Monday, April 25, 2011

From Spain to Bahrain - Two Old Fools Stay Put

by Victoria Twead

Nobody is allowed to talk about what is happening here in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The news channels and internet have fallen silent, and I, too, will say little. Joe and I only have 10 weeks to complete of our contract teaching in an International School in the city of Manama, and then we hop aboard that plane back to Spain and our crazy, beloved village in the AndalucĂ­an mountains. How we long for the fresh mountain breezes and tasting food without a dusting of sand...

Last month, the troubles here in Bahrain escalated to the point where the British Embassy advised us to evacuate. They even laid on a special flight for British expats, although the fare cost more than a regular flight... (And they wondered why it returned to Britain empty?) But we’ve never felt personally threatened here, in spite of distant gunfire, numerous checkpoints, tanks parked along the roads and constant helicopter activity above. So we stayed. Nearly all the American and Canadian teachers left, and the Lebanese male teachers were deported. We felt we should stay and help keep the school open because the school has been very good to us and we owed the owners that.

Things are easier now; we are no longer under house arrest, and the curfew hours have been reduced. We choose not to travel much around the island, but we could if we wanted. The British Embassy has given us very little guidance, but our American friends pass on their (very good) Embassy advice so we know what to do at checkpoints:

“We no longer advise U.S. citizens to limit movements to areas around their residence, but we encourage everyone to follow the guidelines listed below, especiall...

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Things to Consider Before Emigrating – The Total Cost

by Toni Hargis

How many people do you know who talk about emigrating? Chances are, most of them have yet to do it, and it’s often because of the huge costs involved. It is crucial to get a detailed idea of these costs in order to avoid disappointment and/or hardship down the line.
The costs can basically be divided into “getting there” and “arrival” costs:

Getting there:

Establish first of all, whether you’re actually eligible to relocate to your chosen spot. Some countries like Australia and the UK , have a point system which includes your salary or earning potential; others like the USA look at your ability to support yourself and/or the family you are planning to bring with you.

Visa type – all visas cost money, but some are more expensive than others. Establishing your eligibility should go hand in hand with figuring out what type of visa you’ll need (if applicable). If you have a complicated visa application, you may also need to hire an agent or a lawyer, which is never cheap.

Additional application costs, such as visa interviews (and travel to and from), background checks and medical exams must also be factored into the overall cost to emigrate. Requirements are different around the world, but none of them are free.

Visiting expenses – many people visit a place before emigrating, which can rack up the costs. Include flights, accommodation, vehicle rental or transportation costs, and temporary visas if applicable.

Shipping your goods – this will be one of your largest expenses, unless you’re planning to literally start afresh. In most cases, sending a container of goods abroad will run into the thousands, with the price increasing the farther you travel. Don’t forget to include the costs of shipping or flying animals.

Property costs – you may have a property to sell, which entails a fee to your realtor or agent. What if the property doesn’t sell by your moving date? How many months’ mortgage can you afford to carry? Do you already own property in your new country? If not, you’ll need rent money too.


As mentioned, you will probably need...

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Avoiding Investment Scams

by Tom Zachystal

You have worked hard to build a nest egg and would like to invest your money in order that it work for you to provide for the lifestyle you desire; but while searching for investments or investment advisors you find it difficult to know who to trust or which investments might be appropriate for you. Many people find themselves in this situation and some end up being taken advantage of by smooth-talking sales people masquerading as investment advisors.
In this article I highlight three scams we have seen over the years and point out warning signs to look for so that you are not caught unawares. This list is far from comprehensive so if you are uncertain about a prospective investment then I invite you to contact me directly and I will evaluate it for you, often at no charge.

Scam #1: The Boiler Room Sales Person

Suppose someone called you on the telephone saying he was an investment advisor and wanted to give you some free investment advice so that you could evaluate his effectiveness. Suppose he called you once a month for five months and each time gave you one stock to buy or sell that month and each month his advice worked out – when he told you to buy the stock he picked for that month went up, when he told you to sell it went down. After five months, or maybe less, you might be willing to entrust some money to him to invest on your behalf and if you did this you would likely find that the 100% track record he had in the past did not continue.

Let me explain how it is possible for someone to give you perfect investment advice for five or more months in a row: There is a person sitting somewhere with a telephone and a list of numbers they purchased from firms that supply leads. He spends his...

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Expat Experiences: Australia - Sarah Husselmann, Sydney

Who are you?

I’m Sarah Husselmann, a British freelance writer, who moved from London to Sydney in January 2010. I relocated with my husband and two preschool children. Whilst settling the children into their new home, I’ve created a blog and website providing help for mums moving to Australia Mum’s gone 2 Aus. I’ve been thrilled with the following it’s received and I’m happy to be helping families from all over the world with their relocation or visit to Australia.

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

Our decision to move to Australia took some time. My husband and I obtained permanent residency shortly after getting married but I got cold feet and didn’t want to leave the UK. I was concerned about missing my family.

We had our children in London and as they got older felt we wanted to offer them a more outdoor lifestyle. We also didn’t want to keep wondering about Australia, and look back in years to come and wish we’d made the move.

What challenges did you face during the move?

We moved to Australia with two children, no jobs, and little support in Australia (we didn’t know many people). We arrived in January, which we now believe isn’t the best time. We don’t think businesses get back to normal until February, after the Christmas break and long school holidays.

My husband was immediately looking for work and...
Read more about Sarah's life in Sydney

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Expat Experiences: Turkey - Jack Scott, Bodrum

Who are you?

My name is Jack Scott, originally from London

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

Last year I moved to Bodrum in Turkey with my civil partner, Liam. I was a petty bureaucrat for 30 years gently ascending a career ladder to middle management, middle income and a middling suburban terrace; comfortable, secure and passionately dissatisfying. We thought it high time to take a break from our labours, put our feet up and watch the pansies grow while we were young enough to enjoy it.

What challenges did you face during the move?

I have to admit that the move was relatively painless. We had done a fair amount of research beforehand and concocted a bells and whistles plan to ensure our momentous decision didn’t lead to certain penury. We were lucky enough to meet fellow expats who helped us enormously. Saying farewell to family and friends was extremely hard but we keep in regular touch and visit London every few months.

How did you find somewhere to live?

Bodrum was the bookie’s favourite from the start, an urbane, liberal oasis where we could live safely and unmolested. We briefly entertained the notion of living in Kas on the Turkuaz Coast where we had honeymooned. Kas is a sparkling Bohemian jewel, surrounded by a pristine hinterland that has been mercifully spared the worst excesses of mass tourism. But, its glorious isolation, protected by a wilting three hour drive from the nearest international airport, means that the town is effectively closed out of season and lacks those dull but essential full time services we all need to live in the

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Thursday, April 07, 2011

Interview with Megan Fitzgerald, founder of Career by Choice

Megan, can you tell us a bit about your background prior to founding Career by Choice? What made you decide to start your own business and what services do you offer?

Ever since I was in high school I had a passion for exploring other countries and cultures. That passion translated into a bachelors degree in International Relations, living, studying and working in Paris, and a job designing professional and business training programs for entrepreneurs from developing and transitional countries on 4 continents. My career in international education and training continued for many years until I returned to school get my Masters Degree in Multimedia Communications. While pursuing this degree I worked for the university career center running their local and international job fairs and their recruiting and employer relations programs. This is what gave me my first taste of formal career development methodology. After my degree I continued to work for international organizations doing professional and organizational development work. Upon moving to London I continued doing professional, organizational and business development work on a consulting basis. I have been fortunate that my work before and after my Masters degree has allowed me to work with professionals, entrepreneurs and organizations in many countries in North America, South America, Europe, Africa and Asia.

It was when my husband and I decided to move to Rome that I realized I would have some real hurdles to overcome professionally. I did not speak Italian, had no network in Italy to speak of, and I was sure that securing a work visa in Italy was not going to be easy. It was then that I decided I wanted to start my own portable business.

Career and business coaching seemed like the perfect choice. All of my previous education and professional experience had prepared me for just such a line of work. In fact I’d been helping professionals, leaders and organizations grow and improve their performance for years - I just didn’t know it was called coaching. It was also aligned with all of my values - freedom, empowerment, growth and development and being of service - and allowed me to support other people like myself who wanted a satisfying career that would also support a life overseas. So I pursued several certifications in career coaching, executive coaching, and personal branding and Career By Choice was born.

Today Career by Choice offers career, personal branding and business coaching services to expats looking to build a career that fits who they are and their international lifestyle. Specifically I help expats create a clear vision for their life and career abroad, understand their unique value and what they offer and communicate that value in a compelling and differentiating way on and offline. I also teach them how to leverage online networking and social media to build their brand and reach and apply the right tools and strategies to reach their goals. By applying their new skills and taking ongoing strategic action these expats will be set up for long-term career or business success.

What are the main challenges faced by expat professionals trying to build a career abroad? How do you encourage your clients to meet those challenges?

There are many challenges expats face when building a career abroad...

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Friday, April 01, 2011

Missing Food From Back Home - Is It Just Me?

by Piglet in Portugal

Is it just the British who yearn for their favorite foods and familiar products or do other nationalities suffer from similar cravings? Before you leap from your chair in denial I realize this may be a generalization and food-from-home cravings do not apply to everyone. However, there are now so many shops specializing in British foods there must be a market in order for them all to survive.

A quick search of the Internet, plus local knowledge, revealed there are shops in countries such as Spain, Bulgaria, Portugal and even France. In the UK it is not uncommon to see Indian and Chinese specialty food shops and I am sure if I looked further I would find many more.

So why do we feel the need to purchase foods imported from our homeland? Do food cravings have the potential to make us feel homesick? Are we unable to find equivalent products or is it the product description in a “foreign” language that drives us to these shops?

In Lyon, France, I was amazed to discover an English food shop called “Little Britain”. The proprietor was a French guy; this had to be a first! However, I soon discovered he had lived in Scotland for many years and not only acquired a taste for British food, but also a British sense of humor. This manifested itself by naming his shop after the British TV Comedy show “Little Britain” (a parody of life in Britain). The shop stocked a great range of British foods, including haggis, Wagon Wheel biscuits, English mustard, Sweet Piccalilli, cranberry jelly, pork pies, bacon and English bread. English bread? Well, bacon “butties” would hardly be the same made with a baguette, would they? Little Britain had certainly arrived in France and as a country revered for its gastronomic delights I wondered if the locals ever ventured into his...

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New Panama Country Guide Now Available

Over 80 sections of new content for expats moving to Panama - available to read free online or download as a PDF file.

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