Archive for the ‘Relocating Abroad’ Category

Photo By RBerteig

Photo By RBerteig

Deciding where you will live and work abroad is a major decision in your life. The images of Palm trees, coconuts and margaritas dancing in your head can force you to make some pretty rash decisions. Taking into consideration the following factors and asking yourself these questions will surely benefit you in making the right decision. Moving abroad could be the best thing that you have ever done, but you want to do your best to make sure it is a choice you will not regret.


Research the Local Language


The local language that is spoken outside your workplace certainly creates a big difference. It is possible that you are being offered a job where you may be primarily speaking the language which you are comfortable in, but problems can arise when you have to undertake your daily chores. Routine daily happenings such as banking, shopping and hospital visits in a place that has an unfamiliar local language can be quite difficult.

Making use of hand motions can be frustrating and to make people understand you is a tedious task. However, you could also be moving into a foreign country in order to learn the local language. If you want to indulge into learning the local language, it would be more useful if more people used a language that is not English. This will make you submerse yourself more into the target language. But, if you are not interested in learning the local language and just want your day to day errands completed without much confusion, it would be better if you are in a place where a greater percentage of people can understand and speak the language that you can also understand well. 


Getting Around your New Town


Transportation is another major factor you must take into account before you plan to move abroad. Is your company providing you with a car? What about the public transportation facilities? Is public transportation easy to make use of and safe, especially for foreigners? You can consider owning a private vehicle. But how do people drive there? What side do they drive on as compared to your native place and what might the terms of car insurance be?

These things have to be kept in mind. Will purchasing and maintaining a vehicle in the destination in question actually possible and well within your budget? You must find answers to all these questions before hand if you want to be able to move around in your new country.     


Living in a New Community


When you move abroad, are you planning to spend your free time with your colleagues or with the locals? Or do you want to socialize with other expatriates? Whatever the case may be, you will have to look into and know what to expect when it comes to the foreign community. You may be able to adjust well with merely a few foreigners or you need to look for a place with a larger community.

It may be easy for you to socialize well with the locals, but you will surely have to understand their surroundings and culture for that. You will have to maintain the right balance as intimate friendship with locals may be difficult as in countries like Saudi Arabia. In some countries foreign nationals may also be restricted to a particular limit on secure compounds and where they can venture to. All of that information is something you are going to want to know before packing your bags and taking off.          


Finding Accommodations and Making Living Arrangements


Make sure you get detailed information regarding your living arrangements before you move abroad. This is of utmost importance as finding a place to live within an unknown place can be very difficult. Make sure your company tells you before hand as to whether the utilities and rent are paid for by them or not. Is the placed fully furnished? Is there any settling allowance for you? Is shipping and logistics for your goods possible or not? Does your school/college or place of employment provide housing or dorm rooms? What will the place be like in terms of size, functionality and comfort? Will you be expected to share a room with someone or be provided independent lodging?


All of this information needs to be looked into and these questions need to be asked. Take into consideration what constitutes comfortable living for you and what sore of accommodation would make you happy. Some may feel quaint and cosy in a tiny dorm while others need something a bit more open and roomy. You are going to be spending a lot of time in your abode, so make sure you know what to expect.

 What Attractions and Leisure Activities are Popular and Available?


Your job or work may be the most important aspect for you when you move out to a foreign place, but leisure activities are also going to be a major part of your new life. Make sure you know as to what kind of leisure activities are available and easy to do. Is there a gym, pool, recreation facilities or even parks nearby? Are there any amusement parks, theatres, shopping malls or museums where you can spend your free time?


If there is a certain pastime, hobby or activity that you love but isn’t available will you still be happy? Make sure you know what you can live without doing and which activities would leave you feeling empty if you didn’t have them.


Women’s Rights


You must be well aware of the cultural or legal limitations that women have to follow in the particular place you are planning to move to, especially if you are a woman. Is it easy for women to travel around independently? What about clothing regulations or restrictions? Can women drive and make use of public transportation with ease?

If you are a man, meeting women in public may be considered a crime in some places, or at least extremely frowned upon. However, meeting women in private may result in even more dire consequences for them as well as you in some countries. You must take notice of all these factors before you try to interact and mingle with people in a foreign place. If you are a woman, how different will your life be like in the destination in question? If you are a man how comfortable might you be living in a place that limits the rights of women?


Weather and Climate


Sure the idea of sun, beaches and mangoes is tempting when you considering living in certain places abroad, but make sure you can handle the heat. Before you plan to move abroad keep the local weather in mind as it may cause you difficulties during you stay. You may not be able to cope with 50 degree weather in Africa or the extreme cold conditions of places such as Russia. Monsoon rains may also flood city roads and weather can really affect the way you go about everyday life.


More concerning is the diseases that may breed as a result of different weather conditions. Make all the necessary preparations when it comes to the weather and consider all of the conditions of the place you want to settle into. There is a chance you are going to be put into situations where you find yourself outside of your comfort zone.   


In the end, you just have to make sure you really understand the change that is coming, and know what to expect. There is no such thing as doing too much preparation or research. Even the best opportunities can come with a little downside. On the other hand, even the seemingly worst opportunities can prove to have a number of silver linings. Ask around, get in touch with other expats, research the culture and really do your homework.

The best way to live life with no regrets is to prepare and make informed decisions.

You Can Find Freedom Abroad. Photo By Nattu

You Can Find Freedom Abroad. Photo By Nattu

A few years back I remember somebody telling me that any job I did at home, I could do abroad as well.


My first reaction was not a sense of enlightenment, and I didn’t feel inspired at all. In fact I distinctly remember scoffing at the idea and sticking to my opinion that there were only a few places, and a few ways, in the world where I could get a decent job. Stick it out through school, sludge through exams and then hope to land an internship with some big monopoly of a company.


Ah, to be young and naïve again.


The truth is, I now know, that you can land pretty much any job, anywhere in the world. And there is no secret either. You just have to get out there and find it. Easier said than done though, right?


Well if you really want to get out, see the world, and absorb a new lifestyle and experiences, then you are going to have to work for it. Yes, opportunities abroad are endless, yes, you can realize your dreams, but it isn’t going to be handed to you.


So where do you start? How can you become one of those lucky people that don’t have to schlep their way to the office through rush hour traffic or cram themselves inside a tiny cuticle?


Just follow along because the payoff is going to be worth it.


Work Abroad Arrangements


In reality there are 3 main types of work that you will find abroad. You can he hired on a contract from a company at home, you may be hired on a national contract by a company in the country you are headed to, or you can venture off into the world of self-employment and freelancing.


The most desirable work arrangement is often the contract given to you by a company of your current residence. You will be paid in your currency, receive a number of benefits and be assured quite a lot of job security. In this situation the employer will often pay for your entire move, cover a portion of your rent, pay taxes and supply you with a lot of the everyday goods and services you need. Sounds pretty sweet right?  However this is the work that is tough to find, for obvious reasons.


On a national contract you will be paid in the local currency and will be given a salary that is competitive to what other people in your position make within that region. This means that you will often be paid less than you would a home, but you have to keep in mind that the cost of living is usually a lot lower. The problem with this type of work abroad is that there are a lot of entry barriers you have to deal with in terms of visas, regulations and taxes.


Your third option is to start your own business in your new destination or take to freelancing in whatever facet or arena you enjoy or are skilled at. Most expats that utilize this option to move abroad have at least a few years of experience under their belts and a strong foundation and business plan put in place.


Choosing a Country and Putting Plans in Motion

No matter which avenue you find most available, or choose to take, your first step is to figure out which country or destination you would like to head to. What you may want to do is set a concrete deadline sometime between 6 to 12 months ahead in which you will make the move abroad, even if your search from home does not pan out. This allows you the time needed to try and land a contract at home but still keeps the plan in motion and keeps you inspired to move forward if you can’t. 

Start off with a certain region and then start narrowing your choices down to different cities. Search the internet, peruses website such as ours, and figure out what sort of culture, atmosphere and life you would enjoy the most. The earlier you can choose a destination the easier it will be to make contacts in the country, brush up on a new language and even save money.

Searching for a Job from Home

What a lot of people do not realize is that the search for a job abroad is a lot similar to a normal job search. You often use the same strategies and tools that you would locally and the main focal point of the entire search is to network, make contacts, and get your name out there.

For starters let’s say that you chose Belize as the place you want to live and work in. Try your best to surround yourself with the idea and slightly mention it to most people around you. If you mention the fact that you are planning to move to Belize in a year in most conversations that you have, you will be surprised at how easy it is to network. You really up your chances that you will meet someone willing to show you around, someone who has been there before, or even someone who can offer you a job.

Moving to or Visiting your Target Country


Very few expats actually land a decent job or head off to a new country with a job in hand. There are an infinite number of companies and employers that will not search for employees abroad and just wait for the right candidate to show up on their doorstep. So that is often what you have to do.

Before you pack your bags and take off with a few dollars in your pocket, try and speak to other expats and people who have been to the country before. This will give you a solid idea of how much money you will need in order to stay afloat during your job search, which can last around 3 months or even longer.

Your first priority when heading abroad is to locate affordable accommodations. Through proper networking you may have been able to make contacts which can help house you for a few days, and if not you should look into vacation rentals and other accommodations that offer a monthly rate. You can also peruse the local newspapers for classified ads asking for roommates.

Another important “tip” to keep in mind is that you will really benefit from meeting local expats and networking with them. While you may be moving abroad as a way to get away and truly indulge in a new culture, expats who have done it all before can be a great help. It is through these people where you will find the most success in terms of finding a place to live and a job abroad.

Freelancing Abroad

Self-employed expats follow much the same path as those looking to gain contracted employment. Most freelancers will move abroad and live on a tight budget from project to project, until they can establish a name for themselves within the community or a certain industry. While experience can help you a lot, it really is a stubborn drive and determination that will get your foot in the door. Just keep in mind that while freelancing doesn’t always mean a steady paycheck, it comes with a lot less investment than opening your own business.

You can make your dream of moving, living and working abroad a reality. You just need a slight push in the right direction and be willing to put a little bit of work in. No matter where you want to live, what sort of work you would like to do, or when you want to move, there are opportunities out there. Just do your homework, meet the right people and take the leap.

Chances are your goals are going to catch you and make all the work more than worthwhile.

Mercer’s New Quality of Living Report 2009


Mercer has just released their widely recognized quality of living survey and it has uncovered some pretty impressive cities and ways of living, as well as some devastating figures for some parts of the world. To view the report in full, as well as other figures relating to the report, you can head to the Mercer home page. However to see the full report you will have to purchase the guide.


Big Changes for Quality of Living 2009


There were a number of notable facts and figures released including the anticipated list of the top 10 places to live in 2009 and of course the 10 worst. Tokyo took over the top spot as the most expensive city in the world for expatriates, stealing the position from Moscow who held onto it tightly last year. On the other hand, Johannesburg was named as the cheapest place to live for foreigners.


What may surprise a few people is how relevant some Asian cities have become as they, along with some European cities, dominated the top of the list. This year brought about some major fluctuations compared to what people had become used to due to some major depreciation in currencies over the last year.


Overall Mercer’s quality of living report takes 215 cities into consideration and gathers their information via the help of governments and many international companies.


With that all said and out of the way, let’s get to the point and talk about the top 10 cities to live in for 2009, and of course the worst. As a bit of a warning, we all know that life is what you make of it. Some cities on the bottom of the list may not even sound too bad, while the top cities to live in could make you cringe. Take it all with a grain of salt.


Mercer’s Top Places to Live in 2009


#10- Sydney, Australia


Sydney is the largest city in Australia with just over 4.5 million people. The cultural attractions, laid back atmosphere, stunning beaches, and awe inspiring harbour are the main tourist draws for Sydney. The one negative is that Sydney was also named the world’s 15th most expensive place to live.


#9- Bern, Switzerland


It’s true, Switzerland isn’t just about chocolate. Bern has a population of approximately 128,000 people which makes it the fifth most populace city in Switzerland. The city boasts a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is the medieval centre, and was also the home to Albert Einstein for a period of time.


frankfurt#8- Frankfurt, Germany


The Germans had a big impact on this list overall, as you will see with the next few top cities on the list. Frankfurt holds the prize for being the largest financial centre in all of Europe and is the home of the German Federal Bank and the European Central Bank. Some of the biggest tourist draws are the towering, modern skyscrapers and the Gothic cathedral that dates back to the 14th century.


munich#7-Munich, Germany


Munich is the 3rd largest city in Germany and contains 1.36 million people. The city is most well known for hosting the Olympics in 1972 after miraculously recovering from the devastation of World Ward II.



dusseldorf#6- Dusseldorf, Germany


Dusseldorf is the telecommunications, fashion and advertising hub of Germany and is located directly on the Rhine. The biggest event the city holds is the Dusseldorf Karneval which brings millions of people to the city from around the world, and millions of dollars. The city also boasts the fact that it is a twin city of Cairo, Moscow, Reading and Warsaw.


auckland#5- Auckland, New Zealand


Auckland is home to roughly 31% of the entire population of New Zealand. The city is nicknamed the city of sails because of the two gorgeous harbours that can be found here, Manukau in the South and Waitemata in the North.


vancouver#4- Vancouver, Canada


For years Vancouver has been seen as one of the best places to live and one of the cleanest cities in the world. The city is a proud centre for film production and shopping and boasts one of the most ethnically-diverse populations in the world.


geneva1#3- Geneva, Switzerland


Geneva is not home to an overly large amount of people but is widely recognized around the world. The city has a population of approximately 185,000 and is the home of a number of Red Cross and UN agencies. Diplomacy is the main theme and the city is also the origin of the internet.


zurich#2-Zurich, Switzerland


Zurich is one of the richest cities in all of Europe and is home to some major international companies. UBS, IBM, Microsoft and Google all have offices in the city as Zurich is home to a dizzying array of cultures and multilingual citizens.


vienna#1-Vienna, Austria


Vienna is officially the best city in the world to live in according to Mercer’s quality of living survey. Billy Joel has coined a song about it and it was the birthplace for both Sigmund Freud and Marie Antoinette. The biggest bragging rights for the city come through extreme political, cultural and economic strength.


Now onto the worst places to live in the world, statistically.


Mercer’s Quality of Living Survey Worst Places to Live


port-au-prince#10-Port-au-Prince, Haiti


Port-au-Prince is the capital of Haiti but doesn’t exactly offer a princely way of life. The cities approximate 2.5 million residents reside mostly in the slums scattered throughout. Tourism is still a major part of the city’s economy despite all of the political unrest.


kinshasa#9- Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo


Combined with nearby city Brazzaville, Kinshasa has an estimated population of 8 million. Other than the large population the city is most well known for the incredibly high crime rate including over 100 murders a year per every 100,000 citizens.


nouakchott-mauritania#8-Nouakchott, Mauritania


Nouakchott is the largest city in Mauritania and has grown quite considerably since 1950 when it was just a small fishing town. Now the city houses 900,000 people, most of which moved there to escape continuous droughts in neighboring areas.


pointe-noire#7-Pointe Noire, Congo


A city in Congo once again makes the list. Pointe Noire is one of the largest oil producing cities in all of Central Africa and is the second largest city in Congo. A number of tourists risk visiting the area for the abundance of surfing beaches even though violent crimes and carjacking are common occurrences.


sanaa#6- Sana’a, Yemen


Since the 6th century BC, Sana’a has been the home to a number of ancient buildings and has become a World Heritage Site. However, an increase of violent attacks on foreigners and the recent U.S. Embassy bombing has meant that it has been crossed off the list for many tourists.


khardotoum#5- Khartoum, Sudan


Sudan has been the home for quite an impressive economic surge recently thanks to the oil money that exists in the country. It is located near the White and Blue Nile which makes for some beautiful scenery, but the city is overrun with corruption and a monstrous gap between rich and poor. 


brazzaville#4-Brazzaville, Congo


Brazzaville was founded in 1880 by a European pioneer and is held up thanks to the tanning and textile industries. The nineties saw a wide range of civil wars and political conflicts and the city has yet to recover.


ndjamena1#3-Ndjamena, Chad


Ndjamena was founded back in 1900 by the French and now has a population over 700,000. The city has never been able to recover from the major damage that occurred during 1979-82 in the civil war and has been affected by rebel attacks as recently as 2008.


bangui#2- Bangui, Central African Republic


Bangui was originally a French military post and now has a population of over 500,000. The city revolves around the manufacturing of soap, beer and textiles and is also home to archeological sites that have been labeled as UNESCO World Heritage sites.


#1- Baghdad, Iraq


Mercer has labeled Baghdad as the worst city to live in the entire world. It is built upon a very rich heritage yet is still affected by a severely high level of violence that has ripped large portions of Iraq completely apart.

Travel or Work in Sweden | Benefits of a Swedish Lifestyle

Posted by Drew On August - 23 - 2009

sweden-stockholmAn undiscovered wonderland, life ranges from modernity to modesty in Sweden. Where on one hand you have the trendy nightlife of Stockholm can keep you gasping for more, yet not far behind is Bohuslan where nature seems to be at its best, far away from the quick city life. And do not forget about the beaches. Yes, you heard me right. Sweden has a number of beaches. Beaches, national parks, museums, canals and an incredible standard of living.

Life in Sweden

The third largest country of Europe, Sweden shares borders with Norway, Finland, Denmark and the Oresund bridge. The population is estimated to be around 9.2 million, a majority of which is urban population.

It is a constitutional monarchy with a parliament in tow. It has a temperate and moderate kind of climate, which is incredibly tourist friendly. Snowfall is expected between January and March while July and August tend to be the most rainfall prone months.

Swedish is the official language of Sweden, which is quite familiar to Danish and Norwegian.  In terms of religion, the people of Sweden do not seem to follow any certain religion too closely. Studies reveal that from 45 to 85% of people can be classified into atheists while Roman Catholic and Muslim form the significant religions of the country.

Healthcare in Sweden adds laurels to the nation. Compared to Canada in a number of ways in terms of the low cost of health care, Sweden has mastered the art of health care with things such as the infant mortality being significantly lower while life expectancy is much higher. To cut it short, healthcare here is much better than most other developed countries and more affordable.

Swedes also have a rich taste in music and have a very rich cultural heritage. Also, worth noting is the fact that of late the people of Sweden have become very liberal towards homosexual relationships, with the latter having been backed by law.

sweden-turning-torsoTravel and Work in Sweden

Sweden rejected the Euro, quite out rightly, and has its currency by the name of the Swedish Krona. At the moment 1 SK = .14 USD. Sweden offers jobs in the IT industry, engineering, designs, human resources, education, sales and finance in particular audit and investments. The average salary is estimated to be around $52,000, but it may still vary due to factors like company, skill, education and job profile etc. The best way to find jobs is through the internet, namely via newspaper websites and personal contacts.

The cost of living in Sweden is relatively cheaper in comparison to the US and other European countries. It is cheap for students to stay and while they work part time they can easily make a simple living, but for those who are not staying as students it can be a bit expensive.

Housing in Sweden can be a problem, but if you register as a student it is less troublesome. Otherwise houses and property can be rented or bought through the state agents. Real estate websites also provide to be a useful solution.

Best Time to Move or Visit Sweden

sweden-sunsetThe decision in terms of the best time to visit Sweden depends a lot upon the purpose of your vacation. If you wish to study in Sweden and continue your studies then obviously the appropriate time is according to the academic years. There are a variety of schools and colleges in Sweden. The most famous universities are located in Uppsala, Lund and Gothenburg. But if it is holidaying which is on your mind then the best time to be here is from June to August. Besides all the other attractions you can take advantage of you will also have a chance to enjoy the charm of the midnight sun as well.
Sweden is very well connected through the air, water, roads and rail. Via the sea you can connect to Sweden through sea castle and St. Petersburg. Trains are also the connecting lines between Sweden and London, besides air.

On the negative side a bit unfortunately, Sweden has an above average rate of crime in comparison to other European nations.  Overall though the crimes are not necessarily overly serious and things like consumer fraud contribute quite a lot to the crime rate. However the nation is also troubled by some crimes such as assault, sexual assault and hate crimes. At the same time crimes such as burglary, thefts and bribery are almost non existent within the nation.
Overall what Sweden offers expats is a comfortable life and an easy transition from the western lifestyle. The standard of living is quite high, housing is comfortable, jobs are aplenty, the health care is fantastic and the people are friendly. What many people do not fully understand is just how beautiful the country is and the staggering number of attractions, sights, and activities you can partake in within Sweden. The only way to truly understand is to vacation to Sweden yourself and see if a Swedish life is just what you have been looking for.

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vene-beachImagine yourself being thrown in middle of beautiful landscapes, seductive beaches, serene mountains and beautiful waterfalls. That is just scratching the surface when it comes to what Venezuela has to offer vacationers and expats looking to start a new life abroad. While it isn’t always on the top of the list when it comes to most desirable places to live, it offers an exciting mix of eclectic culture and vibrant cities.
Venezuela is a tropical country located in South America and is bordered by Guyana, Brazil, and Colombia. Despite being a tropical country Venezuela has a diversified climate ranging from humid weather to glaciers which offers a varied lifestyle depending on where in the country you choose to vacation to or settle down. When looking at destinations for living abroad it can often be an added bonus for a climate to be diversified. While beach living is tempting, dry and hot weather all year long can be draining.
vene-caracasLifestyle in Venezuela

The capital city of Venezuela is Carcas. The population is estimated to be around 27,030,656. It has the fourth highest birth rate in South America and houses about 252,200 refugees. The majority of the population is Mestizo and then about one fifth have a European lineage and another one tenth of the population has a lineage from Africa. There is no official religion, as in a religion that is recognized by the state, with the country. The official language is Spanish with more than 30 other local languages in use. The president is both the head of the government as well as the state and is chosen by the system of universal adult suffrage.

Venezuelans have developed a very urban lifestyle and has evolved to a majority of middle class citizens. Local beer, rum and coffee are the most popular beverages and North American music as well as a little South America salsa and Latin soul add a little spice to life. While the majority of citizens are middle class there are quite a few elites within the nation that have built their lives around oil and have quite a bit of pull with the government.

Tourism in Venezuela

Carcas, Angel Falls, Gran Sabana, arid deserts, beautiful mountains and sandy beaches, Venezuela has a lot to boast. A cable ride to Sierra Nevada National Park is worth a fortune. If you find yourself in Venezuela then you do not ever want to miss out on taking a quick jaunt over to Aruba or Trinidad and Tobago also. Playa Colarada boasts of some world famous beaches and then Gran Sabana has some unusually flat mountain tops that are more than worth a visit. To cut it short the country has a dizzying array of attractions and sights. Venezuela is in no way one of those cookie cutter destinations where you find yourself doing the same thing day in and day out.
venezuela1Work in Venezuela
The currency of Venezuela is the Bolivar and at the moment of publication that the exchange rate is approximately 1 VEB = .000465 USD. The inflation rate is quite substantial and currently sits at 26% which obviously has quite an effect on the cost of living in Venezuela. The majority of jobs are offered within the service industry which includes employment sectors such as healthcare, retail, transport, education and of course tourism, seeing as it forms a vital part of Venezuela’s economy. The estimated average salary in Venezuela is 7,480 VEB which may vary depending on the personal factors which are not constant in all cases.
Job networking sites offer a good option if you are looking for jobs within the country. You can speak to local clients and connect with potential employers about the possibility of obtaining a full time job. However, in many cases you are better off simply saving up and heading to Venezuela, and then starting your job search from within. Companies and employers are far more willing to hire people in person rather than over the phone or via the internet.
Housing in Venezuela

Housing can be a bit of an issue in cities like Carcas. The prices vary according to the location and one of your best bets is to get yourself registered with the nearest consulate as soon as possible. The consulate can often help point you in the right direction for housing and accommodations and also help you take the necessary precautions. Venezuela is an earthquake prone country and is affected by torrential rains, so one must also take pretty serious precautions when purchasing property and housing insurance.
Crime rate in Venezuela

Unfortunately, Venezuela has the highest per capita homicide rate in the world. The violent crime rate is an issue of concern here with kidnappings, assaults and robberies occurring every now and then. Many harassment cases against U.S citizens have occurred and have raised a serious concern. The political climate is highly polarized and prone to violence. While this is the one side that is often seen by many foreigners, the issues are a lot more isolated than it appears. There are of course major areas of concern and you are advised to stay away. However there are also very safe communities and especially some safe resorts and areas for vacationers.

vene-desertTravel in Venezuela

Venezuela is connected through a major air route connecting South America with the rest of the world and thus remains a very easily accessible country of South America. It lies just above the equator and is situated in a part of the world that enjoys relatively pleasant weather all through out the year. This does mean that there is technically no off season or peak season in terms of traveling to Venezuela, but still to be precise the best time to travel to Venezuela is from September to April, which happens to be the dry season.
Yes there are a few drawbacks when it comes to considering moving, living and working Venezuela but there are also a number of wonderful opportunities. While some destinations offer an easy transition for expats this is not necessarily the case for Venezuela. However that is what makes it so appealing for some people who are trying to escape their routine life and break off the beaten path. Countries like Costa Rica and Mexico offer completely foreign communities that feel just like a southern American town. A lot of expats love that accessibility but it isn’t for everyone. If you are looking for something a little different then you may want to consider Venezuela. Just keep in mind that research and preparation are keys for a move to Venezuela, even more than for other countries abroad.

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belizeThey say good things come in small packages and Belize happens to be perfect proof of that popular saying. To judge Belize simply by its size would not only be unfair but it would also force you to miss a lot of the exceptional sights and sounds that the country has to offer. Belize has everything to enthrall you and both a short and long term stay in this tiny nation will be an exquisite trip to a land of wonders. The small size of the country adds some extra spice on top of the usual ingredients that travelers can find within a successful holiday.
Geography and Climate of Belize
Belize is a country situated in Central America. It is bordered by Guatemala, Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea. The climate in Belize can best be described as tropical and its wet and dry seasons can be differentiated significantly, although there isn’t much of a difference in the temperature which ranges just within 24 degrees and 27 degrees all year round.
Lifestyle in Belize
The population of the country is estimated to be 320,000, which makes it one of the least populated countries throughout all of Central America, and one of the smallest in the entire world. The capital city of Belize is Belmopan and the largest city is Belize City. Belize is the only country in Central America which has recognized English as the official language. Understandably this is what makes it such a popular vacation spot for foreigners and such an easy transition for expats looking to move abroad. Krio and Spanish are the other languages that are put to use in different areas all over the nation. Belize has a parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy and the currency is the Belize dollar. At the moment of publication the currency rate equals out to approximately 2 Belize dollars for every 1 US dollar.
belize2Tourism in Belize
Islands, fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling, rafting, kayaking, hiking, and bird watching are just some of the thing that tourists and locals alike dabble in while frequenting the country. The fact is that the small list I just mentioned is actually just the beginning and the list of attractions and destinations in Belize can go on for seemingly forever. However, what makes Belize such a great place to live and such an excellent place to vacation is the fact that it is so small that transportation and getting around is rather easy. You can partake in a number of different activities and tours daily without having to be stuck in a car or on a bus for hours. You can have a ton of fun without spending much time on the road.
The Belize barrier reef is both easily accessible and impressive. The Barton Creek caves are another highly sought after place in Belize and the Blue hole, as it is called, is the country’s top scuba diving spot. Then there are the Mayan ruins, which reek of rich, historical heritage and natural beauty. Besides those often discussed spots, there is also the excitement provided by some of the best golf courses in Central American and of course the crystal clear water and pristine Belize beaches that receive a lot of international attention.
Travel to Belize
The international airport of Belize is Philip S.W Gldson. Many airlines serve this airport but most of the time flights will include a layover somewhere in the USA. Even still, this doesn’t deter many foreigners from partaking in a memorable trip to the beautiful country.
belize3Work and Living in Belize
A valid passport that remains valid for at least six months beyond the duration of intended stay is a must have in order to access Belize. While the Belizean government is considerably serious about not letting any foreigners cut out on the job opportunities for locals, there still are two types of work permits that are made available for expats in Belize. These would be the application to employ a foreigner and the application for temporary self employment.
If you intend to stay more than six months then a proper work permit is a necessity in many instances, even if you are not working. One of the main differences in Belize over the last few years has been the decline in the average salary and some of the details involving cost of living. In the late 80’s the average income was estimated to be about 6,000 USD but it has dropped considerably since that time. What this often means for expats is that the country offers an affordable place to call home or even retire. While the cost of living in Belize does vary quite a bit from place to place, there are ways to live comfortably on a lot less money than one would need in other places.
One of the big issues that people in Belize are dealing with recently is the insufficient housing that is placed all around the country. Houses are put up quickly and without much thought, which has caused some major issues over time. On top of this the reoccurring hurricanes that have hit the area have worsened the situation. In order to combat this, the government has begun developing some safeguarded low cost housing programs which should alleviate some of the problems and provide a bit of relief to local citizens.
The Retired Person’s Incentive Program
A big bonus to consider when discussing a move abroad to Belize is the Retired Person’s Incentive Program. This program can allow expats to live a completely tax free life which obviously increases your ability to live comfortably and spend frivolously. If you are not ready for retirement then there are other options, and many people are looking to start their own businesses in Belize that focuses around tourism. What you want to do is make sure that the economy can sustain your business before throwing all of your eggs into a Belize basket.
It really is all about choice when it comes to the cost of living in Belize. You can live well on a very moderate income if you choose to live like a Belizean, or you can spend thousands of dollars a month and enjoy your big SUV, expensive property, and all the hottest restaurants and clubs every night of the week.
Housing in Belize
In terms of rental housing you can usually find a small, comfortable flat for close to $1,000 USD in Belize City or opt for a larger house within a district such as Cayo for around $400 a month. If you want to look into buying land in Belize then you can find nice property for $5,000 USD and sometimes pay as much as $10,000 depending on where you want to live. Then there is also the route of just buying a pre-existing house which you can do for as little as $25 per square foot or as much as $250,000 depending upon the lifestyle and luxury that you want.
belizegardenMore Cost of Living Details in Belize
In terms of daily expenditures once again the pricing varies considerably in Belize depending on what you want or where you are. If you want to dine on imported goods then you are going to have to pay the price. If you are willing to enjoy home grown and local foods and goods then you are going to be able to save a lot of money. One thing about Belize as well is that you can save a lot of money by buying produce that is in season, seeing as it is usually about 50% cheaper. Better yet, just grow your own produce which is remarkably easy in the tropical climate.
The same sort of local concept goes for dining out, partying, and alcohol consumption. If you stick with local foods and alcohol and stay away from imports then you can cut down seriously on your monthly cost of living. If you keep the partying in check and shop around a bit there are ways for a couple to live on as little as $100 USD per week for food, drinks, and entertainment.
For utilities you are usually looking at an average cost of $30 per month for water while electricity is very pricey and averages out to around $100 a month. If you want cable TV then you can tack on an extra $20 a month and reliable internet will set you back about $55 a month. Obviously all of these factors depend on what you do, which utilities you use and so on, but these numbers should give you a reasonable idea of what you can expect in Belize.

Barring the natural calamities there isn’t much that will bother you during your stay in Belize, and quite a bit that will dazzle you. It is a country that is most attractive to retirees and pensioners but there is also a fair amount of opportunity for work if you are willing to search for it. Belize on the whole has all of the ingredients for a magical vacation and enough to make it a wonderful place to settle down and call home. While the work opportunities may not attract many people to the country, holidaying is definitely one of the reasons people visit the country time and time again. Even if you cannot see yourself finding work in Belize, you are not going to want to leave once you dip your toes into the water and the culture in this country.

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