One of the activities available to you just about anywhere you go is reading. For that reason, many expats over the years have posted about this favorite pastime on ExpatExchange.com since the inception of our site in 1997.
So, we’d like to help you explore that a little bit more. To that end, we’d like to know about your favorite expat-related novels. Please participate and help us build out a great section for expats interested in exploring the expat lifestyle through fiction!
Avalanches in Italy Kill 7
There are probably a lot of expats out there who are taking advantage of the winter months to get in some great skiing while living abroad. While we’re all for mountain sports – in a MAJOR way – remember to observe all precautions while you’re enjoying them. Nothing puts an end to an expat adventure like a serious injury
As you may have heard or read elsewhere, seven people were killed in the Italian Alps. The victims included a 14-year-old German skier and, separately, four rescuers dispatched to help mountain climbers hit by an avalanche.
Be safe abroad!
ExpatExchange.com has been online since 1997, and one of the things we’ve learned about the life of corporate expatriates is that how their journeys are managed by their employers changes constantly. Similarly, there are a variety of ways that different companies approach the challenge. One company might handle everything, while another might provide the necessary capital to expats so they can manage the transition on their own.
Here’s an article from theepochtimes.com that covers some of the realities for corporate expatriates. While it has a negative spin overall, there are points that anybody considering their first assignment should keep in mind. An angle I would have included is that at some firms, those that want to be promoted beyond a certain level have to have expatriate experience on their resumes. Certainly, this does not guarantee anything upon their return, but it’s a reality at some companies and one worth mentioning as a critical aspect in the decision-making process for some offered expat assignments.
Just as President Obama has announced a surge of additional forces into Afghanistan, there is another surge on the way, too. Large numbers of future expats are also on the way to help Afghan civilians in need:
“The Army and the Indiana National Guard have turned the windswept complex, known as Muscatatuck, into a simulacrum of a war-torn Afghan city, with a courthouse, a jail and a graffiti-smeared marketplace. While the table-flat farmland around here hardly evokes the Hindu Kush, this is where the government trains Americans who are part of the most ambitious civilian campaign the United States has mounted in a foreign country in generations — a “civilian surge” intended to improve the lives of Afghans.”
Having worked with expatriates for almost a decade, one of the more interesting aspects is the vast number of reasons that drive people to move abroad. As with the civilians who have moved to Iraq, I often wonder about the motivations of, and would to love to hear from, those that have chosen to move to Afghanistan. I think we’ll find the reasons are move varied than one might expect.
A sizable increase in British expats returning home has been attributed to weakness in the British pound. One study has found that this number may be approaching 40%. Spanish expats are experiencing a similar rate, while Irish expats are returning home in droves with a rate of 75%. The above linked article on FT.com also indicates that this weakness in the pound could also lead to expats delaying their moves abroad for retirement.
As a reminder, we are once again promoting our holiday report. We’ve received some wonderful responses and will share them in the near future. Add your expat holiday report now!
The holidays are well underway, and for many expats, that means spending them in ways that they may have never imagined at other times in their lives. This article about Christmas in China. This goes especially for expats spending their first year abroad for the holidays.
For those who are abroad this year for the holidays, or have been before, please take the time to fill out our expat holiday report so that newcomers will have a sense of what to expect. We have received some amazing articles and reports from expats in the past. One of my favorites is about an Expat Christmas in Bulgaria, written by Martin Miller-Yianni. Add your own version of this great, detailed report of what it’s like to spend the holidays in your neck of the woods.
Anyone else a little fearful of what is happening with the U.S. dollar? There is an obvious inverse relationship with the stock market: dollar goes down, stocks go up; dollar goes up, stocks go down. With the U.S. Federal Reserve Board keeping interest rates so low, it doesn’t figure to change anytime soon.
So how does this impact U.S. expats?
Here’s an excerpt of an article from Yahoo News that examines a recent survey that indicates expats in Asia are seeing their costs skyrocket:
“Expatriates in key Asian cities are feeling the squeeze from the weak US dollar, which has pushed up their daily living expenses, a survey showed Wednesday.
“From grocery shopping to restaurant meals, expatriates have seen their purchasing power shrink as the greenback continues to slide, human resources consultancy ECA International said in its twice-yearly cost of living report.
“The report found foreigners living in Japan were the hardest hit in Asia given the current strength of the yen.”
A recent article in Telegraph.co.uk highlights survey results from an HSBC Bank International survey that found that Britain is one of the worst countries for expatriates. The survey showed that expats there complained about many elements of the expatriate experience, including deterioration of health and the difficulty in purchasing and quality of property.
It would be interesting to know the demographics (especially geographical distribution) of these expats in Britain that were included in the survey. For instance, how did those in the London area respond compared to those in other locations?
And what of the 34% percent of expats that felt that they had integrated into local life? One of the constant refrains we’ve encountered on our community from expats that have integrated well into British life is that one has to be proactive there. One cannot simply wait for others to come around with a welcome wagon in Britain.
Canada, Australia and Thailand ranked highest in the survey, while India, Russia and Qatar were reported as the worst. Britain was ranked the fourth worst destination.
Other thoughts on the survey’s findings?