Every year, thousands of expats make the decision to settle in a new country for various reasons, such as better job prospects, family, better quality of life and retirement.Moving to a different country requires a great deal of research and planning. It is important to get all the information possible to make an informed decision. Some of the important points to consider when relocating abroad include the viability of the move and whether there is any certainty that the move will remain economical in the long term. Prospective expats also need to familiarize themselves with the language, culture, cuisine and lifestyle of the new destination, so that they know what to expect once they land there.
In addition, expats who have already settled in various countries are also constantly looking for new products and information that can further enhance their expat experience.
For many, there is also the persistent desire to stay rooted to one’s home country and mingle with fellow residents. In addition, for expats running their own businesses, opportunities to showcase one’s products and services are always helpful, since this helps them establish themselves in a new region.
Expat fairs serve as a valuable resource and play a useful role in meeting all these needs and desires, as well as many more. Here are ten expat fairs around the world that you might want to attend.
‘I am not a tourist’ Expat Fair, Amsterdam
This expat fair takes place at the Beurs van Berlage in Amsterdam. Held annually, it serves the expat community in Netherlands, catering to resident expats, new expats, individuals and families who are studying, working and living in the Netherlands. This expat fair, now in its 12th edition, is known to be one of the biggest expat events in the country and draws about 4,500 international and resident visitors each year. Old and new expats alike can visit this one-day affair at the scenic Beurs van Berlage, a landmark of modern Dutch architecture, for insights on creating a more enriching life overseas.
The event features a job fair for international attendees that provides excellent opportunities for meeting with employment agencies and even companies looking to recruit new employees. Expats can also attend the seminars and workshops for an additional fee, which includes a chance to send your CV digitally to recruiters. New expats attending the fair will gain guidance on important practical matters such as setting up a bank account, taxation and even childcare. It is not all work and no play at the ‘I am not a tourist’ expat fair however, since the event also features entertainment, food, beverages and activities showcasing Dutch culture.
IamExpat Fair, The Hague
Another important expat event organized in the Netherlands is the IamExpat Fair which serves as a meeting point for expats as well as local businesses operating in the region. There is lots of information and assistance available at this event held at the Grote Kerk in The Hague, from finding a job to selecting a school for your children. This one-day fair is meant to be a way for the expat community in the Netherlands to connect and support each other.
Presentations and workshops offer advice on how to navigate local life as an expat, while reaching out to other expats going through a similar experience. It is also an opportunity to connect with organizations and the larger international community working and living in the area. Plus, it is a one-stop place for all the information you need about local businesses and services. Expats interested in hiring an accountant or legal advisor will also find the necessary resources at the IamExpat Fair.
Held at the Congress Center in Basel, this expo is a one-day event catering to the English-speaking community in Switzerland. A variety of local English-speaking organizations, businesses, clubs, museums and services will be at the show to present their products and services. Expat-Expo also conducts annual events in Zug, Geneva and Zurich, where more than 400 companies and organizations showcase their services to a stream of over 10,000 visitors. The largest of these events takes place in Geneva.
The expo is designed to assist the Anglophone community feel more at home in the region by helping them successfully integrate. Veteran expats as well as new expat families can avail themselves of the services and ease many of the common stresses of integration. Many of the exhibitors are expat-owned, but the expo does also feature several Swiss companies and organizations, including museums and local tourism centers. Admission to Expat-Expo is free. Expat families even have the opportunity of enjoying a special feature of the expo, the bouncy castle!
Expat Fair, Bucharest
Designed to keep long-time and new expats well informed, and provide them with chances to meet likeminded individuals while gaining insights into the Romanian lifestyle, the Expat Fair in Bucharest organized its third edition this year. Industry insiders share information and ideas at the workshops held at the expo.
Some of the previously held workshops include those on the evolution and revolution of Romanian art, working as a freelancer in Romania and the perception of children’s play in different cultures. More than 4000 visitors attended other similar events held in European cities like Zurich, Copenhagen, Rotterdam and Munich. In 2016, Expat Fair was held on 16th April at Willbrook Platinum in Bucharest. Known to be a relaxed yet informative affair, this is an ideal opportunity for people to network with fellow expats and create new business. There is even a casual networking session where visitors can interact with expats with similar interests and generate new contacts. Exhibitors include international schools, moving services and real estate services.
Rotterdam Expat Fair, Rotterdam
Another event designed to forge connections between people with matching business and other interests, the Rotterdam Expat Fair emphasizes that visitors attend the full day so that meaningful connections can be formed between expats living and working in the Rotterdam area. Expat parents can also avail themselves of the childcare facilities provided by the fair. Lunch and a session of networking drinks are included in the day’s activities. The workshops are an excellent place to gather valuable information that can facilitate an easy transition for expats. The workshops focus on a variety of subjects, including career and finance. Last year’s list of workshops ranged from Dutch health care to navigating the Dutch bureaucracy.
Expats looking to buy a home are also likely to find a session or two on Dutch real estate and the pros and cons of buying a home in the Netherlands. Some of the added services the fair provides include CV feedback and document translation. Visitors can also participate in the many giveaways occurring during the day.
Bilingual People Fair, Berlin
Whether you’re bilingual, multilingual, or someone who is looking to make a career in Germany, the Bilingual People Fair is an important event to attend. National and international recruitment agencies looking for candidates with language skills will be present at the event. Expats will also have the chance to meet leading employers and have one-on-one discussions with them about the employment opportunities available. Many companies conduct interviews at the event itself, or soon after.
For those who would like to fine-tune their CVs before showing them to employers, help is at hand in the form of professionals who will provide advice and tips on how to land your ideal job. Bilingual People Fair also features professionals in the language recruitment industry who talk about issues pertaining to finding the right job based on your language skills, in Germany and across Europe. Visitors are encouraged to carry their CVs with them when attending the event. Expats running their own companies or businesses will also benefit from attending this fair.
Léman International Spring Fair, Lausanne
This expat event, which was held in May this year, has been taking place since 2006 with an aim to connect people and businesses. Welcoming locals, expats and residents of Switzerland, the fair focuses on a variety of issues. There is something for every age group, ranging from summer camps to wine courses. In addition, there are also details of things to do in the region such as resorts, thermal baths and golfing.
A special feature of the fair is the opportunity to get a free casual portrait made for children and adults. Businesspeople can opt for high quality professional portraits offered at a discounted rate, which can be used for CVs and networking over the internet. Another interesting feature is the English book and DVD exchange. Even if you don’t have any used books or DVDs to exchange, you can still choose from new titles and take them home with you for no charge.
Organized by Leman Events, this fair was originally designed for those residing in the French-speaking region of the country, to help with their efforts of integrating into the local community and culture. Over the last ten years since its inception, it has evolved into an international event that is attended even by locals and other overseas visitors. The exhibitors at the fair showcase a wide range of products and offer useful information.
This is a different kind of event than the others, but still one that is extremely popular among the expat community living and working in Dubai. The fair is organized with the aim of revealing the cultural side of Dubai, which often gets overshadowed by the luxurious malls and modern buildings that the country is renowned for. In its ninth year, Art Dubai has as its exhibitors 92 galleries from 40 different countries.
The expat community in Dubai is also increasingly becoming interested in buying art. The event attracts expats who wish to see the pieces, and many of them go on to make purchases that showcase the hidden cultural appeal of Dubai. The collection featured at the fair includes over 3000 paintings, photographs, prints and sculptures. The prices of these pieces can range anywhere from US$ 100 to US$ 10,000. The four-day art fair also has a program that includes entertainment, and cultural activities. There are also informative sessions that seek to educate visitors on topics such as buying your first original artwork. There are also talks on the art market by art experts.
International Algarve Fair
This is the largest event for the expat community living in Portugal. Held in Lagoa, the fair is a fun and entertainment-based event designed especially for Portugal’s overseas residents. The fair features an arena where expats can stay entertained throughout the day watching fashion and dance shows and concerts. Local and international cuisine is also on display as there are up to eleven restaurants and cafés. Expats can also explore Portuguese handicrafts at the stalls. An interesting event held as part of the fair is the Algarve Dog Show, where local canines who are up for adoption participate in parades.
Expat Show, Shanghai
The Expat Show Shanghai has been taking place since 2007 with a mission to offer all the information, products and services that expats living in the region need to adjust to a comfortable daily life. Held in September at the Shanghai Exhibition Center, it attracts over 150 exhibitors and more than 10,000 visitors, and is the largest gathering of the expat community in Shanghai. Representatives from companies operating in a wide range of sectors like finance, health, tourism, education and food are present at the expo.
The Expat Show Shanghai is also a place to shop and catch some entertainment. Expats can also explore the National Villages set up at the show. Initially the expo featured only a French Village, but has now expanded to include other villages such as an Italian Village and an American Village. It is a chance for overseas residents to reconnect with their own culture and community, meet up with old acquaintances and make new contacts.
What are your favourite expat fairs? Let us know in the comments!