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Articles > Greece


Life As An Expat In Greece

Posted on Friday June 07, 2013 (21:07:40)
by Omaira Gill

Greece had never featured particularly high on my radar of places I wanted to visit. I found myself there in August 2004 after successfully applying to volunteer at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. But Greece is the home of interfering gods and the Fates, and they had other plans for me. What was to be a one-off two week trip ended up turning into a much longer relationship.

On my first day as a volunteer, I met my husband who was coordinating the centre where I was based. I returned to the UK and we stayed in touch. Our conversations became longer and more frequent, and the rest is history.

We managed a long-distance relationship for several years until it came to the crunch – who was going to move?   more ...

Articles > Germany


Getting Set-Up, Integrating, and Living in Germany: A Case Study

Posted on Friday June 07, 2013 (20:56:19)
by Matthew Jorgensen

One way or another, you’ve landed a job in Germany and have an expected date of arrival. Now what? Preparing to move to Germany can seem like a daunting task. For my family and I it was the first time we would live outside of the USA. We had some guidelines from the foundation that was employing me, but they weren’t targeted to people coming from the States so most of the advice didn’t seem to apply. Emails to my contacts in Germany went unanswered for weeks, so we more or less had to figure things out on our own. Here’s how we did it, along with some of the mistakes we made.

The Setup

Money for relocation was very tight for us.   more ...

Articles > South Korea

South Korea

5 Things Expats in Korea Need to Know

Posted on Friday June 07, 2013 (20:02:10)
So you plan to pack up and move to Korea? Great! Just remember, everything might not go according to plan. I had planned to go for one year, and told everyone I’d be home soon. Seven years later, I finally left. I also met people who didn’t last a year, and returned home after 6 months, unable to adjust to life in the Land of the Morning Calm. Based on my own years of experience, here are 5 things every expat should know when they board a plane with a one-way ticket to Seoul.

1. Listen to the Voice of Experience – Maybe

If you apply for a job, talk to as many current and former employees as you can. If a whole chorus of current employees is speaking up about problems with working conditions, late payments or other serious issues – listen to them, and look for another position.   more ...

Articles > South Korea

South Korea

The Korea I Know: Life Through the Expat Lens

Posted on Friday June 07, 2013 (19:32:34)
by Lindsey Coulter

Most new expats arriving in South Korea will do so via Incheon International, a sprawling complex of futuristic terminals and expansive runways. Incheon International is about as technologically advanced as an airport can get, a theme repeated across the country from classrooms to supermarkets.

When this modern, user-friendly Korea is an expat’s first introduction to the country, it’s easy to believe everything else will be a snap. Signs are posted in a variety of languages, everyone speaks English, both Dunkin Donuts and a Baskin Robbins are right at hand and even the train system is a breeze. Newly minted expats depart from the airport feeling generally confident. It’s only when they’re on the ground, forced to make life work in a new land and language that things get a little more interesting.   more ...

Articles > Egypt


The Current Political Situation in Egypt for Expats

Posted on Thursday June 06, 2013 (09:04:11)
The 'Arab Spring' of February 2011 was one that, involving as many countries as it did, generated a variety of different results, and different implications for future foreign policy in the region. The popular anti-authoritarian demonstrations typifying this movement fanned out to Syria, where a civil war still continues to rage, and to Egypt, where the ruler being protested was successfully ousted.

Magazines such as Foreign Policy approvingly published photo slideshows of the events in Cairo's Tahrir Square and elsewhere: images appeared of simple terms like "Facebook" and "Twitter" daubed on Egyptian walls, seemingly evincing a pro-Western attitude on the behalf of the insurgents. Protesters were even spotted bearing witty placards with slogans like "No Mubarak, No Cry" (a clear reference to a similarly named Bob Marley tune). Countless parallels were drawn to the popular uprisings in Eastern Europe at the end of the 1980s, especially the mostly bloodless "Velvet Revolution" in Prague, with commentators noting the common feature of de-centralized protest. Much attention was also brought to the youthfulness of the protesting population (Egyptians under 25 comprise over half the total population) and the implications this might have upon a more democratic future in the region.   more ...

Articles > Cayman Islands

Cayman Islands

Higher Paid Jobs in the Cayman Islands

Posted on Wednesday June 05, 2013 (20:54:43)
The Cayman Islands provide an enviable opportunity for English-speaking professionals to live in a 'tropical paradise', and one that has the highest living standard within the entire Caribbean region (and the 14th highest per capita GDP in the world) at that. The Islands' population, all told, is under 60,000 people with 100 square miles of territory, and it would seem that tropical cyclones present more of a threat here than the usual host of urban social problems (indeed, hurricanes are not to be taken lightly here either, as some of the more famous instances have caused several billion dollars' worth of damage on the islands). Expatriate employees on the islands can justifiably take pride in contributing to their prosperity, since they do make up over 40% of the total workforce, and largely power both the finance and tourism industries.

The Caymans, like many islands of their size, have a reputation for being an offshore banking center - it is one of the world's most notable hedge fund locations, and perhaps the fifth largest banking center overall - so work in the financial industry seems to be a feasible option for the foreseeable future.   more ...

Articles > South Korea

South Korea

The Current Situation for Expats in Seoul

Posted on Wednesday June 05, 2013 (20:27:09)
Seoul Plaza
Upon the late 2011 death of North Korean despot Kim Jong-Il, and the ascendancy of his son Kim Jong-Eun to the leadership of the so-called "hermit kingdom", commentators throughout the free world began to speak hopefully of the possible reforms and fresh outlook that the "Great Successor" (and world's youngest head of state) might bring to that unhappy land. Early signs indicated that the newest member of the Kim dynasty would have a friendlier view towards the West: he was allegedly educated in Switzerland, had a passion for such non-despotic activities as playing basketball (even inviting former Chicago Bulls star Dennis Rodman to the country in recent weeks), and broke with state broadcasting conventions by allowing Disney characters to be shown on national television.

Unfortunately, it was the more skeptical observers, who warned that the boy-king's deceptively goofy and naïve public image did not herald any real change for the country, who would be proven right. Beginning in March of this year, Kim almost casually declared a "state of war" with South Korea (though any major troop movements have yet to be seen), and renewed his forefathers' threats to turn the United States into a sea of fire.   more ...

Articles > Barbados


The Most Desirable Neighborhoods for Expats Living in Barbados

Posted on Wednesday June 05, 2013 (19:46:55)
The warm, breezy and picturesque isle of Barbados is well established as one of the major tourist destinations in the Caribbean (coming in at #4 in U.S. News and World Report's current rankings). It is politically untroubled - ranking only behind spotless Canada in Transparency International's trusted index on corruption - and offers a very high degree of personal freedom (with very minor exceptions like the ban on civilian wear of military fatigues, which are reserved for the Barbados Defence Force).

The administrative divisions of Barbados are known as parishes, of which there are eleven in all. Many visitors, residents and travelers, however, ignore this method of carving up the island and prefer a more simplified division: in this scenario, the island is broken up into Northwest, Southeast, Bathsheba, Bridgetown, and Central Barbados. Whatever one chooses to call them, most of these divisions feature pockets of high luxury typified by panoramic scenery.   more ...

Articles > Brazil


Expat Life in Brazil Away from the Atlantic Coast

Posted on Wednesday June 05, 2013 (18:56:56)
The coastal region of Brazil, specifically the southeast portion of it, is home to both of the country's most populous cities in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo (their combined population being around 18 million). Points further north along the coastline do not lag too far behind, either, with Salvador, Fortaleza and others contributing to the situation whereby 81% of the Brazilian population is urban.

Depending on your personal energy levels, the promise of non-stop baile funk parties and wild cultural fusion held out by coastal locales like Rio is not always a fair trade-off for peace of mind. Fans of Sebastião Salgado's documentary photography or Jose Padilho's Elite Squad films, while certainly not possessing any insider knowledge about Brazilian city life, are already familiar with the problems that can haunt these cities: the former's stark depictions of urban poverty, and the latter's dark portrayal of a cops-and-robbers urban landscape in which it's difficult to tell who the "good guys" are, have relegated the coastal mega-cities to "nice place to visit, but…" status for many.   more ...

Articles > Norway


Never Mind Oslo, See What Bergen Has to Offer Expats!

Posted on Wednesday June 05, 2013 (18:02:59)
It is almost a given that one of the leading Scandinavian cities, be it Stockholm or Oslo, will always have a place on those hotly debated annual lists of the world's "most livable" cities.

These cities' ongoing technological innovation; their attempts at housing disparate cultures all under the same roof; and their bountiful possibilities for self-improvement have raised them to the "global city" status that almost guarantee them a sizable expat population for years to come.

However, it is this very popularity and centrality to global affairs that can paradoxically be their undoing. Life in Oslo can come with many of the same inconveniences that often plague life in the commercial, financial and media hubs of any given country.   more ...