Three countries in seven years
For many Western expats the list of destinations for an overseas work assignment often include countries among the developed economies as well as the leading powers among the developing nations. So living in Australia and Indonesia might not be considered unusual for a student and young professional from Germany. However, relocating to Iran – a country whose place in the international community has experienced many challenges over the past 40 years – may very well be seen as a bit of a bold move. That’s exactly the path Tim Rettig has been taking and currently he is calling Teheran home.
On this episode, Tim shares some of his experiences of crossing cultures in his 20s and finding his balance in significantly different environments. He left Germany right after high school and his years abroad have taught him many lessons, which he now shares primarily via his writing – take this blog article, for example:
7 Things I Have Learned In 7 Years of Living Abroad
Moving to the country of the Ayatollahs may not be on top of everyone’s list, if you are from “the West,” where the image of Iran is constructed mainly by news media and is largely incomplete and hardly free from political bias. “Living in Iran is just like living in any other country. If you had any Indiana-Jones type of adventure in mind, then I have to disappoint you completely,” Tim says.
Here are three lessons he learned while living in Teheran:
- The stereotypes created by the media are complete nonsense.
- Doing business in a country like Iran is absolutely dependent on an understanding on local market conditions and the local cultural environment.
- Adapting to a new cultural environment is never easy, regardless of how many times we have done it before.
Connect with Tim via LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Please make sure to also visit his blog on expat life and intercultural communication. Tim also publishes his work via Medium, where he is curating the Intercultural Mindset channel.
During this episode Tim and The Culture Guy also talk about the unique architectural setup of Iranian homes. The book they reference is called “Behind Closed Curtains: Interior Design in Iran” by Lena Späth.
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