Expat talk – what the expatriates say about living in Dubai

27 July, 2009 12:07  EasyExpat EasyExpat

Buj Al Arab - DubaiDubai has a huge expat population. While a lot of foreigners have been packing bags and heading home in recent times, the city still plays host to people from all over the world. I caught up with a couple of expats calling Dubai home and here’s what they say about life in the city.

Amar Singh, a 32 year old Indian consultant weaves his way through the dancing crowd and tells me… “I love Dubai! Look at this place… where else can you have this kind of a lifestyle in the Middle East?” We are in Barasti, a favourite watering hole for Dubai’s expatriate crowd. This could have been any bar in South East Asia… the usual 80% - 20% ratio of white men to Asian girls, loud music and free flowing drinks. “That’s the problem with this place” says Hitaru, a Japanese friend who’s recently moved to the city as well and obviously not having as great a time as Amar. “This could be anywhere in the world, everything seems so artificial. This is supposed to be a desert but it could just as well be New York.”  (More)


Top 10 Summer Travel Accessories

06 July, 2009 15:12  EasyExpat EasyExpat

Planning a summer vacation? From sand pillows to floating phones, here are some quirky accessories to make sure you have even more fun in the sun.

Sand pillows

This is a hot new accessory. These easy-to-carry, nylon-coated pillows are made of the same material wetsuits are made of so you’ll never have to worry about wet towels under your head and sand in your hair again. They’re also super-easy to use. Just open the hook, fill with sand and close the hook for your own comfy sand pillow. Perfect for any beach holiday. (More)


Confucius Institute

24 November, 2008 17:43  EasyExpat EasyExpat

In this week’s article, the spotlight is on the Confucius Institute. With the world’s attention on China and its increasing importance in trade, more and more foreigners are trying to learn and understand the Chinese language and culture. According to estimates of the Education Ministry of China, approximately 100 million non-Chinese worldwide will learn Chinese as a foreign language by 2010. This is where the Confucius Institute steps in. As the name suggests, this non-profit public institute aims at promoting the Chinese language and culture across the world. (More)


Società Dante Alighieri

11 November, 2008 16:18  EasyExpat EasyExpat

As part of our series on international institutions, today’s article focuses on the Società Dante Alighieri. You can probably guess by the name that this is the institution responsible for spreading and promoting Italian language and culture around the world.

History and growth

The Società Dante Alighieri was formed in Italy in 1889 and named after Dante Alighieri, a pre-Renaissance poet who is considered the father of the Italian language. In 1948, it was restructured so that all chapters of the society had more autonomy and followed their own methods to reach their common goal i.e. the spread of the Italian language and culture around the world. In 2005, along with the British Council, the Goethe Institute the Instituto Cervantes, the Instituto Camões and the Alliance Française, the Societe Dante Alighieri was awarded the Prince of Asturias Award for outstanding achievements in communications and the humanities. (More)


The British Council

08 October, 2008 21:04  EasyExpat EasyExpat

As part of our series on international institutions, today’s article focuses on the British Council.

The British Council is a non-department public body of the UK government which specializes in educational and development opportunities. Founded in 1934, the main aim of this institution is to build cultural and educational relations between the United Kingdom and other countries. Its overseas network spans across 233 locations in 107 countries and territories. In the UK, it has branch offices in London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff and Cambridge and a headquarters in Spring Gardens.

The British Council has two main sources of income – funding in the form of grants from the governments and income from teaching English. In 2006/2007, it brought in an income of £551m, of which £195m was grants from the British government. (More)


Alliance Française - Parlez vous Francais?

30 September, 2008 17:09  EasyExpat EasyExpat

Welcome to the third article in easyexpat’s series on language and cultural institutes. In this issue, the spotlight is on Alliance Française, an organization whose main mission is to promote French outside its own country’s borders.

While most people can manage ‘Bonjour’ or the famous ‘Bon Appetit’, this wasn’t enough for some French lovers. Set up in 1883 by a group of eminent men including the scientist Louis Pasteur and the writers Jules Verne and Ernest Renan, this institution’s aim is to spread the French language throughout the world. A mission well accomplished with a network of over 1071 institutions in 133 countries, from far the largest in the world! From India to Australia, UK to U.S, every year approximately 440,000 students learn a few more French words at one of its many centres. In fact, so great is its success in spreading the French language and culture that in 2005, along with the Societe Dante Alighieri, the British Council, the Goethe Institute, the Instituto Cervantes and the Instituto Camões, the Alliance Française was awarded the Prince of Asturias Award for outstanding achievements in communications and the humanities. (More)


Cervantes Institute – Espanola anybody?

17 September, 2008 14:26  EasyExpat EasyExpat

In this week’s article, the spotlight is on the Cervantes Institute. Established in 1991, the Cervantes Institute is a non-profit organization created by the Spanish government to spread Spanish language and culture to the rest of the world. Named after Miguel de Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote and seen as one of the most noteworthy figures in Spanish literature, this institution has earned itself an excellent reputation. In 2005, along with the Societe Dante Alighieri, the British Council, the Goethe Institute, the Alliance Francaise and the Instituto Camões, the Cervantes Institute was awarded the Prince of Asturias Award for outstanding achievements in communications and the humanities. Modeled on the principles of the Goethe Institute, it is now the largest organization in the world responsible for promoting the Spanish language and culture. With over 54 centres in over 20 countries, it’s easy to see why. (More)


Goethe Institut – promoting German language and culture

04 September, 2008 04:25  EasyExpat EasyExpat

Since most readers of are generally globe trotters who call many countries home, we’ve decided to do a series on various prominent institutions that bring their country’s culture to the world. Today’s article focuses on the Goethe Institut.

Established in 1951, the Goethe Insitut is a German non-profit organization set up mainly to promote the German language and culture outside German-speaking countries. It was set up initially to provide training for foreign German teachers in Germany but it has now grown into a worldwide institution with over 3300 employees and approximately 278 million euros at its disposal. (More)


Smoking bans- no butts about it

09 July, 2008 19:23  EasyExpat EasyExpat

Smoking bans seem to be all the rage with governments these days. A rash of bans have sprouted especially in Europe in recent years. A number of countries have joined the non-smoking wagon and a number of others are scrambling for their turn to join in.

Different countries have implemented the ban to different degrees. Some countries like Albania, Ireland, Cyprus, England, Iceland, Estonia, Finland, Scotland and recently Netherlands and France have opted to go completely smoke-free and ban smoking in all work places and public buildings including restaurants and cafes. Some countries have chosen to tread a bit more lightly. Austria for example bans smoking in public buildings open to children and young people but does not include work places. Others like Germany agreed to ban smoking in restaurants and pubs but will allow exemptions for small bars and premises with separate smoking rooms. Spain, Slovakia and Slovenia have allowed smoking in separate zones in pubs and restaurants. Switzerland imposes partial restriction on indoor workplaces and Luxembourg imposes a total ban on advertising and sponsoring smoking and a partial ban on smoking in public places.

The list is not limited to Europe alone. In recent years, many countries around the world including Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Singapore and a number of states in the Untied States have banned smoking in public areas. From the above, it’s clear the world wants to go smoke-free. Below are some key effects of such a move. (More)


Survival Tips for the Expat Spouse

06 May, 2008 19:16  EasyExpat EasyExpat

You’ve moved into your new house, gone shopping, explored the town center, visited the library, marveled at the architecture and then that nagging question looms up again, “What do I do now?” You’re friendless, jobless, clueless. But not to worry, things aren’t that hopeless. Here’s what you can do to keep your sanity and maybe even your career on the right track!

Start with the language: You’ll feel extremely proud of yourself in your first week in your new home country. This might have something to do with the fact that you can utter your own version of ‘good morning’ and ‘thank you’ in the local language. Unfortunately there’s more to it than those two precious words. If you plan to stay in your new country for more than a year, join a language course. The sooner you learn the language, the faster you get on with life. Most companies sponsor private courses for expatriate spouses. This however depends on the contract, company and the country you’re living in. If it’s not part of the deal, check your options on the internet. Most language schools tend to be in centrally located areas. Take a stroll in the city centre and you’re bound to stumble upon one of them. (More)


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