Expatria Monthly: 16 May – 14 June 2015

Luke 15:21-24 – The Parable of the Lost Son

“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.

Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate.

For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

I know I haven’t been around for a while but I assure you on my prodigal travels I have squandered great wealth in exchange for a great wealth of expatriate knowledge.

I am now returned, like the prodigal son, here to dispense it in digestable monthly chunks.

Downsizing of Jet Airways cost more expat pilots work

The Hindu and the Times of India report of Jet Airways ‘cost-cuttng measures’ that has led to the premature contract termination of 50 expat pilots.

The trend for rationalisation proves global as even high-growth India feels the need to severe ties with high earning expat professionals.

Jet are reportedly looking to move away from costly long haul flights to the budget and redeye flights that have sustained European and American airlines.

The Hindu: http://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/jet-airways-sacks-50-expat-pilots/article7271534.ece

The Times of India: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/Jet-terminates-contracts-of-50-expat-pilots/articleshow/47507946.cms

Greenback Expat Tax Services decrees ‘new survey finds US expat voting, could impact 2016 Presidential Election’

New findings state that almost two-thirds of American expats vote in presidential elections stirred to action as the majority believe they are not well-represented in U.S. government.

Of the 7.6m Americans abroad FATCA and tax concerns provide the chorus to the expat rallying cry. Many feel that apathetic towards native politics, neutralised by their foreign setting, sometimes deliberately, sometimes not.

This is often an ‘all-smoke-and-no-fire’ situation. UK expats barely vote although commentators tried predicting them being the inertia for the election’s swing – it didn’t. However, US expats have to pay homeward bound tax and I imagine this fills a great deal of ballot papers.


Local vs. International schools in China

The ever-informed writers and bloggers of the Wall Street Journal’s Expat corner have illuminated the state of education for expats in Shanghai.

Rashmi Dalai talks of the now permeable barriers between Eastern and Western students in local and international schools.

Dalai makes conversation with Brian Horvath, of the Hongqiao International School, who sings the positivity of this new trend, the blurring of eastern and western education philosophies:

‘The Chinese governement is allowing the expats to help build and nurture the education system.’

‘Speaking in generalities, what you’re seeing is in places like art, Asian kids tend to focus on the technical skills while Western kids tend to focus on self-expression. Now they’re working together…Everybody is learning from each other.’

WSJ Expat: http://blogs.wsj.com/expat/2015/05/18/the-expat-education-dilemma-local-vs-international-schools/

Australian Tech industry no longer on walkabout

Australian Press have highlighted that the Tech platform of Australia and its global interconnectivity means less Australians are needing to expatriate to prosper in the American start-up market.

Brett Adam of Zendesk was spoke of the growing competivity of the Australian market which was once likened to ‘tumbleweeds blowing through an empty ghost town.’

And now the Australian Financial Review is suggesting that the offer of Premium Visas, that have already lured Chinese expats, will entice high-earning Americans to the lifestyle superpower’s shores.

AFR: http://www.afr.com/news/politics/national/australia-hunts-wealthy-silicon-valley-americans-with-premium-visa-20150713-gib1lp

The Age: http://www.theage.com.au/it-pro/business-it/hightech-scene-comes-of-age-and-brings-expats-home-20150601-ghdawi.html

Expatria News: UK Election fallout 8-15 May


 new government and a new set of conditions for UK expats

An end to the fifteen year rule, perhaps?

In the UK, the fifteen year rule stipulates that expats who have lived outside of the UK for fifteen or more years lose their right to vote in the general election.

Tory rule may put an end to this, according to their manifesto:

‘“We will complete the electoral register, by working to include more of the five million Britons who live abroad. We will introduce votes for life, scrapping the rule that bars British citizens who have lived abroad for more than 15 years from voting.”’

Liberal Democrats also aimed at its removal. Clive Goodall, chairman of the Brussels and Europe Liberal Democrat, was quoted in condemnation:

“The current 15-year rule for overseas voters is an anachronism – citizens abroad can stay in touch and engage in British politics today as easily as those at home. We should bring our system in line with the rest of Europe, where 24 out of 28 countries allow their citizens abroad to keep their vote.”

Still, good news for expats.

However, a more efficient system and more encouragement to get them voting would be a better start – only 113,742 expats registered to vote out of an eligible five million and even so electoral ballot papers still failed to find far-flung brits in the run up to the election, as reported in The Telegraph.

Such a fact shames a two year-old ‘exclusive’ of the Independent that claimed millions would be wooed to vote on May 7.

Disenfranchised, disenchanted or disinterested, one thing is now clear – this prophecy did not come true.

This Tory government will decide a lot for the future of Europe-based expats too; a potential referendum would alter the living circumstances for the continentally-couched. Some of the potential outcomes are exhausted in the blogspot link below.






For more information and worthy campaigning on this topic check out Votes for Expat Brits blog (http://votes-for-expat-brits-blog.com/)

Expatria News: Understanding Culture Shock 1-7 May

Culture shock, Reverse Culture Shock and just plain ol’ shock…

Expatriate media is, by-and-large, a friendly and helpful place – guides and tips proliferate.

One ever-present topic is that of ‘culture shock’ – the challenges of assimilation, living between societies or on the edge of societies.

Joseph Shaules in The Telegraph, is the latest to offer his hand in support and his dissection of ‘culture surprise, culture stress and culture shock’ makes the issue far easier to comprehend.

The Telegraph – http://bit.ly/1E2rO8p

Reverse Culture Shock

In the Wall Street Journal, Debra Bruno highlights that repatriation can be more of an issue than expatriation. The support that the likes of Shaules provides can be lacking for expats returning to their ‘native’ culture that now feels foreign and distant.

Tina Quick identifies ‘the same sad, familiar story over and over again ‘I don’t fit in here, I don’t belong, I can’t connect with anyone.’

Amongst expat writers, ‘belonging everywhere and nowhere’ is a bittersweet malaise that informs their writing. Bruno reminds of Naomi Hattaway’s article ‘I am a Triangle’, a piece that highlights the tribulations of existing in a third culture, one not quite the first or the second.

Debra Bruno in WSJ – http://on.wsj.com/1OGkSot

Naomi Hattaway – http://bit.ly/1uBTTlg

Expatria News: 23-30 April

Photographer captures the British immigrant

Rosie Milne of The Telegraph talked to photographer Charlie Clift.

His series entitled ‘Brits Abroad’ shows the human side of international movement – ‘forget the statistics on immigration, and remember that each immigrant, or expat, is unique.’ On his photography tour of Spain, Clift commented on ‘how important retaining national identity was for the majority of expats.’

Clift’s work will be coming to London’s Twelve Star Gallery in Europe House soon.

Charlie Clift – www.charliecliftphotography.com

Telegraph – http://bit.ly/1PtWsie

A different lens captures a different side of immigration

Juan Medina captures the horrors of the Mediterranean as immigrants embark on the most dangerous of crossings in an attempt to reach the European continent.

Images are disturbing, however, they tell a necessary truth as Europe is plunged into crisis regarding the matter.

BBC – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-32433547

Singapore-based expats go native with education

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, more expat students are enrolling in local schools rather than the traditional international school system.

‘Avoiding the expat ‘bubble’’ is a key motive for families looking for their children to embrace local culture. Beyond this cost plays a massive factor with international schools costing far more than the state provided.

Wall Street Journal – http://on.wsj.com/1bXsODR

International Students in their own words

This wouldn’t be online content if it did not start with reference to a ‘Top Ten’ list.
The New School Free Press constructed ten steps to studying abroad – all valid tips based on one a shred of common sense, ‘failing to plan is planning to fail.’
A simple rule but necessarily reinforced. Isolation is common among international students, brought about by a lack of communication or even the means to communicate, preventing international students from feeling at ‘home’ abroad.
But therein lies the catch. you aren’t at home. You’ve entered abstraction, purposefully, estranging yourself, by choice, or perhaps not your choice.


Is studying abroad an experience, a means in itself, or for the purpose of future employment, a means to an end?

West and East answers can vary. Chinese and Indian students commonly use international study as a way to receive a premium education as well as versing themselves in globalised culture. Whereas, we associate European and American students with the ‘gap year’ phenomenon; ‘voluntourists’ looking for cultural diversification and enrichment.

There’s more than one way to skin a cat, so I’ve heard, I mean I’ve never tried or even youtubed it but my point is international students like all expatriates embark on their own journey. So, I thought instead of compiling a generic and didactic ten-stepper, I’d ask three international students from the UK to explain themselves!


James Fernandez in Japan. Manchester University undergraduate James talks of the great opportunities studying abroad can offer – learning a new language and embracing a new culture.
‘For one year, I was studying at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, which is a language university just west of Tokyo. I liked that my university was Foreign Studies focused, which meant that the Japanese students there were all studying a foreign language so they were always interested in meeting new foreigners like myself.

If I’m to be honest, before I left for Japan, my Japanese language skills were still not that great, probably only enough for daily conversation. But whilst I was actually living in Japan, I was in such a stimulating and rewarding environment to learn and speak the language that my language skills improved a lot. I was so motivated studying Japanese in Japan as opposed to a classroom in Manchester as the more I could speak the language, the more enjoyable it was to meet people and get around the city. Not only did I work hard in improving my Japanese, but I also took advantage of every opportunity that I could. Aside from studying, I was also able to work in a small cafe by Shibuya Crossing. For those of you who have not been to Japan, Shibuya Crossing is the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world. It is an amazing sight, seeing thousands of people swarming across the road with the neon lights and screens towering over. At this cafe, I worked as a waiter and spoke only Japanese. Because none of the staff or customers spoke any english, at first when I started it was really difficult to make myself understood. Having not worked in a restaurant or the catering industry before, everything was new to me. I had to learn all basic catering skills; taking orders, carrying plates, how to make cocktails, coffees and desserts…but, all in Japanese.

Now, if you’re familiar with the Japanese language, I also had to accustom myself to a more formal and new way of speaking which is only used towards people you respect, such as customers. Once I got to grips with this, my language started improving and the job was so fun. Because I was a foreigner working there, a lot of customers and even my colleagues were really interested in England and would often take me out drinking, which usually ended up being 6-hour, all-you-can-drink, karaoke sessions.’


Tabitha Taylor in Budapest. Tab studies at the Central European University and I asked her, ‘What is it like being an international student?’
In short, it’s weird. That’s a word I use for pretty much everything though, a thing I noticed when I began to be surrounded by non-native English speakers and Americans. They make fun of my accent ‘cos I sound like I’m “in a movie” or something. But I quite like it since they all tell me I have beautiful English and they wished their accent was like mine. Except the Americans who never cease to be amazed at my pronunciation of words like ‘body’, ‘beer’ and ‘philosophy’ (think about it). That last one happens to be one I say quite often given that that’s what I study. ‘Why did you come to Budapest to study philosophy?’ they ask me. Well, why not? It’s an adventure! Philosophy isn’t really in the world, at least not the sort I do, so it doesn’t matter where you study it really. Plus, what better way is there to live in a foreign place? You immediately slot in, you feel you have a purpose and university makes it very easy to live.

But then, I don’t really live in Budapest do I? I live at the university, in the university bubble, speaking English to everyone and telling people I really live in London at my parents’ house. One has to make an effort to penetrate the local scene, especially in a place like Budapest, which is filled with international students, tourists and worst of all stag dos and hen parties (don’t want to get lumped in with them). And when you don’t speak the language it’s particularly tricky. But you find your feet and you learn how to act like a local and say the right things to people in shops and bars and look sufficiently grumpy and like you’ve seen it all before. And then that magical moment comes when a tourist asks you for directions! Not only have they asked you, but you know exactly where to tell them and you recommend ‘the bakery on the way where you must try the pogácsa, it’s the best in Budapest’. And for a little while you feel at home…

Until the bar staff take one look at you and ask, “what can I get you?”


Amy Lees lived in Italy during her time completing a Modern Languages degree at the University of Bristol:
Of course I discovered all of the stereotypes are true. Yes, the bureaucracy in Italy is horrendously frustrating and no, there is absolutely no queuing etiquette whatsoever. Zebra crossings may as well not exist and there is no chance of getting to a shop on a Sunday. 80% of conversation revolves around food and the other 20% football. At the school I taught in, the teachers would smoke in the stairwells despite new laws forbidding it… because the kids were doing it so why shouldn’t they? Flawless logic. I also got to see the darker side to Italy; the consequences of an aging population, tension between natives and immigrants, a lack of jobs and an unstable economy. During weak moments I wished I could just pop into the pub for a consolatory pint, or at least get my hands on some Yorkshire Tea teabags. Not very Italian, though. Living as a local was crucial for me, and it fed my fascination for my town’s little quirks, its dialect, its traditions and its history.

But Italy is not a place you get used to quickly. Every cappuccino I drank was as astoundingly sublime as the first and the weight of Italy’s history was tangible, no matter how many times I’d wandered through the same streets and the fresh, green countryside and imposing architecture still mind-blowingly beautiful and, beyond this, the people who surprised me constantly with their endless supply of warmth, enthusiasm and affection.

Experiences felt abroad are diverse, so is the politics and policy that comes with it. Our next article will look at the contrasting perspectives nations take on sending out and welcoming in international students, from British austerity to Canadian pragmatism.
The Expat Survey wishes to invite international students to contribute to our research programme, whether you are conscious of it, you are expats or immigrants too and your insights prove invaluable.

William Purbrick

Sources: New School Free Press, The Guardian.

Expatria News: 15-22 April 2015

A General Election looms but will the expat vote?

7 May and Britons will pour into the polling stations, from Land’s End to Shetland and the Orkneys…from Benidorm to Melbourne…

But will expats be queueing up in their droves? The BBC estimates of the 5m Brits abroad only 16,000 are registered – around 3%.

Parties now circle such voting potential like vultures and The Telegraph has picked out what parties have to offer the Brit abroad. We will be investigating in our own article shortly.

BBC – http://bbc.in/1DAoMqL

The Telegraph – http://bit.ly/1yS05uo

‘7 in 10 inquiries about mortgages in UK from British expats’ reports Telegraph

The Telegraph have attributed this surge to a strong dollar that is playing in favour of the Briton overseas.

While the capital’s housing crises prolongs it would seem expats are looking for investment or resettlement; the lucrative British buy-to-let market appetising to internationally based Brits.

The Telegraph – http://bit.ly/1DPUh4M

An international University in the Gulf?

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, would be the site for the privately backed university. Studies have highlighted that Saudi Arabia is acting as an expat brain drain, Arab News reporting that ‘at least 300,000 expat children leave the Kingdom every year for higher education.’

A step forward? Whose to say at this point, what is clear is that the Middle East’s pledge to encourage Western participation and investment remains.

Arab News – http://bit.ly/1cZAIwF

Expatria News 7-14 March

70 year-old British expat found dead in France

Mystery surrounds the death of 70 year old expat Donald King in France. His body was found in a well in Normandy by French police and a suspect remains in custody.

King’s death raises a sad and unique matter for expats killed abroad. Such deaths prove to be more complicated cases, in their cross-border and -culture nature.

In King’s case, Interpol initially dismissed a missing person’s enquiry as they believed the expat to be travelling to visit his daughter in Australia. King’s case is an example of how ‘falling-off-the-grid’ and living the transient life abroad can obscure truth and make justice difficult to attain.


Israel through an expat’s lens

Expats frequently present places in new ways, observing difference in a way no native can. In Tel Aviv, The Financial Times found Celia Gould, wife to the UK ambassador to Israel.

Celia made a friend a lot of expats do on arrival in her new home, her camera. ‘I started to discover Israel through photography’ said Gould, who know runs a start-up, selling bespoke silk scarfs in Israel.


The Great Crate Escape

A homesick brit in Australia, attempted to return home by mailing himself back to the UK – in a wooden crate. In 1965, welsh-born Brian Robson survived a 12,900 kilometres misguided trip to Los Angeles in a bid to get back home. The fledging expat spent 92 hours nailed in the wooden box before he was discovered.


Expatria Three: International Students

Let’s catch up shall we?


So we’ve got a quarter billion living abroad and it’s comprised of the most diverse population imaginable. Most recently we’ve sussed that, on the whole, ‘the kid’s are alright’, but we could do with raising awareness about unaccompanied young immigrants, as shown in the border-crises that couples North and Central America, which led President Obama to emergency action in November of last year.


Where to next? Well, this Expatria series now looks to international students, the composition of a growing population in size and significance, showing that cross-cultural exchange is taking place at younger and younger ages and, interestingly, extracted from family ties – living as individuals.


Fledgling student expatriates, transient and intrepid but potential keyholders of the near future’s gates? (Probably, more likely a swipe-card for the future’s glass panelled revolving door, but let’s not digress on anachronistic metaphors, we’ll be here all day, or last year, or…) Understanding, international study will have us sprawl over four articles, in which I will play statistician, witness and judge.


So, I suppose the first step is ascertaining the makeup of this population, as John Lewis Gaddis said,

‘Finding one’s way through unfamiliar terrain generally requires a map of sort. Cartography, like cognition itself, is a necessary simplification that allows us to see where we are and where we may be going.’

The global mapping of international students is a complex web of in-and-out, east-to-west, west-east and west-west migration. Foreign students have proven the most allusive catch so far, however, thanks to the statisticians of UNESCO and University World News and this infographic from Movehub, I think I’ve just about dragged them home from their global barcrawl.

Courtesy of Movehub
Courtesy of Movehub

There are around five million international students, growing by 10% each year since 2000. Students have been surging out of China and India and importing into the halls and libraries of American and British universities; the U.S. have reported a seventy per cent increase in foreign students in the last fifteen years. This has made the U.S. the most common dorm for the international and academic wanderer with 886,052 studying abroad in the U.S. in 2013-14.


University World News reported that between 2013-2014 there was an 8% growth in international students, and that 73% of that growth can be accounted for by China and Saudi Arabia. In 2011, Chinese foreign students accounted for eight out of ten international students in Australia and worldwide represented one-sixth of all outbound students.


Further interactive statistical information can be found through the UNESCO site:



Students internationalised younger than ever before.

Globally-based students are not only prominent in tertiary education, PIE News reported in 2014 that there are 7,200 International Schools and 3.7m students studying in English. Estimates reckon that in ten years there will be 11,000 international schools and near double the amount of students studying in English.


Nicholas Brummitt, Chairman of the ISC (Independent Schools Council), ‘today there is a massive demand for English-speaking education all over the world.’ This ‘massive demand’ is supplied by the burgeoning middle class of Jim O’Neill’s BRIC behemoths, India and China, and the dynamic between east-west movement will be discussed further in the third section of this segment – a case study of studying in America.


‘Oh East is East, West is West, and never the twain shall meet.’ – Rudyard Kipling

The conflation of debates regarding international students and immigration, the current hot-coal topic of the west, has entered political discourse in America:

‘International education is crucial to building relationships between people and communities in the United States and around the world’ said Evan M. Ryan, Assistant Secretary of State and she elaborated on her global vision, ‘it is through these relationships that together we can solve global challengers like climate change, the spread of pandemic, disease, and combating violent extremism.’

An optimistic vision of some plausibility. Growing numbers of students are on charitably-caused gap years and becoming globally-based whistleblowers for necessary human and natural causes. However, media cynicism has portrayed this altruism as thinly-veiled, and perhaps unbeknownst, narcissism. ‘Voluntourism’ has become big business and, in spite of best intentions, better for a facebook picture than a community’s development.

It is interesting how, Ryan can see international students as future global peacemakers to an older generation’s problems. To take a lesson from history – key figures of the Indian Independence movement, including Jawaharlal Nehru and Subhas Chandra Bose, were educated at Oxbridge and both are claimed to have been ‘radicalised’ by this exposure to western education. These men overcame a global challenge, were followed by a nation, but it cannot be said that it did not involve some ‘violent extremism’ – Bose famously allying himself with Nazi Germany.

This is in no way an attempt to condemn studying abroad. It is a bizarre yet wonderful paradox that ‘Oxasians’ were radicalised in the nation that repressed them. It is, however, a critique of Ryan’s gleeful vision of a world brought together by international tertiary study.  How will new global conflicts, such as the rise of ISIL, affect Ryan’s ever-so-American wishful sentiment? Recent news stories have documented Western students fleeing to the East to join an extremist cause, a fact that doesn’t exactly prove the movement of students is settling any age-old quarrels.

However, my cynicism can’t hide the true triumphs of individuals such as Nigerian seventeen year old Harold Ekeh, a student accepted to all eight Ivy League Colleges. An astonishing achievement for an exceptional talent. International students live idiosyncratic lives as expats, they choose to carve their own path and work hard for it, Ekeh is an example of this, and the next element of this series will explore the stories of three international students in their own words.

Sources: This Is Africa, The Guardian, News Republic, The PIE News, CNBC, Time, Wikipedia, India Today, BBC, University World News, UNESCO.

Intrepid explorer and expat! Some global news of note for you! 30 March – 6 April 2015

Cameron Veitch records his expatriated life in the Pacific Islands.

Documentary maker makes a visit to the Costa del Sol

Britain’s most famed, or at least most caricatured expat, the englishman in Spain who hollers ‘hola!’, counts ‘dos cervezas’ as a GCSE and points instead of speaking is explored in Matt Rudge’s film. Rudge questions whether the love-affair with the Costa del Sol is curtailing, there’s an odd part of me that’d miss the sunburnt and sunstroked Brits of Spain.


‘The rise of the expat-preneur’

As an employee of a former one, I wouldn’t be doing justice to the survey without sharing this piece in the Wall Street Journal. Kaitlin Solimine observes the ease at which expats adopt the role of entrepreneur in their adoptive state.

Globalisation is made startlingly apparent in a 2011 survey:

‘For decades, expats have been sent abroad by multinationals—a 2011 survey by Brookfield Global Relocation Services found that 58% of company revenues were generated outside the country of a company’s headquarters.

I can’t say I’m surprised at Solimine’s observations, I feel expats are fast to see the market opportunities in a ‘new’ nation that acts as a fresh slate. Expat centres such as Singapore and Hong Kong appear buttressed by the ‘expat-preneur’.


The search for the ‘real’ Dubai

In a well-written tale of an Emirati camel race, an expat finally finds hermself out of place (if that makes sense) amongst the throngs of locals.

The article put me out to ponder, wondering if this was in some way the ‘real’ Dubai as I’d argue the real Dubai, however synthetic it seems, is found in the present – its towering blocks of metal and glass. Annabel Kantaria sure found a piece of cultural tradition but I think you’d be going in circles (much like the camels) finding reality in Dubai.


News and Noteworthy in Expatria: 16-22 March 2015

St. Patrick’s Day celebrated worldwide

17 March 2015 marked the commemoration of St. Patrick’s day and if you wanted a barometer for the extent of our global interconnectedness then its worth looking into. Paddy’s day seems more a global event than a national one, a holiday hallmarked by the diaspora with their hodgepodge of nationalistic saccharine sentimentality; Guinness sunk down with cries of ‘Slainte!’

Celebrations across North America have become historical tradition, however the festival of St. Patrick now extends as far as Shanghai and Korea.



Expat tax reform enters political debate in America?

The United States of America Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FACTA) has been a hotly debated topic since its inception. The Act, which requires extra-nationals to pay tax in their native U.S.A, has led to record numbers of Americans renouncing their citizenship. Its reported that the Senate now look to act to revise the legislation.


Facebook to lend a hand to expatriate-focussed businesses

Facebook has recently announced the introduction of a tool that will make targeting online expats much easier and, hopefully, more effective. Estimates reckon there’s a 92 million strong expat facebook field to be found by relevant businesses. This statement was provided by Facebook:

‘Expats aren’t just using Facebook to keep in touch with people. Brands, organizations, celebrities and news outlets also offer a vital connection to home.’


Another Week in Expatriate News: 9-15 March 2015

The Destruction of Cyclone Pam recalled by Vanuatu-based British Expat

The Category 5 storm that swept through the Pacific Islands with winds upwards of 150mph has left the island of Vanuatu in disrepair. The historic storm has claimed at least 24 lives and displaced a further 3,300 according to the UN.

Expat Maggie Crawford, who runs a Scuba-diving centre, recalled the storm that ‘lasted 30 hours’ in the Express, stating ‘If you look at how everything is today it’s heartbreaking. The before and after would make you want to cry.’


HSBC guides expatriates where to bank live

Men’s Journal and Yahoo Travel have revealed the bank’s insights into expatriate life, adding to the the myriad of lists that tell expats where to displace themselves. Surprisingly, tax haven, Switzerland tops the list, followed by Singapore, Germany, China and Bahrain. According to their survey, economic stability and growth appear the essential criteria for those based overseas.

The BBC have also provided insights into why Singapore proves to be such a popular destination amongst expats. It comments on how a weighty wage packet and a city moulded to foreign pallets has made it a utopian metropolis for global business people.




Is an expatriate life one of rejuvenation or wearing?

Sofia McFarland, blogging for the Wall St. Journal, questioned whether moving country can turn back the clock and rejuvenate the world weary traveller. Hong Kong has become an elixir of life for the internationally-based. Age, like nationalities, lose their rigid distinctions in a land heavily populated by expatriates of all shapes and sizes.

However, Suzan Haskins and Dan Prescher have come down with Jaded Expat Syndrome and documented it in the Huffington Post. The couple comment on the weariness of the well-trampled expats of Mexico, old hands worn by a life abroad…



Expatria’s Children (part two): Difficulties & Crises in Child Migration

The boundless new opportunities awaiting an expatriate family is well advertised, the psychological problems and social issues experienced by migrating children is perhaps less known. The initial part of this investigation was spent exhausting the potential of Expatria’s children, of Third Culture Kids – those best versed in the interconnectedness of current times. This concluding article will examine the difficulties facing the children of Expatria, how crossing cultures can cause difficulties for individual and state. TCKs are often rarefied and sensitive individuals and whilst it has been noted that TCKs can provide a unique service in the contemporary age, this is not achieved without any issues.

‘Forgotten Children’ of the Commonwealth

Britain has a sustained and conscious history of child migration, part of a warped philanthropic strategy under the rationale or guise of empire’s ‘civilising mission’. The Child Migrant Trust is a charity set up for the purposes of reconnecting families fractured by the actions of British charities that sought a solution for underprivileged children, scattering them to the furthest corners of the commonwealth. According to a recent history of ‘Empire’s Children’, a £10 outlay by Barnardo’s to expatriate children saved the ‘charitable’ organisation a £16 a year expense. Remarkably, this practice continued after World War Two, British organisations still sent 3,300 children to Canada, New Zealand, Zimbabwe or Australia. From 1920 to 1970, The Guardian revealed that 150,000 far-flung children were despatched to institutions and foster homes across the commonwealth.

Experiences that ensued were marked by neglect and abuse, ‘forgotten children’ that two former Prime Ministers, Britain’s Gordon Brown and Australia’s Kevin Rudd, have publicly atoned for. Children found no home ‘in large, impersonal institutions or farm schools which accommodated up to three hundred and fifty children.’ False philanthropy put the needs of children secondary. In the land of milk and honey, the milk proved sour and the honey not so sweet, an aftertaste that the Child Migrant Trust has tried to placate.

‘The issue is that transition always involves loss, no matter how good the next phase will be. Loss always engenders grief…’ (Ruth van Reken)

The uprooting of youth can be a traumatic time for both children of privilege and those who lack the financial and familial support to ensure safe passage and transition between nations. The emergence of ECS (Expat Child Syndrome) has validated the existence of the emotional turmoil undergone by Expatria’s youngest members. Kate Berger, a child psychologist, appeared in The Telegraph acknowledging the significant and unique adjustment process children face in adapting to new environs. ECS and the challenges facing privileged expatriates is emotive, however, the trials endured by expatriates moving from and amongst developing countries is harrowing. In America, 2014 has been marked as a crisis in regards to child immigration and the UK has also struggled to provide for the unaccompanied and displaced youth of Expatria.

The inability to govern the Mexico-United States border, in regards to humanitarian and economic concerns, led the International Business Times to declare 2014 the ‘Year of the Child Immigrant Crisis’. Record numbers of unaccompanied children from Central America found their way to the makeshift detention centres of the southern states of the U.S. The New York Times reported that 68,000 children were detained from October 2013 to October 2014 leaving President Obama to proclaim a ‘humanitarian crisis’, an emergency fund of near $4bn to rectify it. Unaccompanied children of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, nations currently riven with gun- and drug-related crime are the primary contributors to the swell in child migration. The U.S. is not the only nation struggling to accommodate for the arrival of unaccompanied children. In Britain, legislation remains which enables border forces to detain children indefinitely, an abhorrent practice that one commentator has referred to as the ‘black hole at the heart of British Justice.’


It is at the fault lines of cultures and societies that one can gather an understanding of global migration. In the examination of the quality of the stitching between nations, made of separate religious and cultural fabrics let alone geopolitical colours, that the welfare of the haves and the have-nots can be ascertained. The events that centred on the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, U.S.A, the illegal passage between Central and Northern America, goes to show that both the developed and developing worlds are failing to guarantee the welfare of immigrant children. Even amongst developed nations, the phenomenon of ECS shows there is a need for resources to improve for children of movement. However, as the first part of this article suggested, Third Culture Kids are globally-equipped children tailored to the diversity of today’s business.

Awareness, education and co-operation are central to improving conditions for the global migration of children. As highlighted in the first instalment of this series, information gathering, in regards to those who live outside their country of origin, whether expat or immigrant, is not prevalent. Not only does the Expat Survey position itself to collate information that textures the understanding of people of global movement but also, through our Helpdesk, aims to provide a bridge between expat and the relevant resources that can assist.

Sources: BBC, The Expat Survey, The Guardian, Huffington Post, The Independent, International Business Times, Japan Times, New York Times, The Telegraph, Vice News. Credit to William Purbrick, Digital and Research Assistant at The Expat Survey.

Expatria’s Children (part one): Third Culture Kids

In the first exploration into the ‘imagined community’ of Expatria we established some of its key statistical contours, a rudimental mapping of a made-up nation. Its 232 million inhabitants make it the world’s fifth most populous ‘nation’, a population that has quadrupled in the last 25 years. Data provided by the UN and CIA Factbook projected Expatria as a nation befitting the developed world – an average age corresponding to Poland and South Korea and a GDP, although difficult to ascertain using remittance and tax avoidance figures, suiting other better fairing economies. However, these promising figures are brought together by glaring disparities. Polarisations personified by the divide between the South Asian migrant workers who build the pleasure palaces of Dubai and the multinational CEOs that occupy them.

This series aims to investigate all facets of life in Expatria, starting with its future – its children. Young migrants number 34.8 million globally, being proportionally greater in the developing world, which hosts 62% of migrants under 20. UN data produced in 2010 announced that there are over 13 million global migrants between the ages of 0 and 9, representing a significant proportion of immigrant populations in Africa and Central and South America. Child migration is as popular amongst developing nations as it is between developing and developed nations. Research stemming from the 1950s has conveyed expatriate children, referred to as Third Culture Kids (TCKs), as a unique group of growing global significance. In the Telegraph, Ruth van Reken acknowledged the exponential growth of TCKs and the ‘priceless gifts’ they have to offer.

Third Culture Kids: a global future?

Third Culture Kids, the adopted sons and daughters of Expatria, are children who have spent a significant part of their formative years living outside of their parents’ country of origin. Sociologist Ruth Hill Useem’s work, based on her personal experiences of raising a family in India, built the platform for understanding expatriate children as being of a distinct third culture. The third culture is inspired by parental cultures and host nation cultures; the third, a synthesis created in the Petri dish of expatriate life. Understanding of this border-straddling upbringing, was furthered by Ann Baker Cottrell who defined ‘global nomads’ as children ‘raised in third cultures, cultures which are created and shared by individuals in the process of relating different societies.’ Overseas job opportunities have increased and so have the number of globally-located children, it is estimated that there are as many bilingual children in the world as there are monolingual. In a survey conducted amongst American Adult Third Culture Kids (ATCKs), Expatria’s children were proven highly educated, four times more likely to achieve a Bachelor’s degree than non-expatriates, and over a third go on to Master’s level study.

Third Culture Kids have been a historical mainstay since the dawn of imperialism. The Child Migrant Trust charts the beginning of this movement to 1618 as London-born children were sent to Richmond, Virginia. Writers JG Ballard and Doris Lessing are examples of children of empire and their third culture experiences permeate through their work. After World War Two and America’s consolidation as a world power, professional migration, globalised companies, international organisations and military outposts expanded the number of school age Americans living overseas, numbering 300,000 in research conducted in 1976. The embodiment of this phenomena is Barack Obama, born in Hawaii and raised in Indonesia and Chicago, now the 44th President of the United States of America.


Third Culture Kids of Japanese origin, known as Kikokushijo, have posed both a domestic difficulty and a potential solution to a nation, like all, needing individuals with a three-dimensional worldview. In 2011, the Kikokushijo grew to 780,000 and have been a cause of periodic domestic issues due to their difficulties in reassimilation. In light of the current global climate, The Japan Times has called for this oft-marginalised group of bicultural and bilingual returnees to assist Japan, as its industries grapple with globalisation. Yasuo Ichimura, a representative of the Japan Foreign Trade Commission, questioned – ‘aren’t those who actually experienced living overseas better candidates for globalisation than those who have never left Japan?”

The formative make-up of Expatria’s youth appears an identikit for the future – an enriching cross-cultural experience generating an expanded worldview, children that embody the present day. In the globalised twenty-first century TCKs find themselves ‘increasingly relevant in the contemporary interconnected world’, according to Baker Cottrell. The potential of the bilingual and bicultural is vast, however, the second part of this segment aims to make clear the difficulties and crises that befall children of global movement, an attempt to answer whether the world-faring are destined for world-weariness.

Sources: BBC, The Guardian, Huffington Post, The Independent, International Business Times, Japan Times, New York Times, The Telegraph, Vice News. Credit to William Purbrick, Digital and Research Assistant at The Expat Survey.

‘Expatria’ the biggest country you’ve never heard of!

There are 232 million people living outside of their nation of origin but what do we actually know about them? Immigrant or expat, tax exile or asylum seeker, estimations vary wildly and the knowledge of a population of almost a quarter of a billion has proven shallow. The Expat Survey conducts independent research that aims to paint a more accurate and textured picture of a constantly changing landscape. To emphasise this dearth in intel, if we took the world’s expatriates and put them in a country, how would that country look and feel?

‘Expatria’ – our imaginary nation of expatriates/immigrants – would have a population of 232 million, rising from 154 million in 1990 and 175 million in 2000, according to UN statistics. This ranks Expatria as the fifth most populous nation on the planet, over three and a half times the number of people in the United Kingdom and sandwiched between Indonesia and Brazil – half the population size of the European Union. Expatria’s population growth rate of half since 1990 is matched by Brazil and Indonesia, two of the fastest growing economies worldwide.

The average age of the citizens of Expatria would be 38, being at their average youngest in Africa and oldest in Oceania. UN statistics estimate that 48% of the population would be women and 26 million of the residents aged 65+ years of age and proportionally greater represented than they are in the world population, 11% of the migrant population yet just 8% of the world’s population. Interestingly, 20-34 year olds represent 64 million people and also less females, which can be attributed to the transit of male migrant workers, especially those based in Asia.

The population of Expatria must be considered one of the most diverse on the planet. The largest proportion of people coming from South Asia, accounting for 36 million of the population, with about 19 million migrants living in Europe, some 16 million in Northern America and about 3 million in Oceania. The second and third largest groups coming from Central America and the Caribbean, 17.4 million Central Americans are living in the US.

Measuring the wealth of Expatria is difficult; however remittance figures estimated by the World Bank give some indicator of the economic power of expatriates worldwide. The World Bank estimates $435 billion will be sent in remittance in 2014, outweighing ODA (official development assistance) by a factor of three. Although being a crude comparison, this figure would project Expatria as a top 40 world economy in 2014 if taken as its GDP. This is without considering the estimated wealth of tax exiles to be found in the havens of Switzerland, Luxembourg and the like. A study conducted by economist James Henry suggests at least £13 trillion ($20tn) squirreled away worldwide, which would catapult its ranking amongst the top few.

The citizens of Expatria are workers of significant economic power. Their worth to the UK was highlighted in a recent study conducted by University College, London, stating that European immigrants (European Economic Area) in the UK have contributed £20bn a year from 2001 to 2011. Not only are expats economic contributors but work in various sectors. In the case of the UK, The Telegraph states that migrants from within the EU primarily fulfilling manual work, in factories and farming, whilst Non-EU immigrants are prominent in professional roles in health and science.

The population of Expatria equates to 3.2% of the world’s population but what do we really know about them?

The understanding of Expatria is in black-and-white with broad strokes, while the UN suggests a worldwide population of extra-nationals at 232 million, independent research conducted by Finaccord suggests a figure 56 million worldwide in 2014. At least there are estimates for the size of this universe, beyond quantitative figures, little is known of the quality and composition of the lives of expatriates.

This article has highlighted that there is a massive population, globally-based, that people know very little about, and what is known is by no means concrete. In 2013, The Guardian estimated that ethnic minorities, 14% of the population of the United Kingdom, is not effectively marketed to by businesses, only emphasising the massive Expatria-shaped hole in market intelligence. The findings of the Expat Survey 2013 illuminated that expatriates spend more time on sites from their country of origin rather than sites of their country of residence; 70% still choosing to shop online from native sites. Statistics like these emphasise the inability of business to understand the spending habits of immigrant communities.

The deficiency of information highlights the need for independent research, the need for the Expat Survey. The English historian J. H. Plumb once stated, ‘statistics may give shadow and depth to the picture [yet] they cannot paint it.’ In regards to expatriate understanding, it is The Expat Survey that acts as the brush to paint the market’s landscape, to get the wants of a potential quarter billion understood by relevant and influential business.

Sources: CIA Factbook, UN, The Guardian, The Telegraph, UCL, The Expat Survey 2013, Finaccord. Credit to William Purbrick – digital and research assistant for The Expat Survey.