“When you travel in a country, the first thing you should do is try to understand and adapt to the culture…” says our guest on this episode of the Other Expats podcast—Dadje Valere, French-speaking Camerounian, and instrument and control engineer, who has been in Malaysia since 2009.
Dadje talks about how he integrates into society, from being active in the university’s students union and the international students’ community to developing and pushing policies that allow foreigners to be heard in the campus environment.
“The other thing we did was to participate in the homestay program that the Malaysian government was organizing for foreigners to go and stay with local families for some time. So, I spent two weeks with a family in Perlis and that was very interesting because you live everyday life with the people and you really understand that there is not much difference in the way they live their lives and what we have in Africa.”
Outside of college, he suggests that you should get yourself some local friends. The idea is that “you benefit from having local friends because you learn about things that you typically are not privy to because you don’t speak the language. Having local friends means you get (almost) free translation services when there’s information that concerns or may affect you.”
A lot has been said about how foreigners study in Malaysia and expect to find work afterwards, and how that is not always the case. Of course, no one promised anyone anything at any point. According to Dadje, “…even though you graduate from Malaysia; it’s like people are telling you to come here and get training but ‘sorry we can’t help you’ after that.” It’s like “We don’t trust our own training, so go try it somewhere else.”
This episode of the Other Expats podcast was produced by rewordink. The intro soundtrack is by Big Mean Sound Machine, edited by Small Room Productions. Subscribe to the Other Expats podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, Overcast, Pocket Casts and Anchor, and sign up for our monthly newsletters otherexpats.com/subscribe. You can also connect with us and let us know how you feel on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn or send us an email via hello @ otherexpats.com.