Valentine's Day Around the World

11 February, 2011 12:34  Erin Erin

Love in multiple languages © Yahia LOUKKAL - FotoliaThough St. Valentine has been celebrated since he got his own day in 500 AD, Valentines Day has long held a bad rap. Omitted from the Roman calendar in 1969 by Pope Paul VI, the holiday we see today has little to do with the Christian martyr who gave it his name.

Flowers, paper hearts, candy and cupids make up the modern Valentine's Day festivities. Many people feel that February 14th has devolved into little more than a gimmick to sell material goods and has absolutely nothing to do with romance.  (More)


Expatriates in Egypt

10 February, 2011 09:41  Erin Erin

Egypt. Shaded relief map © Arid Ocean - FotoliaExpats look forward to an exotic life of excitement and surprise. Unfortunately, expats in Egypt are getting more than they bargained for. As the people of Egypt struggle for greater independence, some expats have chosen to stay, some have left, and some have been removed by their companies.

What happened?

Egypt has long been known as one of the most stable nations in a volatile corner of the world. That does not mean that everything has been perfect. Ruler Hosni Mubarak has enjoyed his 30-year rule, while many of Egypt's people have not. Mubarak and the National Democratic Party has been accused using manipulation, intimidation, and rigged elections to keep the party in power for over 30 years.

Resistance had been growing with groups using Facebook groups and Twitter accounts to rally supporters. The Muslim Brotherhood, which was officially banned, was partly responsible for motivating the people in this revolution.  (More)


HEART Act- What it Costs to Stop being an American

09 February, 2011 09:57  Erin Erin

American passport cover close up isolated on white © Olivier - FotoliaBecoming an expat is one thing. Renouncing your citizenship is altogether different and much more difficult. The federal Register reports that 502 expatriates gave up their U.S. citizenship or permanent residency status in 2009. That is extremely small percentage of the estimated 5.2 million Americans living abroad. So what causes some people to renounce their citizenship and why is this movement growing?

It appears that frustrations over tax and banking questions are the primary concern for most of those who renounce. American expats complain about the United States taxing citizens income abroad, U.S. based banks closing expat accounts because they are not maintaining a US residence, and finally the HEART act's high cost has proved unpopular. (More)


UK Pension plans

07 February, 2011 10:06  Erin Erin

Pensions UK - Photo © Flashon Studio - Fotolia.comThis article is part of a series describing different pension systems around the world. You will find the other articles already published at the bottom.

History of the UK Pension

The first pension schemes in the UK were actually organized for Royal Navy Officers in the 1670s. In 1908, the arrangement was formalized with the creation of the Old Age Pensions Act. Sir William Beveridge, father of the welfare state, was an adviser on the program that provided assistance to the elderly and honored them on January lst, 1909 with "Pensions Day". 



Coolest Nationalities

03 February, 2011 14:48  Erin Erin

Brasil © Eli Coory - FotoliaOf course your country is cool! You live there after all. Either adopted, or the country of your birth, every place on earth has something to be proud of. But, is your country the coolest?

Maybe this depends on how many cool people reside in a country? Maybe it's determined by the quality of nightlife? Does the title belong to those nations that are the best dressed? Is Switzerland's political neutral status cool?

Maybe it is all these things....and a little something extra. Something cool. (More)


Talk Like a Local - Learning a Foreign Language

01 February, 2011 08:16  Erin Erin

Greetings from Around the World - Speech Bubbles © iQoncept - FotoliaEnglish can take a traveler far. You can speak it in Shanghai, Los Angeles, London, Johannesburg, Auckland, or New York City for instance. Mandarin, Spanish, French, German, Italian can similarly carry a traveler to distant lands. But if you want to stay and become part of a place, learning the language is more than a necessary step. It is an essential tool to understanding your adopted culture and people.

Kolik jazyku znas, tolikrat jsi clovekem.
You live a new life or every new language you speak. If you know only one language, you live only once.
(Czech proverb)

In our new series of "____ Like a Local", we provide tips to avoid the worst faux pas and an overview of standards around the world. (For more tips on fitting in, read Eat Like A Local, Date Like a Local, Tip Like a Local, Stay Healthy like a Local, and Greet Like A Local).

Methods of Learning

Determining what kind of learning style best fits you will help you determine what kind of education you should pursue. (More)


Oslo guide for expats in French / Guide pour expatriés sur Oslo en français

30 January, 2011 16:11  EasyExpat EasyExpat

NorwayWe have now fully manually translated our original guide in English into French.

Known as Norge, this section of Scandinavia lies to the northwest of Finland and its immediate neighbour, Sweden on Europe's most Northern peninsula. Oslo is Norway's capitol and the largest city (total area of 454 km2). There is a population of around 590,041. The city is also incredibly safe with one of the lowest homicide rate in the world.

The metropolitan area of Oslo accounts for 25 percent of Norway's gross domestic product. The region has one of the highest per capita GDPs in Europe. Oslo has been ranked the second most expensive place to live in the world, and the most expensive in Europe according to the EAI.

At the end of 2009, 4,734 French nationals were recorded by the French Embassy. The whole French community is about 5 000 people (the 8th largest country of the European Economic Area present in Norway) who live mainly in Oslo (70%), Stavanger (16%) and Bergen (7%).  (More)


Guide for expatriates in Prague, Czech Republic

29 January, 2011 15:49  EasyExpat EasyExpat

Czech RepublicWe are proud to launch our new city guide for expatriates in Prague, Czech Republic.

Prague has been a beloved Bohemian capital through invading armies, World Wars, and a long Communist regime. Known in Czech as Praha, the city is the artistic, cultural, economic and political heart of the Czech Republic. It is one of Europe's most charming and beautiful cities, popular with budget travellers and high society revellers alike.

Prague - The clock tower

Located in the centre of Czech Republic, the capital city of Prague is 496 square km and about 1.2 million inhabitants live here. The Vltava River is a defining geographical feature as it rolls through the city.

The modern economy of Prague is largely service and export-based. The city has developed rapidly and is named as one of the best cities for innovation globally and the best in Central Europe. The city accounts for 25% of the Czech Republic's GDP making it the pinnacle of Czech economics. There are 800,000 employees in Prague, with an additional 120,000 commuters. In 2010, there were about 150,000 foreign workers (about 18% of the workforce).



INTERVIEW: We Like the World: a family around the world

27 January, 2011 14:41  EasyExpat EasyExpat

Icon We Like the World

On Christmas day, when a lot of you were opening presents and sharing joy and thanks, Estelle, Héloïse and Frédéric Colas decided that they would offer a gift: 'We Like The World' is the name of the trip around the world that the Colas' family will do from July 2011 to June 2012, with one mission: to fund the building of a girls' school in Cambodia, thanks to the help of their 80.000 facebook friends and friends of friends living around the world.  (More)


The Art and Science of Repatriation

24 January, 2011 11:25  Erin Erin

Repatriation (from the Latin term repatriare) is the forgotten phase of expatriation. With excitement, future expats plan for the big move and prepare for culture shock. What most expats don't expect is the culture shock of returning home. No longer living the exotic and glamorous life of an expat, every day is not only NOT an adventure, it is composed of tedious details like bills, commutes, and routine.

Old suitcase © rimglow - FotoliaMost companies already have a detailed plan in place for employees going "home", but it is well-known that repatriation continues to be a difficult adjustment period. And if you absconded of your own free will, there are few resources and very little sympathy to be had from friends and family. The truth is, repatriation hits every individual in a different way and even members of the same family can have a vastly different reaction to the change. The key is to understand the phenomenon and prepare for it. (More)


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