International Moving Quotes

American Chinese Food in Shanghai

Expats all over the world, regardless of nationality, are likely to experience some sense of need for a taste of home. Sometimes, that means literally a taste of home. A few American expats opted to open their Chinese American restaurant Fortune Cookie Shanghai in Shanghai rather than in the U.S. For those of us that have lived abroad or worked with expats for any period of time, that actually makes a lot of sense:

While dishes like these are familiar to American expats, they’re an anomaly in China. They were developed by Chinese immigrants from Canton to the U.S. during the 1800s, who adapted their cuisine due to a lack of ingredients from their homeland, as well as the need to cater to the American palate.

Chinese American food is, in a way, distinctly American. So it makes sense that expats would flock there. It offers just enough comfort while also offering elements of Chinese culture. It’s almost denial… “I need something American, but it’s not really American, is it? Well, kinda.

There are some comments in the article from a food critic that highlight some of the differences in the actual food. And these are followed by an expat relating just what we’ve described above:

…[The] nostalgic expats who flock here on weekends, [are] drawn in part by the fun atmosphere and interior design by Studio 1:1.

Hart Hagerty, a Shanghai-based American fashion designer and consultant, says she comes here when she needs some indulgent comfort food.

“It feels like a taste of home,” she said.

So it’s not just the food… it’s also the decor, the experience, and a little bit of comfort for those living thousands of miles from home.

I also like the comments that the local populations are also enjoying the food. So, Chinese people come to the U.S., blend their culture with American culture, and then this new creation is brought back to China. Exporting the “melting pot,” anyone? Love it.

The impact of Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) continues to ripple around the globe, and the fallout for expats seems to be growing. A recent article on CNN.com highlights how U.S. expats are being locked out of a number of foreign banks as (FATCA) rolls out:

The U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, which requires businesses to report all assets held by Americans, aims to recoup the hundreds of billions the U.S. says it loses each year from tax evasion. But it’s also leading global banks big and small to dump U.S. customers rather than wrestle with the complicated law.

“U.S. citizens living abroad are really having a hard time with their banks,” said Gerard Laures, a partner in the financial services tax division at KPMG.

Proper compliance — which means reporting everything from basic savings accounts, pension funds, investments, and more — could easily cost institutions millions each year, he estimated. And penalties are severe; businesses face a 30% tax on U.S.-sourced income if they fail to comply.

This is an important story for expats to follow. How foreign banks are able to resolve the burden of meeting FATCA’s requirements might determine the quality of services available to you in the future. Stay tuned.

Expat Books — Joshua Wood @ 12:11 pm

Prague at Night

Expat summer reading can be found in Caleb Crain’s debut novel, Necessary Errors. The new novel depicts the expat experiences of Jacob in Czechoslovakia.

Passivity is an essential part of the expat experience: Jacob, like many wide-eyed foreigners, isn’t doing things so much as allowing things to happen to him. That’s hard to energize in fiction, but “Necessary Errors” thrives on Crain’s depth of understanding of the economic dynamic, and on his close study of social and romantic entanglements. The novel can be slow going at times, not because Crain is a plodding writer but because he’s a patient one, calibrating the story’s pace to the rhythm of Jacob’s life. (When he pays a visit to go-go Berlin early on, the story noticeably quickens.)

There have been a number of positive reviews for Crain’s book, some of which even invoke Hemingway’s name. Could this be because he’s a writer of that caliber, or because he’s writing about his experiences in another country? Go ahead and read it, find out for yourself, and share your thoughts on ExpatExchange.com!

Expat Tax & Finance,Expat Trends,Living Abroad — Joshua Wood @ 12:09 pm

U.S. Passport

Expats are more willing to renounce their citizenship than in the past. Although the actual number of people remains small, this continuing trend is alarming:

The main trigger for cutting ties with U.S., several lawyers say, is the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or Fatca, which requires foreign institutions to disclose the overseas assets of U.S. green-card holders and citizens to the U.S. government. The main objective of Fatca is to identify people who may be evading taxes through offshore investment vehicles.

There have been reports that American expats have been pushed out of business deals due to FATCA, and have encouraged expats to do their research so that they fully understand their available options that exist to help preserve capital without running afoul of the law.

Expat Lifestyle,Expat Security,Living Abroad — Joshua Wood @ 12:27 pm

Expats Arrested Playing Poker in Thailand

More expat woes after several expats from America and several other countries were taken down in a “poker sting.” Gambling is apparently a no-no in Thailand, and these expats are now facing the consequences:

An illegal live poker game was raided by police in Thailand Sunday morning, resulting in the arrest of 9 foreign nationals and two Cambodian Casino workers who were acting as host and dealer for the game…

… All those arrested have been charges and await court appearances.

When someone is not in his home country, he needs to think about what it would be like to be in the position in which these expats find themselves. Always ask yourself: is it worth the gamble?

Paris Cafes

There are expats the world over who have found out the hard way that life abroad is not always what it seems. Our forums at ExpatExchange are rife with first-hand stories posted by expats that find that living overseas is not what they thought it would be. A recent article on Dailymail.co.uk about unhappy British expats in France explores that reality.

But with familiarity came disenchantment. The croissants were sometimes stale, the women not always glamorous, there were supermarkets alongside the street markets and fast-food joints next door to the traditional bistros. In short, she began to notice that France wasn’t quite as French as her first romantic impressions.

As always, do your research, if you’re not yet living abroad. Go vist, talk to other expats and do everything else necessary to ensure you are making a choice that is best for you and – if applicable – your family.

Expat Books,Work Abroad — Joshua Wood @ 12:17 pm

Sydney at Night

It’s never been easier for journalists to work abroad. With the advent of the internet, and with it an explosion of venues to work for, opportunities abound. Here is an article about important considerations for wannabe expat journalists:

Plan in advance: Before you go, set up as many leads and contacts as you can. Let your regular editors know where you’re going and see whether there’s any interest in local stories. Do you know anyone living in the country you’re heading for, however distantly? They could be good starting points for finding stories once you arrive. You may have press contacts who could set you up with travel related activities, or you could set up interviews with local contacts in advance. Check out any events news too, to see what’s going on during your stay.

Lots of great advice for anybody considering life as a journalist in another country. I would also stress the importance of safety: knowing what threats exist, what your options are to meet them, and doing enough research to stay ahead of new problems as they arise.

Many expats believe that they will be able to manage the development of their native language in their children when they move abroad. So what happens when it finally dawns on an expat mother… my child isn’t becoming the bilingual child I had hoped (No English!, NYTimes.com) and is really only learning the language of my destination country:

It struck me: my son, born in Plantation, Fla., but raised in Madrid from the age of 1, is a bona fide Spaniard. He’s chosen his soccer team (Real Madrid). He attends a Spanish school. His cusses are those of any good Spaniard worth his linguistic salt. The prophecies of friends and relatives back in the United States, uttered gravely over the years, were becoming true: If I didn’t immerse my son in my native tongue, Spanish would forever be his dominant language and English, half-starved and scratching at a closed neural door, would remain dimly secondary.

I love the writer’s (the Mom’s!) conclusion to not get so caught up in the stress of “having to” have a child who is bilingual. If the parents feel that pressure, you can bet that the child also feels the pressure. That is a recipe for a child that will push back, and it reads like that’s exactly what the child is or was doing.

Almost all parents often want their child to develop in a certain way or embrace an activity or a sport. And some children will readily head in that direction. Others, however, need their space and will not be pressured into doing something in which they have no interest. In short, don’t feel like there’s a one-size-fits-all solution. A parent needs to read their child and make an informed choice as to what will be best for that individual.

Expats facing smog in China is a recurring theme in articles all over the web. This article in the Los Angeles Times about American expats leaving Beijing due to the pollution levels, however, really grabbed my attention:

After nearly two decades in Beijing, David Wolf knew it was time for a change when his 11-year-old son, Aaron, somberly asked him, “Dad, when you were growing up, did you ever have PE outdoors?”

Wolf had grown up in smog-choked Los Angeles in the 1970s, but even that wasn’t nearly as bad as Beijing today. His son, like many young students in the city, has been kept inside for months, with the luckier children getting the chance to exercise under huge air-filtered domes that their international schools have built.

Worse than Los Angeles in the ’70s? Air filtered domes? Good lord… This reads like a dystopian science-fiction novel.

Living Abroad,Moving Overseas — Joshua Wood @ 11:20 am

Expat Exchange has launched a new expat tips section that enables you to keep track of all the little tips and tricks you’ve figured out as you navigate the expatriate experience. Here

“In Mexico it’s often not easy to find shoes in smaller towns the right size for gringo feet, Also many modern (even high priced shoes) these days are made where the heel and sole are one piece. If you’re like me I wear off the heel portion off first and in the USA since they are one piece I would have to replace the entire sole and heel section and the cost would be high and a shop to do the work hard to find. Not so in Mexico, where my out of country friends come to visit with a sack full of shoes in need of repair. Here, even when it’s just the heel that needs replacing the repair shops just grind off the remainder of the old heel and nail/glue a new heel in place. They usually throw in a free shine and the shoes look as good as new for very little money.”

“I’ve seen a lot of misinformation intended to help US citizens move to Portugal. One point in particular is to start the process from the United States. It can take from 6 weeks to a few months to complete, depending on how zealous you are. While we started the process from Portugal, it cost a couple thousand in legal fees and required a lot of red tape. Review information on Expat Exchange from US citizens who’ve done it right, and note that application requirements to any European country differ slightly from another country’s requirements.”

“Closing and opening accounts – transferring – exchange rates – budgets – utilities – all less-than-exciting parts of moving abroad, but, must be done and you are surely going to learn a lot about finances and your financial skills. Consult with relocation experts, contact and build a relationship with a recommended bank in the new home country and pay no one in cash.”

There you go… everything from relocation basics to shoes… and there is a lot more to be found in the expat tips section. Please do share your thoughts and help yourself and others as we work to build the most useful pool of expatriate tips on the web!

Next Page »
Our Story | Our Team | Contact Us | Submit an Article | Advertising | Travel Warnings