The Blog for Culture Vultures

Satiate your inner Culture Vulture with regular news and posts about cultural awareness, doing business abroad, working in a multicultural environment, HR diversity and global mobility.

Review: Yanks in Blighty

Donna Marsh is a business woman and cultural awareness trainer specialising in many fields. Over her 30 year professional career she has visited more than 140 countries. As a strue globe-trotter this has given her a great insight into the field of intercultural communication, awareness and skills.

Now this experience has translated itself into a new publication entitled "Yanks in Blighty". As the title suggests the book is aimed at Americans moving, working or living in the UK who are looking for a better understanding of their new environment and the natives.

Review:

Having readthe book we are pleased to offer a glowing review and thoroughly recommend it to our readers. The one major factor that sticks out in the book is how much ground is covered in terms of topics. Donna leaves no stones unturned in her examination of what the UK is, where it is and how it is. We are given quick, informative facts on subjects such as the present situation the country is in, the Royal Family, government, the cultural diversity of the population, language, transport, housing, health care and of course the weather. In short this book contains probably everything anyone would ever need when moving to the country.

As well as the fantastic details, the book also offers the reader answers to questions they were probably thinking but most authors never thought to answer. Although it may sound trivial, knowing how a washing machine works, how the rubbish (or should I say trash?) is collected and when the sales start are all little things people really do need to know.

The book wins in a lot of ways due to its focus. As it is targetted at Americans specifically wanting to understand the UK it allows the author the luxury on concentrating on what they want to know and specific areas of concern for Americans (rather than some other nationality).

Excerpt:

"As a rule, the British are likely to overlook or at least keep silent about most social behaviour that they do not approve of. Queue jumping a notable exception."

Where to buy?

You can buy the book by clicking the link below to Amazon or at any decent online bookstore. The ISBN is 978-1-906710-37-8.


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Fewer expats sent abroad

Fewer expats sent abroad



According to the findings of a survey of 180 managers by London-based consultants Brookfield, more than two thirds of the major multinationals are expecting to post fewer employees abroad this year.

Nannette Ritmeester of the Dutch consultancy Expertise in Labour Mobility recognises the picture. She sees two possible responses to the crisis: either send fewer employees abroad, or economise on the facilities for expats, by cutting back on housing allowances or air tickets for trips back home.

However, spokespersons for Shell, Philips and Akzo Nobel are keen to stress that they won’t be skimping on perks for expats.

“They’re set down in the collective labour agreement – they’re agreed beforehand so you can’t change them,” says a Philips spokesperson.

Read more > Expats
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New Expat Website

New Expat Website
Allo' Expat Sdn Bhd, a Malaysia headquartered online publisher and most visited expatriate social portal worldwide (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, 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 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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Expat life getting harder

Expat life getting harder


With fluctuating exchange rates and companies less willing to keep expats on their payroll, the economic landscape for expats is changing drastically.

Expatriates have always been known for their ability to adapt to new cultures and contexts but the current financial crisis may prove to be the biggest challenge yet for internationals.

The economic landscape across the globe is changing by the day and it is still unclear how that will affect the world and workplace – and the place of expats within it.

Two things are already clearly impacted, though: the costs borne by expatriates in many European cities and overseas assignments by multinational corporations.

A recent survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), for instance, showed that while weakening exchange rates have substantially lowered the relative cost of living in Western Europe for expatriates, it remains the most expensive area of the world to live in. Western Europe boasts seven of the top 10 most expensive cities across the globe and all but two of the Western European cities surveyed are in the top 50, according to the report.

However, those living in Western Europe can take heart in the fact that the relative cost of living in the region is dropping – due, in large part, to drastic declines in European currencies such as the sterling, the euro and the Norwegian krone.

Read more > Expatica
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The burden of Expatriate life

The burden of Expatriate life



More and more workers have relocated abroad in recent years, but despite the growing numbers, family issues remain a major factor in the failure of overseas postings.

The initial excitement of an exotic new posting can turn to culture shock, loneliness, identity loss and depression, and it is often the employee's spouse and children — without the familiar routine of work — who are most affected.

"I thought it would be an adventure, and it was," said Francesca Kelly, an American who moved 10 times in the first nine years as a Foreign Service spouse, living in places like Belgrade and the former Soviet Union during the cold war. But it "was much more difficult than I ever imagined it would be."

Brenda Fender, director of global initiatives for Worldwide ERC, a not-for-profit association concerned with work force mobility, said a family's happiness was crucial. "If the family cannot adapt, the employee will likely not succeed," she said.

And not succeeding can be expensive.

Scott Sullivan, senior vice president at GMAC Global Relocation Services, told the story of a man from Cleveland with an important role in building a large manufacturing plant in rural China. He left the project midway through and returned home when his wife and child became desperately unhappy. This disrupted the project, a joint venture with a Chinese company, which then backed out — a loss for the American company of hundreds of millions of dollars, Sullivan said, and it could have been avoided with a better assessment before the man left home.

Read more >>> IHT
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HR Expat Management Conferences, Event, Seminars 2008

HR Expat Management Conferences, Event, Seminars 2008


GMS (Global Mobility Specialist) Training and Certification

When and Where:
13th, 16-17 June 2008 – Brussels, Belgium
27-29 October 2008 – Washington D.C.
Produced by: Worldwide ERC’s Global Workforce Association
Cost: See website
More information:
www.erc.org/PERC_INTERNATIONAL/gms_dates_locations.shtml
Description: The Global Mobility Specialist (GMS™) designation signifies that you have taken training in the specialized field of global workforce mobility and are committed to ongoing education to grow your expertise.

HR Strategy - Translating Business Strategy into HR Actions
When and Where:
30th July, 2008 – Hong Kong
Produced by: Mercer
Cost: see website
More information:
www.mercer.com
Description: As organisations in Asia ask HR to play a more active role in helping achieve business success, many HR professionals are being required to actively contribute to setting and implementing the business strategy. HR professionals are also being called upon to play the role of strategic advisor to the business.  How can HR play an active role in helping to implement business strategy? Through developing congruent HR and Human Capital strategies that align what business needs to achieve to what HR does, HR can directly contribute to business success. Acquiring the knowledge and applying the know-how to make this happen has become an imperative for HR professionals in Asia to start playing this crucial role.

Becoming an Effective HR Business Partner
When and Where:
2nd September, 2008 – Melbourne, Australia
Produced by: Mercer
Cost: see website
More information: www.mercer.com
Description: One of the challenges for HR Professionals today is the need to not only deliver efficient and reliable HR operations and systems, but also to act as a business partner and strategic advisor to the senior team. This 1-day workshop helps participants to understand the new demands and roles of the HR Professional, and explores how to position oneself as a true business partner. Case studies, group sharing and facilitated discussions help highlight issues and how to address them.

JSB’s 5th Annual Employment Law Europe 2008 - A Practical Approach to the Latest Developments in Six European Jurisdictions: France, Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands, Italy and Spain
When: 23 - 25 April 2008
Where: London, U.K.
Produced by: JSB Training and Development
Cost: see website
More information: www.eurolaw2008.com, Email: www.jsbonline.com/booking
Tel. UK 020 8371 7032
Description: Europe plays a central role in the UK’s economic success and is vital for UK businesses. Understanding how employment law works in different European countries has become one of the key challenges facing business for many HR professionals, in-house lawyers and advisers who operate in more than one European jurisdiction. This comprehensive three-day conference will enable you to deal with employment law issues in France, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain.  Leading experts from each jurisdiction will point out pitfalls and highlight how each domestic legal system differs from the UK.

The Summit on Leading Diversity – Practical Solutions for Building Inclusive and Productive Organizations
When: 28 – 30 April, 2008
Where: Atlanta, GA
Produced by: Linkage, Inc.
Cost: See website
More information: www.linkageinc.com/learning_events/conferences/div/default.aspx
Description: As the nation's premiere diversity event, the Summit on Leading Diversity plays an integral role in creating and sustaining inclusive work environments that mirror the demographic makeup of this country. Linkage prides itself on the quality and depth of the program and remains committed to showcasing a collection of the most vital tools, strategies, and best practices available in the diversity field. Each year, the Summit takes diversity work to new levels by building on the concepts presented the previous year and challenging presenters and participants to be visionary in their thoughts and actions



The Human Resources Forum
When: 7-10 May 2008
Where: Oriana, Southampton, U.K.
Produced by: Richmond Events
Cost: see website
More information: www.hrforum.co.uk
Description: An event that combines an outstanding conference programme with facilitated networking. Meetings are pre-arranged allowing delegates to research potential suppliers, benchmark existing ones and hear about new products and services in the marketplace. Equally, for suppliers, it’s an opportunity to build new relationships and affirm existing ones. It’s also an event where you’re likely to achieve more in three days than you usually do in three months!

The Best of Organizational Development Summit – Proven Tools, Skills and Best Practices for OD and HR Practitioners 
When: 13 -15 May 2008
Where: Chicago, IL
Produced by: Linkage, Inc.
Cost: See website
More information: www.linkageinc.com/learning_events/conferences/od/default.aspx
Description: In its 10th year, The Best of Organizational Development Summit addresses the OD practitioner's highest priorities and challenges with the latest and most pertinent tools and information from thought leaders, practitioners, and world-class keynote speakers. Each year, Linkage conducts field research with hundreds of practitioners, thought leaders, and consultants from around the world. This research and the resulting Model for High Impact OD set the agenda for The Best of Organizational Development Summit. The Summit is able to address the needs of OD practitioners at every level, equipping them with practical and cost-effective tools and applications to immediately improve business results. This event combines competency and skill development with action learning, networking, and best practices to accelerate the capability of OD practitioners.

EuRA 10th Anniversary Conference
When: 14-16 May 2008
Where: Rome, Italy
Produced by: European Relocation Association
Cost: see website
More information: www.eura-relocation.com or by email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Description: EuRA is an industry body for relocation professionals in both Europe and Worldwide. Relocation service providers are required to abide by EuRA's Rules of Conduct. This year’s conference, “We Versus Me; Celebrating our Work-Life Balance,” will focus on balance for expat and relocation professionals.  The focus will be on the psychological reactions to an increasingly work-driven lifestyle, especially for the globally mobile employee and family.

The 9th International Conference on Human Resource Development Research & Practice Across Europe
When: 21-23 May 2008.
Where: Lille, France
Produced by: The University Forum for Human Resource Development (UFHRD), the Academy of Human Resource Development (AHRD), and IÉSEG School of Management
Cost: See website
More information: http://hrd.ieseg.fr/index.html 
Description: THEME: Developing Leaders and Managers - The University Forum for Human Resource Development (UFHRD), the Academy of Human Resource Development (AHRD), and IÉSEG School of Management (part of the Catholic University of Lille), are pleased to announce the 9th International Conference on Human Resource Development across Europe.  The conference aims to promulgate the latest research findings, best practices and theoretical developments in HRD.  The theme of this year’s conference is developing leaders and managers as a key HRD activity. In particular we hope to highlight how we, in the HRD community, in our roles as academics, educators, professionals and trainers shape, constrain and contribute to the process of developing and leaders.

Expatriate Compensation Seminar
When and Where:
21-22 May 2008 - Cambridge, MA USA
28 -29 May 2008 - London, U.K.
Where: Produced by: AIRINC Associates for International Research, Inc.
Cost: see website
More information: www.air-inc.com/seminars/cambr08.html or for USA contact Scott Sutton in Cambridge +1 617 354-2133 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and for UK contact Ilse van Loon in Amsterdam +31 20 618 5205 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Description: Our restructured training program consists of a two-module format: The first-day session will focus on the fundamentals of expatriate compensation and the second day will cover more advanced material, addressing best practices in policy design & strategy.  International human resources professionals (or the equivalent) can register to attend both sessions or one of the individual modules.

Eighth International Conference on Diversity in Organisations, Communities and Nations

When: 17 – 20 June 2008
Where: Montreal, Canada
Produced by: Common Ground
Cost: see website
More information: http://diversity-conference.com
Description: This conference will address a range of critically important themes in the study of diversity today. Main speakers will include some of the world’s leading thinkers in the field, as well as numerous paper, workshop and colloquium presentations by researchers and practitioners.

Global Workforce Summit: Focus on Europe, Middle East & Africa
When: June 18-19, 2008
Where: Brussels, Belgium
Produced by: Worldwide ERC®
Cost: See website
More information: www.erc.org/Global_Summit/emea08.shtml
Description: This conference promises abundant opportunity for those responsible for workforce mobility and talent management in Europe, Middle East and Africa. This year the event will be hosted by the globally important city of Brussels – where many important decisions that impact business prospects are made and which is home to many corporate decision-makers. Workforce mobility is a key strategy for talent management in today’s dynamic economic and business environment. Finding and keeping the right people in the right jobs is more difficult than ever before and demographers predict the labour shortage will continue to grow. Learn from the leaders in workforce mobility about best practices and emerging trends that will help your organization succeed in this competitive environment.

New Regulations for Cross Border Workers
When: 23 June 2008
Where: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Produced by: Lexlumen, in cooperation with Expatica
Cost: See website
More information: www.lexlumen.nl or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Description: Learn about the latest changes in Dutch regulations for expats and inpats in labour law, tax regulations and pensions.

Employing and Vetting Non-UK Nationals
When: 2nd July 2008
Where: The CBI Conference Centre, London, U.K.
Produced by: Symposium Events
Cost: see website
More information: www.symposium-events.co.uk  Tel: (UK) 020 7231 5100
Description: Symposium Events’ 5th Annual Employing and Vetting Non-UK Nationals 2008 is the authoritative conference for employers involved in recruiting and screening non-UK nationals. This unique and timely conference features an update on the most recent vetting rules and legislation surrounding both EU and non-EU nationals. By attending you can ensure your vetting practices are rigorous and fair, and avoid the risk of litigation.

W.I.N. Global Leadership Forum 'women creating the future'
When: 18-20 September 2008
Where: Barcelona, Spain
Produced by: WIN Conference/Kristin Engvig
Cost: see website
More information: www.winconference.net - Registration Opens 1 May 2008
Description: Come join hundreds of outstanding women in Sitges, Barcelona, Spain for the global leadership forum of the year. W.I.N. is bringing a vision of sustainability, authenticity and nurturing values and the women at W.I.N. are making it happen.  Come and meet highly dynamic, experienced and competent women and some courageous men too. Learn how to do business in a graceful way and create an innovative future that is beneficial for all.  Join us in developing, empowering and connecting leaders with a feminine, authentic and truly global vision.

CERC National Conference
When: 21 – 23 September 2008
Where: Vancouver, B.C.
Produced by: CERC
Cost: see website
More information: www.cerc.ca/events/conf/conference.aspx or by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone: + 866-357-CERC (2372)
Description: John Ibbitson, a respected journalist with the Globe and Mail newspaper and author of several books, will be the keynote speaker at this year's annual conference.  Mr. Ibbitson is currently covering the U.S. primary race in advance of the U.S. Federal elections in November 2008. He is a noted expert on Canada/ U.S. political relations and trade matters. In 2005 he wrote the Canadian best seller - "The Polite Revolution, Perfecting The Canadian Dream."

Global HR News Conference - Going Global and Thriving
When: 23rd September 2008
Where: Mexico City, Mexico
Produced by: Global HR News
Cost: See website
More information: www.globalhrnews.com/b4/b4conf.asp?cid=52 or contact Ed Cohen: Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Phone: +1.619.297.5700
Description: Conference educational theme: Aligning Human Capital Financial Resources, Talent Management and Mobility Policy with Corporate Strategy.

TAMA Conference 2008 - Quality, Standards and Technology: Terminology's Future
When: 9 - 10 October 2008
Where: Ottawa, Canada
Produced by: TermNet
Cost: see website
More information: www.termnet.info/english/events/idss2007.php, E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Tel.: +43-1-524 0606-11
Description: TermNet, the International Network for Terminology, is an international co-operation forum for companies, universities, institutions and organizations who aim at developing a world-wide market for terminological products, services and tools.  The 9th International Conference "Terminology in Advanced Management Applications (TAMA)" will take place within the "Canadian Terminology week."

The Global Institute for Leadership Development
When: 12 – 15 October 2008
Where: Palm Desert, CA
Produced by: Linkage, Inc.
Cost: See website
More information: http://gild.linkageinc.com
Description: In its 11th year, with over 3,500 alumni, GILD is an intensive 5.5 day leadership immersion program providing a world-class accelerated learning experience that combines expert instruction, real-time business application, and social awareness in a pragmatic and hands-on environment. GILD joins together seasoned leaders from all industries and functions representing Global 2000 companies.  Participants engage in focused learning around the 15 components of the model through our leadership assessment instrument, lessons in leadership sessions, skill development programs, private executive coaching program, and business simulation.

Best Practices in Leadership Development Summit – Tools, Processes and Systems for Developing Leaders
When: 12 – 15 October 2008
Where: Palm Desert, CA
Produced by: Linkage, Inc.
Cost: See website
More information: www.linkageinc.com/learning_events/conferences/bpld/default.aspx
Description: Linkage's 1st Annual Best Practices in Leadership Development Summit: Tools, Processes & Systems for Developing Leaders is the one place where those who are responsible for accelerating the development of managers, executives and leaders in their organizations can come each year to learn the state-of-the-art in their profession. Thought leaders, world-class practitioners and expert instructors join an elite faculty to help attendees produce the results expected of them. Benchmark against the best in the industry and dramatically increase your know-how and ability to succeed in your role. Your organization's future depends on it!

Japan Human Resources Roundtable
When: November 2008
Where: Tokyo, Japan
Produced by: The Economist
Cost: see website
More information: This conference is currently being developed; please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for the latest information on programme, venue and speakers.
Description: Please see above info.

The Women in Leadership Summit – Distinctive Learning. Practical Solutions. Proven Results
When: 10 – 12 November 2008
Where: San Francisco, CA
Produced by: Linkage Inc.
Cost: See website
More information: www.linkageinc.com/learning_events/conferences/wil/default.aspx
Description: The Women in Leadership Summit equips women leaders with the strategies and skills to catalyze change, accelerate development, gain visibility, and create sustainable operating results. The event boasts more than 5,000 alumni and hundreds of world-class speakers. Year after year, the Women in Leadership Summit delivers exactly what it promises, including proven leadership skills; strategies from best-in-class practitioners; inspiration and renewal; opportunity for reflection and change; unmatched networking opportunities; and continuous learning and development.

The Global HR Congress; Aligning Human Capital, Talent Engagement, Innovation & Competing Globally
When: 3-4 December 2008
Where: Paris, France
Produced by: Global HR News
Cost: see website
More information: www.globalhrnews.com/b4/b4conf.asp?cid=71 or www.globalhrnews.com/b4/b4conf.asp?cid=52 or contact Ed Cohen: Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Phone: +1.619.297.5700
Description: Theme: Strategic Role of International Assignments in World Trade.

The Best of Talent Management Summit
When: 9 – 11 December 2008
Where: Lake Buena Vista, FL
Produced by: Linkage Inc.
Cost: See website
More information: www.linkageinc.com/learning_events/conferences/default.aspx
Description: The Best of Talent Management Summit is a gathering of the world's foremost talent management experts, thought leaders, and experienced practitioners, brought together to share the tools, models, leadership skills, and overall implementation plans executed during successful talent management initiatives. Attendees are offered a genuinely unique immersion learning experience through a combination of visionary keynote presentations, best practice case studies, and small, focused learning teams. Participants and team leaders alike will have the shared opportunity to discuss and debate principles and methods learned throughout the presentations and then apply them to their own real and current challenges in small action learning groups.
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Expats "get the best of both worlds"

When English people move abroad, almost half (46 percent) miss traditional dishes such as bangers and mash and black pudding.

More than a third (37 percent) miss their favourite TV programmes, such as Only Fools and Horses, according to a major new survey of expats by BUPA International.

But surprisingly, in spite of craving familiar foods and TV programmes, the majority of English expats say they are actually happier abroad.

Findings from research by the world's largest expat health insurer show that three in four English expats now call their new country "home", while a third say they feel healthier since moving abroad, thanks to better weather and an improved quality of life.

Ninety-three percent of the English surveyed also said they would recommend the expatriate life to others, with over half declaring that "they get the best of both worlds".

Read more> Expatriate
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Expat Life in Malaysia

Christopher Boyd says sitting in your 50th floor office, mobile phone in hand, reading about the problems of tigers eating the local livestock is but one of the many contrasts which makes life in Malaysia a long journey of discovery.



I am a long-term expat in Malaysia, having been here since 1974. My nationality is British, but I have permanent residence in Malaysia. By profession I am a Chartered Surveyor and a partner in Regroup, which is a firm of property valuers and agents. My wife is Malaysian and runs a nursery school.

Malaysia: Malaysia for the expatriate was once regarded as the "poor cousin" ranking well below Hong Kong and Singapore in importance and amenities. Increasingly it is the regional location of choice for foreign companies. Expats seldom have much problem settling in, and many plan to return here in retirement.

It is useful to think of Malaysia as really being three countries - the very cosmopolitan Klang Valley surrounding the capital Kuala Lumpur has every facet of a big city with modern buildings, hotels, parks and traffic jams.

Never very far away is the exotic countryside with its mountain ranges, endless plantations, jungle and coral beaches. Then, across the South China Sea, are the states which make up East Malaysia.

Read more> C. Boyd 

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UAE is top world expat destination

The United Arab Emirates is the world’s top destination for expatriates in terms of personal taxation, according to a new study.

Mercer’s ‘Worldwide Individual Tax Comparator Report’, a global survey of expatriate hotspots, looks at tax and benefits systems across 32 countries, focusing on personal tax structures, average salaries and marital status. Data from the survey is used by multinationals to structure pay packages for their expatriate and local market employees.

For single managers, the UAE has the most attractive tax environment according to the percentage of net income available, the survey finds. The country earns its no. 1 ranking by not assessing income tax, with social security contributions amounting to just 5% of a local employee’s gross salary.

Read more> UAE 
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Working as an expat in France

Just getting set up in your new French office? Nerve-wracking, isn't it? Here are some tips from Expatica's Culture Coach Nathalie Kleinschmit to make sure you get off to a good start and read the signals correctly in your new environment.

Let's see if you recognise yourself in Jason's tale of his stay at his multinational company's head office in Paris:

“When I got to the front desk, they told me I had to wait because they hadn’t received my badge yet. Twenty minutes went by before my manager arrived to authorize my entrance. He then walked me to my new office and and told me that a meeting was scheduled with the team at 3pm that afternoon and that, until then, I could read through the files.

I had my own laptop but couldn’t get the Internet connection to work. For the next few hours, I could see people walking by peering into my office but not a single person came in to introduce themselves to me. I went to get a coffee and discovered that the machine wasn’t coin-operated and that I needed a card. For lunch, I had already eaten in the cafeteria on previous trips and had a voucher so I was able to get a platter together. But I remember feeling quite alone and wondering if I was ever going to fit in.

Read more > Expatica
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Expat Life in Mexico

Expat Life in Mexico
The North American Free Trade Agreement (Weintraub, 2004) and lower labour costs in Mexico have caused many US companies to move their operations south of the border.  While the majority of the workers in the US-owned plants are Mexican, some of the employees are US workers on temporary expat assignments.


While not randomly selected from a large pool of expat workers, my ten interviewees did hold a variety of jobs.  Several of them were managers and engineers.  Others in the group included a US Air Force officer, an HR representative, a Director of Research and Development, and a missionary.  Two were female and eight were male.  For the vast majority of the group this was their first expat assignment and they considered the assignment a means of advancing their careers and providing their families with a rich cultural experience.  Half of the workers said that they would be interested in doing another expat assignment in the future.

Read more: Expatica 
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An expat's view on intercultural communication

Portuguese expat Elizabet Fernandes enjoys the international atmosphere in her multilingual EU company, but finds that people get 'lost in translation’ and inherit one another's linguistic mistakes.

Lost in translation

English is the current working language but too often people ‘get lost in translation’ because the level and the knowledge of language amongst us varies from person to person. We also inherit each other’s linguistic mistakes and end up speaking a kind of ‘Euro-English’. I like to speak as many languages as possible so I prefer to speak Spanish, French or Italian depending on the nationality of my colleagues. Besides, with this job I can also use and develop my skills as a translator and that’s perfect.

Unfortunately it’s too hard to use Dutch on a daily basis as the Dutch immediately respond in English to foreigners even to Flemish people!

Culture games

Although Eurojust is a very multicultural environment it is still not very intercultural. My colleagues often don’t understand each other or tend to ‘over-react’. I have been fighting for intercultural training because it helps you to realise that different people (from different cultures) may react differently in similar situations and to respect that. I followed this training myself in Portugal so I know the impact and the benefits.

Read more: Holland 
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Family matters on expat assignment

In today’s digitalised, globalised world, where the words:  ‘cost-effective solutions’ and ‘bottom-line’ are a common language shared across the corporate spectrum.  Finally, issues of families and family support, so long concealed and little discussed within the corporate arena are now enjoying a renaissance.

The focus on maintaining a healthy ‘work/life balance’ is fuelling recognition amongst corporations that revenue is not the dominant factor in achieving the long-term goals of increased productivity and profitability.

Read more: Expats 
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Culture still a major factor in expat failure

The Cartus Emerging Trends in Global Mobility: Policies & Practices Survey shows that an accelerated shift from long-term to short-term international relocation assignments is expected by the end of 2009. China's popularity as a destination is growing the fastest when compared with the U.S., Great Britain and India.

Cartus, a global mobility management and workforce development consultant, conducted the survey with 184 respondents from companies in 25 major industry segments. The organizations surveyed represent more than 83,000 assignees and have headquarters in 19 different nations.

Cartus also identified why these international assignments fail, regardless of being on a short-term basis. The top three reasons were family adjustment, at 71%; assignee personal style, at 48%; and cultural differences, at 40%.

This is easily remedied with intercultural and language training, which more companies are offering. The survey shows that intercultural training was offered by 55% of companies in 2007, versus the 28% offered in 2004. Meanwhile, 58% of companies offered language services for families, an increase from 30% in 2004.

Read more: Cartus 
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The Expat Checklist

Research and Markets has announced the addition of “The Expat Checklist” to their offering.

The Expat Checklist is a practical and simple guide to items that should be considered in an expatriate agreement, including hints on developing a successful expatriate agreement.

"Kudos to the Expat Checklist! This checklist was really the only thing I found on the web that discussed all the upfront issues and gotcha's to watch out for in negotiating my expat contract. This definitely helped me to think of a few things I would've forgotten until it was too late. It was very helpful!" - Expatriate in Geneva

The Expat Checklist is based upon the experience of the author - a sales and marketing executive with an International MBA. It includes input from other expatriates, and most importantly benefits from the mistakes the author and others made during various expatriate agreement negotiations. The author's own expatriate experience was ultimately successful, despite an acquisition by a competitor and resulting lay-offs during the assignment. His expatriate agreement was the key to that successful experience.

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