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.

    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 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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