iReport: Best and worst things about living abroad

iReport: Best and worst things about living abroad

Readers share their loves, hates and funny anecdotes from their adopted homes
Sherbien Dacalanio
iReporter, Sherbien Dacalanio

Living abroad can be rewarding, bewildering and occasionally painful.

We asked what you loved and loathed about your adopted homes on our iReport page, and we received some fascinating, sometimes funny, responses.

To read more stories or see more pictures go to this story's iReport page.

Germany
Best: Seasonal climate / Worst: Clothes

Germany iReportBest to slice these yourself.


iReporter: Angeline Hwang
Hometown:Singapore

Best:I love the colors of the four seasons and the farm-fresh produce. History comes alive in every village. The low temperatures and low humidity in wide open spaces have charmed me.

Worst: It's taken me nearly10 years (and a lot of wasted clothing) to finally figure out how to dress according to the weather in Germany.

Not a “worst” experience, but my first month in Germany I went to the Rhine Valley to get freshly baked bread. I pointed at a loaf and the lady gestured if I wanted it sliced. I nodded and narrowed my thumb and forefinger to indicate the thickness.

I got home and excitedly unwrapped the warm, crusty bread.

Yikes! The loaf was shredded into strips like noodles. Apparently the old lady thought I wanted my bread cut into noodles, I guess because I was Asian.

Japan
Best: Fast trains / Worst: Getting lost

Japan visaBullet to anywhere.


iReporter: Sherbien Dacalanio
Hometown: Quezon City, Philippines

Best:I love the discipline of the people, the food, the landmarks and the technology. Food and drink are pricey but you can enjoy the street foods like Japanese cakes and sweet corn outside train stations.

I love the bullet train. I ride the bullet train from Tokyo to Nagoya and it’s super fast and the accommodation is relaxing. But I was shocked to see the gigantic advertisement of sex workers/red light district on the streets of Yokohama.

Worst: It's difficult to get around if you can’t speak Japanese. There aren’t enough English signs.

I got lost going to the hotel where I was booked and ended up sleeping inside Narita airport. I was shocked to know that foreigners who can’t afford the hotels in Tokyo, actually slept inside the airport.

I met a French guy who had been sleeping in the airport for more than a month already. He said the cost of living in Japan was too expensive and he couldn’t find work.

Singapore
Best: Hainanese chicken / Worst: Swimwear regulations

Singapore iReportIs that the right color umbrella?


iReporter: Sherbien Dacalanio
Hometown: Quezon City, Philippines

Best:I love the people, food and diversity of Singapore. It’s an English-friendly country and easy to get around. The building designs are modern and elegant. The city can be compared to Makati in the Philippines.

But the best thing about Singapore is the Hainanese chicken, which can be found any where. The spicy fish curry in Chinatown and little India is especially tasty.

Worst:The rules are very strict there. For example, I wore white underwear to go swimming in a public pool in Serangoon, while I was enjoying the swim, three lifeguards approached me and told me that I should wear shorts or black underwear.

The immigration is strict to tourists who come from developing countries like ours.

United Arab Emirates
Best: Camels / Worst: Racial divide

UAE camel"Don't move; maybe no one will notice us."


iReporter: Angeline Hwang
Hometown:Singapore

Best: After 15 years in the United Arab Emirates, I found it difficult to extricate myself from soft desert sands (now living in Germany). I loved the camels, found the locals charming, and was amazed by the glitzy surreal surroundings.

The desert was hot, but air conditioning was everywhere and the humidity is controlled. I made many friends from around the world, my eyes opened wide and so did my mind.

Worst: When I arrived 15 years ago though, I was terrified because there were strange people, strange habits and I was in a strange land. White people had everything going their way, while others fed on leftovers.

Australia
Best: Food / Worst: Navigation

Australia iReportDon't judge an Aussie dish by its presentation.


iReporter: Trishna Patel
Hometown: Denver, Colorado, United States

Best: The food! The best part of traveling is trying the unique cuisines a place has to offer.

By living in a cultural melting pot, I get the opportunity to try all types of authentic food: Thai, Indian, Italian, Mexican, Chinese, Vietnamese, and even African. The amazing desserts are also a perk.

Worst: Learning to navigate your way through the area you live in. Sydney is a big city and the task of figuring out the layout of the city and places to go is daunting.

Although it doesn't take a long time to find your way around, the process can be confusing and overwhelming, especially since the street signs in Sydney change all the time. Initially, it was hard to find the grocery stores, restaurants, entertainment, and which places not to go alone.

Hong Kong
Best: Daily life / Worst: Stereotyping

Hong Kong iReportEven the typhoons are more pleasant here.


iReporter: Elaine Baricante
Hometown: Manila, Philippines

Best: Everything about Hong Kong was fascinating. Typhoons now consisted of strong winds and little rain compared to typhoons back home that consisted of heavy rains and flooding.

No more running out of the house and playing on the streets; if we wanted to play outside, we now had to go to a park or a playground.

I was also surprised that McDonald's in Hong Kong didn't sell rice with their chicken nuggets.

Worst:Automatic labeling -- just because you look Filipino, some people automatically assume you're a domestic helper.

What are your best and worst experiences abroad? Tell us about them in the comments section below.

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