A number of people in my life have recently started, or are getting ready to start, new roles and lives in new countries, and I’ve been putting together a list of resources I know about to share with them. If you are considering an expat assignment – or creating your own expat transfer – here are a few good starting points online.
Expat Exchange This is an excellent place to start. While the site is entirely in English, there is useful content about moving to almost any country in the world, from any other country. The site publishes a weekly newsletter with articles about international moves in general, and specific countries. There are also individual country forums, where users can post and respond to queries from other members. Some of these are thinly-disguised ads from businesses seeking to serve expats, so take them with a grain of salt.
HSBC country guides are detailed guides for people moving to a new country, with information about housing, schools, economics, visas, and, of course, banking – all for expats. When we moved to India, this guide had accurate information about the rental costs of apartments for expats in Pune. The guides used to be available for downloading directly from their site, but the only way I’ve found to access them recently is through an online form where you can request them to be sent to you by mail. The guides are free. HSBC also conducts a detailed expat survey annually, and you can access survey reports for free here. They’ve recently started a blog with current articles related to the survey and their offerings for expats.
Expat Focus is another all-country expat resource website, also all in English. The home page is focused on selling you their book, but there are lots of free resources and individual country forums, too. The Expat Focus blog offers lists of great blogs by expats in different parts of the world. A recent post leads to a forum discussion about expats on Twitter. Look for bloggers in the country where you are moving to get first-hand perspectives on the expat experience.
Expatica provides some great resources for English-speaking expats in seven EU countries. In addition to country information and discussion boards, the site offers classified ads and an ask-an-expert feature by country. It also has articles on topics relevant to all expats, regardless of their countries, such as managing health insurance, family adjustments and moving pets.
For families with kids moving abroad, appropriate schooling is one of the biggest challenges. I recently had some very positive interactions with School Choice International, and suggest considering their resources (both online and in-person consulting) as a starting point.
There are also a number of communities for Third Culture Kids (TCK) to be found in social networking online. Do a search for TCK or third culture kids on Facebook, Live Journal, blogspot, etc. and join the ones you like the most. An excellent starting point is TCKWorld.
Two websites point you to some of the leading books about expat assignments: Robin Pascoe’s site, the ExpatExpert.com, has great articles related to her books about expat family life, and a link to her blog. The ExpatGuide.info site has excerpts from the very useful book The Expert Expatriate, by Hess and Linderman.
Finally, if you have a subscription to the Wall Street Journal, check out Alan Paul’s columns about his family’s life in China. I found his columns to be both informative and often gripping, and think they are a fascinating read no matter what country you are coming from or going to. You can also check out reactions from many other expats in the comments section. Finding all of the columns in WSJ’s weird search function is not easy, but if you go to this link, and enter “the expat life” (including quotes) you should get them. You can find more personal stories and family photos on his blog Alan Paul in China.
Got some other favorites? Please feel free to suggest other resources through comments or by writing to me privately, but please refrain from advertising commercial services.