A Month In The Life Of An English Writer In Tuscany - March Reflections

June Finnigan
Columnists - June Finnigan

The continuing adventures of June Finnigan, her Man, and Farty Barty the cat.

Now you probably think that life in the Chianti Hills in Tuscany is very quiet and relaxing. Well, sometimes it is, that is as long as we are not being shaken by an Earthquake, which is so violent that you sleep walk out of the villa and take refuge in the car! Yes, the first week of March greeted us with an almighty rumble and a nerve racking hour sitting in the car, waiting for things to settle down. When we gingerly returned to the villa we were lucky enough to find only little bits of masonry on the landing that had fallen out from between the ceiling tiles.

Then the following night the tempest hit. Horrible strong cold winds that rattled the shutters and brought down trees.   more ...

  Italy - Five Recommended Expat Blogs

Articles - Italy

At Expat Focus, we like to be on the lookout for resources around the web that could help prospective expats adjust to their new countries. Today, we’re taking a look at Italy and some of the bloggers who write about living there.

Surviving in Italy

A hilarious and irreverent expat blog by M.E. Evans, who grew up in Utah before making the move to Italy. The blog covers all aspects of expat life and is refreshingly honest in its refusal to pretend that everything is always perfect. There are posts about cultural differences, about how to travel around Italy like a pro, and about how being an expat influences the big decisions in life, like when – and whether – to have children.   more ...

  Interview with Expat Author Gabrielle Collison

Gabrielle Collison
Interviews - 2015

Gabrielle, please tell us a bit about yourself.

A Londoner by birth, I later moved out to Surrey where I attended Nonsuch High School for Girls in Cheam. Being a rather free-spirited person and finding the constraints and curriculum of an all girls’ grammar school a bit too much, I left at 16 (to the probable consternation of my headmistress) and started an apprenticeship in structural engineering in London. However, after not developing much of a passion for designing oil rigs, I decided to return to academic life and studied Sports Science at university to post-graduate level.

During this time, I became a decent runner, gaining an Athletics National Championship (AAA) medal in the 3000m and various vests for road, track and cross-country. I also spent time as a part-time teacher and coach.   more ...

  Why Every Expat Needs A Blind Date

Nicole Webb
Columnists - Nicole Webb

Those dam butterflies in my stomach… they're persistent buggers!

I try to catch my breath, inhaling, deeply… as our car crawls slowly in and out of lanes, jammed with thick Saturday evening traffic.

We are late. Naively forgetting about the headache of weekend traffic in China, we've severely underestimated how long it will take to get to our destination, normally a 20 minute drive across town.

This was going to make it harder to arrive 'inconspicuously' let alone the nagging fact, the small, subtle bunch of flowers we'd ordered for the birthday girl was China-sized, China-decorated. This means big and garish. Even less opportunity to slide in, in low key style. I breathe.   more ...

  A Guide To Office Culture In Costa Rica

Articles - Costa Rica

You will often hear the term “pura vida” in connection with Costa Rica. It means pure life and is used by the locals as a form of greeting, to express gratitude and even to refer to a person who is friendly. It is reflective of the relaxed Costa Rican lifestyle and is an ideal description of how the locals experience life – as something to be enjoyed and cherished.

Expats are not likely to face much of a culture shock in the business and office environment in Costa Rica, as most places follow western standards. However expats should be aware of some unique cultural mannerisms.   more ...

  An Overview Of International Schools in Japan

Articles - Japan

Japan has a range of reputed international schools that offer diverse curricula for students. Expats often choose to send their children to these schools because they provide international education such as the International Baccalaureate, or they may follow the national curriculum of their home country. The fees at international schools can be high and there may be waiting lists due to limited spots. The application process should ideally begin at least six months beforehand in order to get all the documents ready. Each school may have different entry requirements, and most have these up on their websites. The following is a list of some of the international schools in Japan by location.   more ...

  Preparing Yourself For Culture Shock: Five Cultural Customs You May Not Know About In Egypt

Articles - Egypt

Figuring out what to expect in Egypt can be quite confusing for many expats. Most people across the world have a strange assortment of disjointed facts, myths, and complete fiction associated with Egypt. There are notions about pyramids and pharaohs’ curses, a vague awareness of a cat-worshipping ancient civilization (at least in the minds of most modern cat lovers), and some superficial knowledge of the political uprisings and upheavals of the last several years. Naturally, this fragmented picture depicts Egypt as much more other-worldly than it really is. In reality, Egypt is a modern, developed, diverse country that most expats quite readily adjust to. Nonetheless, it does have many cultural practices that may take some getting used to.   more ...

  Things To Consider As An Expat Moving To Bangalore

Articles - India

Bangalore (now officially changed to Bengaluru, but still popularly known by its old name) is one of India’s main metropolitan cities, among its most modern, developed, and urban areas. Like most of India, Bangalore is a place of great contradictions – dazzling affluence and stark poverty, modern conveniences next to infrastructure that is often outdated and outstripped by demand, and a welcoming, cosmopolitan place that sometimes is tainted by parochialism and prejudice. Bangalore has a large community of expats from all over the world, and is a relatively easy city to settle into, but it’s always helpful to know what to expect, and to consider whether and how you want to make the move.   more ...

  A Guide To The Indigenous Cultures Of Australia

Articles - Australia

The original inhabitants of the Australian continent are known as indigenous Australians, and are thought to have the oldest surviving culture in the world, with what is probably also the oldest surviving religion in the world. These various tribes of indigenous Australians are thought to have descended from the earliest modern human migrants from Africa, and here in the isolation of the Australian continent, they developed their own culture, language, technology, and practices, uniquely different from the rest of the world, and much of which has survived relatively unchanged up to the present day.   more ...

  Stewart McKay, Yau Ma Tei (Kowloon)

Stewart  McKay,  Yau Ma Tei (Kowloon)
Expat Experiences - Hong Kong

Who are you?

My name is Stewart, and I am an English teacher currently living in Hong Kong. I'm originally from the UK.

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

I moved to Hong Kong just over 3 years ago. I always intended to move abroad, to teach English, and a job came up here before anywhere else.

What challenges did you face during the move?   more ...


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