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Are you a busy HR professional trying to deal with all your assignees’ questions about housing, schools, getting around, and social customs of the host country?
Living Abroad helps global companies prepare employees who are going abroad for a day, a month, a year, or longer. We understand the stresses HR is under to make sure the assignment is successful.
We help our clients by providing answers to the many questions that form a large part of HR’s work handling an international relocation. Searching for answers is time consuming for HR, and accurate information is often elusive.
Our reports on over 170 destinations provide answers to the questions you receive from your business travelers & relocating employees.
Let us answer their questions for you!
Sign up for a Free trial on one of our 170+ destinations and see for yourself.
Category Archives: Articles
Given all the stresses surrounding a relocation, what are some strategies to ease the strain on your relocating employees?
1. Encourage research
Information has never been easier to access. Make sure to recommend a reliable and trusted source for their pre-departure review. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are not considered trustworthy resources.
2. Provide a look-see trip
If your company policy allows a trip, encourage them to visit. Visiting the host country is one of the most important preparation steps for a successful move.
3. Support reaching out
Concerns change dramatically from pre-departure to settling in after relocation. Suggest they reach out to both the local people and contacts within the expat community.
4. Encourage neighborly behavior
Encourage them to get to know their neighbors. At the very least, these people can inform them about amenities in and around the area. Even more, they can assist with practical necessities and provide insight into local customs.
5. Connect with clubs
Organizations can be a great way to make friends abroad, even for those who were not “joiners” back home. Area clubs and organizations are often listed in local publications. Often, the recommended country information resourceswill offer this information, too.
6. Promote integration
Suggest they interact with the locals. Native residents are often proud of their country, and love to share its details with new expats. By learning from the locals, expats are able to develop their own perceptions about the country. Making an effort to integrate rather than isolate will go a long way.
7. Make it all add up
Use all the available resources. Spur them on to absorb as much as they can from many directions. By using a vetted country resource, mingling with the locals, and making friends of their neighbors and at local clubs, your expat will be well on his/her way to a happy and successful relocation!
If you are a relocating employee, then you have a lot of decisions to make. One of the most important is, “Where exactly do I want to live?” Local Bigwig, a group of experts in extended-stay furnished home rentals across the United States, understands the hassles and uncertainty that come with searching for a new home. Therefore, we would like to provide you with resources to simplify your search for the perfect home and neighborhood.
1. StreetAdvisor.com – Street Advisor allows you to search an entire city, neighborhood, or individual street for the perfect living location. It includes search parameters that can narrow down your choices including types of people (e.g., professionals, students, singles, tourists, etc.), average rental price ranges, “personality” (e.g., safe, peaceful, clean, tight-knit, etc.), and even nearby things to do. Great for helping you find your perfect neighborhood.
2. Nabewise.com – Nabewise’s platform is a series of click-throughs that slowly helps you find your perfect neighborhood. It starts at the city level, and then allows you to identify multiple neighborhood qualities you would like. As you see your choices narrow in the site’s interactive design, you can click on one of the neighborhoods, and Nabewise will take you to a page that introduces you to the area and provides you with descriptions of life there. Very simple and easy to use, as well as informational.
3. NeighborhoodScout.com- While this website is for paid subscribers, , it is very detailed in the information it provides. It helps you locate great neighborhoods based on crime rate, commuting range, education quality of the area, and over 150 more programmable characteristics you can set by making a “neighborhood profile.” This is truly an amazing service that makes searching for the absolute perfect neighborhood a breeze.
Once you have your neighborhood picked out, LocalBigwig.com is an online platform that collects extended-term furnished apartment rental listings (stays for more than 30 days) that can help you find the perfect apartment to go along with that ideal neighborhood. Through our platform, you can search for a rental, contact the host, and book/pay for it online, expediting and simplifying the rental process. If you are having trouble finding a home in your desired neighborhood, Local Bigwig offers an assistance service, where we search and provide you with listings we believe match your criteria. It is booking made easy.
So have no fear! Your search for a new home and neighborhood is not a lonely one. Many avenues of assistance and support are at your fingertips. You just need to look. With that, we wish you the best of luck in all of your future apartment searches.
What time is it in your part of the world?
Did you change your clocks recently, or are you about to?
If you live in the U.K., you have changed your clocks at 2am on Sunday, March 31. The rest of the European Union countries also make this change to Summer Time – as Daylight Saving Time is called in Europe.
Who changes when?
Of the more than 70 countries whose citizens adjust their clocks one hour forward in summer, these dates are the most commonly observed: from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October.
However, Daylight Saving Time (DST) observance varies widely. China does not observe DST at all, nor do most countries located close to the equator. Southern Hemisphere countries that change – such as Chile, Uruguay, and New Zealand – do so in accordance with their seasons. Therefore, their DST is the reverse of that observed in the Northern Hemisphere. For example, New Zealanders move their clocks forward on the last Sunday in September, and move them back on the first Sunday in April.
In Brazil, only part of the country observes DST. In the Eastern Time Zone region, which includes the cities of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Brasilia, Bahia, Minas Gerais and Rio Grande do Norte, clocks are moved forward on the third Sunday in October, and moved back on the third Sunday in February.
As of 2011, the Falkland Islands observe DST all year. Previously, Falkland Islands Summer Time (FKST) was observed from the first Sunday in September through the third Sunday in April. But two years ago, the Legislative Assembly determined that year-round DST would create more business day overlap between the Falklands and Europe, and longer days during winter months.
While the day to change clocks is overwhelmingly a Sunday, there are exceptions. In Israel, clocks are moved forward on the Friday before the last Sunday in March. Israel Summer Time, as it is called, ends on the first Sunday after October 1.
What are the reasons and consequences?
What began as a way to conserve resources is a practice that has been in effect for nearly 100 years. From saving fuel during World War I to powering down electrical lights and air conditioning in modern times, the concept has gone a step further in some places. In 2007, U.S. President Bush signed an energy bill into law, extending DST by a month. It now starts three weeks earlier in the spring and ends one week later in the fall. U.S. clocks moved forward on March 10 this year.
It may help conserve power for a few more weeks, but business travelers accustomed to a certain time difference between the U.S. and the U.K., for example, now have to factor in this additional change for those four weeks.
To make things even more interesting, not all U.S. states observe DST. Arizona does not move its clocks, nor does Hawaii. Arizona legislatures puts forth a very good argument, due to its very high summer temperatures, for keeping the clocks on standard time and allowing at least one evening hour to be darker – and cooler.
And sound reasoning that might be. But travelers to and from Arizona are sometimes confused by the fact that although it is in the U.S. Mountain Time zone, for those summer months during DST, it is in line with Pacific Time.
Confusion is only part of the story. Despite well recognized claims that the extra hour of daylight helps decrease accidents, spikes in workplace injuries, vehicle accidents, and even heart attacks have been recorded in the week following the DST clock change.
Nevertheless, DST is embraced by many, and the biannual clock change also provides an opportunity for safety reminders, like changing the batteries in home smoke alarms.
For those doing business around the world – whether traveling or via conference call – some preparation and the right tools can help it all go smoothly.
For example, the World Clock Meeting Planner lets users select the right time across two or more locations. This tool can be used online or in app form. There are many other sites and apps that convert time to other locations.
The auto-adjust feature that all electronics carry these days make it easy to personally keep track of our own time. Our phones, laptops, and other devices automatically reset the time at the beginning and end of DST, based on our default time zone.
But when you are traveling AND dealing with a time change, it gets trickier. A simple app, widget, or online tool is best. After all, if you have a flight to catch from London back to Santiago this Sunday morning, you may have some foggy recollection of the DST change the night before, but your sleepy brain and body will need all the help it can get to make that plane.
Learn more about living and working in over 176 destinations around the world with a free trial to Living Abroad’s International Relocation Center.
People everywhere seek refreshment and energy, often in a cup. Here are some ways to quench thirst and satisfy caffeine cravings, from around the globe.
In Kuwait is stronger and thicker than espresso, often flavored with cardamom, and usually served in small cups without handles. While sugar is offered, milk and cream are usually not.
Costa Rica is a major producer and exporter of coffee, and it is quite popular with locals and visitors alike. Several coffee brands are prepared specifically for local use, and those are sometimes pre-sweetened.
Very sweet and strong coffee is common in Vietnam, and it is usually brewed French-drip style. Many foreigners prefer to dilute it with hot water.
Turkish coffee is a favorite in the Czech Republic. It often is presweetened, and there are usually grounds at the bottom of the cup.
Coffee in Greece is dark and strong. It can be ordered pikro – bitter, metrio – semi-sweet, gliko – sweet, or sketo -plain.
Very black tea is enjoyed throughout Egypt. It is usually served in glasses with a lot of sugar added.
Cha, a milky sweet tea, can be found everywhere in Bangladesh.
In Russia, many enjoy very dark tea served without milk.
Kenyan tea is served with lots of sugar, and brewed with loose tealeaves.
Tea is the most popular beverage in Taiwan. Choices are vast, and quality is excellent. It also tends to be high in caffeine, but herbal blends are available.
Neither coffee or tea: A drink that is enjoyed throughout South America is mate, from the yerba mate tree. High in caffeine, mate is served hot. It is often served with a silver straw, through which the brew is filtered. Considerable ritual can surrounds the drinking of mate, and it may be considered impolite to refuse a mate when one is offered.
It’s impossible to know about all the nuances between destinations. As a busy professional, let us help by providing answers for assignee questions you receive daily.
Even the savviest travelers can encounter emergency situations while abroad. Preparation is key.
In the event of a crisis, a prearranged plan provides direction and alleviates panic. The plan may entail removal to a safe in-country location or evacuation from the country, with or without belongings. Consider carrying additional evacuation coverage on your insurance.
You should have a household plan and make all family members aware of it.
Start from the inside out. With your home’s floor plan in mind, discuss the best means of swift departure. Draw up a map if it helps younger children understand what to do. Make arrangements for care of any pets in case you can’t take them with you. Discuss this possibility with your children. Establish a meeting place outside the home in case someone gets separated.
Keep important travel documents together in a safe place. This saves time when minutes count.
The second phase of a family emergency plan is to arrange a place to meet if no one is at home during an emergency. For example, if civil unrest breaks out on a weekday morning, parents may be at work and children at school. Contact each other by phone, if possible, and have a predetermined spot where all will meet. Note that cell phones are invaluable, but if service is down, prior planning is critical.
From there, follow the established plan for getting to a safe place or out of the country. Contact family members at home as soon as it is feasible to let them know you are safe.
Relying on friends
Give someone you trust the contact information for family members. This will help outside people locate you if necessary.
If you feel comfortable doing so, give someone a key to your home. If you cannot return to your home but need some belongings or have left a pet behind, your contact person can assist.
Help from your embassy or consulate
Local information and assistance
Many embassies or consulates request that you register with them upon your arrival. This is helpful in the event of an emergency evacuation, to reissue a lost or stolen passport, or if someone at home is trying to reach you. Registering is also good idea in case of a natural disaster, civil unrest, or if you plan to travel to a remote or isolated area.
Your embassy or consulate can also keep you updated on the latest security information in the country.
If you find yourself in a financial emergency and out of funds, the consulate also can help you obtain funds wired from your home country.
Legal and medical recommendations
If you become involved in a legal problem, your consulate cannot represent you legally, but can provide you with a list of local attorneys who speak your native language. If you get sick, they can also recommend local physicians or a medical facility.
The consular officers can advise you of your rights under local laws; they can assist you if you are treated unfairly or held under inhumane conditions. If detained, you have the right to talk to your consulate or embassy. Keep requesting this communication, even if it is denied you at first.
by Ellen Harris, International Product Director, Living Abroad LLC