The working day has a very different pattern in Asia. It’s not unusual for colleagues to take two hours for lunch and then work late in the day.
I’m still adjusting to the cultural differences between the US and Asia. There are more rules and protocols here that make interaction quite complex and layered. I’m learning to read between the lines.
The approach to problem-solving is different as well. People get excited by ideas and are willing to pitch in to make them happen, but there’s a natural caution that means more attention can be paid to the obstacles than to finding the path through them. You know you’ll get there in the end, but let’s just say the pace of progress can be frustrating.
Still, I came here for a new experience and it’s interesting to work in an environment that offers new challenges and requires different skills and strategies.
While it can feel a little closed and conservative in some respects, people can also be unexpectedly forward. I have an Asian appearance as my background is Filipino, Chinese and Spanish (I’m a classic American melting pot), and this seems to invite curiosity on the street. People assume I speak their language and try to engage me in conversation, which doesn’t last long, or they want to guess where I’m from. They never get it.