Richard in Ho Chi Minh City: "People here are friendly"

Expat interviews
  • Richard in Ho Chi Minh City
Published on 2016-05-12 at 00:00 by team
Richard comes from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Music teacher, he settled in Ho Chi Minh City in September 2013 following several trips. Nowadays, he also runs a trading business.

Where are you from, Richard, and what are you doing nowadays?

I am a Malaysian national of Chinese origin. I come from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I officially moved to Ho Chi Minh City in September 2013. I have been to Ho Chi Minh City a few times before and have chosen to set up a new trading business in this city. I am also a music teacher. In fact, I have always been teaching back home.

Why did you decide to move to Vietnam?

I was looking for a market with great potential. I also wanted a change of scenery.

How was the moving process?

It was easy for me as my home country is less than a 2 hours flight away.

What were the procedures you had to follow to be able to settle in Vietnam?

There are many procedures to follow. Most company will get agents to take care of procedures relating to working permits and visa applications.

How did you find an accommodation? website was of great help.

Is it easy for an expat to find a job in HCMC?

In my case, it was easy as I have the qualifications and experience needed.

Did you face some difficulties to adapt to your host country (language, culture, dos and don'ts)?

In the beginning, most expats will find local cultures strange and different. I was amazed, even being an Asian myself. But nowadays, I find no difficulty in abiding to social rules and be part of the local people.

What surprised you the most in HCMC?

The traffic at first! But I learned to ride a scooter here and nowadays I ride like a local.

Is it easy to meet new people in HCMC? Any advice?

People here are friendly. But I decided to organize gathering for all expats and locals every month anyway. Nowadays, we have monthly gatherings, regular charity events, one-day trips, barbecues, movies, nights out and even just a simple dinner get-together.

Could you please share with us something you like about HCMC and something you don't like ?

There is no perfect country. I like the food and the people here. We just ignore what we don't like and accept everything as it is.

A common belief about Vietnam which wasn't right:

Funny story my friends told me that Vietnamese like to eat dog meat. This is obviously not true for all of them. Many Vietnamese love their dogs too.

What do you miss the most from Malaysia, your home country?

My local food, family and friends.

What does your typical day as an expat in HCMC look like?

I regularly meet people, we have discussions and meet more people.

What do you do in your spare time?

I really like to organize activities for expats and locals.

Which advice would you give to people wishing to live in HCMC?

Do some research about the country first, as well as on qualifications needed to qualify for a visa and work permit before coming.

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