Thursday, 30 September 2010

Top 10 Expat Explorer blog posts

With October just one day away, here’s a roundup of our most read posts in September.


1. Expat Explorer Survey 2010 launches today! What do the results say?- The first of September marked the official launch of HSBC’s Expat Explorer Survey 2010. The first report, Expat Economics revealed emerging trends on expat finances. Find out how your country fared in terms of salary levels, spending and investing patterns and favourable locations for expats

2. Guest Blogger Series: Introducing... Naomi Hattaway – In one of our most read guest post, Naomi shares some great stories about bringing up a family in Delhi and her unique insight for people thinking about moving to India’s capital

3. Jet Set Pets- Essential reading for any expats thinking about relocating with their pets, with some great links to expetriate resources

4. Life beyond the expat bubble- our thoughts on the importance of breaking away from the “expat mould” for the full experience of living and working abroad

5. Five essential apps for Expats – iPhone apps for expats still proving to be a popular post on Expat Explorer. If you are an iPhone owner then check out our recommendation on top apps for expats

6. Guest Blogger Series: Introducing... Marie Brice- a fantastic guest post on Marie Brice’s inspiration on setting up GreatExpatations, a blog dedicated to providing one tip a day for expats from all over the world

7. There’s no taste like home – a great competition by Marmite that inspired us to blog about it!

8. Best expat views – a little experiment we did on sequential day 8.9.10 where asked our expat followers on Twitter to submit some photos of where in the worldthey were. We had a great snapshot of some the best expat views

9. Web Wednesday – our first ever Wednesday post on a collection of the most interesting expat stories that week. The first week featured tips on beating those expat blues on a rainy day

10. Web Wednesday – again! Our round up of interesting expat links on the internet is proving popular. In this week’s Web Wednesday, we think it was the 100 reasons to become an expat captured the attention of many of our readers and followers. Don’t forget to follow our #WebWednesday hashtag on Twitter or to submit your own #WebWednesday links

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Web Wednesday #3

“A collection of interesting expat links on the web”


Once again we have a collection of interesting things we found on the internet this week:

100 reasons to become an expatriate

First up, if you’re ever feeling down about your expat experience and need a little reminder about why you became an expat in the first place then this site is a great place to head.

DeeAnne at ‘Live the Charmed Life’ have compiled 100 reasons to become an expatriate. A few of our favorites from the list include:

• You want life to be an adventure
• You love to travel, but you want to experience another country as a local
• You want to live in beach hut, and own nothing but swimsuits and sarongs
• You’re certain you’ll be the next champion Samba dancer in Brazil
• You want to watch the South African wine industry evolve from a front row seat
• You want to become a karaoke star in Tokyo

Most active country on social network sites

We know all our readers love social media (you are reading this blog for starters) and according to a new survey some of the greatest users of social media sites are found in the UAE despite restricted access in the work place. Only people in Brazil, Spain and Ireland identified themselves as more active users than those in the UAE, according to the poll. Do you agree?

Bring home the Kiwis!

Opinion over Marmite is divided- you either love it or hate it, but here at Expat Explorer, we are loving Marmite's newest campaign to repatriate 100 Kiwis for Christmas. Even Australia-based expat, Carlo who initially disliked marmite (or vegemite as it is in Australia) slowly came round to the taste. The trick being loads of butter, a thin spread of Vegemite/Marmite, and slabs of aged cheddar on toast. We’d be interested to find out whether there any foods that you hated when you arrived in a new country but slowly came round to liking, or even loving?

Picture of the week



Thanks to Elisa- @Hipmom for submitting this week’s “Picture of the Week”. Given the grayness of the London skyline today we are very jealous of the blue sky.

Don't forget to submit your pic of the week to @expatexplorer and we’ll be showing the best we receive on next week’s Web Wednesday!

Friday, 24 September 2010

[Video] Expat Explorer Survey 2010

It’s been almost one month since we launched the first report in our annual Expat Explorer survey- Expat Economics.

Here, Lisa Wood- Head of Customer Propositions (Jersey) for HSBC Bank International talks about some of the key highlights from the report:





If you’re interested in finding out how this compares with the results from 2009, you can view last year’s video here. The full Expat Economics report is also available on the HSBC Offshore website.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

There’s no taste like home...

Source: Su-Lin

We recently blogged about how expats can long for the trivial familiarities of daily life back at home. No matter how much you’re enjoying the local cuisine in your new home we’re sure every expat can name some foodstuffs from their home country that they crave. Whether it’s Hershey’s chocolate, Heinz baked beans or Betty Crocker cake mix, the reality is that in many far flung places this foreign fare is simply unobtainable. Even when your new home has similar products to your old one (the Vegemite versus Marmite debate, anyone?) many remain patriotically loyal to their ‘home’ brands.

We came across this interesting competition run by Marmite on their website http://www.bringinghomethekiwis.co.nz/ where the brand has decided to recognise its loyal following amongst New Zealanders abroad. To celebtrate its 100th birthday, Marmite will be bringing 100 Kiwis out of the 600,000 living abroad, home to New Zealand for Christmas. Expats from New Zealand can enter by simply answering the question on why they think they deserve to be brought back for Christmas as well as the things they miss most about home.

With the growing number of websites allowing people who live and work abroad to purchase home comforts, we found it very interesting to see how brands are taking a pro-active stance in engaging with the expat community who are missing their much-loved brands.

Have you come across any other interesting brand engagement targeted at the expat community? If so we’d love to hear from you. Leave us a comment below.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Web Wednesday #2

“A collection of interesting expat links on the web”

So, it’s Wednesday again which can only mean one thing – it’s time for a roundup of the top stories we’ve seen this week!

“I’m and expat get me out of here”

So today is the Mid Autumn festival in China. Traditional festivals in your new home can be a great way to experience local culture but as Chelsea Girl in China found, not everything about them is always a fun cultural experience. Read about Chelsea Girl’s experience of that traditional Chinese mooncakes, which are traditionally given at this time of year.

10 Interesting Ways to Learn Spanish

Often when moving to a new country mastering the local language can seem like a long laborious process, if sometimes near impossible! We came across this blog post by Cathy at Expat Daily News that offers some great tips to make language learning a little more fun. The advice is specifically for those trying to learn Spanish but the tips would work for any language.

The Marais Americanizes

As the world we live in becomes increasingly globalized it may be the case that you find new countries don’t really feel all that new. Or if you have lived abroad for a long time your new home could be starting to increasingly feel like your old, with familiar shops, restaurants, or coffee chains popping up around your once foreign neighbourhood. We came across this interesting post by an American living in Paris who describes this dilemma.

Picture of the Week

And to the first of our picture of the week slots, we have to thank Nick Edin for this great photo of Mount Cook, New Zealand. We think it just has ‘wish you were here’ written all over it...





Don't forget to submit your pic of the week to @expatexplorer and we’ll be showing the best we receive every week!

Friday, 17 September 2010

Guest Blogger Series: Introducing... Naomi Hattaway

It’s Friday again so it can only mean one thing- Guest blogger Friday! This week, we have the pleasure of introducing Naomi Hattaway. Naomi keeps a fantastic blog Delhi Bound, sharing some great stories about bringing up a family in India’s capital. Here, Naomi shares her unique insight for people thinking about moving to Delhi and discovering the city’s glittering gems and captivating beauty.


A passage to India


So you want to move to Delhi, India? So did we!

As soon as I learned of our upcoming move, I hit the internet and scoured every blog, website, article I could get my hands on. While it was smart to research beforehand, nothing could quite prepare me to actually landing in this crazy country!

India is a country of diverse beauty, vast cultural differences and amazing opportunities to grow and learn as an individual.

Delhi boasts a population of nearly 12 million people, which is staggering when you consider that the size of the city is just short of 1,500 kilometers!

When we first arrived, we were literally overwhelmed when all five of our senses were assaulted by the heat, smells, visual stimulation with the cows roaming the streets and the vivid colors of the women dressed in gorgeous colors, constant honking of horns, strangeness of the flavors we were tasting and the new things to experience and adjust to.



I have explored this city from all four corners (though I will never consider myself an expert) and have thoroughly enjoyed the tours of various temples, historical sites, forts and communities. After visiting the Taj Mahal in Agra, I have to admit that while very beautiful, I enjoyed places such right here in Delhi (such as Lodhi Gardens, Humayans Tomb and others) much more and found them to be more exciting than the Taj!

Delhi boasts a HUGE group of expatriates. There are even subgroups for nearly each major nationality that get together on a regular basis for events, activities and to provide support. Moving here with children – while there are challenges – is made simpler because of this large network of people who have “been there, done that”.

To truly write about living in Delhi though, I must also share that the downside to relocating as an expat to this city is the noise, pollution and the grime. I’ve talked with so many expat lifers (where Delhi is their 8th, 15th or 22nd posting) that claim Delhi is by far the hardest to adjust to. Having a large group of fellow expats to share your experience with is such a help.

If I could give only ONE piece of advice to another expat – whether you’re about to start your first assignment overseas, or you’ve been doing it for years – I would strongly encourage you to listen, seek out help and pay it forward.

Listening is an art that is sadly becoming non-existent amongst expats as we all have our own triumphs, struggles and stories to share. Often times, we lose sight of the fact that the person we’ve engaged in conversation may have a load on their shoulders, and just need a listening ear.

Seeking out help is a gift you can only give yourself. Whether you live in a country where household help is the norm, or in a city where it is impossible to find the local grocery based on the instructions from the man on the corner, swallow your pride and reach out for help.

Paying it forward is a simple concept, and just as simple to enact. Before I moved, I struck up several conversations via email with women who had “lived the life”. They provided me with a relaxed ease about our upcoming move, provided me with lists of what TO bring, what to leave behind, and gave me a tutorial about what to expect. Because I acknowledge their support and advice, I pledged to pay it forward and try to at least help ONE new expat moving to Delhi. Blogging is the easiest way to put myself out there, and establish contact for newbies arriving on the scene.


Now that we’ve lived here for a year, I can safely say that we are enjoying our time in Delhi. Our kids are happy, I have found more than enough to keep me busy, including volunteering with the American Womens Association, founding a t-shirts –for-charity group with some friends, and exploring this city.

I provide answers to some of the more common questions about Delhi in a Questions and Answers segment and also in a section devoted to questions/answers about India.

About the author

Naomi is married with three children. After living in several states in the USA, her family recently relocated to Delhi, India for an unspecified amount of time. She enjoys making an impact even if it’s only in a small corner of her world.

She keeps two blogs, Delhi Bound about life in India and A peek… a blog about one of Naomi’s passions- cooking, budgeting and healthy living. You can follow Naomi on Twitter - @gemgem76

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Jet Set Pets

Moving abroad with your pet could be easier than you think...


Source: Ferdi

Once upon a time moving abroad, even for short periods, meant an agonising six month separation from your family pet. Fear of rabies meant that many countries enforced strict quarantine regulations for transnational pooches. For many families, particularly those with young children, these rules made a difficult transition even more unsettling. However, thanks to the introduction of ‘Pet Passports’ this is no longer the case. We came across a really interesting blog post with advice on having a dog in Dubai and thought that maybe lots of expats out there think about buying a cute kitten or an adorable puppy for their new home, or transport a much beloved pet from their old one, but are unsure how to proceed. Thankfully for expat animal lovers there is now a wealth of information and services available on the internet for wannabe jet set pets and their owners.

Before you rush to book the first plane ticket for you are your pet there are a number of things you should consider:

1) Pet passport- these can be quite complicated and expensive to obtain. For expats based in the EU, you can find out on the DEFRA website on things you should be aware of and the procedure for applying for these passports.

2) Local laws - always check local laws because rules vary from country to country. The majority of EU countries allow free movement of animals between EU member states but there are some exceptions. With the right documentation the UK does permit travel from some non-EU countries. Always check before what consequences this might have on taking your pet to other countries.

Local laws are also subject to change so always keep up to date with the latest travel information. For example until recently you could travel with as many dogs, cats or ferrets as you liked within the European Union but that number is now limited to five.

3) Micro chipping your pet is essential and the chip stores information on all the countries to which the pet has travelled.

4) Check what health and safety requirements are needed for your pet in order for them to relocate with you.

5) Vaccinations and blood test – You need to bear in the mind the necessary documentation needed detailing any vaccinations or blood tests your pet has had as these will be important for the authorities

6) Insure your pet- Just as you would buy travel insurance for yourself, make sure your pet is protected if anything goes wrong.

If all this sounds a bit too complicated and stressful, there is a plethora of companies out there that can ease the logistical nightmares of the internationally jet set pet. We've included a list of useful links below. PetAir for example, can take care of everything from booking the flight, to arranging your pooch’s paperwork. With so many companies out there, catering to all different markets, it is worth shopping around for the best fit for you and your pet.

Still feeling anxious?

If you’re still feeling anxious. There are a number of helpful websites and forums that offer advice to owners and pets. Pets and Travel has advice on every type of transport from cars, planes, boats and caravans. The website is also filled with useful case studies of other travellers’ experiences.


Useful websites

Pet travel agents


www.petseurotravel.co.uk
www.airpets.com
www.petexports.co.uk
www.pettravelservices.co.uk

Pet travel advice

www.pettravel.com
www.madreddog.co.uk
www.dogsaway.co.uk

Pet Insurers

http://www.petplan.co.uk


Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Web Wednesday #1

“A collection of interesting expat links on the web”

Here at Expat Explorer, we always come across interesting articles about expats from all over the world. We thought it might be a good idea to introduce a regular slot on our blog of some of the best stories from we’ve come across that week.



Source: Rashida Coleman-Hale

Wednesdays will never be the same




Tourists and travellers have a lot to learn from expats

An article looking at how business travellers are tapping into expat websites and networks to find out local information on the best neighbourhoods to stay in, visa requirements and even the occasional party crashing. As Meg Nesterov pointed out in an earlier article, travellers on the whole can learn a lot from the expat community on hidden gems around the city.

Is blogging a cure for expat blues?

We feature many great guest bloggers and follow a lot of interesting blogs on our blog roll. Expat bloggers often share great insight in the country they are living in whilst sharing their personal musings on life abroad. Blogs are also great way for expats to keep in touch with family and friends at home. Naomi’s Delhibound and Maryline’s Franco American Dream for example are just some of the blogs we enjoy reading at Expat Explorer.

More tips to beat the blues

Talking about expat blues, the weather has made quite a dramatic turn here, marking the end of summer. With winter looming like an unwanted guest, we came across this very timely post about how to make this period of darkness and gloom more bearable.

5 main reasons for moving abroad

Using the results of the 2010 Expat Economics Report, Shelter Offshore explored some the main reasons for people to relocate and move abroad. Better job prospects, opportunities to expand one’s horizon, more favourable retirement options are just some of the motivations for people to relocate. With air travel becoming more accessible, the possibilities are endless. People often find a whole host of other reasons for wanting to see the world and experience life abroad.

Picture of the week

We hope you enjoyed our first Web Wednesday. To end this post, we’d like to feature a picture of the week from one of our readers. So feel free to submit some of your snaps of the week. Direct them to @expatexplorer and we’ll share the best ones next week.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Best expat views

We blogged about favourite expat views back in July about how powerful certain images are at evoking emotions, be it of familiar feelings of home or anticipation of where you’ll be relocating next. As jet-setting savvy adventure-seekers, expats today have a certain air of worldliness about them and we can tell that from the conversations that are taking place on expat forums and Twitter.


The Challenge


We wanted to get a real sense of where in the world our followers are living and working in, so on 8th September 2010 (a rare numerical phenomenon known as sequential day) we tweeted:

(Ok- so not quite perfect as 12:34 56.7 8.9.10 but we tried)


To get the ball rolling we posted up a photo of our expat ‘view’...


As you will agree, not hard to beat.



The Results


We’ve had amazing response from our followers that really highlights the diverse environments expats are working in. Here we wanted to share a selection of these photos that ranged from the urban jungles of Dubai to those quaint villages in Japan.

We enjoyed pictures that showed...




... the serene beauty of Morrocoy, Venezuela (provided by balancedmp) ...













...to the high-rise metropolis of Dubai (Nick_Edin).






Followers also shared their pictures from ...






... the cultural centre of Moscow (Eirrann)










...to the idyllic outskirts of Japan. (survivinginjapan)









We also had...







.... quiet banks of Holland (americancloggie)...













....to the energetic beaches of Bermuda (AliHicks)








We loved receiving all these snaps from around the world, showing such variety. Unfortunately we couldn’t post all the photos up but thank you to all those who tweeted us their pictures.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Life beyond the expat bubble


We came across this great photography blog by Brandon Hoover that inspired this post about breaking the “expat mould”. As seasoned expats, we only know too well about hanging out with other expats in the same bars every Friday night and visiting the same restaurants week-in, week-out.

Moving away familiar expat communities to go venturing off the beaten path is a powerful feeling. It allows expats to fully experience and immerse themselves within the local culture and surroundings. Anyone who’s read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love will understand and resonate with the notion of the expat life as active choices and not just living within your comfort zone but in a different country. Often expats find many pleasant surprises that adds to their overall experiences abroad. Our previous guest bloggers, Rebecca Self and Chelsea Christensen are great examples of people who have made that choice to embark upon that journey of self-discovery.

We’d love to hear about your stories of when you experienced life beyond the expat bubble. Leave us a comment below.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Guest Blogger Series: Introducing... Marie Brice

On Expat Explorer we like to share little tips now and again to make expat integration and life abroad a little easier. When we came across this expat blog dedicated to providing one tip a day for 365 days for expats, we just had to get in touch with the blogger and get her on board to guest post for us.

Meet Marie Brice, the mastermind behind Greatexpatations- a blog providing “365 tips to help expatriates rise above a life interrupted!” Here on Expat Explorer, Marie shares her story and inspiration for starting up her blog and some of the best and most unusual tips she’s had.


A tale of Great Expatations


No matter which way you look at it, we expats have a love-hate relationship with our expatriate status. One day we love it and want everyone to know how lucky we are to live this exotic lifestyle and the next we would sell it to the lowest bidder, hang up our walkin’ boots and head home to where everything is familiar and comfortable and well, easy. Whether we like it or not, we become a little addicted to the drama and excitement yet still want everything to slow down and become saner.

Writing Greatexpatations - helping expats rise above a life interrupted has been my way of expressing and trying to normalize the rollercoaster of emotions that we all go through as we live and work in other countries. It started off as a post ‘Julie and Julia’ epiphany on a plane somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean after a nice glass of chardonnay and a whimsical wondering about what I wanted to do next year. Writing a blog every day for one year seemed to be a natural way to capture not just the big things like repatriation and moving day and which schools for the kids, but also the everyday stuff that really becomes the fabric of our expat lives. The big stuff is anticipated, yet working and communicating with hundreds of expats in almost 100 locations over the past 9 years has shown me that it is the ‘little’ stuff that makes or breaks the experience, and sometimes the person.



The times when you cannot find a cake of soap with a smell you can tolerate, when you decide to get a good book and can’t find one in your language, when the shower stops working and your husband is out of town and you can’t say ‘plumber’ in your local language. When it turns 3 o’clock in the afternoon and you realize you have absolutely nothing of purpose to do till your partner comes home at 8pm and those Sunday afternoons when you would give anything for a cup of tea with your mum. These are the times when you just want to curl up and cry. The thing is, it’s easier to cry when someone else says they have cried too at those times - and for much lesser reasons!

Coaching expats is a joy because they are so real and open. Being able to challenge people with coaching questions as well as provide tips on my blog is so enjoyable - especially when some people feel like I have been secretly watching them! That just gave me an idea for a topic... Uncovering expat secrets......

My favorite topics and blogs have been on how outwardly mundane things in expat life such as ‘That smell reminds me of...’ and how walking past the sweetshop you are too afraid to go into, mirrors so much of our internal struggles. I loved doing ‘The best part...’ and ‘The worst part...’ of being an expat in all our roles (mother, wife, daughter...) because I got some fun comments and people got to talk about the real honest stuff. The same for Debunking Expat Myths – boy I thought I had some doozies but my readers trumped me every time! The best expat advice I ever got was... really clarified for me why I write this blog and how it has helped me unpack my expat life experiences. What a ride we are on!


As an expat, finding and following your purpose and passion is the best part of the adventure and I loved writing about this topic. Living in a place where there are no expectations or historical 'shoulds' can provide the opportunity to truly re-find and follow a dream... To that end I have lived out a life-long passion of mine that I would never have done at 'home-home' - singing- and now I sing in a Classic Rock band in Texas....

When I complete the 365 tips on December 31st, I will certainly celebrate and maybe I have the kernel of a book in there somewhere. I think I plan to plan nothing, yet maybe I will let whatever evolves, evolve as so many of my 220 plus blogs have. After all isn’t that what striving to be a great expat is all about? Just being where we are and letting go of control and power. Greatexpatations is my way of saying both it sucks and it’s worth it. I hope it is for you too.


About the author

Marie Brice is an Expat Life Coach, helping expats rise above a life interrupted. You can follow her on Twitter @jsmfornow, visit her website www.zencompassnow.com and add her excellent blog to your everyday reading list.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Expat Explorer Survey 2010 launches today! What do the results say?

Over 4,100 expats from over 100 countries participated in this year’s HSBC Expat Explorer Survey, making it the largest survey of its kind and today sees the official launch of the first set of results.

Source: Andrew Bossi

Expat Economics, the first of three reports from 2010 revealed some interesting findings on expat earning levels, spending and investing patterns and favourable locations for expat finances.

Here, we would like to share some key findings with our readers:

  • Emerging markets such as Russia, Singapore and the Gulf states offer expats top dollar. Expat Explorer found that foreigners living in Russia, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Singapore have the greatest overall wealth, defined as earning higher salaries, having more disposable income and owning more luxury items

  • For example, Russian expats remain to be the wealthiest in the world, with over a third earning over $250,000, compared to the two-thirds of expats in Spain earning below $60,000

  • Europe dominates the bottom of the economics league table with the UK ranking 20th out of 25 countries

  • In the UK, one in five expats consider returning home whilst a third cite they have witnessed reduced career opportunities

  • Globally, 47% of all expats believe that the economy in their current country has deteriorated since the start of 2009, a figure that increases for those in Europe: Spain (93%), United Kingdom (67%), Belgium (60%) and France (60%)

  • Overall, Expat Explorer found that expats repatriate a large proportion of wealth through long term investments, the most common being property (30%), equity (22%) and bonds (11%)

If you are interested in how individual countries fared you can take a look at the full report here.

We’d like to know some of your thoughts on the findings and how well you think your country did compared to others. Feel free to leave us a comment below!

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