Celebrating Halloween in London as an Expat

Sharon  @GoodMigrations

Back in 2010 my husband and I left the concrete jungle of New York City to move to Sydney, Australia and test it out for a few years.

It was a great experience filled with so much. But it also gave us the opportunity to learn about a new culture and celebrate new holidays.  We always loved Australia Day and playing 2 Up. On the flip side, it was equally as exciting being able to share our own holidays and traditions with Aussie locals that might not be familiar with those of our own. I remember hosting a Thanksgiving Dinner where the majority of our guests were NOT from America. And it was a hit! I mean, how can you not love stuffing your face with tons of delicious food while enjoying time spent with friends?

As Halloween quickly approaches, you may be wondering where in London can I take my kids trick or treating? Keeping in mind that this is not a local holiday celebrated by all. In fact, the British hate Halloween apparently. A survey done way back in 2006 found that over half of British homeowners turn off their lights and pretend not to be home on Halloween. Yet another reason the United States is happy to be free from British rule. smiley

Here are a few tricks and treats to celebrating Halloween as an expat in London. 

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Activities Expat Life

The Expats Guide to Building Credit in Germany

Sharon  @GoodMigrations

Having a good credit score is very important to your finances. You may not realize it now but it affects many things in your life: Your credit score can determine whether a landlord will rent to you or not; it can affect your ability to get a mobile phone or a mortgage on a house; it can even prevent a bank from loaning you money to buy everyday things (which means no credit cards since those are basically loans). So what do you do as an expat in a new country with no credit?

Our guide below will help outline the steps needed to establish yourself in Germany as an expat so you can begin building credit (and test your pronunciation abilities because German government terminology is not known for its brevity).

Let’s start with a brief education of the German credit system as it can be confusing for many.

The Schufa

Germany’s sophisticated credit system is called the SCHUFA (shorthand for Schutzgemeinschaft für Allgemeine Kreditsicherung).  As a resident of Germany, this system immediately begins collecting data on your financial history in order to calculate a score. This score will then stay with you for the duration of your residency in Germany.

The Schufa is based on a 100-point scale and gets “dinged” when you are delinquent on payments.  Beyond that, exactly how this score is calculated continues to be a mystery. We do know that scores around 90 are considered positive and should not negatively impact you with lenders.

Every resident is entitled to one free copy of their report per year. Should you need to request an additional copy the Meineschufa website is a great resource to check out.
Meineschufa- Schufa

Building credit in a new country takes time. So be diligent about paying bills in full on time.
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Expat Life as a Millennial LGBTQ

Michael Boateng @GoodMigrations

Hi, my name is Michael Kwadjo (Qweh-joe) Kyei Boateng. I am a first-generation Ghanaian immigrant who feels like an expat of the world.

I was born in New York (shout out to the Bronx!) and raised by my mother. She would send me to live with family around the world while she worked a full-time job as a live-in nurse.

I’ve had the privilege of living in Ghana, England, the Netherlands, Brazil, Australia, and the United States. As an openly Queer African American who rose up from a low-income childhood, I have had several different experiences on how my identity relates to different countries, cities, and communities. Each place I’ve lived abroad has helped teach me something about my own identity and how I can find peace and support to thrive and just be.

I’ve enjoyed learning about all the amazing LGBTQ leaders such as Marsha P. Johnson, Bayard Rustin, Audre Lorde, and more that have opened new frontiers for our community. In honor of Pride Month, I want to reflect on my expat experiences and share a bit so that my fellow LGBTQ community members can find new places around the world to explore and uncover the love and joy of being LGTBQ.

(*Disclaimer, the experiences and insights I plan to share are based on places I’ve lived or visited abroad. I still have a lot to learn about being Queer and the many intricate and intimate forms in which it shows itself. Also, to keep things simple: “Queer”, a term which has several roots and connotations, is how I identify currently. I use Queer predominately as a verb – for me, it means to radically disrupt systems and preconceived notions of gender, sex, and identity. I know, I know, a bit wordy, but truly the term is loaded. If you want to know more, I recommend reading, Queer: A Graphic History by Meg-John Barker or A Queer History of the United States by Michael Bronski.)

The purpose of this guide is to help future LGBTQ members find cities around the world where they can enjoy living and be themselves. Okay, let’s get started! Read more…

Expat Life Guest Posts

Are You Financially Ready to Move to Singapore

Sharon  @GoodMigrations

Singapore has been rated as the best place in the world for expats, but Malaysia isn’t far behind. 55% of expats live in a home they consider nicer than before they moved to Malaysia and 61% find it’s easy to make friends.

Before you make the leap, you need to make sure you are financially ready. Depending on where you currently live, you may be looking forward to lower living costs in either Singapore or Malaysia. Getting your finances in order and understanding all the costs should be your priorities prior to take off.
Singapore Skyline

Living Costs: Malaysia

Despite being a modernized country with plenty of luxuries, Malaysia offers relatively low living costs compared to Europe, Australasia, and North America. It is estimated that a single person could live comfortably in Kuala Lumpur for $470 USD a monthFor that amount you will have a comfortable room in a modern, furnished apartment, you will eat well, and you’ll still have money left over for entertainment and travel.

For additional context, a mid-priced meal for two will cost around $17, while a cheap meal out could come to just $5 per person. Shopping in the local supermarkets and cooking from home makes life affordable for most people on an average American wage. As long as you have enough for several months’ worth of rent and living costs, then you should be all set to make the move.  Read more…

Expat Life

Infographic: Most in-demand jobs for expats

Adam Vagley @goodmigrations

Ever get the urge to go live in a different country?

Maybe after looking at Instagram and seeing some gorgeous travel photos? Or when a bad news cycle has you frustrated?

There’s just one problem most wannabe expats have (that is, for those who would actually act on those impulses): work. If you’re not a retiree, most countries require you to have a valid work visa to stay for any long period of time. Plus, you know, there’s the whole getting paid thing so you can afford to live. Expatting ain’t easy. 

But if you’re serious about pursuing the life abroad, our infographic is here to help. See which job roles are most in-demand around the world and which global cities are actively seeking out skilled expats. Perhaps now is the time to start thinking about a career switch and to do some apartment hunting when you’re bored at work. Plus, many of the companies with open jobs in these cities are offering awesome perks! Free coffee and snacks just won’t cut it anymore. Read more…

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