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Articles > Denmark


Expat Life in the Danish City of Odense

Posted on Wednesday June 05, 2013 (17:37:12)
The Danish city of Odense is the country's third largest in terms of population, taking the bronze to Copenhagen's gold and Aarhus' silver. Though the population of Odense only amounts to roughly a fifth of Copenhagen's, it boasts a number of impressive features that make it suitable for those who are interested in the Scandinavian lifestyle, but prefer a compromise between hyper-urbanization and the close-knit 'small town' community.

Odense is located right in the middle of the Funen Island, which itself lies between the isle of Zealand and the Jutland peninsula. As such, the more condescending residents of both Aarhus and Copenhagen sometimes joke about it as being nothing more than a service station along the E20 highway that connects the two cities. Proud Odense residents are likely to return fire by claiming that - as it says on an official website promoting the city - Odense is at the geographical "heart" of Denmark.   more ...

Articles > Bermuda


Bermuda: a Taste of England in the Sunshine

Posted on Wednesday June 05, 2013 (17:02:34)
Situated about 640 miles east of North Carolina, the islands of Bermuda enjoy a subtropical climate and were, throughout the 20th century, a perennial contender in the "world's highest GDP" contest. The island's positioning in the ominously named "hurricane belt," and in the legendary Bermuda Triangle, has not provided enough of a deterrent for a steady stream of new arrivals to the island. For British nationals in particular, the islands have a special attraction. Developed nations featuring an expatriate community of Brits may now be the rule rather than the exception, but not all such nations offer that rarest of commodities in "Old Blighty" itself: regular sunshine with tropical breezes.

Another reason for its attraction to British citizens is the cultural familiarity that comes from the islands' history as a British settlement from the early 17th century, during the reign of King James I. A distinctly English character lives on in many aspects of island life: English is the official language here, and, unlike in Jamaica, there is a surprising absence of local creoles or 'pidgin' English (the other major European languages remain a minority language to keep the tourist industry smoothly functioning). Rest assured, the English language spoken is not of the North American variety either: for example, government officials' names are generally prefaced with "the Honorable…", and they are referred to as MPs rather than as congressmen.   more ...

Articles > Sweden


The Honest Truth about the Cost of Living in Sweden for Expats

Posted on Wednesday June 05, 2013 (16:31:39)
Many would-be expatriates dream of starting a new life in Sweden, and for good reason: the nation has earned a reputation for being at the forefront on technological and social innovation in Europe, as being relatively free of pollutants and other environmental health hazards, and for having unflagging educational standards (such as near-total internet connectivity in schools and the 42% of municipal budget that goes towards education). In the more respected "livability" polls, Swedish cities like Stockholm - which contains nearly a quarter of Sweden's population - regularly make a strong showing (Stockholm is placed 10th on the lifestyle magazine Monocle's 2012 list, for example).

For some, Sweden is also attractive as the nation that features some of the most liberal and/or progressive social policies in the world (even vehement critics of these policies may find Sweden an interesting place in which to get journalistic experience and to generate more talking points). If nothing else, residents of Anglophone nations often find Sweden far easier to integrate into than some other European societies, owing to the high degree of local English fluency and the relative ease of picking up Svenska as a second language.   more ...

Articles > Russia


Finding the Perfect Neighborhood in Moscow

Posted on Wednesday June 05, 2013 (16:24:51)
As the title and central action of the 1980 romance film Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears attest, the Russian capital has an aura of grim determinedness to it that seems to transcend historical eras. It is decidedly not for everyone: for those whose ideal urban experience is something like the bustling neon playgrounds of Tokyo or Kowloon, life in Moscow will require some adjustment. However, for those who are not complete creatures of convenience, and who value the intangibles of urban life as much as material amenities, Moscow can provide an excellent change of pace. Certainly many of the world's highest earners seem to think so, as Forbes notes that Moscow is home to more billionaires than any other city in the world.

Moscow - layout

Moscow is laid out very much in the style of continental capitals like Berlin or Prague, i.e. it is comprised of concentric rings that decrease in functional importance the further they are removed from the urban core. Those residences closer to the core tend to be the more prestigious ones, yet similarity to the layout of American cities differs in that the immediate suburban regions are not particularly affluent.   more ...

Articles > South Africa

South Africa

Which South African City Offers the Best Expat Employment Opportunities?

Posted on Sunday May 19, 2013 (15:56:15)
Cape Town, South Africa
South Africa, ranking 25th in total landmass among world nations, is at the very least a spacious country. Though the best of the nation's landscape is along the coastline, rather than in the brushy flatland that typifies the interior, there is ample room within both the interior and the crescent of verdant coastal land to host several cities with working opportunities for expatriates.


At least two major cities, Johannesburg and Pretoria, are located in the inland Gauteng province, which is easily the richest in South Africa due to these cities' inclusion. Johannesburg is not one of the three capital cities of the nation (these being Bloemfontein, Pretoria and Cape Town), yet is the largest city in the world not to be situated on a major body of water. Since the city annexed apartheid-era enclave of Soweto, it has expanded to a population of nearly 11 million.   more ...

Articles > Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s ‘Unwritten’ Constitution

Posted on Sunday May 19, 2013 (15:30:45)
Perhaps the closest analog to a constitution in Saudi Arabia is its Basic Law, a document divided into nine chapters and a total of 83 articles. Interestingly enough, this places Saudi Arabia in very limited company, which includes the United Kingdom and Israel (though the 1948 Israeli Declaration of Independence states that one should be written, one has never been formalized). Though UK membership in the European Union has complicated its own interpretations of law, Parliamentary dictates remain the highest law of the land. Whereas the United States government is required to either adhere to Constitutional law or to make Constitutional amendments in order to make new laws, the United Kingdom's Parliament is free to pass legislation based on its own estimation of present-day circumstances.

Comparing the 'unwritten' constitutions

On this last note, both the law of the UK and the law of Saudi Arabia have some similarity, in that the current governing body has more say in legal matters than a codified historical document.   more ...

Articles > Qatar


What is the Qatari Government Doing to Make Expat Living More Attractive?

Posted on Saturday May 18, 2013 (18:15:59)
Doha, Qatar
Qatar's significant oil riches have placed it in an elite club worldwide, and it shows no sign of having to become reliant on other industries in the immediate future, as its oil output is expected to remain steady for the next 23 years.

Even without economic diversification - a risky situation that leaves Qatar prone to the boom and bust cycles of hydrocarbon-based enterprises - Qatar's control over 5% of the globe's total natural gas reserves has earned it a first place ranking within the entire Muslim world. Numerous Islamic banks, including Al Masraf Al Rayyan and Qatar International Islamic Bank, are also contributing to a financial industry compliant with sharia law.

The country is also hoping to develop a tourism industry (including cultural or historical tourism) that will compete with, or just be complementary to, that of its much larger southern neighbor, the United Arab Emirates.   more ...

Articles > New Zealand

New Zealand

Enjoy Awesome Activities on New Zealand's South Island

Posted on Saturday May 18, 2013 (18:02:20)
Kaikoura coastline
New Zealand's South Island, though referred to as the "Mainland", should not be confused with other land masses that bear that name: we tend to associate that term with the most populous areas of any given country, and the South Island is certainly not that (less than a fourth of New Zealand's total population lives here, despite the South Island covering a third more space than the North Island).

The island largely enjoys a temperate climate (though with winter and summer months being the opposite of what residents of the Northern Hemisphere expect), though a variety of different weather conditions lead to both a diversified terrain and diversified lifestyles among the South Island inhabitants. Though there are plenty of opportunities on this picturesque isle for doing business, its main selling point may be the opportunities it presents for leisure and adventure.   more ...

Articles > Portugal


Is the Algarve a Good Choice for Expat Professionals?

Posted on Saturday May 18, 2013 (17:54:06)
The Algarve's name originates from the Arabic Al-Gharb, meaning "The West", though travelers from the Western world will recognize it as the southernmost portion of Portugal. When placed on the world stage, the region has plenty to be proud of. For one, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations within Europe: this is an honor it has held since at least the 1980s, and the result of a steady accrual of fame that began when tourism in Portugal shifted away from the traditional thermal spa towns.

The Algarve's tourist numbers quintupled over the period from 1950-1960, and by 1986 it was reported as "the fifth largest net earner from foreign tourism in Western Europe" (and still being advertised, ironically enough, as the "best kept secret in Europe" despite this surge in popularity). The region's geographic position makes it convenient for day trips by Spanish shoppers, whose tightening purses may keep them from going further afield on holidays, and the earlier governmental decision to rename the region "the Allgarve" pointed to its ongoing efforts to court English-speaking visitors from the UK and elsewhere. If we zoom in on a specific region of the Algarve - Vilamoura - we find Europe's largest luxury tourist complex and marina.   more ...

Articles > Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia

Coping with the Extreme Heat in Saudi Arabia

Posted on Saturday May 18, 2013 (12:55:37)
Most of us are probably not under any illusions about weather conditions in Saudi Arabia, and know that living in a desert climate means dealing regularly with some of the most extreme temperatures that the sun can deliver. How extreme, you might ask? Well, the city of Riyadh once reported a record high of fifty-six degrees Celsius, which eclipsed even the daunting record of 51°C set in 1956 (specifically within Dhahran, along the Arabian peninsula).

Over the course of this millennium, in which every single year from 2001-2012 has featured in the top fourteen "hottest years on record" as determined by NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration], much of the world has become accustomed to bracing levels of warmth. Yet even those of us who have experienced these temperature anomalies may be skittish about the normal weather conditions in Saudi Arabia.   more ...