American Expat In Cambodia - Expat Interview With Peter

Published: 5 Nov at 11 AM
Want to get involved? Become a Featured Expat and take our interview.
Become a Local Expert and contribute articles.
Get in touch today!
Filed: Interviews,Cambodia
Peter Pfister is an educator and writer currently living in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Originally from Colorado, Peter has worked and traveled widely, throughout the USA, in Europe, Central America, Haiti, Australia, and most recently on the Thai/Lao border, where he taught in two village schools. For many years he taught on the coast of Maine while raising his three wild and wooly sons. Now that they are grown and independent Peter is seeking ways to combine his love of travel and his desire to meaningfully impact the lives of deserving young people. He currently teaches at a non-profit NGO, The Liger Learning Center. Pedter blogs at "Peter In Peter Out" (see listing here).

Peter In Peter Out

Here's the interview with Peter...

Where are you originally from?
I was born and grew up in Denver, Colorado. But I left there 30 years ago. Most of my life lately has been on the coast of Maine.

In which country and city are you living now?
I am living in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

How long have you lived here and how long are you planning to stay?
I have been here three months now, and I have a two year contract. I may stay longer depending on the status of my job then.

Why did you move and what do you do?
I moved here because I love South East Asia for its people, food, and culture, and because I had a chance to be a part of an exciting school start up helping Cambodian children.

Peter In Peter OutDid you bring family with you?
No, but two of my sons will come to live with me at some point in the future

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
It has been fairly easy, but I am a very adaptable and flexible person, and I have lived abroad and travelled often in the past.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
I have made some good friends through my job and also through tennis. I also have a few local friends I have met in various ways. I do often socialize with other expats. Once I learn the local language I am sure I will have more local friends.

What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
There are innumerable things to enjoy about living in Cambodia. There are an amazing array of restaurant choices, and beautiful natural sites to visit not far from the city. There are many guides to the restaurants printed here.

Peter In Peter OutWhat do you enjoy most about living here?
The pace of life and the lovely generosity of the people

How does the cost of living compare to home?
The city is not at cheap as you might imagine. Rents are going up steadily and anything western is expensive. Unfortunately Cambodia must import many goods still, which means they are not cheap.

What negatives, if any, are there to living here?
Traffic and driving can be very hectic and difficult to get used to. There is a lot of poverty and corruption.

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving here, what would it be?
Come and stay for a few weeks and get to know the city before choosing where to live. Study some Khmer- there is a great website called reankhmer that can get you started reading and writing it! Read up on the history beyond just the horrible genocide so you understand why it occurred and the true depth of the culture.

Peter In Peter OutWhat has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
Not being able to help all the people in need that I see and meet.

When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
I have moved back to the States once before after living in rural Thailand. It is not easy because Westerners have such a different set of life expectations.

What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
- Learn some Khmer.
- Read up on the history.
- Be patient.
- Don't judge from a Western-centric position- try to understand the local perspective and then make your judgements.
- Get to know Khmer people- they are incredibly warm and welcoming!

Peter In Peter OutTell us a bit about your own expat blog.
I have two- one about my personal journey of living abroad and going through this chapter of life. The other is about my school- an experimental school.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
Please contact me through my blogs or leave a comment below.

Peter's expat blog called Peter In Peter Out is well worth a visit and has an listing here which would appreciate a nice review if you like his blogging style! If you liked this interview with Peter, please also drop him a quick comment below.
Please share:

Grab a featured expat badge that links to this interview!

Copy and paste code to display the Featured Expat Badge:

Comments » No published comments just yet for this article...

Feel free to have your say on this item. Go on... be the first!

Tell us Your Thoughts On This Piece:

Your Name *
Email * (not published, needs verification one time only)
  • Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • RSS feed
  • Facebook

Articles by Category

Now featuring 633 expat interviews


Latest Headlines