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Blogs for Culture Vultures

An expatriate child's view of Saudi Arabia

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Despite all the attention given to the Middle East today, it's fair to say that stereotypes and misconceptions still make a lot of noise!

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Why Do Middle Eastern Men Wear a Chequered Head-dress?

Why Do Middle Eastern Men Wear a Chequered Head-dress?

A common question foreigners moving to or working in the Middle East ask at cultural awareness training sessions is, "Why do the men wear the head-dress?"

Great question! So let's discover more about the reasons behind it.

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Cross Cultural Training Essential for Foreign-Bound Personnel

Cross Cultural Training Essential for Foreign-Bound Personnel

Ignorance Is No Excuse and Can Land You in Jail

In light of the story of the British woman jailed for smuggling painkillers into Egypt, Punter Southall Health & Protection have warned companies sending personnel abroad that it is their "duty of care to ensure employees understand the legislation and cultural differences of that country."

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Protecting Relocating Expats: A Duty of Care

Protecting Relocating Expats: A Duty of Care

The news is full of accounts of people who have fallen foul of the law when working overseas.

Although, for many readers, these stories can provide a little online interest to mull over during a coffee break, for others, they are a stark reminder of the tragic repercussions that can happen when travelling with no understanding of local laws and culture.

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The Relocation Industry and Historical Context

The Relocation Industry and Historical Context

Mention the ‘relocation industry’ as conversation fodder at a dinner party and your guests will probably panic that you’re planning to expose them really dry conversation pieces such as Cost of Living Allowances, Trailing Spouses, Expat Taxation, Bridging Allowances etc

In actual fact, the relocation industry is an exciting one and not deserving of the stifled yawns that might otherwise be elicited when mentioned.

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Why India is Becoming a Top Expat Destination

Why India is Becoming a Top Expat Destination

As a cross cultural training consultancy, we have a great insight into the countries which rate highly as expat destinations and it seems that India is certainly viewed highly as a popular ‘go to’ country at the moment....especially with Americans.

The numbers now moving to India for work is phenomenal.

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Where is the Most Expensive Destination for Expatriates?

Where is the Most Expensive Destination for Expatriates?

Since relocation training forms such a significant part of the work undertaken by us here at Commisceo, it’s essential that we keep up to date with global changes and their impacts on all things ‘expatriate’.

Mercer, is just one of our trusted ‘go to’ experts.  As consultants in the fields of talent, investments and health, their annual Cost of Living surveys are a must read for companies engaged in the relocation of their employees. 

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The Female Expatriate Experience of Relocating to the Middle East

The Female Expatriate Experience of Relocating to the Middle East

Working with relocating expats is great.  Not only do we get to share some of the pre-move buzz with relocating families, but we also get to hear the post arrival updates and share a little of the settling in excitement.  

Although an exciting time of change and opportunity, the preparation and lead up to relocation can be extremely stressful – particularly if the whole family are moving.  Anxieties vary widely, and depend on factors such as the target country, the presence of accompanying family members, the type of role being performed upon arrival and the degree to which an individual has travelled in in the past.  

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UK Getting Cheaper for Expatriate Relocation Packages

UK Getting Cheaper for Expatriate Relocation Packages

Traditionally one of the more expensive destinations to send expatriate staff, a survey has found that the UK is now becoming cheaper for foreign companies.


The MyExpatriate Market Pay survey (published annually by ECA International) states that for the past few years the fall in the value of UK Sterling has meant that for companies outside the country, operating mainly in USD, sending resources to Britain has become around 11% cheaper.

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Brexodus - Managing Employee Relocation After Brexit

Brexodus - Managing Employee Relocation After Brexit

London business leaders visited Brussels last  week in a bid to push for a financial services deal following Brexit. 

If the EU pursues plans to move Euro Clearing services back into the EU zone, then London may potentially lose its status as the European financial hub. 

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Culture Shock & Employee Relocation

Culture Shock & Employee Relocation

A delegation from the financial services sector recently visited Brussels in an effort to drive forward a post-Brexit deal for the industry.

If they fail, it may become necessary for financial service businesses in the UK to relocate key staff to other sites in Europe to enable the continuation of current services.

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When in Saudi, Do Not Dab

When in Saudi, Do Not Dab

A word of warning for anyone travelling to Saudi Arabia - stay well away from any dabbing. The move could see you spending some time in jail.

Abdullah al-Shahrani, a Saudi entertainer, was recently detained by Saudi authorities after dabbing during a concert in the city of Taif.

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Relocating to Japan? 3 Great Videos That Introduce Japanese Culture

Relocating to Japan? 3 Great Videos That Introduce Japanese Culture

Relocating to a foreign country for work is a big deal. New home, new language and new culture! There is a lot to get your head around. Without doubt Japan is one of those countries that, culturally speaking, causes confusion for the foreigner.

A distinct island culture, formed over thousands of years, with its own nuances and subtleties... it takes time to genuinelly understand the Japanese.

Being the helpful cross-cultural consultancy we are,  we have scoured the internet to find what we consider to be the best 3 videos on Japanese culture!

These videos will help make your relocation to Japan a little smoother, enabling you to learn about Japanese people and culture, so that you have a head start in terms of behaviour and how best to conduct yourself.

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Cross Cultural Training Vital When Relocating to Asia

Cross Cultural Training Vital When Relocating to Asia

As we march forwards into 2021, expectations that Asia will overtake the US as the largest global consumer market in the next couple of decades, are becoming increasingly credible.

The Asian Development Bank reported in 2020, that growth prospects for Asia are continuing to strengthen with expected increases of 7.2% for 2021. 

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Why is the Issue of Discrimination so Important for Expatriate Staff?

Why is the Issue of Discrimination so Important for Expatriate Staff?

Global Mobility staff are routinely faced with complex challenges when it comes to effectively managing relocation assignments. The fact that not all countries promote equality and respect for human rights to the same degree being one of them. 

Although demanding, the complexities don’t stop at matters such as contractual amendments, cost of living and bridging loan calculations.

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India turns away from expats to home-grown talent

India turns away from expats to home-grown talent



Expatriate executives, who were the flavour of the season when India was riding high on a 9%-plus growth rate, are now becoming the first ones to get the pink slip as Indian industry, hit by the slowdown, starts looking within the country for inexpensive hires.

“Many of the expatriate executives, who have been asked to leave, are subject experts. Their value diminishes in a downturn as companies are no more expanding, and thus don’t need people to guide in a new venture,” says K Sudarshan, MD of executive search firm EMA Partners’ India unit. It's fair to say that Indian staff are naturally more effective within their position due to their understanding of Indian culture and business know how. 

Since October 2008, there has been a spate of replacements of expat executives with Indian professionals at the senior level. 

Read more > India

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New Expat Website

Allo' Expat Sdn Bhd, a Malaysia headquartered online publisher and  www.AlloExpat.com.. Launched eight years ago, with now more than 40,000 visitors daily, AlloExpat.com is becoming the preferred online media for advertisers in the "expat industry" around the world.

AlloExpat.com is addressing a permanently increasing expatriate community worldwide. With communities throughout the five continents, over 170 users' nationalities, 145 countries covered, AlloExpat.com has not only become the leading expatriate one-stop information centre, but it also succeeds in becoming the meeting point between the expat communities audience and professional expatriate service providers in various fields such as relocation services, cultural difference, real-estate, insurance and financial planning, leisure, lifestyle, etc...

Through an efficient and very affordable online advertising space offer and a number of dedicated advertisement packages under its "Expat Best" recommended section, AlloExpat.com provides its advertisers with the right expatriate exposure. Advertisers can also direct their ad campaign nationally, regionally and even globally under one unique website.

"Targeting a permanently moving multicultural customer target is a challenge by itself. Expat families and individuals are very hard to spot and understand for most media specialists, mostly due to the diversity of the expatriate audience itself: Where are they? What is their favourite hangout, magazine, spending habits? Furthermore, at the difference of the usual more expensive expatriate's printing media, AlloExpat.com enables advertisers to interact directly with their audience and get the necessary instant feedback and market feel they really need. With the growing numbers of AlloExpat.com advertisers and the everyday feedback we receive from all of them we are able to continuously develop and improve our advertising platform to serve them better," said co-founder and Public Relations Director Theresa Giovagnoli.

Read more > Press Release

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American Graduates Finding Jobs in China

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With unemployment soaring in the USA, students graduating from American universities are more likely than ever to try their hand at gaining employment in Shanghai and Beijing. 

Joshua Arjuna Stephens, a 2007 graduate of Wesleyan University, works in Beijing for XPD Media, which makes online games.

Even those with limited or no knowledge of Chinese are heeding the call. They are lured by China’s surging economy, the challenges of immersing oneself into the Chinese culture, learning a well sought after language and bypassing some of the dues-paying that is common to first jobs in the United States.  Critically, individuals moving to China from the USA, find they have far more spending power due to China's lower living costs. This is a great pull for recent graduates with student debts to repay. 

 

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Cross Culture Kids

I recently attended the 11th annual Families in Global Transition (FIGT) conference – (an idea which was first planned at a kitchen table in Indianapolis). That kitchen table belonged to author and Cross-Culture Kid (CCK) expert, Ruth van Reken. The first conference attracted 80 delegates but this year's boasted over 200.

Almost half were first-timers, drawn from a mix of military, corporate, missionary, education and diplomatic backgrounds. Many were in the business of providing relocation services and support to transitioning families. Many were part of those families.

FIGT is always an uplifting experience and this year, though the conference was in Houston, Texas, it was testament to the global reach of the organisation that each of the plenary sessions included one person living in Europe. The three-day conference also offered more than 40 break-out sessions to choose from.

Child psychologist Doug Ota, who heads up a world-leading transitions programme at the American School of The Hague (ASH), opened the conference with a keynote speech focusing on how grief impacts on the lives of those who roam the globe.

"Grief is a messy, backward and forward process," he explained, as he shared his experience of growing up with a Japanese father and British-origin mother in California. He spoke of his loss of identity; the loss of his colleagues, friends, and even his brother, during the 16 years he has lived in the Netherlands with his Dutch wife.

Read more > Telegraph

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Expats Children Third Culture Kids

Gone are the days when extended families lived within a few miles of each other. Ease of travel and global working have facilited a world in which children are increasingly likely to grow up in countries outside of their parent's passport cultures. These children are known as third culture kids (TCKs).

Not only are the number of third culture kids increasing, but the cultural complexity and relevance of their experience and the adult TCKs (ATCKs) they become, is also growing.

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