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.

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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Zurich top city for expats

Zurich top city for expats
European cities offer the best quality of life for expatriate staff, according to a study of more than 200 locations.




The survey by Mercer, the international consultants, ranked the cities on the basis of personal safety, health and education facilities, transport, other public services, and social, economic, environmental and political factors.

The most attractive location for expatriate businesspeople was Zurich. The Swiss commercial centre, home of UBS, Swiss Re and Zurich financial services, scored 108 points under a ranking system that uses New York on 100 points as a base.

The US business centre, by comparison, was in 49th place, behind other US cities: Honolulu (28th), San Francisco (29th), Boston (37th) and Chicago and Washington?DC (equal 44th).Read more> Mercer 
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Charity calls for business leaders to take up diversity challenge

A charity that campaigns to provide a "secure base for Britain's minority ethnic communities" has called for effective leadership to promote diversity, after a poll revealed that almost nine in 10 recent graduates have experienced some kind of discrimination at work.

The Ethnic Minority Foundation, called for leaders to be held accountable for discrimination which, it says is "ruining the life chances of young people".

It follows a survey of 200 graduates by recruitment site Milkround.com which found that 86% of had faced discrimination while working.

Race discrimination affected two in five respondents, with age discrimination affecting 14% and gender 12%. Other reasons for unfair treatment included sexual orientation and height.

One respondent said: "People like me coming from a different country or continent to study and then try to get a work placement here are very vulnerable, particularly if they are unfortunate enough to have employers or managers as ignorant as the one I [worked for]."

Read more > Diversity 
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Intercultural Cities Conference 1-3 May 2008 Liverpool

Intercultural Cities Conference 1-3 May 2008 Liverpool

An official UK event for the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008





In the cities of today and tomorrow, how can people from different cultures really live together - rather than just rub along side one another?
As part of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue, the Intercultural Cities Conference, will look at migration, diversity and urban life in a fresh way.  New thinking is needed on how diverse communities can co-operate in productive harmony instead of leading parallel or antagonistic lives.

The conference is organised by EUCLID and Comedia, in association with the Liverpool Culture Company, and with the support of the European Commission and the Council of Europe.

Taking place in this year's European Capital of Culture the conference will not only provide an opportunity to look at how different cultures can live together but how mixing can be turned to economic, social and cultural advantage - key issues particularly for those responsible for planning and regeneration, the local economy, community cohesion, education and the cultural services.

The three day event  will feature various European and international speakers, such as globalisation guru Saskia Sassen, the world authority on diversity and city planning Leonie Sandercock, Lord Bhikhu Parekh, who says it is time to rethink multiculturalism, city leadership expert Carol Coletta, Keith Khan who leads the campaign to make the London 2012 Olympics an unprecedented intercultural festival, and leading European city politicians including Ilda Curti and Pascale Bonniel Chalier.

The conference format will break with convention in pursuit of maximum interaction between delegates and speakers.  There will also be the opportunity to get out into Liverpool to see some examples of intercultural dialogue and delegates can also choose from various extra activities, such as a dinner at Anfield, the home of Liverpool Football Club, featuring comedian Shazia Mirza.

Full details can be found at http://inter.culture.info/icc including the early bird booking fee, only available until 31 March
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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 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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NHS HR staff accused of ignoring racism and bullying of Asian doctors

eading figures have told Personnel Today how HR teams are allowing a minority of racist line managers to make working life tough for migrant medics.

Their comments come after a General Medical Council (GMC) report showed that doctors trained overseas were twice as likely to face formal disciplinary hearings once a complaint had been made as those who graduated in the UK.

Ramesh Mehta, president of the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, told Personnel Today: "There is no doubt that bullying of Asian doctors goes on.

"The small minority of racists in the NHS take complaints [about foreign doctors] to HR. HR needs better training in handling these issues."

Read more: Doctors 
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Expatriate Life in Mexico

 

 

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