Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Brits Keen to Work Abroad ... But Not to Learn the Language

A survey has found that the British are increasingly eager to work overseas. 86% of people questioned said that they had seriously considered working in another country. Yet the survey, which was carried out by intercultural communications consultancy Kwintessential, also found that over two thirds of those eager to become expatriates could not speak the local language.

The Kwintessential poll was conducted through the company's website starting in July 2006 with a sample of over 300 individuals. The results showed that meain reasons people are tempted to abandon their British posts are for a better work-life balance and the challenges of working in a different culture. Contrary to popular opinion, only 11% of those questioned identified better weather as a strong motivation for moving away from the British Isles.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Austria guide on the way

As part of the efforts to expand our range of country guides I'm delighted to announce that an expat guide to Austria will shortly be available online. Any requests for future guides are always welcome, just drop us a line.

Monday, November 13, 2006


I thought it might be interesting to plug the words "expat" and "expatriate" into Google's image search engine and see if anything interesting came up. Well, apart from being able to report that a website called "Expat Harem" isn't what I thought it would be (in fact, it's much better), it turns out there's also a comic called "The Expatriate"! I'm not much of a comic book expert but here's a glimpse (see pic) of the kind of thing this particular expat gets up to.

That's right, just another day at the office :-)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Expat kids and bullying

Regular visitors to the Expat Focus forums may recall some recent discussions about the bullying in foreign schools experienced by some of our members' children. A recent article at Expatica confirms that being an expat kid might indeed make life harder at a local school. The question remains, though, how much is due to the local culture and how much to human nature? Both play a role in the way outsiders are viewed by communities and the answer is likely to vary from one country to another. Just as important is how seriously the schools view the problem and what steps they are willing to take to combat it, something all expat parents should ask about when searching for the best school for their kids.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Writing for Expat Focus

Expat Focus is a website for expats, by expats. If you're someone who has already made the move abroad you will almost certainly have information of use to others - why not share it? You don't need to be a great writer (we can tidy things up), all you need is the willingness to help others by sharing your experiences.

If the above sounds good, how do you get started? Simple - think about what you've learnt from your own experiences. It might be something applicable to all expats or maybe just something of use to those heading to your own country, city, town etc. It really doesn't matter, if it's something you think might help someone else and you're able to write at least 500 words about it then we're interested in publishing it at Expat Focus.

If you'd like to contribute an article, or even start writing regularly for Expat Focus, please contact Jo James on

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Health advice for expats (joke)

The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British.
On the other hand, the French eat a lot of fat and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the British.
The Japanese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British.
The French and Italians drink excessive amounts of red wine and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the British.

Eat & drink what you like. It's speaking English that kills you.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Home page improvements

Regular visitors to Expat Focus may have noticed that we removed the "Latest Forum Posts" section from the home page last week. This was due to the large number of database queries it was using which were causing unacceptably long load times. We've now replaced it with different code which seems to be working much better, thanks to everyone who took the time to report the original problem.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Marbella construction scandal

A family friend recently returned from a holiday in Spain and happened to mention the remarkable number of new houses she'd noticed which were under construction in some of the more popular tourist and expat locations. Perhaps somewhat cynically I said something along the lines of "I hope they're still standing next year" and it transpired that she was unaware of the utterly shameful construction scandal which has recently hit certain Spanish resorts. I Googled it when we got home and found that one of the best overviews of the whole sorry affair can be found here (on the "World Socialist Web Site" of all places). Anyone considering purchasing property abroad should spend some time following the story of those expats who may now have lost their entire life savings to be left with nothing, it makes disturbing reading.