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United Kingdom > Articles

United Kingdom

Best Employment Opportunities Outside London and the M25

Posted on Friday May 03, 2013 (18:46:59)

As global connectivity increases, and the U.K. falls prone to the same decentralization affecting the rest of the world's major population centers, there seem to be an increasing number of reasons for even the most well-heeled professionals to live outside of the M25 (for non-U.K. residents, the motorway ring that forms a kind of informal 'boundary' enclosing London from the rest of the country).

London will remain the prime English stronghold of the financial and communications industries, but obviously not everyone is employed in these industries, and both are mobile enough to allow them to be represented elsewhere in the country. While it is far and away the most visited U.K. city - with Edinburgh coming in second - there are those for whom massive popularity is their cue to seek out something different. Expatriates with an eye to 'going native' in England may also enjoy the relative challenge of working and residing in a city with a slightly less international profile to it.   more ...

Italy > Articles


How Safe is Sicily for Expats?

Posted on Friday May 03, 2013 (18:16:01)
Zingaro nature reserve, Sicily
Many famous locations on the globe have been, for better or worse, reduced in the public mind to a single defining feature or concept. If we were to play a simple word association game with famous global destinations, we might get, say, simple reductions like "beach" for Miami, "cowboy" for Texas, or "mafia" for Sicily. Ever since novelist Mario Puzo got the ball rolling in the late 1960s, Sicily - and the U.S. delegation of the mafia to come from there - has been practically fused in the public imagination to the image of sharply dressed, quick-tempered, ruthless underworld operatives who either greet you with a 'kiss of death' or by leaving a severed horse's head in your bed. It's a captivating image, to be sure, but is it relevant at all for the present day?

Who is Really the Most Dangerous Group in Italy?

The mafia has been historically most active in both rural and urban portions of western Sicily, also hosting a kind of coordinating committee in and around the Palermo region (significantly, this 'belly of the beast' has also been the center of anti-mafia activism).   more ...

Malaysia > Articles


Living in Southern Malaysia - Working in Singapore

Posted on Friday May 03, 2013 (17:51:27)

When comparing the respective lifestyles of Malaysia and Singapore, most individuals - aside from proud Malays - would probably admit that Singapore is more attractive as a cosmopolitan destination.

However, the clear winner in terms of cost of living is Malaysia: among the expenses associated with Singaporean life are rental prices that are more than five times the cost of those in Malaysia, grocery prices that are 79% higher than those of Malaysia, and overall consumer good prices that are 90% more expensive.

These, and other indices, add up to a situation whereby Malaysian purchasing power is almost 15% higher than that of Singapore.   more ...

United States > Articles

United States

The Safest US States for Expats: Weather-Wise!

Posted on Friday May 03, 2013 (16:23:24)

Weather-related news from the U.S. has recently been generating more column space than usual, thanks to events of an unprecedented kind. When Hurricane Sandy made landfall upon the northeastern states, much of the world was treated to the bizarre spectacle of seeing New York City's subway rail system and major thoroughfares flooded, with hundreds of thousands of metropolitan residents left without power.

Events such as these would justifiably make any prospective U.S. expat resident wonder if there are any completely safe areas in the country, where inclement weather is concerned. The 21st century is indeed shaping up to be an odd one for meteorological phenomena - and whether or not this owes itself to man made global warming is a fiery debate for another day - yet there are still areas of the country that are relatively free from nature's fiercest lashings.   more ...

Italy > Articles


Should Expats Be Concerned About the Italian Economy?

Posted on Friday May 03, 2013 (15:40:48)

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 ...

United Arab Emirates > Articles

United Arab Emirates

UAE Labor Laws: Getting Things Right

Posted on Friday May 03, 2013 (15:05:46)

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 ...

United Kingdom > Articles

United Kingdom

A Newcomers' Guide to UK Accents

Posted on Friday May 03, 2013 (14:19:53)

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 ...

United States > Articles

United States

Expat Life in the US Bible Belt

Posted on Friday May 03, 2013 (14:02:07)

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 ...

Singapore > Articles


Typical Family Life for Expats in Singapore

Posted on Saturday April 27, 2013 (00:31:15)

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.


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 ...

United States > Articles

United States

Dealing with the American Healthcare Insurance System

Posted on Friday April 26, 2013 (21:08:58)

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 ...