Reuters/NYTimes.com just ran a story about some of the television-free options available to U.S. expats who want to watch their T.V. shows from home. While there are more options available to expats other than the ones covered in article, it does a decent job of evaluating some of the hardware and services that can get the job done.
What was more interesting to me is that the article was filed under the “artsbeat” section of the Times. It got me to thinking about whether or not T.V. is actually art. The article mentions “American Idol,” of which I’ve never watched a single episode, and one of the many reasons is that it seems to be more about the business of music and show biz personalities than music. I’ve written on ExpatExchange.com a lot about how every person needs to figure out for themselves what will help them settle in abroad, and if that means channeling some of the banal comforts from our American culture, than so be it.
What I’m most curious about though is how many Americans abroad decide to forgo American television, or television altogether, and how easy or hard is it to make that decision? I’m not advocating it one way or another, but it seems relevant given the research that has established the impact television habits can have on individuals. How does it impact the expat experience?
Crimefighters in Britain reached out to their countrymen in Spain in an effort to help apprehend some of the more hardened criminals thought to be hiding out there. The types of crimes include murder, rape and child abusers. Expats, put on your badges and walk a beat in Spain! (Links to an AP story via Yahoo! News.)
“The British crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers and the Serious Organised Crime Agency made the appeal at a press conference in the southern city of Malaga in which they added 10 new names to their existing list of 17 suspects believed to on the run in Spain.”
Of the initial list of 40, there have been 26 arrests. It’s amazing how the extension of communications and television content across nations has created such an opportunity. With over one million British citizens in Spain, it’s hardly a small market to tap into.
If nothing else, it also reminds us how the world continues to shrink. I’m sure that criminals used to hide out in another country, where a foreign language is spoken, and felt a lot more secure than they do now. Twenty-six out of forty? That’s unbelievable!
Over the last several months, we have highlighted a few articles about problems expats face when they purchase property abroad. It increasingly seems to be one of the major risks of international living. Perhaps most famously, there have been large numbers of British expats that have lost property in Valenica, Spain.
Now, this issue has reared its ugly head again in India. In an article about British Expats losing property in Goa, TimesOnline.co.uk reports that many of these individuals face large losses in their financial positions after following the advice of local lawyers and builders. Charges of racism have been leveled by these expats, too, who report being told to “go home.” Yikes.
As stated above, when moving overseas, every expat needs to be aware of the fact that purchasing land and/or housing abroad carries risk, and an intimate knowledge of local laws should be viewed as compulsory. Even then, these risks remain. Buyer beware.
One of the obvious hazards of an international lifestyle are the health risks associated with exposure to large numbers of people that might have infections that your immune system may find difficult to fight. Commercial air travel has long been one of the prime culprits, as it places a large group of people together in a cabin with recirculated air.
According to this article, expats that fly may be a bit safer with the development of a new air filtration system:
“A revolutionary new air filter could help reduce the spread of swine flu and other illnesses among passengers on board commercial airline flights, British researchers say.
“The aerospace giant BAE Systems has joined forces with a Quest International, a small company based in Cheadle, South Manchester, to develop a machine that destroys up to 99.9 per cent of infectious viruses and bacteria as well as pollutants that can circulate in the confines of an aircraft, especially on long-haul flights.”
My reaction to this article is the same one I’ve had whenever this topic comes up: Airlines don’t already have that? I find it hard to believe no entrepreneur tried to make this work already. Maybe the airlines just weren’t interested?
Experts in expatriate and offshore finances are receiving a large number of inquiries as to how U.S. expatriates can ensure that they will not be penalized, prosecuted or both. This is due to the heavy push U.S. tax authorities are making toward locating undeclared assets and income abroad.
FT.com has put together an article about U.S. Expat Taxes that covers the panic as the deadline rapidly approaches. The article indicates that the a U.S. Senate Committee believes that losses due to tax evasion exceeds $100 Billion annually.
One of the most common bonds shared by expat parents is that the issue of schooling for their children must be addressed in some way. There are various options, and none ever seem to be easy, even if a particular solution happens to be the best option.
We found an article about this reality in China, and it involves home schooling kids there amid an atmosphere of high tuition at international schools and few local options:
“Estherine Chan, administrator of the Shanghai Area Learners Together (SALT), says she has seen a similar rise in the number of families choosing to home school. ‘We have noticed a big increase in the home-schooling population here, and I think it’s for several reasons,’ including reductions in the amount of expatriate education packages because of the global economic downturn, Chan says.”
Once the world economy heats up, it will be interesting to see how expatriate benefits packages rebound.
It would be valuable for all of the families that find their way to ExpatExchange if as many expats as possible post their own experiences in our Expat School Report.
If a large number of UK expats – perhaps as many a half-million – receive a favorable ruling, they would be entitled to receive a larger pension. Some may see their pensions as much as double. While the case was rejected in the U.K., it has been taken to the European Court of Human rights in Strasbourg. Read more about U.K. Expat Pensioners in www.telegraph.co.uk.
Around the world, expat kids are returning or preparing to return to school. Many international schools have seen a decline in enrollment this fall as expats have been forced to cut back or repatriate. Some kids are being transitioned from international schools to local schools, and, therefore, face a much different school experience. To kids, this change can be just as drastic as were their international relocations. Maybe even more so.