Still in its infancy, the podcasting movement is already providing remarkable information and entertainment to both broad and niche audiences, and the expat world is becoming increasingly covered. Podcasts, in case you aren’t yet familiar, are basically radio shows (sometimes video shows) that are free and can be automatically downloaded to your computer as each new episode is released.
When I was preparing to move to Bangkok in 2010 I heard about something called the Bangkok Podcast that had just started up, and a few minutes into the first episode I listened to I was hooked. That podcast series was specifically built to help new or future expats find their way in the craziness of Thailand’s capital, and all the 70 or so episodes are still online and will remain a valuable resource.
Hosts Anthony Joh and Greg Jorgensen make for an excellent team, largely because one of them (Anthony) had just arrived in Bangkok shortly before launching, so new expats can experience the adaptation process along with him. Greg, on the other hand, has lived in the city for 10 years or so, and is engaged to a local woman, so listeners also get the perspective of an “old-timer” who has much of it figured out.
It’s definitely a shame that the Bangkok Podcast appears to have ended its run in September 2011 when Anthony moved to Tokyo, but those episodes are still so valuable that they should be required listening for anyone considering a move to the city, as well as newcomers. Their extensive Thai Language Series is surprisingly entertaining even for those not interested in actually learning Thai because they concentrate on the method and the impact rather than on actually teaching language on the show.
Moving to Tokyo
I listened to all of the Bangkok Podcast episodes, even long after I’d move on from Bangkok myself, mostly because it’s an entertaining show about a place I spent a lot of time in. I was so hooked that I decided to subscribe (still for free) to Anthony’s new Tokyo Podcast, even though I’ve only spent 3 days in Tokyo and I have no intention of moving there.
Now only 16 episodes in, Anthony is courageously putting himself out there even more on the Tokyo Podcast by hosting alone. Naming your podcast after a city you’ve just arrived in takes some guts because that’s a time when you are bound to say crazy things. For the sake of other newcomers he’s discussing his first impressions of everything, which should be very valuable to those coming after who’ll go through those same phases. Starting a podcast aimed at newcomers after you’ve been there for years would sound quite different.
Finding other expat podcasts
Doing just a bit of Googling “(city) podcast” or “(city) expat podcast” shows that there are quite a few others doing similar things, but I can’t vouch for them not having listened to them. I’d think that for most larger cities with expat populations there would be someone doing something similar already, or they’ll be starting soon. The only equipment needed is a computer so anyone could potentially start one themselves.
The podcast format itself makes for a perfect match with subjects like this since almost all of them can vary in length from one week to the next. A quick subject might conclude in under 30 minutes while a deeper subject could run well over an hour. Most are commercial-free as well, so while they aren’t a great way of making a living yet, they are a solid resource and entertainment choice for the expat communities around the world.