More Than Words

Aisha Isabel Ashraf
Columnists - Aisha Isabel Ashraf

Same language, different meanings

Before moving to Canada the only consideration I gave to language was with regard to accent; I remembered hearing somewhere that Canadians had a softer accent than their neighbours across the border and I was relieved; easing in gently sounded like a good plan. I was coming from England so it wasn’t as though I was going to be unintelligible to anyone – or so I thought.

I ran into problems on day two. My husband and I were staying in a hotel while we secured rental accommodation. I had a tiny cut on my finger so on my way out to dinner one evening I stopped at reception to ask for a plaster. The young woman at the desk blinked at me and shifted uncomfortably in her chair before giving a little cough and enquiring in uncertain tones whether I'd like an elastic band.   more ...

  Moving To Saudi Arabia - What To Expect As A New Expat

Articles - Saudi Arabia

Moving to Saudi Arabia can be quite intimidating for anyone who has spent most of their life in a Western or liberal democratic country. It’s important that you understand the reasons behind the conservative laws and culture before you move to the country however. Being the birthplace of Islam, with its holiest sites, the nation is extremely strict when it comes to religious traditions and practices. The draconian laws and harsh punishments meted out for any violation can deter most expats, but the fact is most expats don’t visit the kingdom for its vibrant night life or for the welcoming culture! The oil-rich nation offers expats an opportunity to make a fortune with hefty salaries that are tax-free. Most expats moving to Saudi understand that they must trade off civil and personal liberties for huge financial gains, and in so doing accept the responsibilities of life in the kingdom.   more ...

  A Few Tips for Expats Driving In the Czech Republic

Articles - Czech Republic

The Czech Republic is an extremely popular expat destination because of its high standards of living with reasonable costs. The country has an excellent public transport network, but driving is often the most convenient way to get around the country. Choosing to drive in the Czech Republic is a decision you shouldn’t make lightly however, as it has one of the highest rates of traffic accidents in central Europe. Driving laws are also extremely strict, and you need to make yourself familiar with all of the practices and requirements for driving in the country.   more ...

  An Overview Of International Schools in Austria

Articles - Austria

Expats moving to Austria with their families can expect to find a good number of international schools in various different cities. These schools follow the national curriculum of their respective home countries, which is an advantage for expats who may be staying in Austria for a limited period of time before returning home. The fees at international schools tend to be slightly higher than public schools, and there could be long waiting lists too. Negotiating an allowance for tuition fees into the employment contract can be greatly beneficial for many expat families.   more ...

  5 Things You Should Do When Living In China (And 1 You Definitely Shouldn't)

Articles - China

Your stay in China can be many things, but one thing it’s least likely to be is boring. This is a country where unexpected surprises greet you at every corner. The natural beauty is breathtaking and the cities are complex and sophisticated. The truth is that it may never be possible to truly explore the depths of China in just one lifetime; but here’s a list of a few must-have experiences that all expats should indulge in during their stay.   more ...

  5 Things You Should Know Before Moving To Costa Rica

Articles - Costa Rica

Travelling to Costa Rica on a vacation is quite different from moving to the country as an expat, so don’t form your expectations based on your Costa Rican beach holiday! Moving to a new country always presents its fair share of challenges and Costa Rica is no exception. There are various aspects of life and services that will affect your move, so it’s important that you give all of them due consideration before you actually relocate. Whether you are pondering a move to Costa Rica or already have your bags packed, take some time to learn about the differences not just in culture, but also in the standard of living, quality of essential services, cost of living, public transport and so on.   more ...

  February Frolics?

Rosemary Border Rabson
Columnists - Rosemary Border Rabson

Visitors to the Morvan in winter are mystified by displays of crêpe pans, electric crêpe makers and free crêpe recipes appearing in the supermarkets in January. A little early for Pancake Tuesday, surely? Well, yes. But February 2 is La Chandeleur, Candlemas, and pancakes are obligatory.

I can never resist an excuse for a spot of research. According to the official website of France, , Candlemas commemorates the purification of the Virgin Mary and the presentation of baby Jesus 40 days after His birth. Like Christmas, this is a pagan festival which was adopted by the Christian church.

Clicking on Lupercalia took me to   more ...

  5 Foods You Must Try When Living In The UAE

Articles - United Arab Emirates (UAE)

The UAE is a land of striking contrasts. It is both deeply traditional, and also incredibly modern. On one hand, it sits in the midst of the dessert, but it does also have a spectacular coastline. The one other thing that makes this destination stand out is the cuisine. Laden with Middle Eastern traditions that date back centuries, the local food here is simply cooked, but packed with character and flavor. Here are 5 foods you really must try when living in the UAE.


This hugely popular dish of the UAE is such a simple dish, but with an exotic taste.   more ...

  5 Good Reasons You Should Move To Panama (And 1 Reason You Shouldn't!)

Articles - Panama

If you are thinking of moving to Panama, your reasons had better be more than the Van Halen song by the same name, which incidentally has nothing to do with the country, but in the vein of many metal acts of the 80s, had more to do with a stripper and a fast car!

The country Panama redefines the term ‘tropical paradise’ and it is a lot more than a popular tourist destination. Panama is an excellent country for expats and retirees to live in, making it a top choice among immigrants and working professionals from across the world, especially Americans.   more ...

  Learning To Communicate With The Locals in Singapore - Some Tips For Expats

Articles - Singapore

Singapore is the second most popular destination (after Switzerland) for expats, according to a survey conducted by HSBC. This is largely due to the concerted efforts of the Singaporean government to attract expats. The country’s infrastructure is considered to be among the best in the world. The well maintained roads, impressive internet speed, transparent (if rigid) government, and the prevalence of English make it an ideal destination for expats. About a quarter of the people in the country are expats, so Singaporeans are very comfortable with diversity and are welcoming to foreigners. However, although communicating with fellow expats may not be an issue, it is natural that you would face a few communication problems when dealing with the locals.   more ...


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