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Spain > Articles


Working In Spain – Still An Option?

Posted on Wednesday September 05, 2012 (02:33:29)
Rob Innis
by Rob Innis

It is no secret that the Spanish economy, along with most of Europe, has taken a battering with the current financial downturn referred to here as the ‘crisis.’ Unemployment is running at record high levels – so does that mean job opportunities are zero?

Here on the Costa Blanca the boom years of mass construction are over and immigration levels are down. During that period work was easy for not only the locals but many foreigners came and setup all different types of business including bars, restaurants, supermarkets, car sales etc to serve the new arrivals. Unfortunately many of those have now closed and vacant commercial property is in abundance.

However the economy here is different to the major cities where there tends to be a high concentration of white collar jobs in the large government and corporate headquarters offices of Spain’s big companies. But beware the large organisations are cost cutting.   more ...

Morocco > Articles


Experiencing Morocco Through Expat Eyes

Posted on Monday August 27, 2012 (01:00:16)
Craig Priestley
by Craig Priestley, HomeStay International

Over a dozen horsemen come bearing down on me at a gallop, rifles raised above their heads. Just as I start to panic, they rein in hard and bring their horses to a skidding halt no more than two metres from me, simultaneously firing a volley of shots into the air. Welcome to Morocco…

I’m in the dusty countryside, watching the “fantasia” – a traditional harvest celebration, where groups representing different villages compete in these displays of horsemanship. As another volley of rifle shots explodes into the air I’m reminded of the fact that ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ was filmed in Morocco.

As we walk around the display ground with Will, one of our HomeStay hosts, I can see we’re the only Europeans here. There are smiles from the men, shy glances from the women, and open stares from the children.   more ...

Spain > Articles


It Is Now Tougher To Relocate To Spain

Posted on Sunday August 26, 2012 (01:43:40)
Rob Innis
by Rob Innis

Spain’s financial downturn, known locally as el crisis, has meant that apart from the government increasing taxation and making severe budget cuts the rules regarding both taking out Spanish residency and obtaining healthcare have recently been revised.

All EU citizens are entitled to live and work in Spain as part of the overall EU Freedom of Movement regulations. All other persons should check their status with their appropriate authorities as they might require a visa for legal entry to Spain.

It is a requirement for everyone to hold and maintain a valid passport from their country of origin as a form of identification in Spain.

Spanish Residency – Revised Rules

The new stricter rules for Spanish residency, introduced in July 2012, state that within 90 days of arriving in the country with the intent of taking up permanent residence persons must register at the local Oficina de Extranjeros (literally meaning Office for Foreigners) for a residencia.   more ...

Argentina > Articles


Dealing with a Cash Culture in Argentina

Posted on Wednesday July 04, 2012 (14:18:11)
by Connor Davies

Living in a cashless society where cell phones and plastic are the only forms of payment seems nearer than ever. Or at least, it does if you live in the West.

But over here in Argentina, it seems a very long way off indeed.
Mobile wallets might as well remain in the realms of science fiction, and whereas in the USA and the UK we may soon all be carrying less cash than ever before, in Argentina that does not look like changing for a long time to come.

A Cash Culture
Dealing with the daily need to carry large wads of notes and handfuls of coins was one of the challenges that I found most frustrating when I first moved to Argentina a few years ago.   more ...

Japan > Articles


The “New Resident Card” System in Japan

Posted on Saturday June 30, 2012 (12:15:59)
The New Resident Card, Japan
courtesy of H&R Group

On July 9, 2012 the new Residency Management system comes into effect.

There are two main ways the structure is changing:

1. The Alien Registration System is ending and will be replaced by a residency management system, under the authority of the Immigration Bureau of the Justice Ministry. A “Residence Card” will be issued, replacing the current Alien Registration Card

2. Foreigners will now be registered locally on a "Residence Record" or juminhyo, the same system used by Japanese nationals, which is under the authority of the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry.   more ...

Costa Rica > Articles

Costa Rica

A Little Known Factor That Could Affect Your Chance of Finding A Great International Real Estate Deal

Posted on Saturday June 30, 2012 (01:29:12)
Claudia Gonella
by Claudia Gonella, co-founder of Reveal Real Estate

Imagine you are looking for a house to buy in an overseas market. Let's pick a country like Costa Rica or Panama, where there is no comprehensive Multiple Listing Service and the market is relatively un-regulated. You meet with a real estate agent and she shows you a few houses.

One of them looks great and you begin to formulate an offer.

But there's something holding you back. You've got this niggling feeling that there are properties for sale that you're not being shown. You start to wonder: Does your real estate agent have access to all the listing on the market?   more ...

Netherlands > Articles


Dutch Driving Theory Test: Gehaald!

Posted on Sunday June 24, 2012 (23:19:00)
by Tiffany Jarman Jansen

On July 22, 2009 at 9:55 am I took the train to Amsterdam Sloterdijk. I waited 10 minutes outside a bus waiting for the driver to finish his pause. I took the bus to the CBR building. The whole trip, I had my eyes glued to the Driving Theory Manual I had borrowed a few days before. As I flipped pages, I ran through theory rules and statistics.

The past several weeks, I've been preparing for my Rijbewijs Theorie Examen or my Driving Theory Exam. Because I'm not a member of the European Union, I had to get a Dutch driver's license. The part I really love about this is that Brits and Irishfolk and the like belong to the EU and so are able to skip this fun sequence of events and money suckling I have to go through. EVEN THOUGH THEY DRIVE ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE ROAD AND CAR! Yes, the Dutch drive the same way we do in America, France, Germany, Belgium, etc. Left side of the car, right side of the road. Yet, after 6 months my American license is no longer valid here and I suddenly don't know how to drive anymore? Now, to be fair, since learning all these theory tidbits, I have felt loads safer on the road. Not to mention there were a few things I was doing that aren't so much legal here...   more ...

Netherlands > Articles


The Dutch Kitchen

Posted on Sunday June 24, 2012 (23:16:14)
by Martha Andrus

The Dutch kitchen is pretty basic and mostly involves a lot of green vegetables, potatoes and sausages. A typical Dutch meal involves mashing potatoes and vegetables together and adding sausages.

French fries can be found most anywhere and the favorite place to find the Dutch is at a French fry stand. If you order 'patat met' it is French fries with mayonnaise, which is the favorite of the Dutch. You will also find fresh fish stands sprinkled through the shopping centers and on the corner of the street. You will see the Dutch standing around the fish stand, eating their favorite smoked or raw pickled herring and always with fresh chopped onions. This is not for me but I do appreciate 'watching' them. I will order kibbeling, which is a fresh white fish, battered and deep fried and served with a sauce.   more ...

Netherlands > Articles


Learning Dutch and How to Survive It

Posted on Sunday June 24, 2012 (23:14:19)
by Liz Cross, Crossover Translations

Approximately 20 years ago, I was sitting on the Harwich-Hoek van Holland boat with two friends and a peculiar little guide book. We were taking turns to recite “Spher-ayhkt OO ng-gels ass-too-bleeeeft?” and other natty phases to each other. After a while, we began wondering if we were doing the right thing going to live in a country where people use words like ass-too-bleeeft, even if we were only planning to stay for a few months. Frustrated and slightly unnerved, we gave up and went to watch Robocop in the ship’s cinema instead.

I think that initial optimism followed by shock and awe is a common first reaction to learning Dutch. Ok – unlike me and my friends, not everyone is stupid enough to set off for a new country, thinking they can pick up enough of the language on the cross channel ferry to have a cosy chat when they arrive. The trouble with Dutch is that it is unlikely that you will have heard it anywhere else before you arrive here as it has a pretty small language area. Even if , unlike us, you are smart enough to listen to language CDs beforehand, this is no substitute for the real thing. Despite similarities to German and shared words with English, Dutch really is in a class of its own. The other, much-repeated problem is that most Dutch people speak such good English that you feel like an idiot for even trying and you feel like more of an idiot when they answer your stumbling attempts to speak their language with a smooth reply in near-perfect English and what often looks like a badly-concealed smirk on their faces.   more ...

Netherlands > Articles


I Want to Ride My Bicycle

Posted on Sunday June 24, 2012 (23:07:55)
by Stuart Billinghurst

Fiets (bicycles) are a very common sight in Holland. They are a popular mode of transport and it is estimated that there are more than 16 million of them in the country. This number may or may not include the mangled, rusting, one-wheeled, non-roadworthy bicycles found chained to lamp posts, bridges or sunk at the bottom of the canals around the country. Even if it does there are still a lot of them in use every day.

Some bicycles look like rusty old frames that have been handed down through the family generation after generation. In most of these cases the locks seem to cost more than the bikes themselves, and there is no need for a bell since the squeaking of the wheels is enough to give any pedestrian a fair warning. Some Dutch people like to paint or decorate their old bikes as well. When visiting Amsterdam it is usually guaranteed that you will see at least one bicycle chained to a bridge somewhere that has been decorated with plastic flowers or painted with bright circular patterns to make them more unique. Another reason for this could be to turn away bicycle thieves.   more ...