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Articles

Articles > Italy

Italy

Should Expats Be Concerned About the Italian Economy?

Posted on Friday May 03, 2013 (10:40:48)
In recent years, Italy has seemed to outside observers like a country in constant, chaotic flux, with the recent governmental transition being major proof of this. The recent chaotic general election in the country, which generated no fewer than five inconclusive ballots, finally ended on April 20 with the re-election of Giorgio Napolitano.

However, it is not the indecisiveness and / or apathy of the electorate which is the problem, so much as the economic situation which may be exacerbated by lack of confidence in whatever governmental coalition Napolitano manages to form. The Economist reports that the country is staring down a debt of €2 trillion, prompting worries throughout the continent of a here-we-go-again bailout plan similar to those affecting Greece and Cyprus.   more ...

Articles > United Arab Emirates (UAE)

United Arab Emirates (UAE)

UAE Labor Laws: Getting Things Right

Posted on Friday May 03, 2013 (10:05:46)
The United Arab Emirates, as of a 2011 Al Arabiya report, was host to nearly 4 million foreign-born laborers from sub-Continental Asia, the Arab world and elsewhere, with an expatriate population of twice that number (and, just as a reminder, the vast majority of UAE residents do qualify as expatriates). The majority of the foreign-born workforce does not have professional qualifications, however, with the same report claiming fewer than 230,000 residents with university degrees. One could interpret these numbers as saying that the demand for skilled / educated labor within the country is still substantial enough to reward a professional interest in the country.

Out of the three incremental "waves" of migrant labor to have appeared in the country, the latest wave - initiated by a sense of competition between Abu Dhabi and Dubai over mega-development projects - briefly resulted in a state where "even laborers were in short supply". Though there is some argument as to whether this construction and development wave has crested, the UAE may still present an attractive option to adventurous professionals with future-building aspirations.   more ...

Articles > United Kingdom (UK)

United Kingdom (UK)

A Newcomers' Guide to UK Accents

Posted on Friday May 03, 2013 (09:19:53)
The English language, given its unparalleled distribution throughout the world, has become such a complex and syncretic beast that we can sometimes wonder if it might be better to classify some of its most esoteric variants as different languages altogether. From the intentionally un-grammatical constructions of Internet message boards to the Rasta argot of Jamaica (in which the phoneme "I" is substituted for other phonemes with disagreeable connotations), it is sometimes fascinating to see how far the language can be bent without breaking.

Even single deviations from a rule - such as the habit of some New Zealand residents to pronounce all vowel sounds like the "i" in "dig" - can dramatically alter the perception of the language as something familiar. Of course, one doesn't have to travel far from the historical birthplace of the English tongue to encounter a very non-standardized English that is at odds with the Queen's English of BBC broadcasters, or for distinct dialects that might be mutually unintelligible.   more ...

Articles > United States (USA)

United States (USA)

Expat Life in the US Bible Belt

Posted on Friday May 03, 2013 (09:02:07)
The U.S. 'Bible Belt', that vast landmass stretching from Texas to Florida on the east-west axis and going as far north as the states of Missouri and Virginia, is an area typified by its social conservatism and Protestant piety. The term has been a pejorative one since the beginning (claimed as the coinage of notorious literary crank H.L. Mencken), and to this day one is still much more likely to hear the phrase being used by an opponent of this conservative Protestantism than by an actual proponent of it.

Most of us have probably heard the horror stories that give this region its reputation for intolerance, from the cruel political theater of the Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas to the decades' worth of documentary exposes on the corruption of "tent revival" preachers and "faith healers". The disclaimer to this, as always, is that the American news media's unwritten policy of "if it bleeds, it leads" tends to favor tragic and debate-stoking stories rather than ones highlighting virtuous conduct and maintenance of peace. Yet none of these stories is entirely false, nor is it an exaggeration that the influence of Christian mores on this area stands head and shoulders above that of northern and continental Europe.   more ...

Articles > Singapore

Singapore

Typical Family Life for Expats in Singapore

Posted on Friday April 26, 2013 (19:31:15)
A number of expats choose to live in Singapore, especially compared to other areas of South East Asia, because of the easy transition to the new way of life, the good safety levels and high standard of education and employment. Expats claim that Singapore is something of a home from home for them. It offers a multi-cultural feel but is a good option for family life, with safety and cleanliness both top priorities.

Education

An important factor for parents is education and Singapore offers exceptional learning opportunities for children. Due to its excellent reputation, competition for places is becoming more intense. The local schools have well-behaved pupils with excellent results. Pupils learn English and Mandarin during their education and are often high-achievers.   more ...

Articles > United States (USA)

United States (USA)

Dealing with the American Healthcare Insurance System

Posted on Friday April 26, 2013 (16:08:58)
British expats moving to the US must ensure that they have comprehensive health insurance coverage. While the UK benefits from the National Health Service (NHS), medical care in the US is, and always has been, a private business. The cost of treatments if you take a risk without being fully covered, are not recommended. One day in the hospital can easily run up to $4,000, even the simplest of treatments and surgery can rack up bills up to $50,000, and a major illness higher still.

What type of cover do I need?

The insurance cover you need depends fully on your personal circumstances. Factors include which city and state you are moving to, your employer, your family, as well as health questions such as any pre-existing medical conditions, the health of your parents, your habits (e.g. smoking) and how much exercise you do.   more ...

Articles > Switzerland

Switzerland

Why Switzerland Can't Be Beaten for a Healthy Expat Life

Posted on Friday April 26, 2013 (14:57:02)
In terms of overall well-being and health, Switzerland ranks among the top countries in the world. According to the Better Life Index, which looks at factors such as employment, education and health, Switzerland offers a high quality of life and is an excellent choice for expats.

Many people in the UK choose Switzerland for a new life, as the people are similar to Brits in their mannerisms and habits and a lifestyle change does not cause too much upheaval. People from the US or Australia will have to adapt to the way of life, and the local people can be reserved.

Employment is a key draw for expats. The average person in Switzerland earns more than the average American and although the gap between the richest and poorest is high, there are opportunities available for all and tax is low, which is always a bonus for an expat. Career opportunities in the country are good, with 79% of people aged 15 to 64 having a paid job. This is above the global average and the work-life balance within the country is reported to be good. Many expats find work in the finance sector of the country.   more ...

Articles > Malaysia

Malaysia

What to Expect from the Malaysian Way of Life for an Expat Family

Posted on Friday April 26, 2013 (14:48:49)
Malaysia welcomes expats with open arms and as a result, they have flocked here to enjoy the beautiful weather, affordable living and high quality of life for families. It is said to be one of the best countries in Asia for expats.

Malaysia consists of two regions, Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia (separated by the South China Sea) and boasts beautiful landscapes, from mountains to the ocean, with something on offer for everyone’s tastes and lifestyle needs. The majority of expats decide to settle in Penang and Kuala Lumpur, where various organizations are available to assist the move for expats and in helping families adjust to Malaysian life. There are also a number of expat clubs available to help families integrate with other expat families.   more ...

Articles > United Arab Emirates (UAE)

United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Dubai Aside: Other Great UAE Towns for Professional Expats

Posted on Friday April 26, 2013 (14:43:42)
Abu Dhabi
The world has been hit by huge financial problems in recent years, but the numbers of professionals flocking to live and work in the UAE have increased. Dubai tends to be the place of choice for expats, due to the high standard of living and safety, as well as a cosmopolitan feel and of course the tax free income. However, there are alternative choices available in the UAE for working professionals other than the world-famous city of Dubai.

The UAE consists of seven emirates (the equivalent of principalities), namely Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain. This article is going to take a look at two alternative options for you to consider if you are investigating the possibility of living in the UAE as an expatriate.   more ...

Articles > Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Will the Hong Kong Healthcare System Be Adequate for My Expat Family?

Posted on Friday April 26, 2013 (14:38:17)
Medical standards and the health care system differ hugely from Hong Kong to the mainland of China, and are arguably far better. The outbreak of the SARS virus still haunts Hong Kong in terms of reputation, as over 250 people died in the city. However, having been free from the virus for over seven years, the health of the city is high; in fact it enjoys the second highest life expectancy in the world (at 86 years old for women and 80 years old for men).

Public healthcare

The set-up of healthcare in Hong Kong includes over 40 public hospitals and 74 primary care clinics serving Hong Kong's seven million people. Training and teaching is of a high quality and expats tend to choose to be treated at public hospitals rather than at private facilities. To access the public health care system in Hong Kong, expats need to obtain a local ID card to gain various benefits. The 74 clinics generally offer walk-in appointments, rather than having to book in advance and GPs are available here. This is a bonus for Hong Kong and often better than healthcare services in the US and even the UK.   more ...