How to Become A Digital Nomad Abroad

Learn How You Can Become a Digital Nomad as an Expat Abroad

For a number of reasons, people become “expatriates” (that is, people who live outside their native country), and this process of becoming an expat happens in many ways./

One of the most recent and popular ways to become an expat has materialized through a number of technological innovations, and that is to become an expat as a “digital nomad.”

What is a digital nomad?

This is a term used for a person who is “location independent,” and relies on technology to perform his or her job. The great thing about being a digital nomad is you can work virtually anywhere, allowing you to move easily between countries and regions.

How exactly do you begin to become a digital nomad?

It seems to be an appealing life, one where you can travel and work simultaneously. Imagine sitting on a beach somewhere in Thailand working on your laptop (while also working on your tan!) The thing that digital nomads have in common is that they usually spend months in a year traveling while working online. But it takes a lot of hard work to reach a point where you can both work and travel.

As a recent movement that works for many, it can be rewarding. but there’s usually some confusion about how to live this lifestyle.

We’ve put together five core things you need to do if you’re interested in becoming a digital nomad. There’s a lot of hard work involved, but these five steps will help to set you up for success.

1. Be creative.

There isn’t one blueprint that everyone can follow in order to get the digitally savvy life of independence that so many (particularly the millennial population) dream of. Everyone arrives at the digital nomad lifestyle through a unique path.

In order to find out which route to go, figuratively and literally as well as digitally, to become a digital nomad, you have to figure out where your strengths lie and come up with a creative way to make that work for you.

Are you good at graphic design? Blogging? Photography? Are you good at creating communities online through your relationship-building or networking skills? Let that work to your advantage and help leverage you on your way to becoming a digital nomad.

2. Join a digital nomad community.

There are tons of people who are doing this and have been in the same situation as you before – figuring out where to begin and how to start travelling while working online. Find these people and learn from them. Use them as resources and as peers who are like-minded. They have a wealth of information on how to start reducing your ties to your current location, where to find new homes for cheap, how to find a creative way to earn money online to fund your travels, etc.

3. Decide on how you’re going to earn money.

You need money to travel. Start by freelancing through your graphic design, photography, or blogging skills, or work or study abroad. These are ways to start traveling and get you on the path to becoming a digital nomad. While studying and working abroad is less risky than trying to earn your way by being a freelancer, it’s not as easy to be location-independent. It may take you longer. So weigh the pros and cons. Generally, it makes sense to secure your contracts or employment before you leave from a company that is accepting of your digital nomad existence while living abroad.

4. Figure out how you want to live.

If you’re interested in having solitude and quiet, and wish to retreat somewhere, go for it! Or if you’re a social butterfly and need to be around people to thrive, then go for that. But make sure you know what you want.

Have a look at our country and city guides to get more of an overview of regions in the world that Expat Financial provides medical coverage for.

5. Research.

This includes researching where to live, the currency, and the culture of your destination (for some areas that are more conservative, you want to dress appropriately). It makes sense to make sure you are living in an area that is safe and secure, has excellent internet coverage and speed, inexpensive housing and for some a great climate and interesting culture.

6. Get international medical coverage BEFORE you become a digital nomad

International health insurance coverage is essential for anybody becoming an expat, no matter where they’re going or for how long. If you are a digital nomad, there is a good chance your employer will not provide health coverage for you or will ask you to obtain your own. In fact, most digital nomads are self-employed or working on a consulting basis, so you most likely need to obtain adequate global health coverage to cover unexpected medical expenses, evacuation, dental and more. Digital nomads can easily obtain a quote for excellent international medical insurance from our insurance partners. Our most popular global medical policy for digital nomads is the Cigna Global Health Options plan. It is vital that digital nomads obtain a high-quality plan and also discuss their needs with us if required.

Expat Financial provides international health, life, disability and travel insurance to expats (for both those who are interested in going abroad and those who are already living abroad). Contact us today to get have your questions answered and obtain a quote online.

 

 

10 Great reasons to become an expat in the Caribbean

Located on the east coast of Central America, the Caribbean has 17 dependent territories. Though small in total size, the Caribbean has a favourable tropical climate, a mixture of culture with different influences such as French, Spanish, and English, as well as beautiful beaches that make this region a natural choice for expatriates to live, work and retire. The natural beauty of the Caribbean attracts millions of travellers and expats visiting the Caribbean each year. In this article, we will discuss 10 great reasons to move to the Caribbean and become an expat. This includes people to move to the Caribbean for work, long-term travel or retirement.

1. Pleasant Weather 

The climate of the Caribbean is tropical to subtropical, with year-round sunshine and moist wind. The rainy season starts from May to October, while hurricanes occur between June and November. The average temperate is around 28 to 30 Celsius. The hurricane season is from July to October can bring powerful storms to your island, so it is critical that you obtain a property with adequate storm protection. You may want to exit the Caribbean in the Summer months when the humidity and heat can be quite extreme. Many expats will choose to return to their home country to see family members during this time.

2. Natural Beauty 

The Caribbean is well known for its beautiful island life and excellent beaches. You can experience impressive beaches such as Shoal Bay in Anguilla, Palominos Island in Puerto Rico, as well as Eagle Beach, and Nassau. They all have warm waters and white sands. It really is a natural paradise for beach lovers.

3. Diving and Water Sports

The Caribbean islands are full of marine life including turtles, rainbow coloured fish, coral, reefs, and dolphins. Diving is definitely a great activity for tourists and expats. For experienced surfers, long coasts and tides in the Caribbean will provide an unforgettable adventure. There are also many surfing training classes on the islands for new surfers.

4. The Caribbean Cuisine 

The Caribbean cuisine has many influences from Africa, EuropeLatin American and Spain. Local restaurants prefer to use a kind of green herb and olive oil as common ingredients, as well as coconut, potatoes, bean, and tomatoes. Meats and seafood are widely consumed on the islands. In Jamaica, one of the most popular dish is Saltfish, served with ackee fruit, which is the national fruit of Jamaica. Ackee and Saltfish is the national dish of Jamaica, but a favourite for locals and expats alike is Jerk Chicken. Many expats and locals will enjoy an island staple called Conch, a tropical mollusk that is quite common on the islands.

5. Friendly People and Culture 

Residents living on the islands come from different countries and cultures all over the world. As a multicultural community, you will hear different languages such as English, Dutch, Chinese, and Spanish. As a result, it is all the more likely that you will encounter your native language spoken on the islands. The people in general are very friendly and welcoming.

6. Favorable Tax Structures

Unlike many countries in the world, most of the islands in the Caribbean have desirable tax rates for both companies and individuals living there. Known as one of the most chosen tax heavens by many expats in the world, the Caribbean islands provide financial privacy and little or no tax policy. One of the most used nations in the Caribbean is the Cayman Islands. Offshore corporations do not need to submit financial reports to any Cayman government. Besides, for international business companies, the Cayman Islands have no income tax nor corporate tax. The other popular option is Panama. The level of security and privacy of account holders in offshore banking services attracts many expats from all over the world.

7. Accommodation

There are many all-inclusive resorts on the islands, as well as a variety of accommodation types no matter you are looking for luxury hotels or a budget place. To rent an apartment in the Caribbean, for example in Anguilla, a two bedroom and two bathroom apartment located in Crocus Bay Beach costs USD $750 per month, according to Sublet.com. Properties on Ambergris Caye, Belize, can be found around USD $17,500. It is important to talk to an experienced real estate agent on the islands that you are thinking of living in as he or she should be able to find a home or condo that can meet your budget should you wish to buy or rent.

8. Best Islands to Live On

There are more than 7,000 islands in the Caribbean and they belong to at least 28 nations. Many people recommend destinations such as BahamasBVIAnguilla and  Barbados. Many will move to the Cayman Islands or Turks & Caicos, which are considered great islands to live and retire. These islands are also quite safe and well run.

9. Family Friendly Activities 

The Caribbean offers a range of family-friendly activities to expats and tourists from beach activities and boat fun tours. These kinds of arrangements will keep your children busy so that they won’t get bored while you are out enjoying yourselves.

10. Affordable Living & Lifestyle

Generally speaking, the cost of living on the islands is reasonable and affordable. The accommodation on most of the Caribbean nations are relatively inexpensive when compared to western countries. Local produce is also low-cost. Expats planning to retire in the Caribbean would want to consider Panama – as they use US dollars and is very affordable on pension income for retirees.

Don’t Forget to Bring International Health Insurance with You 

Expat Financial has a great deal of experience in sourcing international insurance plans for individual expatriates and even expat employers in the Caribbean. We can also source global medical coverage for select local nationals in the Caribbean that will allow for global medical coverage that includes the United States. Most expats in the Caribbean will want to consider an international health plan that will cover them for treatment in the USA as local hospitals may not have the level of medical care that is necessary for many illnesses. Also, most local plans will only cover you on the island or provide very limited off-island care. The expat healthcare plans are available via our firm from a variety of international insurance companies.

Here is a list of different types of insurance coverage you will want if you are planning to become an expatriate in Panama:

There are a hundred reasons to live, retire and work in the Caribbean. If you require a quote for the Caribbean expat insurance, contact Expat Financial today for a quote.

Hiring the right expat employee

Nowadays, more and more people are planning their career overseas. As many organizations have gone global, the good news is that employers are looking for expat employees all around the world. In this article, we will discuss how to hire the right expat employee.

Are You Hiring For an International Assignment?

When your organization or company is expanding abroad, the first thing to do is to decide who will be in charge of foreign operations. You can either send a current employee overseas or you hire an expat. According to research from the Harvard Business Review, only 11% of the HR managers have ever worked abroad themselves. Most of them have little understanding of a global assignment’s challenges. This indicates that organizations need to engage in efforts to make expat assignments both beneficial for expat employees and the company.

For certain occupations, expat professionals with experience in international business will fulfill specific expectations. More importantly, employees with cross-cultural backgrounds will be more likely to live and work comfortably in different cultures overseas. In general, according to Doris Fullgrabe, the six characteristics of a successful expatriate employee would be having:

  • Managerial skills
  • Augmented skills
  • International knowledge
  • Cultural flexibility
  • Communication skills
  • Collaborative negotiation style

What is Required for Hiring Expat Employees?

  • In many countries, foreigners need to obtain temporary work permits before they are hired on a temporary basis
  • If you would like to hire expat employees for full-time permanent positions, you will need to complete the permanent residence process as an employer
  • Work with legal professionals to draft expat employment contracts, and prepare a copy of the contract in the expat employee’s native language
  • In certain countries, if you want to hire expatriates, it is the responsibility of the organization to get a work permit your employees
  • Pay attention to tax deductions. In some cases, the employer is responsible for submitting the individual tax income to the tax authority;
  • According to local employment laws, there are mandatory benefits contributions to expat employees

How to Manage the Payroll of an Expat Employee

  • Manage the payroll through a vetted entity in the host nation
  • Outsource your payroll operations to a third party
    • We recommend using ShieldGeo if you would like to outsource your payroll responsibilities
  • Run the payroll required for a specific nation remotely through your company’s head office

The Benefits of an International Group Insurance Plan

Sending expat employees overseas is a huge financial investment for any organizations. To ensure a successful expat assignment, expat employers will want to obtain an international expat group insurance plan. A tailored, flexible international expat group insurance plan will not only protect expat employees, with coverage for pre-existing medical conditions and high-risk countries; but will also attract and retain employee talent and protect the employer’s business. To read more, please check out “The benefits of an international group insurance plan.”

As international insurance specialists, we can help you define your organization’s international group insurance requirements. Expat Financial offers independent advice, solutions and ongoing service and support to clients around much of the world. We source plans from large and secure global insurance companies. Our firm can offer a wide array of insurance plans including International Life Insurance, War and Terrorism CoverageExpat Disability Insurance, International Health Insurance, Kidnap & Ransom Insurance, Travel Medical InsuranceEvacuation Coverage.

For more information, Contact Expat Financial today if your organization has gone global.

The top 5 countries to raise expat children in

Are you planning to move abroad with your family? According to a recent survey report, the top 5 best countries to raise expat children in 2017 are Switzerland, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, and Japan. The rankings are based on various factors such as quality of life, political influence, business friendliness, cultural heritage, entrepreneurship, and ease of obtaining citizenship. In this article, we will introduce these top 5 countries to raise expat children abroad.

  1. Switzerland
  • Introduction: Switzerland is among one of the most developed and wealthiest countries in the world. Bordering Germany, France, Austria and Italy in Europe, Switzerland ranks at top globally for its quality of life, government stability, healthcare standards and economic development. The overall standard of living is high.
  • Healthcare: Medical services are considered to be of the highest standards in Switzerland. Expats living in Switzerland will find many English speaking medical staff and doctors. However, expats are strongly recommended to purchase international health insurance plans before relocating to Switzerland, especially for those who plan to give birth in the country.  International health insurance will fully cover the medical costs of giving birth, including medical check-ups to baby’s hospital stay, plus post-natal care. Without appropriate health insurance, the medical bills can be very high.
  • Safety & Security: Switzerland has been consistently obtaining high marks for safety and a healthy lifestyle. According to the Government of Canada, the public transportation in Switzerland is excellent. Expats living in Switzerland should exercise normal precautions as petty crime could happen in public areas.
  • Children’s Education: According to the survey, the education system in Switzerland gets top marks on a global scale. This is not only because the schools in Switzerland cater to international families, but also the flexibility of its education system. According to The State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI), each of the 26 individual regions has its own education department and own school curriculum. Local state schools are free of charge. However, many expat families prefer international schools to help their children with the ease of transition and continue their education in a familiar language and curriculum.

        2. Canada

  • Introduction: Known for its cultural diversity and natural beauty, Canada is the second largest country in the world. Few countries can compare with the geographic diversity of Canada. The official languages are English and French. Canada is a high-tech, developed country with a high standard of living. The country’s economy mostly relies upon energy, agriculture and minerals.
  • Healthcare: The provincial medical plans provide Canadians with excellent emergency and non-emergency care, and it is publicly funded. Expatriates who are not covered by provincial medical care should obtain international health insurance plans. The medical cost for inpatient care at hospitals without it can be very expensive.
  • Safety & Security: Being one of the safest destinations in the world, the crime rates in Canada are low. Expats living in Canada should maintain common-sense precautions however, such as not leave valuables unattended to protect the security of your property.
  • Children’s Education: The standard of education in Canada is high. There are many public-funded schools and private schools including language schools, career schools, community colleges and secondary schools. Since Canada is a bilingual country, English and French language schools are available throughout the country.

        3. United Kingdom

  • Introduction: The United Kingdom contains four countries united under one government. The countries are England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. With an area of around 242,500 square kilometres, the nation has a population of 65.1 million people. The capital and the largest city of the United Kingdom is London. There are also many cultural heritage sites across the UK, due to the nation’s long and rich history.
  • Healthcare: The healthcare service in the UK is generally of high standards. It provides patients with primary care, in-patient care, dental care, etc., and it is free of charge. There are also private medical facilities throughout the country. Most expatriates living in the UK would want to seek medical insurance coverage globally. Additionally, it is important to obtain an international health insurance plan that will allow the private medical facilities access, due to long queues at public facilities.
  • Safety & Security: The public transportation in the UK is excellent. According to Government of Canada, the risk level of travlling to the UK is “exersise a high degree of caution” due to the threat of terroroisim. Although terror attacks can strike in any nation, due to the recent increase in attacks across Europe, expats should be weary of the increased risk.
  • Children’s Education: More than a quarter of the world’s top 200 universities are located in the UK. The education system in the UK is famous for its high quality, excellent education methodologies and research facilities, as well as academic freedom. Across the UK there are five stages of education: early years, primary, secondary, further education and higher education. After a student reaches the age of 16, he or she may choose to continue studying. Further Education is not compulsory. The UK school system is more lecture-based, with a few assignments throughout the semester. The cost of education in the UK is high, but not as expensive as in the US, as the government sets limits for tuition fees.

4. Germany

  • Introduction: With a total population of 82,667,000 people, Germany is a leading European country. As the world’s second-largest exporter, the standard of living is high in the nation. The Official languages in Germany are German and English. The high-income capital city is Berlin. Germany is also known as one of the most industrious countries in Europe, with major industries including automotive engineering, technology, and pharmaceuticals.
  • Healthcare: The healthcare system in Germany is excellent. The government-funded public medical care system provides healthcare services and products to patients, and the private medical facilities make a considerable contribution to society. The medical staff and doctors in Germany have usually received extensive medical training. Many expatriates living in Germany will want to obtain international health insurance plans to cover their medical costs in private healthcare facilities.
  • Safety & Security: Violent crime in Germany is low. There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Germany, according to Government of Canada. Expatriates living in Germany should exercise normal security precautions if attending large crowds events or visit local markets.
  • Children’s Education: Germany’s education system is different from the ones in many other countries. Lectures in public schools are usually taught in German, where expat children will gain a high academic ability of German. After grade 4, the students are separated by their overall academic performance and are divided into three different kinds of schools: Realschule, Hauptschule or Gymnasium. Realschule focuses on theory learning from grades 5 to 10. Hauptschule focuses on practical skills more than theory. The Gymnasium is a path to the university. The education system in Germany is different from state to state. There are also many international schools. Among these private schools, Montessori education is one of the most popular teaching models in Germany.

5. Japan

  • Introduction: Located on the east coast of Asia and southwest to Taiwan, Japan is an island nation in the Pacific Ocean. The capital city of Japan is Tokyo, with a population of approximately 9 million people in the area. The country has one of the world’s largest economies, and is famous for its highly skilled workforce and fast pace. As a developed country, expatriates will enjoy a high standard of living in the city. Also, Japan’s population enjoy the highest life expectancy rate in the world.
  • Healthcare: The healthcare system in Japan is among the best in the world. The universal health care insurance system offers citizens with fees set by the government. The healthcare insurance is mandatory and is required by law to all residents. However, hospitals are privately run and owned. Expatriates living in Japan for under a year is suggested to buy international health insurance to cover the medical cost.
  • Safety & Security: There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Japan, according to the Government of Canada. However, after the strong earthquake on March 11, 2011, reconstruction efforts are ongoing at Iwate, Fukushima and Ibaraki. Therefore, some transportation routines may be unavailable. Expatriates visiting these areas will want to make sure that you have secured accommodations and transportation. The overall crime against foreign nationals is low. Expatriates are advised to exercise normal levls of caution throughout their stay in Japan.
  • Children’s Education: According to a recent study, the Japanese education system leads the world in numeracy and literacy skills. The Japanese school system consists of 9 years of compulsory education period and 3 years of senior high school. There are many after-school workshops where students will learn more than in the regular classes. According to a recent survey, nearly 85% of the students feel happy in school.

Don’t forget International Health Insurance 

Expat Financial offers several different international health insurance plans for expatriates across the world. We offer plans from several different international health insurance companies that are designed for foreign nationals living outside the country for which they hold a passport or some local national living outside the US or Canada. We also offer excellent service before and after you purchase your international health insurance plan. If you have questions about our international medical insurance plans or if you want to discuss your needs and produce a customized quote, please contact us or complete the quote form.

Top 5 most livable cities in the world for expatriates

In many surveys of the quality of living over the years, there are five that are often viewed top global cities for expats and locals alike. There are many factors taken into account when considering a top city for expats: drinkable water, electricity, transportation, housing, safety, pollution levels, city infrastructure and much more. They are all important considerations when determining the allowance for expatriate workers in expat assignment and creating an effective relocation policy for organizations. While what makes a top city is open to debate and is highly subjective, in this article, we will introduce five extremely livable cities in the world for expatriates take into consideration when assessing an expat destination or on assignment. Since the cities note below change in their rankings on various studies, we have included them below in no particular order.

5. Vancouver, Canada 

In the Economist’s August 2016 report, Vancouver, Canada was ranked third best city in the world. The ranking was based on a series of factors related to healthcare, safety, and security, infrastructure, environment, etc. Vancouver is a multicultural cosmopolitan city with natural beauty, attracts many expats every year. Living in Vancouver, you will have the chance to access to many leisure activities, a much more favourable climate with mild winters and exciting events and festivals. While real estate prices are extremely high in Vancouver, the city remains an excellent place for expatriates to live, work or retire. To learn more, please read our Vancouver expat city guide.

4. Munich, Germany

Munich is an attractive city with rich culture, cultural heritage, and is ranked 3rd most populous city in Germany. Also, as a major international business centre and expatriate destination, Munich owns the headquarters of many multinational companies and advanced technology organizations. It has repeatedly ranked into the top 10 most livable cities in the world. It is the most populated city in Bavaria and lies on the River Isar north of the Bavarian Alps. The city is well known for the Oktoberfest, especially at the famed Hofbräuhaus beer hall. This great city is a favored tourist and expat location where modern and traditional coexist.

3. Auckland, New Zealand 

Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city and economic centre. It is the most populous city in New Zealand. Living in such a multicultural and diverse city, expatriates will enjoy vibrant outdoor sporty life and relaxing weekend beach life. As one of the business and industrial centre of New Zealand, many international companies and organizations have offices in Auckland. The climate is usually warm and humid.

 

2. Zurich, Switzerland

Zurich has consistently ranked as one of the best places to live in the world, according to many expatriate surveys. Zurich is considered as an important financial centre in the world with many banks, financial institutions, and the world’s 4th largest stock exchange centre. The city is clean, safe and there are generally no language barriers for expatriates. English is widely spoken, especially in the workplace. The standard of healthcare in Zurich is high. Expatriates should obtain compulsory private medical insurance before moving to Zurich.

1. Vienna, Austria

Vienna is home to famous operas, stunning architectures, art galleries and beautiful streets. In addition to the best coffee shops, this excellent expat city has consistently ranked as a  top destination by many well-known magazines. Vienna is also a center for many prominent international organizations such as the United Nations and Organization for Security & Co-operation in Europe.

Bring International Health Insurance with You 

It is critical for expatriates to obtain international health insurance before relocating to a new city abroad. An international health insurance plan will provide global citizens and their families worldwide coverage (except in the USA unless you add it as an optional benefit). Whether you are residing in the countryside or the city, it is vital that you purchase a plan that allows you to seek medical care internationally. Expatriates living and working abroad will benefit from a global medical policy with day-patient care and full hospital coverage, extensive cancer coverage, dental and vision care, international medical evacuation and repatriation.

Expat Financial offers excellent service before and after you purchase your international health insurance plan. If you have questions about our international medical insurance plans or would like to discuss your needs and produce a customized quote, please contact us or complete the quote form.

Source: Mercer recently releases a list of the top cities to live in based on a study that they make every year.

5 Tips for expats to live like a local when moving abroad

In this article, you will learn about how expatriates can adjust to their new county by learning about the local culture, making friends and adapting to their new surroundings. We have put together five tips for expatriates who want to learn how to live abroad like the locals.

  • Learning the Language

Expatriates will find that learning the local language is crucial when trying to immerse themselves in another country and culture. Once you start to speak the local language, the locals will begin to open up to you. It is not just a way of communication; it shows your respect for the local culture. Don’t struggle to become fluent, try to start with some basic greeting expressions. You can get assistance with learning a language from a variety of online resources, such as Babel. Others will take language classes before and after moving abroad. However, there is no substitute for diving right in when you move to your new location. The less you use your native language, the sooner you will be conversing with the locals over a cup of espresso. Finally, it is important to learn the local customs of your destination country to avoid embarrassment and better integrate into the culture.

  • Making Connections

Many expatriates may tend to make friends with expats of similar backgrounds, especially if they are going to local expat pubs and gatherings. However, it is a good idea to try to make some local friends as well. It may be difficult at first, but having a few trusted local friends will enrich your expat experience and will help you adapt the cultural differences. Don’t expect to feel immediately accepted and comfortable in your new environment, but try to be open and friendly.

  • Immerse Yourself in the Local Culture

There could be many elements to make you feel that you are a foreigner, no matter in your daily life or at work. To get involved in the local culture, expatriates are encouraged to go out and attend local events such as a colleagues’ party, or high tea with your new neighbor,. These important social interactions will make you want to explore the new culture and keep the curiosity about the destination country.

  • Integrate Into Local Community

Some expat experts recommend that you try to live like the locals and integrate into local communities. As an expatriate, you have a lot to contribute such as volunteering and sharing your skills and experience at local educational institutions. It is also encouraged for expats to keep up their hobbies while living abroad. If you are fond of painting, then join a local artist club; If you love sports, you can join a sports team. Once you obtain local connections and a group of friends, you will start to enjoy the expat life.

  • Eat Like the Locals 

Enjoying food with new friends is one of the best ways to break the ice. That’s why we recommend that you try the authentic local cuisine at restaurants. If possible, avoid the familiar chain restaurants that you visit in your home country. When shopping at local grocery stores, try to imitate the shopping list locals make and buy locally produced food.

How to Handle Health Care When Living Abroad

To stay healthy and fit while living and working abroad, there are many health risks that you want to avoid. To better plan and prepare a safe and rewarding journey before departure, one of the most important considerations is international health insuranceExpat Financial offers independent advice, solutions and excellent service and support to clients around the world and we have extensive experience in sourcing medical cover for individual expats.

7 Reasons to become an expat in Vietnam

Vietnam is the eighth most populous Asian country and is located in Southeast Asia, bordering China, Cambodia, and Laos. Tourism in Vietnam is a significant component of its vibrant economy. According to reports, the number of international visitors has increased from 7 million to 10 million in 2016. Moreover, tourist arrivals in Vietnam have continued to rise in 2017. For expats, Vietnam has become a popular expat destination in Asia. In this article, we will discuss top 7 reasons to become an expat in Vietnam.

Attractive Natural and Cultural Experiences

Vietnam has several UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long – Hanoi, Citadel of the Ho Dynasty, Complex of Hue Monuments, as well as natural sites such as Ha Long Bay. There are many beautiful cultural and historical heritage sites to enrich your expat experience in Vietnam. You can start a day by visiting the ancient civilizations in Hoi An, enjoy a leisurely bike ride through the region, and explore the night market to try local delicacies.

Lower Cost of Living 

According to Numbeo, the cost of living in Vietnam is about 43% lower than in Canada. A three-course meal for two people at a mid-range restaurant would cost $17.61. A bottle of imported beer costs $1.32. Groceries are generally much less expensive than those in North America. Though prices vary amongst different cities, the average rent fee in Vietnam is almost 50% cheaper than in North America, according to Numbeo. For expatriates coming from a Western country, they will be pleased to discover that the cost of living in Vietnam of great value.

Friendly Expat Community in Vietnam 

Many expatriates are working and living in Vietnam. You can either reside in a typical expat neighborhood or choose to immerse yourself in Vietnamese culture. For expatriates relocating with family and children, there are great areas that will cater to your requirements along with some excellent foreign schools. It would be a great idea to connect and become friends with the expat community and to join a local sports team.

Teaching English in Vietnam 

Education is very important in Vietnamese culture and expats can find many ESL teaching opportunities in Vietnam. The government of Vietnam implemented a National Foreign languages Project, aiming for most of Vietnam’s students to be using English confidently for work and study by 2020. There are numerous international schools, state-owned universities, privately owned education institutions, and language centers. Many of these schools are looking for hiring the qualified ESL teachers who come from overseas.

Friendly People 

Like many other countries in Asia, everywhere you go, residents in Vietnam are friendly to foreign visitors. The Vietnamese culture is easy-going and hospitable. Most expats will find that the traditional culture and hospitality are quite welcoming.

Vietnam Cuisine 

The Vietnamese diet is quite attractive to expats living there and is also quite varied. Often, food will include influences from Chinese and Indian and French cuisine. Everyday Vietnamese dishes include fish sauce, lemongrass, fresh herbs, shrimp paste, and mint. Traditional Vietnamese cooking is mostly using fresh ingredients, such as the use of fresh lime instead of vinegar. One of the most classic Vietnamese dishes is the well-known pho. It is a rice noodle soup with either beef or chicken, served with Vietnamese lime, bean sprouts, mint and fresh chilies.

Convenient Travel from Vietnam

Another benefit of relocating to Vietnam is that you can have easy and inexpensive access to other Asian countries. Starting in Ho Chi Min, you can plan your travel itinerary as VietnamLaosCambodiaThailandChina. Generally speaking, Vietnam serves as a gateway to Southeast Asia and other Asian countries such as Japan. There are also excellent beaches and tourist opportunities for expats in Vietnam.

Don’t Forget to Bring your International Health Insurance 

The government of Vietnam is working to develop a universal health care system for its citizens. Although the standard of medical care is considered satisfactory in major cities, in rural areas it is still insufficient and not readily available. The standard of care in private hospitals in Vietnam is usually quite strong, and most private clinics have doctors from the US, Japan, and Europe. The cost of private medical care can vary considerably.

At present, most expats will usually opt to use private hospitals as these are usually equipped with English-speaking medical staff. Expats should ensure that they obtain international health insurance before moving to Vietnam. Many expats may want to seek medical treatment in Bangkok or Singapore for specialist care and medical emergencies.

For expat health insurance in Vietnam, it is crucial that you obtain a plan that will provide reimbursement for medical expenses through an extensive network of hospitals. Many expats should also obtain global life and disability insurance coverage while residing in Vietnam. If you require a quote for insurance coverage in Vietnam, contact Expat Financial today for a quote and to discuss your Vietnamese expatriate insurance requirements.

How expats can work from home – 5 tips for expatriates living abroad

The idea of working from home can be exciting. And many expatriates will decide to work from home while living and travelling abroad. This is especially important for expat spouses who are living with their partner who is employed but are unable to work in the new country for a variety of reasons, such as work visa issues. However, there are many inherent concerns and challenges to working from home. In this article, we will discuss five tips for expats who decide to work from home while living overseas.

Benefits of working from home

It is easy to understand why working from home has become so popular. The freedom to control over your schedule, the flexibility in pursuing personal interests, and keeping down the cost of commuting.  To many people, it is pleasant to begin their day as early as they wish, so they’re working when they are most efficient and alert to perform their jobs.

Working from home opens up more opportunities for career growth and personal satisfaction. Here’s a practical guide to excel under minimal supervision:

Make Sure You Set Goals 

It is essential to set goals if wish to work from home, especially during the change of family dynamics while living abroad. You will want to break goals down into small daily goals and identify what daily expectations must be to achieve them. It is important to concentrate your efforts if you’re going to achieve your goals.

Avoid Distractions

To avoid an infinite number of distractions while working from home, it is critical to set up a professional home-based office to stay focused on your daily tasks. It is ideal to have a reliable computer with quality internet, printer, business phone and general office supplies. All these items will increase your productivity and save your time.

Another suggestion would be a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. All the outside and inside noises can ruin your day. Construction noise, traffic sounds, even the TV sounds are annoying. Therefore, it is wise to choose a pair of noise-cancelling headphones while working from home.

Work and Exercise Balance 

It is important to get out of your home office and do some exercise. Instead of sitting in front of your computer all day long. Take a short walk outside your house during the day or head to the gym for an hour workout. It will make a massive difference to your emotional and physical well being, as you will have the chance to connect with people, or even socialize with other groups of people who work from home.

Update Your Colleagues Often 

Consistently updating your colleagues will help lower your stress level and will you kee you from feeling that you’re falling behind. Many work-from-home professionals know that they don’t have to do it all alone. Using an online file sharing system such as Dropbox, will allow you to update your colleagues or teammates in real-time. It will also eliminate the problem of working with outdated projects.

Don’t Forget International Health Insurance 

For work-from-home professionals living abroad, it is important to note that you will most likely be responsible for obtaining your own international health insurance plans as you might be working for yourself or may not be supported by an employer. Additionally, the country you live in may have little or no medical coverage and may not provide adequate healthcare facilities. However, some expat employers will employ people working abroad, especially in IT roles.

Domestic health plans may not even cover you or will only cover you in that one country, which is not ideal if you wish to travel or obtain health coverage abroad. You will probably lose your current health plan coverage if you live abroad or it may not cover overseas travel. If you have questions about our international medical insurance plans or you want to discuss your needs and produce a customized quote, please contact us or complete the quote form. Also, don’t forget to obtain individual life and disability coverage as well if you are a work-from-home professional.

Six social media platforms for expatriates living abroad

If you are an expatriate living abroad these days, it is important to keep in touch with family and friends both online and offline. Many expats turn to social media platforms as a great way to interact with their fellow expatriates and share their experiences online. There are many social media platforms in Asia, Africa, North America, Europe and around the world that expatriates will utilize. From Facebook to Twitter, Instagram to Google+, Weibo to Wechat, finding the most popular social networking media that locals are on can not only ease the difficulties of expanding your business and extending your local networking group but can also strengthen your expat company’s branding. In this article, let’s discuss top 6 social media platforms that expatriates have to consider while working and living abroad, especially those in Asia.

1. Facebook

According to studies, Facebook is the most popular social network in Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia, especially for expats and locals alike. And according to reports, in 2016, 43% of Singaporeans use Facebook every month, comparing all other social media platforms. In Thailand, the statistic shows that around 18.9 million people are using Facebook throughout the day. It is reported that three in four Indonesians who use the internet also use Facebook. Note that Facebook is not available in China. If you are an expat interested in Facebook, we recommend that expatriates check out our Expat Financial Facebook page.

2. Instagram

As of 2016, 63% of Singaporeans are using Instagram. According to a recent study conducted by ConnectedLife, Malaysians are very active on Instagram as results show that users have gone from 59% to 73% in the past year. Another large Instagram usage nation in Asia is Indonesia. According to Instagram’s internal data, Indonesia is the largest market for Instagram in the Asia Pacific, with 45 million users. Unfortunately, Instagram is also banned in China, but some people can access the site via a Virtual Private Network. Don’t forget to visit our Instagram page.

3. YouTube

Research shows that YouTube is the most preferred and popular video platform in Thailand. YouTube Thailand is ranked as top 1 in Southeast Asia and top 10 in the world; 81% of Thais say YouTube is the first place they go for video. Other markets with the highest viewership in Asia are Vietnam, Japan and India. Check out our expat and insurance YouTube channel.

4. WeChat

WeChat is the NO.1 messaging app in China. Users can book cabs on WeChat, send and receive money, shop online, book restaurants, share moments with their friends, and perform daily business communication. Other than emails or phone calls, it is preferred to conduct business communication through WeChat in China now. The mobile application is available in many languages such as Russian, Spanish, Indonesian, Portuguese, Thai, Chinese and Vietnamese. Many expats use this excellent communication and social tool.

5. Weibo

According to data released by Sina in 2016, Weibo has 100 million daily active users around the world. The majority of these users are in China mainland, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. Weibo is very similar to Twitter in the USA. One of the reasons why Sina Weibo is so popular is because many Chinese celebrities, movie stars, singers, famous business and media organizations joined the platform. The verification system works the same as Twitter for well-known officials and organizations.

6. Pinterest

 Pinterest continues its growth in Asia, and according to recent reports, the site has attracted millions of users in Singapore and Hong Kong. And in Malaysia, Pinterest hit 10 million monthly unique visitors faster than any independent site in history, according to research. Pinterest is also an important platform for businesses to engage potential customers in Asia.

 

Living abroad is an exciting and rewarding experience for expatriates around the world. It will allow you to connect to other expats in your new country location and also keep connected to family and friends back home. Whatever your social media interests, it is important that you stay connected as much as possible both via social networks and also by getting out and about, such as joining a club, attending your work parties and making sure you are meeting new people. Additionally, remember to check out our Social Media page. If you have a teen expat with you, make sure you educate them about the downsides of social media sites and if you can monitor their usage and interactions. Social media can be great, but there are of course dangers that you should watch out for.

We would be remiss if we also did not mention that you should remember to obtain global medical coverage that will include both prevention and medical care that will take care of you and your family while living abroad.

Hong Kong is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its return to China

July 1, 2017, is the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong‘s return to China after many years under UK rule. President Xi Jinping is visiting Hong Kong for the 20th return anniversary. After around 100 years as a British colony region, Hong Kong was handed over to China in 1997 under the “One Country, Two Systems” agreement. Hong Kong is known for its advanced healthcare system, excellent transit system and an active nightlife. It is a popular destination for expats from around the world, and many coming from western countries find it relatively easy to adapt.

Cantonese and Mandarin are the dominant languages in Hong Kong, but English is also widely spoken so it can be an easy place to adjust for expatriates living there. As a global city, English is taught at schools. In fact, there is a constant need for expat native English speakers at both international schools and adult English learning institutions. Hong Kong is also recognized as a prosperous global business center. If you’re used to a fast-paced lifestyle, then Hong Kong is the place for you. It also has an excellent health care system for expats and locals alike.

Communities and organizations across China mainland will be celebrating the 20th return anniversary, from gala shows and culture festivals to fireworks, sporting events, and exhibitions. Expats living and working in Hong Kong are encouraged to explore the various events and celebrations. All travellers are welcomed to discover Hong Kong by participating in major events and activities taking place in the region.

For more information on celebration events and publicity materials, please visit the official site of Hong Kong’s 20th return anniversary or click here for events brochure: