Top 5 adventure activities in and around Dubai

25 May, 2009 18:54  EasyExpat EasyExpat

Dubai has transformed itself from a barely inhabited desert to a top tourist destination. While the sun and the sea attract well heeled travelers looking for a chance to grill on the beach, the city has a number of exciting outdoor activities that are quite unique to the region. From camel riding to hot air ballooning, sand skiing to falconry, here are some thrilling options for the more actively inclined.

Desert Safari

This is an action packed adventure that includes dune bashing, camel riding, sand skiing and a number of other activities in one evening. As the name suggests, dune bashing is just that. Expect an adrenaline packed ride where your 4x4 crashes through dunes and kicks up a storm of sand around you. If you’re attempting your first camel ride, here’s a tip that’ll come in handy. Fight tooth and nail for the seat at the back. It’s far more comfortable and there’s a much lesser chance of falling off from here. Sand skiing is a new rage in Dubai. You basically get to the top of a dune and ‘ski’ down the dune. If you love skiing the traditional way, i.e. on snow, you’ll find this a pretty unique way of enjoying your favourite sport all year round. (More)


Fast facts on Swine Flu (type A H1N1 virus)

16 May, 2009 12:20  EasyExpat EasyExpat

Read the news and chances are that you’ll find yourself staring at the photo of a pig or a swine flu victim. At the time this article is being written, 33 countries have reported more than 6,600 cases of swine flu worldwide, with less than 70 deaths in total. The figures are based on tallies provided by national governments and WHO. According to the global body's pandemic alert level, the world is at phase 5 — out of a possible 6 — meaning that a global outbreak is "imminent." Whether or not this happens, it’s good to brief ourselves on some of the basic facts about this pandemic. Here are some frequently asked questions as answered by CDC, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

What is swine flu?
Swine flu (swine influenza) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza virus that regularly causes outbreaks of influenza in pigs. Swine flu viruses cause high levels of illness and low death rates in pigs. Swine influenza viruses may circulate among swine throughout the year, but most outbreaks occur during the late fall and winter months similar to outbreaks in humans. The classical swine flu virus (an influenza type A H1N1 virus) was first isolated from a pig in 1930. (More)


Dubai’s real estate icons

12 May, 2009 10:27  EasyExpat EasyExpat

Iconic, ostentatious, innovative, outrageous… love it or hate it, Dubai’s real estate developments have put the city on the world map. It’s estimated that 25% of the world’s cranes can be found in Dubai. A mere 20 years ago, this was a little known desert town - its centre marked by four buildings. Now, this buzzing city has been dubbed by a number of lofty nicknames- ‘Vegas on the Gulf’, ‘City of Gold’, ‘The Desert Miracle’ to name a few. While the economic downturn has caused a slowdown in its building frenzy, parts of the city still look like a massive construction site. This article takes a look at some of the most famous real estate developments in Dubai. (More)


How to Arrange Your Own Study Abroad Program (5/5)

06 May, 2009 18:14  EasyExpat EasyExpat

This is the last article of a series of 5, explaining how to arrange your own study abroad program.

StarFirst article: Decide Where to Go

StarSecond article: Determine When to Go

StarThird article: Language Problems and Programs

StarFourth article: How to Pay for It

Practical Matters

After you've made the difficult decisions concerning where to conduct your study abroad program, when you want to go and have arranged to pay for it, it's time to get down to nuts and bolts of making the final arrangements to go. It's a good idea to keep a checklist and mark each task when it is completed.

If the program you have chosen provides accommodations for its students, either on campus or in the area, it's wise to take advantage of it. The accommodations will almost always be safe, clean and accessible to campus or to transportation, even if they are not always luxurious. If you are very familiar with the area (through prior visits or friends and family in the region), you may be able to obtain cheaper accommodations on your own, but again, allow sufficient lead time. If the program does not provide accommodations and you don't have insider information, ask about recommendations from the program staff or administrators. This is one area where it is unwise to rely on Internet searches alone. Never take a room or a flat sight unseen unless it is issued or recommended by someone you know or your study abroad program.  If all else fails, make arrangements to arrive early and stay at a hostel while you search for accommodations.  (More)


How to Arrange Your Own Study Abroad Program (4/5)

29 April, 2009 18:02  EasyExpat EasyExpat

This is the fourth article of a series of 5, explaining how to arrange your own study abroad program.

StarFirst article: Decide Where to Go

StarSecond article: Determine When to Go

StarThird article: Language Problems and Programs

How to Pay for It

The main obstacle to study abroad for many people is the cost. However, there are ways of getting around this. For instance, if you are an American college or graduate student and receive financial aid, you can almost always apply your financial aid from your present institution to the study abroad program you choose.  European students should investigate the Erasmus program. In any case, you will need to contact the financial aid office at your school and make the necessary arrangements. This may require a few extra steps and a somewhat longer period of time, so don't put this task off until the last minute.

It is less likely that you will be able to arrange financial aid directly with the host institution, but not impossible. Some programs do offer scholarships; however, these scholarships are almost always very competitive. The best advice is to prepare as good an application as possible, but don't count on scholarships from the host institution for all or even most of your funding. Volunteer programs may provide a small stipend or free room and board in exchange for your participation.  If you are studying at the graduate school level, you might also consider grants or fellowships such as the Fulbright, although the competition for these grants is also very competitive. In addition, deadlines for grants and scholarships often fall a year in advance, and two years in advance is not out of the question. (More)


How to Arrange Your Own Study Abroad Program (3/5)

22 April, 2009 18:09  EasyExpat EasyExpat

This is the third article of a series of 5, explaining how to arrange your own study abroad program.

StarFirst article: Decide Where to Go

StarSecond article: Determine When to Go

Language Problems and Programs

Even if you are attending a study abroad program conducted in your native language or in a language you speak fluently, you will undoubtedly have to navigate your way around unfamiliar surroundings, if only to get back and forth to class. Also, unless you are fluent in the language of your host country (which may or may not be the same language as your program), even familiar tasks such as mailing a letter can become challenging. This is especially true if you stay for a longer period of time and live "off campus."

Most study abroad programs will have multilingual staff and instructors. Don't be afraid to ask them how to negotiate such practicalities as train schedules, mobile phone refill cards and grocery shopping, either before you leave or on site. Once you arrive, depending on where you travel, it may even be safe to obtain assistance, especially directions, from people on the street, although it is always wise to keep your wits about you whenever you are in unfamiliar territory. If you speak English, again, you will find yourself at a definite advantage. Many people worldwide speak at least some English. (More)


HSBC: Protecting your wealth in turbulent times

21 April, 2009 22:36  EasyExpat EasyExpat


Article sponsored by HSBC

A seminar for foreign nationals in the UK

Investment strategies for volatile times

There are few certainties wherever you look in today's volatile global economy, but HSBC believe that this is the time when you need to think positively about the future.

HSBC invite you to a seminar on "Protecting your wealth in turbulent times". (More)


How to Arrange Your Own Study Abroad Program (2/5)

15 April, 2009 18:16  EasyExpat EasyExpat

This is the second article of a series of 5, explaining how to arrange your own study abroad program.

StarFirst article: Decide Where to Go

Determine When to Go

If you are arranging your own study abroad program, scheduling is an important consideration. Especially if you are working, your work schedule will be a major factor in deciding when you can go and how long you can stay. While workers in many countries enjoy holidays of several weeks or longer, the standard vacation in America is no more than two weeks and often as short as one week. While it is possible to plan a study abroad program for such a brief period of time, it will require even more planning than a longer program. (More)


How to Arrange Your Own Study Abroad Program (1/5)

08 April, 2009 18:18  EasyExpat EasyExpat

This is the first article of a series of 5, explaining how to arrange your own study abroad program.

Decide Where to Go

Study abroad is a valuable experience for a number of reasons. International experience is almost universally expected for anyone pursuing a career in international affairs, either before leaving school, or soon afterward. Even if you plan to stay put in your own country, international experience such as study abroad can demonstrate that you can work well in a multicultural environment, which is increasingly important as globalization becomes the norm.

Of course, many colleges and universities, and even some secondary schools sponsor study abroad programs, which often take care of all the practical aspects, such as accommodations, visas, etc for students. They also usually arrange financial aid. That's very handy. But if you can't or don't want to work through the program at a school or university, you can arrange your own study abroad program, including financing. All you need is sufficient lead time to plan (and perhaps save money) and the determination to go. And a computer with Internet access. (More)


Festivals in Europe this April

05 April, 2009 11:41  EasyExpat EasyExpat

The days are getting longer, the snow is melting, spring is in the air and the celebrations have begun. Here’s a roundup of the top festivals happening across Europe this April.

First day of Summer, Iceland
16th April
After spending over six months in darkness, it’s hardly surprising that there are huge celebrations on the first day of summer in Iceland. The festivities include street parties, parades, live music, dances and nonstop entertainment.

Foire du Trone, Paris, France
Date to be confirmed
The Foire du Trone is one of the largest country fairs in France and attracts over five million visitors each year. It has become one of the biggest fairs in the French calendar. It combines a modern day amusement park with charming entertainment from the past. Expect acrobats, jugglers, fire eaters and roller coasters at this fun packed, family oriented fair. (More)


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