Thursday, October 18, 2012

Expat Women - Trailing Spouse Research & Call for Expat Writing Submissions

Hi Everyone, I hope you have enjoyed a wonderful week! Whilst our main Expat Women site is still on an indefinite "break", we wanted to share the following quick news items which might be of interest...

‘Being Dumped In To Sink Or Swim’: An Empirical Study of Organizational Support for The Trailing Spouse

Congratulations to my friend Dr Yvonne McNulty (a leading authority on expatriate return on investment and an academic expert in the field of expatriation) on the recent publication of her 'Being dumped in to sink or swim' paper, in the journal Human Resource Development International. 

Yvonne is an Australian who has lived as an expat in the United States, Singapore and now China. She rose to expat-research prominence years ago, with her four-year study about the challenges and opportunities for the Trailing Spouse. If you are interested in reading Yvonne's comprehensive article, please visit this site (current article price is US$36). 

New Survey Results Published - Career Choice and The Accompanying Partner

Evelyn Simpson and Louise Wiles (co-founders of the site AccompanyingPartner) released last month the results of their “Career Choice and the Accompanying Partner” survey. The survey of 312 accompanying partners on expat assignments in 59 countries around the world explored the decisions they make in relation to their own careers when they relocate with their partners on expat assignments. 

The study, which has been shortlisted for a European EMMA award by the Forum for Expatriate Management, helps organisations to understand how the assignment experience can affect the accompanying partners’ well being and provides a road map for providing them with effective and cost-efficient support. It highlights the desire of many accompanying partners to work, the factors beyond the availability of work permits which affect their ability to work, and the possible effects on the fulfilment that they may derive from the assignment experience. 

A free summary of the survey report is available on their AccompanyingPartner website, where the full report also can be purchased for €147. You can also contact Evelyn Simpson and Louise Wiles via

Expat Women in Asia: Call for Submissions

Editor Shannon Young is seeking contributions from expatriate women in East Asia for a new anthology from Signal 8 Press in Hong Kong. 

"This collection will feature the writing of women who are currently expatriates or who previously lived in an East Asian country. For the purposes of this anthology, we construe East Asia to include Korea, China, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and the ASEAN countries. All submissions should be creative non-fiction and/or travel memoir pieces that speak to the expat experience in modern East Asia. Potential topics include travel, work, relationships, gender roles, safety, family, and repatriation. We are looking for stories with a strong and personal narrative arc, not just travel guides or descriptions of the places you’ve lived. We hope to make this anthology as inclusive as possible, as well, and we welcome submissions from women from different parts of the world. 

Contributions should be between approximately 2000 and 5000 words in length. Each writer will receive two copies of the completed anthology and a percentage of the royalties to be determined by the final number of contributors. Please send all submissions, with a brief paragraph about the author, to shannon [at] typhoon-media [dot] com. Submissions should be in Microsoft Word, .doc or .docx format, and in a standard font. The deadline for submissions is 28 February 2013. This title will be released in paperback and e-book formats in the spring of 2014. Thank you."   

Listed Your Expat Women Blog Yet?

Our Expat Women Blog Directory is still very active. New blogs are added all the time. If you have not submitted your expat blog yet, please consider doing so here. We would love to see it.

On Twitter?

Finally, if you are interested in more regular expat headlines, social media tidbits, motivational quotes and tips from writers around the world, feel free to follow me on Twitter via @andreaexpat.

Until next time... thank you for your ongoing support and I wish you a truly sensational weekend,

Andrea (Martins)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Quick Updates from Expat Women

Hi Everyone, I hope you have all been really well? Whilst our main Expat Women site is still on an indefinite "break", we wanted to share the following quick updates which might be of interest to you...

Permits Foundation International Mobility and Dual Career Survey
Dual career and partner employment concerns impact on the ability to attract employees to international assignments. That is one of the key findings of the latest International Mobility and Dual Career Survey 2012 conducted by the Permits Foundation. Two thirds of employers report that partner careers have an impact on mobility and more than half said that employees had turned down assignments. Click here to see the full survey report.

Women's International Networking (W.I.N.) Conference 2012
This year's W.I.N. conference will be in beautiful Rome, Italy, 3-5(6) October. The theme this year is "Make Space: Find Possibilities". For more details, please visit their main website.

Global Campaign To Empower Americans Abused Abroad
- South America
The Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center is headed to South America: Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. If you would like to attend one of their sessions please email Brooke Galloway, for more information.
- Worldwide
In addition, they are running free webinars from September to December, for American women based all over the world. Please for further details.
(Remember, if you are concerned that someone might be tracking your emails and website searches, perhaps use a computer other than your own to enquire about these webinars.)

Families in Global Transition (F.I.G.T.) Conference 2013
Do you have a personal history to share, a work philosophy, a special expertise, research findings, or strategies for successful international relocation? If so, then think about attending and speaking at next year's F.I.G.T. conference in Silver Spring, Maryland (March 22-23). If you are interested, the deadline for speaking proposals is September 10, so hurry here to get started on your proposal.

Blog Directory
Our Expat Women Blog Directory is still very active. New blogs are added all the time. If you have not submitted your expat blog yet, please consider doing so here. We would love to see it.

Another channel that is still actively sharing expat headlines, social media tidbits, motivational quotes and tips from writers around the world is our/my Twitter account.

Thanks and best wishes for your week, Everyone,

Andrea (Martins)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

9 Questions Every Expat Partner Should Ask

Hi Everyone, A little while ago I congratulated Rachel Yates on her blog series about questions for expat partners. Rachel has kindly agreed that we can republish that whole series here in one blog post, for your potential enjoyment. Thanks Rachel!

9 Questions Every Expat Partner Should Ask

1. How Long Are We Going For? 

There is a great deal of research showing that the typical length of international assignment now falls in the one to three year category, but not so much highlighting how one assignment often leads to another. So when you ask the question “how long are we going for?”, I am not referring to this particular move, but to the bigger picture... “How long do we intend to be expatriates?”

As the accompanying partner, you potentially take on a more vulnerable role, losing primary visa status, [typically] your independent income, and possibly [many of your] legal rights. You may be willing to tolerate this in the short term, but how will you address it if the assignment is extended, or a new one offered?

2. What Are The Role Expectations?

Again, studies have shown that 86 percent of expatriate spouses have not only a Bachelor’s degree or higher, but also an established professional career. So while many take career breaks to spend time with children, their intention is to return to work at some point. International assignments often make this more problematic – not only the invalidity of professional credentials in the host country, but also the visa and EAD (Employment Authorisation Document) requirements, the complex tax issues, and the practicalities of moving, settling in, establishing a support network, and so on. Oh, and the difficulty in explaining to any potential employer that you are not sure exactly how long you are going to be here.

It is possible to maintain a profession, as many career expatriate partners will attest. It does, however, take planning and commitment. Many transferring companies are aware of the changing demographic of the supporting partner, and provide career services and visa support. What they cannot do is ensure employment, professional development and childcare provision, so we still circle back to the original question – whose career will be the primary focus, who will be considered the “trailing spouse” and how do you both feel about this in the short and long term?

3. What Legal Rights Do I Have In The Host Country?

Expatriate assignments are global, and increasingly include destinations with very different laws and legal systems. While you are not expected to have an in-depth knowledge of the intricacies of the legal system, it is vital you understand the laws that personally affect you. For example, the rights of women, the custody of children, [the legality and culture towards] same sex partnerships, and any other laws that may differ significantly from those of your home location should be considered, as well as what legal support is provided in the event of a brush with the law.

...[Also worth considering,] you may have a valid Will, Advanced Directive of Healthcare (Living Will), Power of Attorney and/or named beneficiary in your home country, but are they valid in your host country, and do you have access to the legal services to enforce them should the unthinkable happen? No-one likes to think about what happens if things go wrong, but as the expat partner, you will have interrupted your independent income stream, [typically] be dependent on your partner for right of residency, and be judged according to a set of laws that may be at odds with what you believe. In essence, you are putting yourself in a far more vulnerable position, so you need to take steps to protect yourself and your rights should something happen to your partner or your partnership. And then, hopefully, never have to think about it again.

4. What Financial Provisions Will Need To Be Made?

Choosing to go on international assignment in a supporting role means that you interrupt your career, even in the short term. This has potential impact on your pension (both state and company), home country benefits entitlement (depending on the length of time you are out of your host country), earning potential, credit rating and your professional credentials and résumé, so you need to be clear about your financial plans for the future, and how you will safeguard yourself.

As a dependent partner, it may be more difficult to open an individual bank account in your host country, but it is an essential part of your financial security. If something happens to your partner or your relationship, depending on the laws of the country, you may lose access to any assets held jointly, and thus the ability to not only pay any bills and live in the family home, but also to hire legal services. While we hate to think about a loved one being either missing, incapacitated or dead, the reality in these situations is that your legal rights are determined by the law of the land you live in. The same applies in the case of marital breakdown, and the last thing you need in a time of personal or family crisis is a [financial crisis as well].

5. What If Something Happens To The Primary Visa Holder In Terms Of Country Law?

Bear in mind that the transferring partner is [usually] the primary visa applicant, and in most cases, their residence in the country is dependent on their continued employment with the sponsoring company. So if your partner loses his/her job, breaks the terms of the contract, commits a crime or dies, you no longer have the right of residence, regardless of how long you have lived in the country.

For most expats on short term assignments, the immediate response is to return to their home nation. However, the longer the assignment, the greater the family investment in the host location, both in terms of financial assets, education and employment history.

So if you are considering seeking employment, re-entering education, have college age children, or are going to invest larger sums of money, [it is a good idea to] consult a legal or visa specialist to fully understand your rights.

6. Have We Made Legal Arrangements For All Dependents In The Event Of Our Death, Injury Or Incarceration?

I am continually astonished at how few people have a Will, let alone an Advance Directive of Health Care (Living Will), a Trust, or have chosen guardians for their children in the event of their death. As Benjamin Franklin said, “The only two certainties in life are death and taxes”, and we should be giving both the same annual attention. You should have valid copies of all of the above held by a lawyer in your home location, and additional host location ones completed as soon as you arrive.

If you have not already heard it enough, I will say it again:  laws vary, and your Embassy/Consulate can only do a certain amount to help. Most Embassies retain a list of local lawyers who speak your language, and other expats will often have recommendations or referrals. As with finding a good doctor, it is always worth finding a good one before an emergency arises.

7. Who Retains Custody Of Any Children In The Event Of A Breakdown Of The Marriage / Partnership, And Can This Be Enforced? 

... As the accompanying partner, you [might] also want to understand how the laws of your home and host nation define your rights as a parent, because there is huge global variation. The types of family going on international assignments are increasingly diverse, with blended family make-ups and complex parenting and care arrangements, none of which are reflected in many of the host country laws. In Britain for instance, mothers tend to be given primary custody, while under Sharia [Islamic] law, fathers have the greater rights. Same sex partnerships are often not even recognized, or in the worst case, illegal.

So, before you go: (a) understand your parental rights in your host country; (b) discuss the issue with your partner to reach a consensus and (c) include custody as part of your written legal arrangements.

8. Is It Possible For Me To Work, Both In Legal, Financial And Practical Terms?

Many transferring employers now purchase career support services for the accompanying partner, recognizing the need/desire to continue a career in the new location. But do not confuse support with the legal right to work (as specified by your visa) or the authorization to work (Employment Authorization Document, Social Security number, Tax ID etc).

However, the legal issues are just part of the picture. Ask yourself whether it is feasible for [you, as] the supporting partner to work in the new location, bearing in mind the potential language and cultural barriers, professional certification requirements, time spent managing the move, childcare requirements, and the need for an understanding employer who will work around the assignment constraints of the primary visa holder.

Happily, with the advent of the Internet, Skype, remote working... and Jo Parfitt’s Career in Your Suitcase guide, there are a far wider range of options available that reflect the need for flexibility that is required.

9. How Does This Move Affect My Career And Earning Potential Long Term?

It is full circle time. Remember our first question, asking “How long will I be going for?”. Here’s the final wake-up call. Many, many spouses have taken a leave of absence and agreed to a short term assignment, only to discover themselves eleven years later on a third continent, having never made it back to work. (Yes, I speak from experience.) Realistically, a two year break on your résumé can be explained, but more than that and you are starting to look at [needing] professional development updates, recertification and the need for more current references.

So before you go, consider what your long term career goals are, if any.If paid employment is important to you, consider whether your current career is portable, whether you can continue it on a remote working basis, whether it has the flexibility and demand to sustain multiple moves, what financial investment is required, or whether you can use the relocation as a catalyst for change.

It [can be] a conundrum. I love the potential for discovery and reinvention that relocation provides, but at the same time, my lack of planning means that I forfeited ten years of earning potential, pension contributions and résumé building. So while it has given me the push to search for purpose rather than simply a pay packet, finding the confidence to re-enter the workforce after ten years is hard, and has required me to start from scratch – with the associated pay scale.

What will/would it do to you?

The Defining Moves blog is the problem child of Rachel Yates, an expat trailing spouse from Wales, who has spent years turning relocation disasters into a worldwide traveling circus. Currently living in San Francisco, Rachel has spent the last ten years routing through London, Nairobi, and Los Angeles, complete with two kids, two dogs and three cats. She has only once been upgraded on a flight.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Missed Some Great Expat Links on Twitter? (April 30 edition)

Hi Everyone, I hope you are enjoying a wonderful week. Here are some expat links I have tweeted recently that might interest you...

Choosing Between Making Money & Doing What You Love (HarvardBiz)

Do Expats Need To Balance The Fun Of Now With The Security Of Later?

10 Things To Know Before Traveling To South East Asia

New Australian Magazine "International Traveller" Is Looking For Travel Story Contributions (Prizes To Be Won)

Living In The UK? New Subscription-Based Group For Professionals Relocating To London

20 Business Lessons Learned While Riding Across Africa (by sometimes-expatriate-sometimes-repatriate Kiwi Natalie Sisson)

Take A Look Around The World's Most Expensive Apartment

Travel Friends, Forever Friends

Expat Case Study: How Long Would Your Money Last If You Retired Today?

Meet The Expat Chefs Who Left Their 5-Star Jobs To Set Up Their Own Restaurants In India

Are Expat Women Safe in Kuwait?

World's Strangest Theme Parks [In Pictures]

A Sad One... Isolation Takes Its Toll On Expat Execs

One from us... If younhaven't yet downloaded a sample from our Expat Women: Confessions - 50 Answers to Your Real-Life Questions about Living Abroad, just click here and happy reading!

Videos of the week (not expat-related, but brilliant)...
A Day Made of Glass (by Corning):
Video 1
Video 2

And finally, a quote that I adored from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel movie this week...
"Everything will be alright in the end. And if it's not alright, it's not yet the end."


To follow me in 'real time' and keep up with even more great expat links on Twitter, please click here.

If you reading this blog post online and you are not already an Expat Women member, please sign up here for if/when we restart our monthly, motivational newsletters.

Thanks for your support and I wish you a sensational day/evening! Andrea @andreaexpat

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Missed Some Great Expat Links on Twitter? (April 26-27 edition)

Hi Everyone, I hope you have enjoyed a fabulous week! Here are some expat links I have tweeted recently that might interest you...

How Expat British Cook Rachel Khoo Got A Taste For Life In Paris

Clements Worldwide Announces Global Launch of its 4th Annual Expat Youth Scholarship

5 Ways To Stay In Your Expat Bubble Abroad

Finding Love When You Least Expect It: An Expat's Story

Get Up Close Personal With "Expats" Author Chris Pavone

Tips For Integrating Successfully Into A New Way Of Life Abroad

Can You Help An Honours Student With Her Survey?
Expatriate Stress & Coping With An Overseas Assignment

Win An Entire AirAsia Plane Flight (Sydney to Kuala Lumpur) For You & 302 Friends

5 Lessons Learned at 2012's FIGT Conference

April's Worldwide ERC Mobility Magazine

Architect's Plan To Connect NY Buildings Via Bridges In The Sky

8 Mistakes Expats Make That Can Leave Them Feeling Disconnected

Repatriates Needed To Help @suziefinnie With Online Survey

And a quote for the week... "Most people don't have you on their mind. Move forward and stop analyzing what you think they are thinking." by @teracarissa via @talentdiva


To follow me in 'real time' and keep up with even more great expat links on Twitter, please click here.

If you reading this blog post online and you are not already an Expat Women member, please sign up here for if/when we restart our monthly, motivational newsletters.

Thanks for your support and I wish you a sensational day/evening! Andrea @andreaexpat

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Missed Some Great Expat Twitter Links? (March 27-28 edition)

Hi Everyone, I hope your week has started really well! Here are some expat links I have tweeted recently that might interest you...

How Many Expats Are Living Beyond Their Means?

How To Work In Someone Else's Country

The THNK Tank: Why Amsterdam Wants Your (Creative) Brains

My Top 3 Tips For Moving Abroad & Then Repatriating

The Logistics Of A Dual Career Search

44 Countries in 44 Years: What’s Your Travel Philosophy?

The Decision To Move Is Never Easy

International Schools: >3 Million Children Now Get A Global Education

Jo Parfitt Interviews Dr. Lisa Pittman and Diana Smit
(Authors of Expat Teens)

Luxembourg City is 66% Expats?

Deloitte's Global Mobility Report

Pros & Cons Of Expat Life in The Netherlands

Telegraph Expat has launched an International Schools Directory

And finally, a quote for this week:
“Always believe something wonderful is about to happen"
Lisa Messenger


To follow me in 'real time' and keep up with even more great expat links on Twitter, please click here.

If you reading this blog post online and you are not already an Expat Women member, please support us and sign up here to receive our monthly, motivational newsletters.

Thanks for your support and I wish you a sensational day/evening! Andrea @andreaexpat

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

10 Things Not To Say To A Depressed Expat

Hi Everyone, Over the years, I have received many emails from expatriate woman who admit to feeling depressed. For this reason, I am sharing a wonderfully honest article I found on a blog by Noch Noch (an expat in Beijing), that I hope might help anyone coping with their depression (or the depression of loved ones close to them). Warmest wishes, Andrea.

Background: I stumbled on Noch Noch's article after I read her Forbes article, 7 Secrets To Success As An Expat Executive. She also wrote the Forbes article, Against All Stereotypes: Stress, Depression, Recovery, and Then?

10 Things Not To Say To A Depressed Person
by Noch Noch

Noch Noch
I cringed at these things my friends said to me these few years. For those of you who don’t really get us, I’ve decided to let you know about ten things not to say to a depressed person, from my own experience.

...A few weeks back, a friend wrote to me and said she just found out that a family member of a friend has depression. But her friend did not know what to say or how to encourage the depression sufferer. She asked me if I had any recommendations. It got me thinking.

I can’t give medical advice, and I think what to say is very dependent on the personality and situation of the oppressed. However, what I can offer is my take on what not to say to someone in depression. Hopefully this can help you empathize where we "weirdos" are coming from, and for you to be more sensitive to our plight.

And on that note, please don’t ever ever, ever again say the below in bold type to me in whatever circumstances if you consider me a friend....

Do NOT say:

1. “Remain Positive”

I think: Duh! I know, but how? To me, my reality is that the world has already caved in. What is irrational to you makes utmost sense to me. I’m so angry / upset / sad / lonely / devastated / hopeless / in despair… Why can’t you understand me?

I feel: I recoil further into my shell to avoid future contact and meaningless advice because you never told me how to remain positive.

2. “Don’t think like that”

I think: Why not? What’s wrong with thinking like I do? It’s an honest opinion. I really think this. It’s negative all right, but that’s what I think, so what’s wrong? So how should I think instead? Like you? But I don’t agree with you, and then I become you if I think like you…?

I feel: I did something wrong for thinking a certain way, and you reprimanded me for thinking so. Thus, I withdraw, and berate myself for thinking the way I do, and spiral further down into depression due to self-criticism.

3. “Pull yourself together” / “Snap out of it”

I think: How? Snap out of what? I don’t want to be like this either. You think it’s fun?

I feel: ...completely useless and hopeless that I’m incapable of holding myself together and getting better. Depression snowballs with this sense of incompetence.

4. “Why do you need to be depressed?”

I think: Umm… I don’t know, I wish I knew. Doctors said it’s because of some imbalance in serotonin in me. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.

I feel: ...accused of committing a heinous crime to be depressed. Confused because I don’t know what happened to make me depressed and how it all happened. I feel lost since I don’t know how to get out of depression. I feel inferior and worse about myself, so I hide from you as well, because I don’t want to feel inadequate.

5. “Look at how lucky you are already! Be thankful.”

I think: I am thankful for what I have. But what does that have to do with depression? Doctors and every website I’ve read say depression is an illness and has biological factors. Depression needs to be treated as any other sickness...

I feel: ...misunderstood as a spoilt, ungrateful little girl, when I’m not. Frustrated for being misunderstood. I cry. I wail. I feel sad. I retreat into my hiding place, again.

6. “Go do something and you will feel better”

I think: Go do what? I can’t be bothered. I’m tired. I’m not interested. I have no energy. I just want to sleep. Doing something won’t make me feel better. Leave me alone.

I feel: ...tired and lethargic, and I have no energy to think about what to do. I feel harassed because you keep telling me to do something.

(Note: What did work, was instead of telling me to do something, my fiance simply made me put my clothes on, slid me into my boots, and dragged me out of the house for a walk, talking about random things on the way, not once mentioning anything to do how I was doing or asking if I felt better.)

7. “What’s wrong with you?”

I think: I wish I knew. I wish I knew. Oh how I wish I knew. Can you tell me? Can somebody tell me? I don’t want to be like this. Why am I like this?

I feel: ...absolutely hopeless because I don’t know why I became like this, and I was unable to find out the reasons behind my depression. Very belittled and angry at myself. Can’t deal with this. I might as well die.

8. “You should do this…” or “You should not do this (such as kill yourself)…”

I think: Why? This is my life, I’m allowed to end it if I want. Why should I eat? I’m not hungry.

I feel: ...patronized by your condescending tone (even if you didn’t have one). I feel rejected for not doing what you think I am supposed to. I feel another bash to my already dwindling self-confidence, so you just succeeded in making me feel more desperate and more depressed.

9. “See how others suffer even worse, and have no food to eat. Be grateful for what you have.”

I think: But you told me not to compare myself with others, when I told you I was envious of others who have achieved more than me. So how double faced is it that just because others are less fortunate, I should compare myself with them? I know you are trying to tell me I should count my blessings – I do, trust me, I do. But how does this solve my depression? I still feel that life is not worth living despite being grateful for what I have. I am too tired to carry on and try.

I feel: ...baffled as to why sometimes you say don’t compare, and other times you tell me to do so. I don’t understand how being thankful makes me feel better, because what I have now has no meaning and no value to me. I just want to die. Maybe if I die, there’d be more food for those who don’t have any. Proceed to jumping out the window from the 30th floor.

10. “It’s all in your head…”

I think: It's not! But I know. How do I change my head? It’s not my fault. I didn’t want this. I can’t control it. I’m trying, but I can’t!

I feel: ...furious at myself for not being able to control my head and thinking. Inept at everything I'm trying to do, and worse, for disappointing you. I feel alone that no one can understand me. I alienate myself. I feel doomed to fail and might as well die…

Final Words

You might consider our reactions and emotions to what you say extremely unreasonable. I will not argue about it. Nevertheless, bear in mind that someone affected by depression does have a lot of “irrational” thoughts by standard of the norm. Yet, it’s our reality and we completely believe it, irrational or not. So don’t try to debate or convince us otherwise. You will only push us further down our bleak track.

My contention is that, the wrong thing said, can unknowingly push a depressed friend over the edge. Not to be fatalistic, but 60% of suicides in the world are associated with depression. Go ask the World Health Organization if you don’t believe me.

Please, give us a break. If we all had a choice, I don't think any of us would want to linger in a state of depression. If you don’t know what to say, don’t say anything. Just sit with us, let us cry, kick your shoes or whatever. That’s maybe all we need for now. Leave the lecturing to a medical expert such as a psychologist who can do it skillfully.

Author's Bio

Brought up in Hong Kong and Australia, Noch Noch was a young, overachieving executive for an international corporation. After seven years of living the life she dreamt of, or so she thought, she suffered a serious stress-related depression that turned her life upside down. As she battles with depression, Noch Noch is on a quest to be the wake-up call for others in similar plights in her blog, Be Me. Be Natural, where she jots down her reflections on living with depression and self-awareness. She is also the creator of Bearapy and she kindly gave us permission to republish her article on this blog.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Relocation Policies: Are We Being Set Up To Fail? by Expat Rachel Yates

Hi Everyone, Rachel Yates of Defining Moves: The Art of Successful Relocation wrote this great post for us, that we would like to share...

Relocation Policies: Are We Being Set Up To Fail?

We have lived in San Francisco for over a year, and I have yet to sign on with a doctor. I simply haven't had the time to find one whose opinion I trust, and I have had other priorities. I have been investing my time and energy in establishing a support network, ensuring that my children's educational needs are met, and recently spent 4.5 hours getting them admitted to a dental practice. Which is why I am convinced that the latest policies for improving spousal 'happiness' by investing in employment counseling are inherently flawed. We are being set up to fail, and here's why.

1. Time. The considerable time commitment that relocating and establishing a functioning household takes. The 'employed' partner is typically given between three and seven days to facilitate a move, but 63 percent of relocating households have one or more children, and move every three to five years. Thus the tasks that needed to be completed in any relocation (such as finding and furnishing housing, applying for documentation, establishing financial services, locating and enrolling with health care providers, finding appropriate education services) as well as time spent traveling, getting vaccinations and medical assessments, completing health, education, residency and legal checks, and of course the actual time spent moving house, fall to the accompanying partner.

The process is long term, and can up to six months to fully complete, leaving those on shorter term assignments destined for an endless cycle of tedious but essential research, driving and form-filling. Where destination support is offered, the limited time allocated means that housing and schooling are priorities, while services deemed less essential (such as waiting at home for utility engineers, establishing financial services, or finding medical care) are left to the accompanying partner to establish.

2. Invalid certification. Revalidating professional credentials takes a significant amount of time and effort and there are often delays in accessing the necessary courses. The shorter the assignment duration, the less benefit there is to be gained from the revalidation process, and where there is an additional cost implication, the overall 'return on investment' of recertification for career purposes is poor.

3. Inability to commit to new employment. Your resume may be stellar and your references glowing, but most employers are looking to recruit stable long-term team members. As an accompanying partner, you are unable to offer guarantees - you have already taken the decision to relocate to further your partner's career, and any future career decisions will almost certainly continue this trend. So if your partner's corporation decides to transfer, repatriate or terminate the contract, your dependent visa status means that you will be leaving too, regardless of how vital or fulfilling your new role is.

What Should Relocation Policies Be Focusing On?

1. Establishing realistic expectations. Far too many of us have embarked on life as an accompanying partner without fully understanding what we are signing up for. Including both partners in assignment planning meetings makes expectations clearer and more realistic. Is the move really a one off, or if it is successful, will the corporation be expecting further overseas postings? Is the time frame set, or is it likely to change according to the needs of the transferring employer? Answering these questions at the outset means that any plans made by the accompanying partner will be realistic over the entire expatriate time frame, rather on a single short term transfer.

2. The idea/option to work on a virtual basis. A great deal of work is outsourced or carried out remotely, so there may well be a way of maintaining your professional role from the new location. I know a CFO (Chief Financial Officer) who lives five hours from their former office, a real estate agent who uses Skype to give them a London office number but is actually taking the call in rural Wales, and a PR (Public Relations) agent who 'works' in the Heathrow area from a farm in Herefordshire. If career packages included identification of more flexible working opportunities and training in how to use remote networking tools, we could potentially make a smoother transition between locations, without having to change careers.

3. Encouragement and education around the idea of creating a new flexible career (as the accompanying partner). It may well be time to reinvent yourself. You have taken the decision to relocate for a reason, and it usually involves improving your family's quality of life and/or experiencing the wider world. Take it seriously, and invest time and energy in achieving those goals, and less time worrying about what you have left behind. If you are not simply taking a career break, but are intending to become a serial expat, reframing how you generate income and job satisfaction can open doors to opportunities that can move with you. Experts like Jo Parfitt and Robin Pascoe provide guidance on both a personal and professional transition to a new career and identity, and there are many online resources available, both for continuing education, career counseling and life coaching.

The good news is that we have far more flexible working opportunities than ever, and employers are increasingly outsourcing a huge range of tasks and roles to freelance workers and independent contractors. Web based job sites such as Elance, Monster and Craigslist feature thousands of opportunities that do not require residence in any particular location, and Ebay and Etsy provide a flexible way of running a retail business.

Final Words

Not every relocation policy lacks these ideas, but from anecdotal discussions with other expats, I suspect most do. What I suggest to the makers of relocation policy is that, as expat families, we could really benefit from a greater understanding of what options are open to us, and the tools to reframe our professional identity in a way that is congruent with the expatriate life, rather than in conflict with it. Do this to help us, and it's highly likely we'll stay longer on posting, and help you in return.

Rachel Yates, an expat trailing spouse from Wales, who has spent the last ten years turning relocation disasters into a worldwide traveling circus. Currently living in San Francisco, she has spent the last ten years routing through London, Nairobi, and Los Angeles, complete with two kids, two dogs and three cats. She has only once been upgraded on a flight. Current goals include making it into Virgin First Class, learning HTML and locating a perfect Lemon Drop Martini.

Monday, March 19, 2012

FAWCO (Federation of American Women's Clubs Overseas) Conference Kicks Off This Week

Hi Everyone, Given that one-third of our readers are American, some of you might be interested in the following FAWCO (Federation of American Women's Clubs Overseas) press release this week.

I am not American, but I was fortunate to speak at their conference last year in Marrakech, Morocco, and was impressed by both the welcome I received and by the extraordinary volunteer/charity efforts reported by each of the FAWCO clubs in attendance. I wish FAWCO every success for this year's conference and I applaud their ongoing volunteer/charity work. Andrea.

FAWCO Conference Kicks Off in Dublin on March 21 (Extracts)

"Over 200 members are expected to participate in FAWCO’s (Federation of American Women's Clubs Overseas) Interim Conference in Dublin, Ireland on March 21-24, 2012. Local and international speakers, including Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland, will cover a variety of global and club-level issues..."

"Conference attendees will also learn about a variety of other issues facing Americans living abroad as well as receive updates on FAWCO’s global initiatives. The 15,000 FAWCO members not attending the conference may view videos of sessions and speeches online via the FAWCO YouTube channel. Photos and newsletters will be posted daily, as well as PDF copies of presentations and handouts. Anyone can follow FAWCO on Twitter at @fawco2012, tweet using #fawco2012Broadcasts or find FAWCO on Facebook."

"FAWCO delegates will be welcomed on March 21 by Minister Jimmy Deenihan, current Irish Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. Dr. Mary Henry will speak on Women’s Health in 2012 during the morning session of March 22. Dr. Henry is deeply committed to improving health care, especially for women, and to encouraging women doctors to continue their professional careers. President Michael D Higgins, the ninth and current President of Ireland, will be the keynote speaker in the morning session of March 22. President Higgins is a passionate political voice, a poet and writer, academic and statesman, human rights advocate, promoter of inclusive citizenship and champion of creativity within Irish society."

"To celebrate the 15th anniversary of FAWCO’s ESOCOC status at the United Nations, Peggy Rigaud (American Women’s Group Languedoc-Roussillon) will speak on FAWCO’s history with the UN during the March 23 morning session. Ms. Rigaud was first vice-president of FAWCO from 1993-95, - when FAWCO realized that the time had come for the organization to emerge more clearly onto the world stage by becoming a “recognized” NGO (Non-Governmental Organization). The keynote speaker on the evening of March 22 will be Dr. Pat Wallace, Director of the National Museum of Ireland. Dr. Wallace’s work has earned him an international reputation, due to his involvement in the largest Viking age urban excavations ever undertaken in western or northern Europe at Wood Quay."

"A panel discussion entitled Stop the Violence – Ireland is scheduled for the morning of March 23, which will explore the causes and impacts of violence against women and children in Ireland. The panel will include Senator Ivana Bacik - Reid Professor of Criminal Law, Criminology and Penology at Trinity College Dublin, a Senior Lecturer and Fellow of Trinity College Dublin, and a practicing barrister; Ms. Sarah Benson- Director, Ruhuma; Ms. Margaret Martin - Director of Women’s Aid; Paula Mayock - Lecturer and a Senior Researcher, Trinity College Dublin; Ms. Susan McKay - award winning writer and journalist; Ms. Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop, N.T., H.Dip. Ir. Folk., M.Litt, Dip. IGA (Lon.) - CEO of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre."

"A variety of workshops will also be available for delegate participation throughout the conference, including:
· Women in the 1911 Census - Ms. Catriona Crow, Head of Special Projects at the National Archives of Ireland
· The Polysemic Role of the Curator - Dr. Barbara Dawson, Director of Hugh Lane Gallery
· A Suitcase Full of Words: Using Creative Writing to Chase Away Your Expat Blues - Ms. Robin Goldsby, American International Women’s Club, Cologne
· No Excuses! Breaking down barriers that surround the education of learning-differently for people at home and abroad - Ms. Susan van Alsenoy, American Women’s Club, Antwerp
· Americana – American culture for children with Ms. Elinor LeBaron, American Women’s Club, Quatar
· Water: Ancient Culture, Sacred Rite and Women's Rights - Sarah Franklyn, co-founder of Natural Capital Services
· US Tax Workshop: The Life of An American Abroad - panel of representatives from US Tax and Financial Services."

"Founded in 1931, FAWCO is a global network of independent volunteer clubs and associations. There are more than 75 member clubs in 40 countries, with a total membership in excess of 15,000. FAWCO serves as a resource and channel of information for its members, promotes the rights of U.S. citizens living overseas and contributes to the global community through philanthropy and global issues task forces. A not-for-profit New York-based corporation, we are also a UN-accredited NGO with Special Consultative Status to the UN Economic and Social Council. The philanthropic arm of FAWCO - The FAWCO Foundation - is an independent entity, which has donated more than $1,000,000 in education awards and development grants since its inception in 1967."

FAWCO: Serving overseas Americans and the international community since 1931. You are invited to subscribe to FAWCO news at

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Missed Some Great Expat Twitter Links? (March 13-14 edition)

Hi Everyone, I hope you are enjoying a wonderful week! Here are some expat links I have tweeted recently that might interest you...

Why "Expat" Is A Misleading Term For Multicultural Couples

7 Secrets To Success As An Expat Executive (Forbes)

Expat Life: Italian Lessons Left My Head In A Spin

Top 6 Tips For Expat Women

Is Doha The Ideal Expat Destination?

Have You Ever Slept in a World Heritage Building?
by British Expat Annabel Candy

Worldwide E.R.C.'s March Mobility Magazine Online Now

Can You Help? Short Online Dual Career Survey For Accompanying Spouses/Partners Of Expats

W.I.N. (Women's International Networking) Conference Goes To Tokyo, 18 May

Got A Favorite 'Blog About Blogging' To Nominate For This A-List Blogging Competition?

Final Reminder: F.I.G.T. (Families in Global Transition) Conference March 29-31
(I highly recommend this conference. I attended in 2007 and 2009 and found the attendees incredibly friendly, genuine and collaborative. Keep up the great work, F.I.G.T. team!)

And finally, a quote for this week:
"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself."
George Bernard Shaw


To follow me in 'real time' and keep up with even more great expat links on Twitter, please click here.

If you reading this blog post online and you are not already an Expat Women member, please support us and sign up here to receive our monthly, motivational newsletters.

Thanks for your support and I wish you a sensational day/evening! Andrea @andreaexpat

Monday, March 12, 2012

Expat Women Talk To A Laptop Entrepreneur

Hi Everyone, Recently Jo Parfitt of Expat Bookshop introduced us to Nick Snelling (a Brit who runs the authoritative site, Culture Spain and who has authored five published books). We talked to Nick about his latest book release, Laptop Entrepreneur: How To Make A Living Anywhere In The World.

Expat Women: Nick, let's start at the beginning... what made you move to Spain nine years ago?

Nick: I was working as an equity trader in the UK and my company wanted to open up a European office. It sounded like a great opportunity, so I moved to Valencia with my wife and children.

Expat Women: How did your children cope with the move?

Nick: Amazingly well, given that they spoke no Spanish and went straight into full time Spanish education! In fact, one of the great triumphs of our move has been to help our children become international. They speak Spanish fluently now and my son is now at Valencia University on an Erasmus course in Turkey. So, they have left the constraints of the UK far behind and have developed a pan European outlook, which I think will stand them in good stead.

Expat Women: So, did you effectively swap equity trading for writing?

Nick: Yes, these days I am, more or less, a full time writer (although I also have a small estate agency dealing in properties local to my area in Valencia).

Expat Women: Why did you (and Graham Hunt) write Laptop Entrepreneur?

Nick: We wanted to write a problem-solving book for a time of problems. Increasingly, job security is being lost amidst the dreadful economic problems that have surged around the world. This has caused real hardship and I know, as an expat, how difficult it can be to earn money when you have no immediate support system available. This, I think, is a common experience for many expats.

Expat Women: Is the Internet the answer?

Nick: Well, it is certainly one answer and it has great advantages over starting other businesses. The overheads can be negligible, the risks almost absent and it is strategically sound, as the Internet is constantly expanding and is here to stay. Perhaps best of all, there are so many different ways of using the Internet to make money that virtually anyone can adapt their existing skills to cyberspace and make it work for them.

Expat Women: Where should someone start?

Nick: That is actually a very good question! Indeed, if anything, there is too much advice around, much of it very confusing and contradictory – which is one of the reasons my co-author and I wrote The Laptop Entrepreneur. What we wanted to do was to produce a clear accessible ‘road map’ for people who want to use the Internet to earn an income, which explained everything in simple terms. I think we have achieved this and produced a book that not only shows you how to use the Internet to make an income but also has excellent advice from very successful entrepreneurs who have done so.

Expat Women: Can people really make a living using the Internet?

Nick: Yes. Whilst there is no guarantee of success, it is not unheard of for a part time Internet business to quickly develop to such a point that it can become the main source of income for a family. This can be fantastic and, of course, because you can work worldwide, it means that the family also gains tremendous freedom. Furthermore, apart from the potential financial rewards, it can be great fun.

Expat Women: What tips can you give, for example, for someone who wants to start an income-producing blog?

Nick: Again, there are no guarantees, but six sound guidelines to help you on the right path for this would be:

1. Find a niche, and one that has commercial viability, that will enable you to enter a marketplace effectively, whilst providing something different and ‘eye-catching’. Try not to do what everyone else is doing.

2. Get your own domain name, your own hosting (thus being totally independent) and an excellent publishing platform (such as WordPress – which is user-friendly, powerful and ideal for blogging).

3. Publish frequently. The more you publish the better, initially, as you need to get ‘granularity’ and build up the content and ‘depth’ of your site.

4. Be consistent with your quality and develop a compelling style that is authoritative. Blogs work well when they are personal. So, write in the first person, present tense (wherever possible) and hold opinions (ones you can defend – however controversial).

5. Search Engine Optimise (SEO) all your posts carefully. Use relevant and well researched search terms, tag your posts properly and SEO all your images.

6. Sustain your blog. Even if you are successful instantly but most blogs take time to gain momentum and ‘traffic’. Keep publishing, be determined and check your statistics for what appeals to your audience and try to give them what they want – an interesting and reliable information stream, whether polemic, fun or useful. That way, over time you will gather a loyal readership who will trust you and who will then buy what you are selling.

Expat Women: Thank you very much for your time Nick and best wishes for Laptop Entrepreneur (Amazon affiliate link).

Thursday, March 8, 2012

KONY 2012 - An Incredibly Powerful Video & Campaign - Please Share?

Hi Everyone, I just watched the full 29 minute video below (or click here please, if the video is not displaying in your inbox). Generally, we do not put political causes on this blog. But this video was just too powerful and the effort from those behind the campaign just too impressive, that I couldn't not help this cause. Please share with as many people as you can too. Many thanks, Andrea.

Millions Watch and Share Film Aiming to Stop Ugandan LRA Leader


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Missed Some Great Expat Links on Twitter? (March 6-7 edition)

Hi Everyone, I hope you having a wonderful week! I'm back from last week's trip to Japan and wanted to share some expat links I have tweeted recently that might interest you...

A Beautiful Look at Pinterest From Expat Travel Writer Christine Gilbert

Women Move Into Asia’s Corner Offices: NY Times Talks To The Female CEO of Ogilvy Greater China

Telegraph Expat Talks to Expat Ali Meehan, Founder of the Costa Women Network in Spain

New Trailer For Expat Film: Shanghai Calling [Video]

Looking for a Job Abroad? Learn from American Expat in Sweden, Kate Reuterswärd

How Expat Annabel Candy Got Headhunted for a Jaunt to Japan

Consultants Help Turn Frequent-Flier Awards Into Tickets

New Off-The-Beaten-Path Tour in N.Korea Comes With Big Price Tag

Why Do The UAE's Expats Know So Little About The UAE?

Last Chance! Explorer Publishing's Competition for UAE Residents:
"Could You Be The Next Ultimate UAE Explorer?"

Not related to being an expat, but my favorite video from last week:
The CIA Loves Facebook [Brilliant Tongue-In-CheekVideo!]

And finally, some expat wisdom from Expat Lingo's Jen Brown...
"There are always hard days,but here’s the secret no one dares tell the ones back home: we’re the lucky ones"


To follow me in 'real time' and keep up with even more great expat links on Twitter, please click here.

If you reading this blog post online and you are not already an Expat Women member, please support us and sign up here to receive our monthly, motivational newsletters.

Thanks for your support and I wish you a sensational day/evening! Andrea @andreaexpat

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Missed Some Great Expat Links on Twitter? (Feb 15-16 edition)

Hi Everyone, I hope you having a wonderful week! Here are some expat links I have tweeted recently that might interest you...

Can You Live On Social Media Alone? These Two Travelers Swap Cities To Find Out

Expat Belgian Guy Finds Tasmania (Australia) An Unlikely Market, But An Excellent Source Of Ingredients For Chocolate House

Notes On No Longer Feeling Like An Expat

Thinking Of Volunteering To Build Houses In Cambodia? Read Robin Pascoe's (aka Expat Expert's) Report

Big in Japan: A Look At Some Of The Most Popular Western Exports To The Land Of The Rising Sun

When Expats Become Trapped Abroad

U.S. Proposing Wide Ranging Plan To Curb Expat Tax Dodgers

Expats Flock to India Seeking Jobs, Excitement

Our Friend Adrienne Graham (aka @talentdiva) Has Turned Her Popular Article "No, You Can't Pick My Brain, It Costs Too Much" Into A Book - Check It Out

A Powerful Video (For Parents Everywhere, Not Just Expat Parents)...
Photos, Smart Phones And Social Media - A Terrifying NBC Report (2010) - And How You Can Change Your Phone's Settings

New U.S. State Department Warning Maps Out Unsafe Areas Of Mexico

Reminder: Competition for UAE Residents:
"Could You Be The Next Ultimate UAE Explorer?"

Reminder: Expat Partners Wanted To Complete Questionnaire/Research On Career Choices/ Aspirations Whilst Overseas

Reminder: Expat Women In Dubai And Abu Dhabi, UAE: Interested In Part-Time Work With SIRVA Relocation?

And our quote of the week...
“We all die. The goal isn't to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.”
Whitney Houston


To follow me in 'real time' and keep up with even more great expat links on Twitter, please click here.

If you reading this blog post online and you are not already an Expat Women member, please support us and sign up here to receive our monthly, motivational newsletters.

Thanks for your support and I wish you a sensational day/evening! Andrea @andreaexpat

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Expat Hanoi Jane's Elka Ray Shares Her Writing Tips

Hi Everyone, Today we would like to introduce Elka Ray - the author of the newly-released (August 2011) book Hanoi Jane. Elka is a Canadian writer and illustrator who lives in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. She is the author of one novel and three children’s books.

Expat Women: Elka, what took you to Vietnam originally?

Elka: I spent six months backpacking in South East Asia after high school and found the region fascinating. Following university, I came to Vietnam in 1995, planning to find a thesis topic for higher studies. Instead, I started writing freelance, fell in love and never went back to university.

Expat Women: You have now been in Vietnam for 16 years. What made you stay? And what can you tell us about the other expats you have seen 'come and go' in Vietnam?

Elka: Alot of the expats who came to Vietnam in the mid-to-late-1990s and are either still here, or return regularly. Having been closed to Western investment for so long, Vietnam was a strange and exhilarating place in those days. (I have consequently met everyone from retired Vietnamese colonels to Miss Vietnams to entrepreneurs with crazy get-rich-quick schemes.)

I stayed because it was exciting, I had interesting friends, and I could work part-time as a magazine editor and pursue my true passion – writing fiction. Since my husband’s family business is based here, I do not think that we will be moving any time soon. Although I do want my kids to spend their summers where I grew up, on Canada’s Vancouver Island.

Expat Women: Your first novel, Hanoi Jane, was published by Marshall Cavendish last year. What does it take to succeed as a writer?

Elka: I am still working on that one! I meet a lot of people who tell me, “Oh, I want to write a book!” but they do not sit down and do it. If you truly want to write, you will find some way to do daily. If you are really talented and lucky, your first book might get published - but that is unlikely. It is more probable that you will have to write for years without praise or financial reward before you have learned your craft and someone gives you a break. If and when you do find a publisher, you have to put in the time and effort to market your work. You need a great imagination, empathy to be able to create emotionally complex characters, discipline, and the ability to keep writing despite countless rejections.

Expat Women: Do you have any advice for other aspiring fiction writers?

Elka: I think that no matter what, you should write what moves you. However, if you want to get published by a traditional publisher (as opposed to self-publishing), you have to remember that their main concern is to make a profit. It is not enough to write a “good” book. It has to be sell able, so research the market.

If publication is your goal, before you start, I would advise you to write the promotional blurb that would go on your book’s back cover. Publishers want straightforward stories that can be summed up in a few lines. They want one clear, consistent point of view, and a lead character to whom readers can relate. The toughest market segment at the moment is that of kids’ picture books, especially rhyming ones. That being said, I have just finished a funny rhyming kids’ manuscript called Princess Nelly Was Smelly, for which I have high hopes. In the end I think that you just have to write what you love, and hope that some key editor will also love it.

Expat Women: Hanoi Jane tells the story of a young American reporter who, after moving to Vietnam and being dumped by her fiance, embarks on a wild adventure to rebuild her life. Was this story was based on your personal experiences?

Elka: The plot, which has Jane investigating a charity fraud, getting arrested by the secret police, and busting a gem smuggling ring, is absolute fiction. The characters are also inventions. The “real” elements in the story are the setting of northern Vietnam, which I know very well, and the emotions experienced by Jane — homesickness, confusion, doubt, heartbreak and ultimately a sense of pride that she is able to stick it out and find happiness in a place that was totally alien to her. I think that all expats have these feelings, which is why the book has resonated so well with them.

Expat Women: Elka, thank you very much for sharing your insights and experiences. We wish you and Hanoi Jane nothing but success this year. Congrats!

To follow Elka’s blog, which chronicles her often hilarious attempts to balance writing, motherhood and living in Vietnam, click here. To buy Hanoi Jane on Amazon, please click here (no affiliate link).

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Missed Some Great Expat Links on Twitter? (February 7-8 edition)

Hi Everyone, I hope you enjoyed a lovely weekend! Here are some expat links I have tweeted recently that might interest you...

20 Most Beautiful Bookstores in the World

New Expat Novel by Chris Pavone Launching March 6 But Already Receiving High Praise. Expats, Espionage, Deceit... Sounds intriguing...

Expat Competition: Win A Place At The London International Youth Science Forum

On Facebook? Join The Expat Youth Page To Get The Latest Details (Coming Soon) On This Year's Expat Youth Scholarship

2012 Indie Travel Challenge on Bootsnall

Expatica's Expat Education Fair in The Netherlands is March 24

25 Reasons Google Hates Your Blog

How Do You Live Inside A House The Size Of A Parking Space?

Competition for UAE Residents:
"Could You Be The Next Ultimate UAE Explorer?"

Expat Show Beijing, China, Scheduled for 28-29 April 2012

Interview with Social Media Director of Families In Global Transition's Judy Rickatson

And A Reminder... Registration Now Open for FIGT (Families in Global Transition) Conference, 29-31 March, Washington DC



To follow me in 'real time' and keep up with even more great expat links on Twitter, please click here.

If you reading this blog post online and you are not already an Expat Women member, please support us and sign up here to receive our monthly, motivational newsletters.

Thanks for your support and I wish you a sensational day/evening! Andrea @andreaexpat

Expat Women in Dubai & Abu Dhabi, UAE: Interested In Part-Time Work With SIRVA Relocation?

Hi Everyone, If you are based in Dubai or Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, or know someone who is, and you/your friends are interested in a great part-time work opportunity with SIRVA Relocation, please read on...

Introduction from SIRVA Relocation

Global relocations are on the increase and we are actively recruiting Relocation Consultants. We offer the right candidates a great part-time opportunity to use their expat living and moving experiences and be a part of our dynamic team to help our clients' international employees and their families settle into Dubai or Abu Dhabi.

Main purpose of the Relocations Consultant role

• Work closely with the SIRVA in-house team of Global Assignment Consultants
• Accompany our clients’ expatriate assignees on their: Look-See / Pre Assignment Trips; School Search; Home Search; and Settling-In Program
• Complete an end-of-program report

Ideal candidates would possess the following attributes:

• Personal experience and/or knowledge of international relocation industry
• Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
• Initiative, independence, well organized
• PC literate with good knowledge of MS Office
• Must have and maintain up to date knowledge of the local and expatriate living and life style issues within the UAE’s international community with schooling information in Dubai or Abu Dhabi
• Languages a distinct advantage
• Real Estate knowledge and contacts is essential
• Training will be offered to the right candidates.

Please urgently send your resume to:
Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Thank you.

SIRVA, Inc. is a leader in providing relocation solutions to a well-established and diverse customer base around the world. The company has redefined the relocation industry by offering innovative ways for customers to achieve their individual business goals, while providing global end-to-end relocation services, including program development and management, home purchase and home sale services, household goods moving, and mortgage services.

SIRVA conducts more than 300,000 relocations every year, transferring corporate and government employees and moving individual consumers. The company operates in more than 40 countries with approximately 2,600 employees and an extensive network of agents and other service providers in over 175 countries. With our global reach and local expertise, people trust SIRVA to listen to their unique needs and deliver seamless relocations every day.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Expat Writers: Interested in Submitting Your Story to Caravan Press?

Hi Everyone, Are you an expat writer wanting to have one of your stories featured in a new book? If yes, then please read on...

Caravan Press are a group of expatriate women writers based in Brussels, Belgium, since 2010. They are currently compiling a collection of stories for their forthcoming book and would like to invite submissions - from all over the world.

"We are currently seeking original, unpublished tales of interesting, funny, serendipitous or barely thinkable (but mostly true, of course) expat observations and experiences. Topics may include, but are not limited to the following: Culture Shock (classic or "reverse"); Food; Travel & Adventure; Friendship; Language; Life Experiences; etc.

Submissions should be limited to 1,500 words and sent via by May 15, 2012. All authors of selected stories will be notified by Caravan Press prior to mid-July 2012.

Kind regards, Bena Mattagne, For The Caravan Press Team."

Expat Research Results & New Requests: Can You Help?

Hi Everyone, Firstly, thank you to those who last year helped Regula Sindemann by completing a survey related to her Masters thesis on Cultural Intelligence. Regula kindly shares her main findings below.

Secondly, we have a two more researchers today looking for help with their expat-related research. Please help if you can. Many thanks! Andrea Martins

Research Results from Regula's Cultural Intelligence Research:

"Last year, I finished my Master thesis on the concept of Cultural Intelligence and its relevance for expatriate spouses/partners. (Thanks to everyone who helped!) We had 153 data sets, which allowed me to run meaningful statistical analysis, and I wanted to share my main findings here:

In case you are wondering what Cultural Intelligence (CQ) is: 'CQ is the capability to function effectively in culturally diverse situations' (Ang & van Dyne, Handbook of Cultural Intelligence, 2008). Basically, it predicts and explains why some people thrive and some struggle in culturally diverse settings. It consists of four complementary capabilities or dimensions: CQ Drive, CQ Knowledge, CQ Strategy, and CQ Action.

Main findings:

  • The findings showed a significant correlation between CQ and the satisfaction level expat spouses/partners (ES) expressed. In other words: Those respondents who assessed their CQ at a high level, also reported a general satisfaction with their life as an ES.

  • Interestingly, not all dimensions showed the same influence: CQ Knowledge, i.e. the level of understanding about how cultures are similar and different, played the least influential part. This suggests that whilst it is certainly helpful to know e.g. how to present a gift in China or how to behave in an Islamic environment, it will not guarantee a good assignment experience. Motivation, strategy and action play an equally if not even more important role. 

  • CQ emphasizes learned capabilities more than personality traits. It is not fixed, but can develop and grow through experience and learning.

  • Being happy and satisfied is obviously very important for the ES him- or herself; however, it also has a strong influence on the assignment success of the expatriated employee. So, expatriating companies are well advised to invest in ES, be it with relocation services, housing allowances or, and I bet you saw this coming, by helping them to increase their CQ with training or coaching.

  • If you would you like to learn more about CQ and the possibilities of developing it, or you have comments, please let me know. I am also happy to share ‘my knowledge’ and to refer you to some interesting books or web pages on this topic.

    Whilst my project focused on CQ and its relevance for ES, I do believe that the concept of CQ shows strong promise of being valuable to all global citizens. It is a framework that fosters cultural understanding and respect; a mind-set beneficial to individuals, organizations and nations alike. Best wishes, Regula Sindemann."

    New Research Request: For Repatriates

    Thekla Wesche is currently conducting research for her Masters thesis, with the Human Resource Management department of the Radboud University Nijmegen, in The Netherlands. The topic of the thesis is related to repatriation. The supervision is by professor Dr. Beate van der Heijden.

    "Repatriation of expatriates is often neglected by organizations. Research has shown that employers often do not optimally value new experiences gained abroad. This, in turn, can cause serious problems while readjusting in the home country. Therefore, it is important for organizations and management to get more insight in perceptions expatriates might have after their international assignment.

    The specific objective of this study is to get an understanding of how perceptions of the psychological contract of repatriates influence their organizational commitment. The focus of the research is on expatriates who have returned to their home country recently.

    The survey takes about ten to fifteen minutes. Thank you in advance to anyone who can help. Warmest regards, Thekla Wesche." 

    New Research Request: For Expatriates in Israel

    Dani Kranz is a social anthropologist in the Institute of Area Studies Transnational at Erfurt University (Germany). Her current research project concerns expatriates and their families in Israel. The project centres on how expatriates experience Israel, how they structure their social relationships, and if they form a community of expatriates. She will be conducting fieldwork in Israel in February and March 2012.

    "I am specifically seeking for expatriates, who would agree to an interview and/or letting me take part in their daily activities. I am happy to discuss my project, and provide further details. I also seek contact to former expatriates, expatriate spouses or children who used to live in Israel. Full anonymity and full confidentiality will be granted. Your support would be very helpful for me. Kind regards, Dani Kranz."

    Thursday, February 2, 2012

    Missed Some Great Expat Twitter Links? (February 2-3 edition)

    Hi Everyone, I hope your week has been fantastic! Here are some expat links I have tweeted recently that might interest you...

    The 10 Types Of People That Drive Flight Attendants Nuts

    Great News For Expat Partners In Europe:
    "Non-EU skilled Workers: Common Rules To Ease Intra-Corporate Transfers"

    The Expat Chick-Lit Author Who Followed Her Heart To London

    Write An Essay About Australia To Win $6,500

    Behind An Expat's Wine Startup Success

    Google To Start Country-Specific Censorship for Blogs
    (... and how to manually redirect)

    Twitter Has Refined Its Technology To Censor Messages On A Country-By-Country Basis

    Expat Entrepreneur Laurie Villarreal (in the Netherlands) Talks About Her Marathon Training Camps

    Santa Fe Relocation Invites Global Mobility Professionals To Complete Their 2012 Survey

    “My Gutsy Story” By Pamela Sisman Bitterman

    20 Ways To Annoy A Swede (Expat Blog Post)

    New Zealand Introduces Retirement Visas From 29 March 2012

    And one from us...

    Like Freebies? Here's a (generous) sample from our Expat Women motivational book!



    To follow me in 'real time' and keep up with even more great expat links on Twitter, please click here.

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    Thanks for your support and I wish you a sensational day/evening! Andrea @andreaexpat

    Wednesday, February 1, 2012

    Meet Annabel Candy – Expat, Web Designer, Copywriter and Travel Fiend

    Hi Everyone, You may recall that when we launched our book Expat Women: Confessions - 50 Answers to Your Real-Life Questions about Living Abroad last May, several kind women donated prizes for our launch competition. Today, we would like to introduce you to one of those wonderful women...

    Meet Annabel Candy – Web Designer, Copywriter & Travel Fiend 

    Two years ago, Brit Annabel Candy was experimenting as a blogger and set up a travel blog called Get In the Hot Spot. Since then, Annabel's blog has grown exponentially and Annabel even scored a free trip to Shanghai, courtesy of Coca Cola!

    Expat Women: Annabel, tell us a little bit about yourself.

    Annabel: I was born in the UK and I have lived in France, Laos, Zimbabwe, the USA, New Zealand, Costa Rica and now in Queensland, Australia. I have been a web copywriter and web designer for 17 years, and currently run an Internet marketing company called Mucho (with clients in Australia, New Zealand, North America, Europe and Africa).

    Growing up, I always dreamed of living in a hot tropical place by the sea and I am so grateful I actually do. I work from home and live with my husband and our three school-aged kids. It is quite chaotic, but the beauty is that we can always escape to the nearby beach when we need some down time.

    Expat Women: How did you come to be living in Australia?

    Annabel: My husband and I owned our own web design and copywriting business in New Zealand and our three kids were born there. But we are both travellers and yearned to hit the road again. It took us a while to pluck up courage, but when our youngest child was two, we sold our house, along with most of our belongings, and moved to Central America.

    We did not speak Spanish at first and had never been there before, so most of our friends thought we were crazy. We lived in the jungles of Costa Rica for 18 months with no Internet. We loved it but schooling the kids was hard (we had to buy desks for the classroom) and of course we could not do any web design work without the Internet! It was a great experience but in the end we decided to move to Australia instead - it had the warm weather and the Internet.

    Expat Women: Why did you start blogging?

    Annabel: I started because I wanted to learn about blogging and have a creative outlet for my writing (that was not anonymous like my normal web copywriting work was). I started blogging before I left New Zealand (but the blog was understandably on hold while I was without Internet in Costa Rica).  It was 2006, and in my first blog post I wrote that I was going to: "Stare fear in the face and overcome my fear of being read, the fear that my writing would be judged." I never wrote another blog post for three years!

    Expat Women: So what inspired you to pick up blogging again in 2009?

    Annabel: I decided to give it another go. This time, I was determined to stick with it, even though at first, it was depressing because no one was reading my blog. However, slowly but surely, I started to connect with readers and get subscribers.

    I started guest posting on other people's blogs and that helped grow my blog faster. Then, after I had been blogging for one year, Coca-Cola got in touch and paid for me to go to a social media conference in Shanghai (!) because they liked my writing. That was a real breakthrough moment because finally I felt that all the effort I had put into my blog was being recognized.

    Expat Women: But is guest-posting just giving away your best content for free?

    Annabel: I have learnt to stop thinking of guest posting as "giving away" my best work and start thinking of it as free prime time advertising. I am proud to say that my writing has now been featured on some of the biggest blogs on the Internet, like Problogger, Copyblogger and Zen Habit - and that has helped me grow my blog more than anything else. It has also been an excellent way for me to connect with new readers and raise my profile.

    Expat Women: Do you make money from your blog?

    Annabel: My core business is web design and copywriting, but blogging has helped me get clients all over the world, which is a huge benefit because I live in a holiday area with limited business opportunities otherwise.

    In New Zealand I could never get a job unless I met the client. But blogging has helped me get clients all over the world. Not because of my qualifications (I do have an MA in Design for Interactive Media) or experience, but because of the personal experiences and stories I shared on my blog.

    Now, I also sell my own e-book about blogging and promote other people's products, so blogging has allowed me to increase and diversify my income in these ways as well.

    Another benefit: I can now also pick and choose what work I do. I have reached a point where I only do jobs that I enjoy and work with people that I like, which is a real luxury. For example, I just got a travel writing job for our local tourism board, where I go for a massage or try a new beauty treatment, then write about it for them. How good is that? :)

    Expat Women: Do you have any advice for other bloggers and writers?


    But success with anything depends on perseverance, so my advice is stick with blogging, if you enjoy it, even when you want to give up.

    Do not expect to see any results for a year or so, but promise yourself that you will keep updating your blog at least weekly. Blogging is an art, not a science. So keep blogging, keep experimenting and have fun with it!

    Annabel Candy shares her travel stories and personal writing at Get In the Hot Spot. Or find her blogging tips and blogging book at Successful Blogging.

    Thanks Annabel! Andrea

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