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Articles

Barbados > Articles

Barbados

The Most Desirable Neighborhoods for Expats Living in Barbados

Thursday June 06, 2013 (00:46:55)

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 ...

Brazil > Articles

Brazil

Expat Life in Brazil Away from the Atlantic Coast

Wednesday June 05, 2013 (23:56:56)

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 ...

Norway > Articles

Norway

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

Wednesday June 05, 2013 (23:02:59)

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 ...

Denmark > Articles

Denmark

Expat Life in the Danish City of Odense

Wednesday June 05, 2013 (22:37:12)

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 ...

Bermuda > Articles

Bermuda

Bermuda: a Taste of England in the Sunshine

Wednesday June 05, 2013 (22:02:34)

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 ...

Sweden > Articles

Sweden

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

Wednesday June 05, 2013 (21:31:39)

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 ...

Russia > Articles

Russia

Finding the Perfect Neighborhood in Moscow

Wednesday June 05, 2013 (21:24:51)

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 ...

South Africa > Articles

South Africa

Which South African City Offers the Best Expat Employment Opportunities?

Sunday May 19, 2013 (20:56:15)
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.

Johannesburg

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 ...

Saudi Arabia > Articles

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s ‘Unwritten’ Constitution

Sunday May 19, 2013 (20:30:45)

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 ...

Qatar > Articles

Qatar

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

Saturday May 18, 2013 (23:15:59)
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 ...