Posts

Five Tips for Learning a New Language If Living Abroad

5 Tips for Learning a New Language If Moving or Already Living Abroad

Moving to a brand-new country is never easy. Learning a new language can take years. And moving to a brand-new country while attempting to learn a new language can be downright daunting.

For an expat in a non-English speaking country, the question simply becomes: how can I learn the local language fast? While there is no magic pill to learn a new language overnight, there are ways to pick up a language quickly. While this task of learning a foreign language may seem huge, there are ways to make your life a bit smoother – here are five tips to learning a new language, while living abroad:

  1. Understand that learning a new language is difficult! There are multiple ways of learning a new language and not every way will work for you. No one is expecting you to learn a brand-new language perfectly and to be fluent speaker right away, especially if you are learning a language with many complexities like Russian, Mandarin, Arabic, Korean, or Hungarian. The faster you can come to terms with this notion, the faster you can get over any anxiety and embarrassment that may come with learning a new foreign language. Relax, figure out what method works for you, practice, and enjoy the process.
  2. Immerse yourself in the language. Pay attention to the street signs, the advertisements on the sides busses and on billboards, read food labels when grocery shopping; all of this helps (especially when learning a new language alphabet). Celebrate your wins when you recognize what the words or phrases mean. Try ordering your daily cup of coffee at your neighborhood cafe in the local language. Find out the keywords or phrases to get by and say pleasantries like please, thank you, may I, sorry, etc. and use them on a daily basis. They will become automatic and make you more confident.
  3. Self-study. If you like to learn on your own there are many books out there on learning new languages. You can check out local books stores in your new country, many of which will have books on learning English or baby books. Don’t discredit these books, reversing how you view the language may be quite helpful. And there are thousands of YouTube videos, podcasts, and apps to help you self-learn – most of them free. Listen or watch videos on your daily commute or for a few hours a day when possible. Making use of technology can be a lighter and easier way of learning as many apps aim to make the learning process fun and game-like. Talk to the locals who speak English, they can help correct you and guide you. If you don’t know a local who can help, join a learning group.
  4. Join a learning group. This will allow you to be in a structured environment to learn the new language. You will get feedback, be sounded by others from various different countries who are trying to learn the local language and may even receive assignments to test your knowledge. Find fellow expats, but beware of slipping back into your native tongue.
  5. Get creative. Make flashcards, try to write up your work emails or everyday texts in English and the local language, visualize the new language rather than relying on a direct translation. Have fun with friends or family members who are trying to learn the new language, get into a habit of picking a category to talk about ex. “colours” or “foods” and say the examples in the language. Watch the news for articulation and pronunciation. If you are in a big city check out a play, visit museums, and see movies in the language you are trying to learn.

And finally, something thing you might want to consider before choosing a language learning method is what purpose are you looking to achieve by learning a foreign language? Do you need it mostly for writing? Talking? Business? Can you get by without learning too much of the local language? Learning a new language will always assist in ensuring a good quality of life and freedom within your new country. A new language will assist you should you require medical care from a facility or doctor who doesn’t speak your language. A great medical plan will also provide medical insurance support in all of the major languages. Expat Financial offers several different international health insurance plans for expatriates of any nationality across the world who are about to move abroad or already there. If you have any questions regarding international medical insurance plans or you want to discuss your needs as an expat, please contact us or complete the quote form.

business travel

Seven business travel tips for 2018

Business has become even more global over the past ten years, and for most companies, it means that business travel overseas is an absolute necessity. Your clients are no longer local, they are global, and you need to keep in touch with them through email, phone, Skype, chats and of course, travel. Experienced business travel professionals are always sharing their tips on how to make their corporate journeys as smooth and productive as possible. We have gathered seven business travel tips for 2018 to share with our globally mobile employees and associates.

Business Travel Tips

  1. Try to be loyal to your favourite airlines so you can rack up your travel miles with one or two carriers. It will also give you added travel perks and upgrades when you often travel for the same airline.
  2. Dress professionally when you travel, especially in business class. Yes, we love to be comfortable when travelling, but if you are travelling for business, you have to remember that you are representing your business and your brand. You never know whom you are going to meet – maybe a new or existing customer or your boss. It may also help you get an edge in being upgraded by the airline.
  3. Pay attention to travel warnings if you are travelling to countries with current or previous travel safety problems or political instability. There are lots of great government websites such as the US State Department or UK Foreign Office which can provide excellent safety information that is continuously being updated. Your employer may have access to exclusive private country intelligence information, especially if they have a corporate kidnap or evacuation policy through our firm.
  4. Check with your doctor or travel clinic if you require specific vaccinations for the travel destinations that you are going to for business. You don’t want to come back with unwanted diseases or illnesses. The CDC provided some excellent information for business travellers, but talk to your doctor for more details.
  5. Make sure your travel documents are up to date and provide for full entry as a business traveller. You should check first if your passport is valid for at least six months after travel is started or has recently expired. You should also check to see if you have the correct visa entry requirements as business travellers are often viewed differently than tourists. You may have to apply well before you travel to avoid being denied entry into your country destination.
  6. Staying healthy is always good advice, but have you taken steps to ensure you stay healthy when you travel? Here are a few sub-tips for you to consider when travelling abroad:
    1. Try to get some exercise and use the hotel gym.
    2. Bring hand sanitizer and wash hands regularly to avoid unwanted germs and viruses.
    3. Get up during the flight to improve circulation and avoid deep vein thrombosis.
    4. Stay hydrated during the trip and when at your destination. It can do wonders for your travel health.
    5. Try to eat well when travelling, including fruit and vegetables. It can be difficult when you are being wined and dined during your business junket.
    6. Be careful where you eat, especially in developing or third world destinations.
  7. Perhaps the most relevant and important tip for business travellers is to make sure you are covered for emergency medical and evacuation expenses by purchasing travel medical insurance before you go on your business trip. Your corporate HR department may have purchased a single trip or multi-trip business travel insurance policy that will cover your business travel. If you are going to add some pleasure travel days to your business trip, make sure your corporate program thoroughly covers sojourn travels. If you are travelling to areas where terrorism, war and civil conflict are possible, make sure the policy doesn’t exclude war or terrorism. Some plans will also provide some trip delay, trip cancellation, liability and Accidental Death & Dismemberment coverage as well.

We hope that the above seven tips for business travel will be well received by all the business travellers who are expanding markets, meeting customers and delivering solutions to clients around the world.

What are the Best Solutions for Business Travel Medical?

The best solution for business travellers is to have your HR department contact our firm to quote on a corporate multi-trip annual business travel insurance policy. Such a plan can cover all the business travel for the entire company throughout the year. All employees who travel will receive a particular travel card that they can use in the event they suffer an illness or injury while travelling abroad. The plans can even cover employees in different countries travelling for your company, and some insurers can also include some sojourn or pleasure travel. To learn more, contact us today to discuss your requirements.

Digital nomad career options while living abroad as an expat

Digital nomads are often referred to as people who earn income remotely and mostly online, rather than from a permanent physical office. Today, digital nomads can be found in many industries such as writing, IT, media, tutoring, medical service, blogging, consulting and more. For expatriates living and traveling abroad, the flexibility and freedom of a digital nomad is the ultimate global lifestyle. In this article, we will discuss why expats are becoming digital nomads along with the careers that are ideal for this exciting lifestyle.

Why So Many People Are Eager to Become Digital Nomads – A Freelance Career in a Globalized Economy

One of the main advantages of the digital nomad lifestyle is the freedom to travel and live in new places without restrictions. This is especially attractive to expatriates who are already living overseas. Expatriates working as a digital nomad can earn money as they travel and may be open to more career opportunities. For expat spouses living abroad with their employed expat partners, a digital nomad career is often a perfect solution for not having permission to work in the new destination country.

Another reason why people become digital nomads would be differences in currency values and cost of living. For example, if you are earning US dollars and living in Thailand, you will benefit from the currency conversion as $1 USD equals to $34 Thai Baht. Therefore, your income could lead you to a better quality of life and let you have more time for leisure. As would be expected, the cost of living in many developed and third world countries can be at a fraction of the costs of living in North America or Europe.

Digital Nomad Career Options for Expats

We have compiled a list of you will need to acquire the right skills & contacts. Please check the list of skills & careers that are ideally suited for expatriates living abroad:

  • Computer-Based Expats: As online businesses are growing much faster than traditional retail stores, eCommerce website platforms are in great need. Learning computer skills doesn’t mean you have to become a programmer. If you start to learn the basics of web page design, you will be able to develop a website for clients in a few weeks. You don’t need to know how to code, and there are many website templates available. Lastly, you will need a laptop with fast internet access.
  • Travel Writer: To write well about travel requires passion and local friends. Travel writing does not just include destination tour guides or hotel recommendations; it is all about the stories and experiences during your stay. Many travel writers start their writing on a blog site. From there, some of them get offers of book publishing and may even be offered free travel. It is recommended to use social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to connect with your potential readers and editors.
  • Writing – copy-writing: To become an online freelance copywriter requires proven similar work that you’ve done before. Additionally, you must be able to identify your ideal clientele that may be scattered around the globe. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a much sought-after skill, so there is an excellent demand for online content copywriters, such as website copy-writing, SEO copy-writing, and other forms of social media writing. Make sure to find out what type of copywriter you want to be and understand the role you are applying for, then pitch yourself to an ideal client.

  • Consultants: If you are knowledgeable and experienced on a particular subject, then to become an online freelance consultant would be a good choice for digital expats. Popular industries and sectors of online consultants including education, music, marketing, accountancy, security, engineering, human resources, science and finance. In some sectors, a consultant may be required to develop a customized report and presentation online. To become an external online consultant, you may need to acquire the specific certifications and qualifications and choose your target market wisely.
  • Social Media Expert: Nowadays, almost every company realizes that they need social media specialists for content marketing and multimedia management. If you know social media channels and campaigns, such as Facebook campaigns, email marketing, and social advertising, you may be able to get a job as a freelancer while living overseas. Many clients won’t mind that you are a digital nomad.
  • App Developer: This type of work requires solid software development skills and knowledge such as SQL, JavaScript, C# or C++, Python, etc., no matter you are building mobile Apps for either the Android platform or Apple’s IOS system. There are short intense programs to teach future programmers skills and knowledge in as short as 8 to 12 weeks. However, to become an App developer requires consistency and long working hours. Some of the most popular careers in App developing include IOS for creative enterprises and mobile cloud computing with Android.

  • Translator: If you speak at least two languages including your native language, a career in online translator might just for you. There are many kinds of translation works such as novel translation, movie translation, legal documents translation and conference/specialized material translation. One of the first steps to become an online translator is to get accreditation or certification. If you have a specialty in fields like electronic engineering, computer science, or biology, then you may even have the advantage of translating technical documents.
  • Web Site Development: SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) specialist careers are ideally suited to digital nomad experiences – it is often viewed as a great self-employed business to run from almost anywhere. In addition to web and computer knowledge, you will also need analytical skills to deliver the results.
  • Graphic Design: Using a wide range of media and software such as Photoshop, Illustrator, etc. to design visual layouts and corporate magazines can make you a digital nomad and work anywhere you want, especially you have proven graphic designing experience. It’s a job that can easily be completed anywhere in the world with good internet access.
  • Online Teaching: As the English teaching market is growing, it is a great way to travel and become an expat English teacher. Compared to traditional in-classroom teaching, online teaching has many advantages such as flexible and efficient. Online teaching allows you to teach from anywhere. Learning English is very popular in Asia. If you are a native English speaker, the possibilities are endless.

 

Don’t forget International Health Insurance if you are a digital nomad

For digital nomads living abroad, it is important to note that you will be responsible for obtaining your own international health insurance plans as you won’t be supported by an employer and the country you live in may have little or no medical coverage or even adequate healthcare facilities. Domestic 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 digital nomad.