of the world and existence.

    If you’re a gringo in central America, on the other hand, buenas dias senor!

    It’s different, but there’s enough of a common cultural heritage that you can more or less integrate fairly quickly.

    One’s not necessarily better than the other, just different.

    Maybe the logisitics of travel are too easy now. Guys don’t do their homework like they used to back when there was no other way.

  • bucky

    also true. learning the language and getting over culture shock in ukraine and and latin america not only made me love those places, it also made me see the quirky and annoying things about american culture better. matt spent three months in the phillipines, probably not enough to really feel at home there. at three months in ukraine i honestly despised the place. after a few years there, i loved it. if not for the rampant corruption and brutal winters, i would definitely prefer living there to the US.

  • Brianmark

    If you’re an American, there is no place that easier or better to work for than the USA. There are many opportunities here that you’ll never have overseas. Everyone has a different set of priorities of what is most important in their lives. Being an expat is not for everyone.

  • TJ

    I lived in China for six years and Ukraine for one. I had the time of my life, teaching English and dating. The culture shock abates after a few months and most guys adapt. I may go back overseas when I retire. I liked Asia but for a few years I have to stay here in the USA and it’s bizarre leftoid culture.

  • A lot of countries I have been to, are not good at punctuation. It’s like they just show up when they feel like it. I had 8 dates in Colombia and EVERY date was late. Not a few minutes but like 15 to 20 mins. Well, at least, slept with 5 out of 8 but one was 45 minutes late. I left and came back only because she begged me