Monthly Archives: October 2010

Expatacular Tips For New & Current Expats: Alternative Accomodations with Airbnb

Expatacular Tips 2

Expatacular tips are about making your first or next expat move easier. Think of them as the “Lifehacker” for Expats.

Whether you aspire to live, work or study in another country or if you are already doing that, then the word “expat” is part of your everyday language. In the most general sense, an “expat”, is anyone who is temporarily or permanently living in a country other than the one where they claim citizenship.

Every week, we take a look at “expat hacks” to help you make the next transition abroad seamless.

If you have any to suggest, leave them in the comments or send us a message.

Today’s tip: Stay like a local with

Airbnb_Expatacular Tips

Tired of staying at the Holiday Inn when in Ann Arbor, MI? Not sure of what you are getting when you book through is a novel concept in travel accommodation where the locals make their own homes available to travelers, for a price.

The easy to use interface is simple, enter the destination of your choice and the dates you want, et voila! Airbnb then looks in that area for rooms, condos, homes and even castles (yes, castles) available for rent from private owners who have registered themselves with Transactions are done through PayPal or a Credit Card and the money isn’t disbursed to the host until at least 24 hours after you check in.

Accommodations can either be listed in either a grid with pictures attached or a map view so you can see exactly where you will be staying. It is a simple matter to narrow your search results by price, distance and recommendations. Each search result comes with a short description, amenities available and some quick details.

As with all social websites, the real power comes from user recommendations. Recommendations are abundant, not just for the result you select, but also for other properties that host has listed on If that host receives enough stellar feedback from travelers then they become eligible for SuperHost Alliance status, a designation given by to hosts that go above and beyond. A nice warm and fuzzy for those of us still hesitant to use the service.

The most innovative feature of the site has to be the groups feature, a user created network of hosts and travelers that provides rooms for those with the same interests, alma-mater, profession, etc…  Clicking on a group displays a world map view showing where hosts participating in the group are along with a picture grid of available accommodations below.

As a matter of full disclosure, we have yet to try out the service provides. Reading the reviews of some of the users and the favorable view it received in the New York Times, will definitely be on my short list of providers to try while traveling abroad.

Guest Post: How to Prepare for an International Job

Guest Post 3_Image 1

Working internationally

Today’s guest post is brought to you by Jim Key, Director of Global Marketing at Intrax Internships Abroad. Learn about his suggestions to land an international job.

Getting a job in the US or Canada is already hard enough. Getting one in a foreign country while separated by time zones, culture, and language is just that much more challenging.  Before I launch into some things you can do to put yourself in the best position to work abroad, let me emphasize that there is no perfect path. The idea here is to improve the odds and put you “in the arena” – in a position to make yourself standout. The idea is to take your passion for the international (international studies, international affairs, international business, international development – you name it) and turn it into concrete actions that show a Skill Set. Your Skill Set is your basket of knowledge, abilities, and experiences that you bring to the table. It is what makes you as interesting to that company or NGO as they are interesting to you.  At Intrax, we look for general skills to accept someone into the program (as that makes them easier to place). Our host companies look for those plus sometimes a combination of technical skills, relevant experience, and language skills. If you are looking to make yourself a good fit for a company abroad, that is a good place to start:

General Skills

1)     Professional At its base, being professional is about being appropriate for a work environment and acting in a way that will put you in a good light (being agreeable, getting your work done, etc). As you gain experience, you’ll see professional norms and etiquette more specific to an individual industry. As you might imagine, the way you dress, the way you interact with co-workers, the working hours, the speed and detail with which you respond to e-mails, and so on varies by environment.  Nonetheless, professionalism is a general skill that translates regardless of environment (whether an ad agency, investment bank, or NGO). The sooner you get into those environments, the sooner you’ll see what works and be able to display professionalism to potential employers.

2)     Adaptable Studying abroad is one great way to show that you are adaptable because you adapt to a different culture, usually for an extended period of time. A diverse set of professional work experiences is also important in displaying your track record of performing in a variety of work situations. If you are looking for an international placement, you’ll want to show that you are adaptable in both cultural and professional scales.

3)     Engaging Communication in a foreign culture is simply harder than in one’s native culture, so it is that much more important than usual that you can display that you understand what they mean and can effectively make yourself understood. Being engaged on both the transmitting and receiving side of this communication equation is a skill to actively cultivate. We also find those engaged with the host culture simply enjoy it more (even if that student is a bit more quiet or introspective at home).

Specific Skills

1)     Technical Skills These are the broader abilities that one can learn in school (Accounting, Engineering, Financial Modeling) or technology-related knowledge related to your studies such as software or programming which can help you add value right away (e.g. graphics software for Design work, Search Engine Optimization tactics that relate to Web Marketing). There are some jobs in which the only way to qualify for the entry level job is to have specific technical skills. Even if you do not love learning the ins and outs of this software or that database system, this knowledge can be the difference between getting started and continuing to look for a job.

Continue reading

Goinglobal Insights: Canadian Top Employer Profiles

Binoculars at Duomo roof /Prismaticos en el tejado del Duomo, Milan

Photo attribution to albertopveiga

Imagine working abroad for the first time, armed with all the information you need to successfully acclimate yourself to the work environment, social scene and overall cultural customs? That is where Goinglobal steps in. Goinglobal is committed to providing you with an arsenal of career information and resources to ease the transition abroad and help you be prepared before you leave. We have career country guides for over 30 countries, written by in-country researchers, that help you as a professional regardless of whether you are a novice or seasoned expat.

Every week, we will feature an insight from one of our global career guides to help you achieve your dream of working internationally.

Happy Canada Day!

Photo attribution to Ian Muttoo

Boasting with wide open skies, massive glaciers and nearly desolate islands, is the country of Canada. Have you ever considered working there? The following list represents companies reporting the largest assets/revenues in the country. This will help to identify companies in your search for international jobs and internships in Canada. More than 400,000 additional corporate profiles can be found in Going Global’s Employer Directory.

Royal Bank of Canada (Commercial Banking)
Finance: Holding company, provider of commercial, deposit, and mortgage services.

Number of employees:80000
Total assets : $577,800,000,000.00

Royal Bank of Canada
PO Box 1
Tel: (416) 9745151
Fax: (416)9557800

Toronto-Dominion Bank (Offices of Bank Holding Companies)
Finance: Bank holding company, foreign commercial banks and investment advice and products, including brokerage, mutual fund, and consumer financial products.

Number of employees:74000
Total assets : $538,618,000,000.00

Toronto-Dominion Bank
PO Box 1, Toronto-Dominion Ctr.
Tel: (416) 9828222
Fax: (416)9825671

Bank Of Nova Scotia (Commercial Banking)
Finance: Banks.

Number of employees:66000
Total assets : $507,625,000,000.00

Bank Of Nova Scotia
Scotia Plz., 44 King St. W, 9th Fl.
Tel: (416) 8666161
Fax: (416)8663750

Bank of Montreal (Commercial Banking)
Finance: International banking institutional.

Number of employees:37073
Total assets : $416,050,000,000.00

Bank of Montreal
100 King St., 1 First Canadian Pl.
Tel: (416) 8676785
Fax: (416)8676793

Canadian Imperial Bank Of Commerce (Commercial Banking)
Finance: Commercial banking, underwriting of securities and foreign exchange trading services.

Number of employees:41000
Total assets : $313,966,000,000.00

Canadian Imperial Bank Of Commer
5650 Yonge St.
Tel: (416) 9802211
Fax: (416)3635347

Manulife Financial Corp. (Direct Life Insurance Carriers)
Insurance: Provides individual life insurance, group life and health, group pension products, and variable annuities. Finance: Holding company.

Number of employees:24000
Total assets : $194,182,200,000.00

Manulife Financial Corp.
N Tower 10, 200 Bloor St. E
Tel: (416) 9263000
Fax: (416)9265410

Power Corporation Of Canada (Direct Life Insurance Carriers)
Insurance: Life, health, group benefits and specialty insurance and reinsurance and retirement savings. Finance: Securities services, financial security advice and planning, wealth management products, mutual and investment funds, managed asset and person

Number of employees:31700
Total assets : $143,671,000,000.00

Power Corporation Of Canada
751 Victoria Sq.
Tel: (514) 2867400
Fax: (514)2867424

Sun Life Assurance Company Of Canada ()
Insurance: Insurance – life

Number of employees:0
Total assets : $132,668,800,000.00

Sun Life Assurance Company Of Ca
150 King St. W
Tel: (416) 9799966

Td Securities Inc. (Securities Brokerage)
Finance: Investment houses

Number of employees:0
Total assets : $106,348,400,000.00

Td Securities Inc.
66 Wellington St. W, 10th Fl.
Tel: (416) 3086628
Fax: (416)3070338

Scotia Capital (Securities Brokerage)
Finance: Investment houses

Number of employees:1340
Total assets : $99,806,500,000.00

Scotia Capital
Scotia Plz., 40 King St. W, Box
Tel: (416) 8637069
Fax: (416)8622052

Caisse De Depot Et Placement Du Quebec (Securities Brokerage)
Finance: Investment companies and funds

Number of employees:712
Total assets : $99,670,600,000.00

Caisse De Depot Et Placement Du
Ctr. CDP Capital, 1000 Pl. Jean-
Tel: (514) 8423261
Fax: (514)8472170

Hewlett-Packard Co. (Mississauga, Canada) (Electronic Computer Manufacturing)
Manufacturing: Electrical & electronic

Number of employees:156000
Total assets : $98,438,000,000.00

Hewlett-Packard Co. (Mississauga
5150 Spectrum Way
Tel: (905) 2064725
Fax: (905)2064739

Great-West Life Assurance Co. (The) (Direct Life Insurance Carriers)
Insurance: Insurance – life

Number of employees:12800
Total assets : $96,962,400,000.00

Great-West Life Assurance Co. (T
100 Osborne St. N
Tel: (204) 9461190
Fax: (204)9464129

Sun Life Financial Inc. (Direct Life Insurance Carriers)
Finance: Weatlh management, including asset management, mutual funds, pension plans and products, and annuities operations; Holding company. Insurance: Life and disability insurance.

Number of employees:14264
Total assets : $95,616,000,000.00

Sun Life Financial Inc.
150 King St. W
Tel: (416) 9799966
Fax: (416)9793209

Cibc World Markets Inc. (Securities Brokerage)
Finance: Investment houses

Number of employees:0
Total assets : $90,293,800,000.00

Cibc World Markets Inc.
PO Box 500, 161 Bay St.
Tel: (416) 5947000

Power Financial Corp. (Offices of Other Holding Companies)
Finance: Finance and leasing

Number of employees:18300
Total assets : $88,869,700,000.00

Power Financial Corp.
751 Sq. Victoria
Tel: (514) 2867430
Fax: (514)2867424

Great-West Lifeco Inc. (Direct Life Insurance Carriers)
Insurance: Insurance – life

Number of employees:18522
Total assets : $85,001,600,000.00

Great-West Lifeco Inc.
100 Osborne St. N
Tel: (204) 9461190
Fax: (204)9464139

Mouvement Des Caisses Desjardins Le (Credit Unions)
Finance: Finance and leasing

Number of employees:39252
Total assets : $79,385,600,000.00

Mouvement Des Caisses Desjardins
100 Ave. des Commandeurs
Tel: (418) 8352323
Fax: (418)8335873

Rbc Dominion Securities Ltd. (Securities Brokerage)
Finance: Investment houses

Number of employees:0
Total assets : $73,571,600,000.00

Rbc Dominion Securities Ltd.
PO Box 50, Royal Bank Plz.
Tel: (416) 8422000
Fax: (416)9743535

National Bank Of Canada (Commercial Banking)
Finance: Banks

Number of employees:16914
Total assets : $69,129,000,000.00

National Bank Of Canada
Tour de la Banque Nationale, 600
Tel: (514) 3945555

Td Mortgage Corp. (Commercial Banking)
Finance: Trust, savings and loan

Number of employees:0
Total assets : $67,327,300,000.00

Td Mortgage Corp.
55 King St. W, T-D Twr. 22nd Fl.
Tel: (416) 9828594
Fax: (416)9446650

Xerox Canada Finance Inc. (All Other Non-Depository Credit Intermediation)
Finance: Finance and leasing

Number of employees:4500
Total assets : $65,982,000,000.00

Xerox Canada Finance Inc.
5650 Yonge St., 11th Fl.
North York
Tel: (416) 2293769
Fax: (416)2296826

Canada Life Assurance Company The (Direct Life Insurance Carriers)
Insurance: Insurance – life

Number of employees:3800
Total assets : $49,180,000,000.00

Canada Life Assurance Company Th
330 University Ave.
Tel: (416) 5976981
Fax: (204)9464139

Hydro-Quebec (Electric Power Distribution)
Utilities: Electrical utilities

Number of employees:21410
Total assets : $48,396,100,000.00

75 boul. Rene-Levesque Ouest, 5t
Tel: (514) 2892137
Fax: (514)2893740

Canada Life Financial Corp. (Direct Life Insurance Carriers)
Insurance: Insurance – life

Number of employees:6000
Total assets : $45,717,200,000.00

Canada Life Financial Corp.
330 University Ave.
Tel: (416) 5971456
Fax: (416)2042365

Bank Of Montreal Mortgage Corp. (Real Estate Credit)
Finance: Trust, savings and loan

Number of employees:0
Total assets : $41,855,300,000.00

Bank Of Montreal Mortgage Corp.
350-7th Ave. SW, First Canadian Pl.
Tel: (403) 5037033
Fax: (403)5037035

Bata Ltd. (Other Footwear Manufacturing)
Manufacturing: Shoes. Retail: Shoe stores.

Number of employees:40000
Sales : $33,690,000,000.00

Bata Ltd.
Bata International Centre, 12 Concorde Pl.
Tel: (416) 4462011
Fax: (416)4462108

George Weston Ltd. (Commercial Bakeries)
Manufacturing: Bakery products, flour and grain, chocolate and canned fish.

Number of employees:155000
Sales : $32,088,000,000.00

George Weston Ltd.
22 St. Clair Ave. E
Tel: (416) 9222500
Fax: (416)9224395

Hsbc Bank Canada (Commercial Banking)
Finance: Banks

Number of employees:6000
Total assets : $31,459,200,000.00

Hsbc Bank Canada
Ste. 300, 885 W Georgia St.
Tel: (604) 6851000
Fax: (604)6411849

London Life Insurance Co. (Direct Life Insurance Carriers)
Insurance: Insurance – life

Number of employees:10000
Total assets : $31,005,400,000.00

London Life Insurance Co.
255 Dufferin Ave.
Tel: (204) 9461190
Fax: (204)9464129

Guest Post: Go Local: The Value of Having Friends Beyond the Expat Circle

Study Abroad 2

Guest blog post by Kate Cunningham

This guest post is contributed by Kate Cunningham , who writes on the topics of online colleges. Feel free to send your questions and comments to her email:

So you’ve finally made the jump. Whether you’re working or studying, you’re giving living overseas a try. Personally, I’ve lived in a few different countries over the years, and one thing I’ve invariably noticed is the very strong, overwhelming presence of an “expat community”.

Now of course, it makes perfect sense that people who share a common language, culture, and status as a foreigner will stick together. It’s easy, and you will have much to talk about since you can empathize with the feeling of being dropped in an alien country where you are not quite familiar with the customs.

However, I urge all expatriates to take a look beyond these social circles that can easily become exclusive clubs. There are several reasons for doing so, aside from merely diversifying your friend group. Here are a few:

1. Making local friends can save you money.

In most countries, locals live much more cheaply than do expatriates. This has a lot to do with the fact that locals have ostensibly lived in the same place for  a long time, and they are used to living modestly, whereas expatriates are still trying to get a feel for the place, and will often eat and shop in more expensive, touristy areas. And the fact of the matter is that no matter how budget-conscious you are, you’ll spend as much as your friends do. Hang with locals and save some money.

2. Making local friends will afford you better connections.

While connections may not be as important to personal and professional success in your home country, in my own experience living and working abroad, connections in other countries are often everything. And connections with locals can afford you more opportunities to grow and develop both in your business and in other aspects of your day-to-day life.

3. Locals can help better you if you get into trouble.

While it is everyone’s hope to stay out of legal troubles while abroad, sometimes things just happen. Since locals are better acquainted with the legal system, they can get you out of jam more efficiently than can your expatriate brethren. This applies also not just to legal trouble, but trouble in all its various forms–whether it’s with your landlord, with taxes, or with visa issues as well.

4. Most importantly, you’ll learn more about other languages and cultures.

Beyond the more practical reasons for making local friends, the value of becoming intimately acquainted with different languages and cultures is priceless. If you stick to your expat circle, you won’t  get an accurate idea of what a country is really like, which is hopefully part of the whole reason you decided to study or work abroad in the first place.

These are just a few reasons to widen your friend group beyond your foreign compatriots. Of course, it’s much easier and comforting to be around those who share your lifestyle, but if you want to have a more enriching experience abroad, then skip the expat bar and go to local haunts instead. Trust me. You won’t regret it.

Olga Garcia
Social Media Community & Marketing Programs Manager
Managing Director of Girls in Tech Austin
Blogging at:
Lets connect! LinkedinFacebookTwitter
Going Global Blog: Helping young professionals work, travel & study abroad Guest Post: Go Local: The Value of Having Friends Beyond the Expat Circle

Guest Post: Getting a Job Overseas

GP_2_Jim Key

Courtesy of Jim Key

Today’s guest post is brought to you by Jim Key, Director of Global Marketing at Intrax Internships Abroad. Learn about his suggestions to land an international job.

Over the past two years, I’ve met with companies in London, Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, and Berlin – finding internships for American and Canadian university students. Other than spending time with our students during or after their summer internships overseas, the best part of my job is meeting with a variety of companies around Europe.  From speaking with those host companies and from working abroad during grad school, allow me to share a few ideas to help students and recent graduates turn an internship or short-term job overseas into a full time position.  The first step is to frame your actions in terms of what the employer wants instead of what you want, so that’s how I’ll frame these tips:

1.     Willingness to Speak the Local Language: If you can’t communicate with your co-workers, you will be of limited use to most companies regardless of how smart or skilled you are. While learning a language is the essential starting point, the operative phrase here is Willingness to Speak. Many people who get A’s in their classes get in-country and become more motivated by their fear of “looking stupid” than their desire to communicate. You can’t engage with your colleagues if you are waiting to get the wording exactly right – the conversation will move on and you will be that quiet intern who doesn’t talk to anyone. We had this one finance intern in Madrid, I’ll call him “Mike”. His Spanish was good (not great), but he was fearless. He might trip over an inexact verb or not know a word, but he was more committed to communicating than being perfect and his colleagues appreciated him for it.

2.     Be Professional and Adaptable: When hiring, employers ask, “Who would I want as a colleague/ employee?” Being professional means bringing your best self to work. This does not mean being vanilla, it means being the most engaged, most upbeat version of you.  Whether you want to or not, you represent your brand (and your country). Focusing on your brand for a moment, a co-worker’s estimation of what you can do is based on what you actually do at work (even if your job is not a perfect match with your full range of talents).  Sometimes it is easier to identify personality traits that employers clearly do not want: unreliable, rude, high maintenance, negative… You can add your own to that list and the list does vary a little by culture – not just national culture, but also industry and company culture.  The culture of a small Barcelona advertising agency is more like a small Berlin ad agency than a Barcelona pharmaceutical company. Notice and respond to your work environment – being on time may mean be available and prepared “on time”, even if the office culture considers meeting times to be a suggested best-case scenario for starting time. Adaptability means rolling with the way this country/industry/ office culture is. It also means a willingness to give a little more at times. This adds up to acting like a coworker rather than a student who happens to be in an office this summer.

3.     Show Initiative: Warning – cliché alert. Employers look for people who bring solutions, not problems. While it can be helpful for interns to point out that systems, products, and services could be improved, it is far more helpful for interns to identify a problem, suggest a few ways to improve it, and volunteer to lead the effort.  In our own office, we had an intern who said, “We should do a PR campaign.” If it stopped there, it would not be helpful because like almost every organization, we do not have the resources to do everything we would like to do. She continued with, “So I have identified 30 potential contacts along with a message to use. If it is OK with you, I’ll contact them with this message.” In a related story, she works for us full time now.  We hear stories like this from our host companies around the world. Those students interning through our program who get job offers often tell me stories like this. Final note: Initiative includes letting your supervisor and colleagues know that you want to work full time at that company or in that country.

4.     Competence in your Job: It should go without saying, but interns really do run the gamut from exceptional to abysmal.  Companies that do not want interns reach that conclusion because they have had experience with interns who created far more work to manage than they accomplished.  Even if your internship is not your dream job, doing what you do well will open doors – both within that company and among the professional contacts of your supervisor and colleagues. While the tips above will elevate your profile, it all starts with doing your job well.

GP_2_Jim Key_2

Courtesy of Jim Key

Thinking about your strategy to turn an internship into a job, remember that employers hire people to improve their team.  How can you compete?  To start with, as a student from abroad, you have built in advantages and drawbacks. On the up side, you will offer fresh perspectives  – adding to the diversity and breadth of experience in most offices. On the down side, as an entry-level employee you will have less industry knowledge, (usually) less than native language skills, and less familiarity with the local culture. Let’s be clear, it is still a challenging economy so getting a job overseas is not easy. By thinking about your value from the employer’s perspective and performing at a high level, you can give yourself your best chance to turn an international internship experience into a full time position overseas.