Emigration and moving abroad - WorldSupporter Theme

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 Emigration and moving abroad:

Blogs, tips, discussions and all about moving abroad, living abroad and emigration

 

Checklist emigration - Arrange your emigration in 10 steps

Checklist emigration - Arrange your emigration in 10 steps

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1. What are the issues to bear in mind when emigrating?

  • Keep track of the emigration process; for example write down what to do and what you are going through in an emigration diary.
  • Make use of the media and guidebooks when researching possible destinations.
  • Get an insight on the language, culture, health system, safety and criminality of the country.
2. What is on your emigration checklist and what kind of rules and regulations do you have to take into account?
  • Plan tasks together with all the other family members.
  • Gain enough basic knowledge about the law and rules of the country you are going to emigrate to.
  • Think about the legality of contracts and acts you have in your country of origin.
  • Start orientating yourself on the social system, educational system and culture.
  • Start making a list of agencies and organizations that you have to contact.
  • Start getting your things ready.
3. What about insurances when emigrating or going abroad for a longer time?
  • Think about a suitable international health insurance. Do this on time. Take into account a (sometimes) long process of medical acceptance.
  • Gain information about the advantages of local insurances and insurances via an employer.
  • Think about (international) travel insurance, insurance when you will travel back to your country of origin for a visit, transport insurance and arrangement for surviving relatives, home and household effects, incapacitation/inability to work, pension, car and other liabilities.
  • Since insurance options and obligation differ per country of residence and country you emigrate to, use the expert knowledge of JoHo Insurances to gather advice for your situation
4. How do you arrange your removal/migration and what to do with your household effects?
  • Get information and advice about legal regulations with regards to purchasing a house as a (foreign) private person; consider contacting a specialized agency or legal consultant.
  • Let the condition/state of your house be examined before selling it.
  • Consider using an agent if you want to (sub) rent your house and check the consequences for your house insurance.
  • When cancelling your house rental, find out in what kind of state you have to return the house.
  • Request international removal quotation. Make a basic list for different removers, in order to enhance comparability.
  • Don’t delay in requesting quotations. It can be cheaper if different cargo/loads can be combined.
5. How and where do you arrange your visa and which documents do you need?
  • Start on time with your visa application. Sometimes this can be arranged fast and easily, but a visa procedure can also take months.
  • When you are moving with more family members, make a list of the visa requirements for every person.
  • Also check visa requirements health certificates and medical examinations.
  • Find out which kind of documents need to be translated and legalized.
  • Consider using a legal advisor to check your legal status and possible risks.
6. What are the issues to bear in mind regarding banking and transactions abroad?
  • Ask about the consequences of current accounts, credit cards and savings when emigrating.
  • Be on time with paying tax.
  • Arrange your bank affairs in your country of origin and gain knowledge about the currency and bank affairs of the country you are emigrating to.
  • Consider using a financial advisor to determine your emigration budget, your financial situation and to get tax advice.
7. What kind of preparation could you do to stay healthy and safe?
  • Check necessary vaccinations and medical declarations, be aware that this can take a lot of time, from weeks to months.
  • Get an insight in the local health system; hospitals, general practitioners, dentists, maternity care.
  • Arrange a medical checkup by a reliable doctor in your home country.
  • Be aware of formal and informal safety advice. Also be ready for an adjustment process after arrival
  • Do a regular update on a contact checklist and list with emergency numbers.
8. Which agencies/authorities/organizations should you inform to let them know that you are leaving?
  • Make arrangements with those who stay behind about how to deal with illness or death.
  • Make sure that you can still arrange administrative tasks or other business from abroad.
  • Unsubscribe to gas, water, electricity etc. of your former home or make clear arrangements with your solicitor when you are renting your house.
  • Think about when would be best to say goodbye to colleagues and acquaintances.
9. What (other) issues should you be thinking about when you decide to live abroad?
  • Take your time to acclimatize and be aware of the culture shock.
  • Put energy into relationships with local people, besides putting energy into becoming a member of an international expat club.
  • Utilize relocation services if your employer is sending you abroad; they should support you and your family to settle down in another country.
  • Reflect and keep an eye on your partner and children, especially at the beginning.
  • Organize expectations regarding visitors to your new country and you going back to visit your country of origin.
  • Make appointments regarding important moments and holidays in your country of origin.
10. In what circumstances can you imagine returning to your home country?
  • Make a plan for an unexpected or expected return to your home country.
How to start your moving abroad or emigration process

How to start your moving abroad or emigration process

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There are a lot of things to consider when you want to emigrate to another country. Maybe you already have a concrete plan, or know where to find the right information. If that's not the case, don't worry. Here are some tips to help you start your emigration process

Emigrate: yes or no?

  • It can help to get more self-insight; what are your competencies, your character, strong and weak points and what can be obstacles during the emigration process
  • Start an emigration diary, blog or website to document your experiences. All this can be useful in the orientation process, but also for later.
  • Read the experiences of other emigrants/expats. Visit emigration events, subscribe for emigration magazines or sign up on emigration forums.

Which destination to choose?

  • There are a lot of factors that can influence your decision for a new home country. Your own preferences but also practical matters can play a big role.
  • What are the push and pull factors of the destination? What are the immigration policies like, how about the language and culture. How is the healthcare system organised and what is the situation concerning safety and criminality.
  • Read through guidebooks, visit websites or get involved in online communities to get answers to these questions.
  • If you found good option consider the feasibility of an orientation trip.

What to do in your new home country?

  • How are you going to generate income: own business, expat, job, pension? Make an estimation of the minimum salary that is needed to live in another country with your family.
  • Check the expat policies at your current employer. If you want to start up your own business, ask for professional legal advice by a legal consultant. And get an insight into (local) insurances for business liability. 
  • What kind of activities is your partner going to undertake? Is he or she able to find a local job, are volunteer activities an option?
  • Also take into account the extra training, the necessity of learning new skills and the other (work) culture. 

When and how to inform others?

  • Discuss the plan with the others involved and respect each other’s positive and negative feelings. Write down the things you discuss, this can be useful for the process or for a later moment.
  • Involve your partner or a friend in the process from start to end. Don't forget to involve children, especially the older ones, in this process. Involve your younger children when a decision has been taken.
  • Choose someone you trust, who is critical but can motivate. Authorize this person as a signatory to sign documents when you have left, such as tax documents.
  • It can also help to talk to people who have been through the same experience.
  • After you have taken the most important decisions, inform the people that you are close to. Consider organizing an information meeting. Do not defend yourself but respect all different kinds of reactions and emotions.

If you have experience with emigration and want to share, feel free to leave a comment! Or create your own Worldsupporter account to share your experiences and read the experiences of other emigrants/expats.

SPOTLIGHT

Living Abroad: interviews and profiles of Dutch Worldsupporters abroad

Living Abroad: interviews and profiles of Dutch Worldsupporters abroad

"The Dutch" Working & Living Abroad #1: Ingrid Lommers - Spanish at Locations

"The Dutch" Working & Living Abroad #1: Ingrid Lommers - Spanish at Locations

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Who?

  • Ingrid (Ins) Lommers

Where?

  • Panama and Costa Rica

Which initiative?

  • Spanish at Locations

What?

  • Spanish Language courses, accommodation, travel & outdoor activities, volunteering

Something special?

  • Spanish courses at 5 locations: Enroll in spanish courses AND have the freedom to travel around. Five seamless schools allow you to choose your own adventure without losing academic continuity. Stay put in one place, pick your own path, or join the Travelling Spanish Classroom on a 4 week guided trip to experience true adventure-education.
  • Camping at “Gekui Pacuare River Camp”, Turrialba: 2, 3 or 4 day rafting trip on the Pacuare. It can also be part of a hiking trip. Once at the campsite, you will sleep on elevated platforms that will put you in direct contact with the sights and sounds of the tropical rain forest. Extra possibility: candlelight family style dinners!
  • Virtual Spanish Courses: Jumpstart or retain what you learned: length, location and topic of classes can be customized.

Read more

And last but not least...a little insight in 'Why'

(by: Ingrid Lommers)

After deciding I had to be a business person, make money, buy and do everything I desired, I subsequently finished business school and took a job. I was only 20 years old and one day I looked out of the windows of the fancy office of the importer/exporter company of sports shoes where I was working at the time.  I stared at a pond with ducks floating and playing around and I was actually a bit of jealous of them. I thought “is this all, is this where I am going to be the rest of my life between 8 and 5 from Monday till Friday?”. So I decided to continue studying to prepare to do something other than selling shoes. I enrolled at the University of Amsterdam to study economical development with a specialization on Latin America. As a part of writing my thesis, I went for 10 months to Surinam and learned about development issues in third world countries.  Looking back, I think, that is when I developed my “fever for the tropics“.

In 1993, I got the opportunity to go to Costa Rica, to work on a project in development aid at the National University of Costa Rica. While my work gave me good experience in development, I lost my motivation to stay in that field. I found that I would be more satisfied to work on my own projects and be able to do something to create sustainable progress. As a result, I began to invest my time in various jobs in tourism, including becoming a raft and tour guide. The culture, language, nature and people of Costa Rica touched me deeply and I decided to stay longer.

While I worked as a raft and tour guide I met Fernando, native of Turrialba, Costa Rica and we started to work and live together. When our first daughter was born in 1997, I  began to study Spanish and work at different language schools in Costa Rica. In 1998 I had the opportunity to go to Bocas del Toro – Panama to set up a school for a company established in Costa Rica. In the beginning Bocas was not known by international tourists, but little by little, the school began to grow.

I had learned some limited Spanish while being a student in Salamanca in Spain,  where I developed a love for the language. Several years later I enrolled in a Spanish school in San Jose but at that time could not afford to continue my studies. As a result, I learned Spanish the hard way, while working at my various jobs. This experience is what gave birth to the dream of Spanish at Locations, making learning Spanish affordable.

Four years later, the birth of a school in Turrialba in Costa Rica fulfilled our dream to combine Spanish classes with river adventures on the Pacuare River. Fernando had been operating a river camp there for many years. His hobby, breeding horses, turned out to be useful when we started to organize our own horse ride trips in the surroundings of Turrialba. Three years later, we opened a third branch, this time in the highland town of Boquete, Panama. This school is also called “Spanish by the River” as the town of Boquete is located near Panama´s best white water. Six years later we started two additional schools, one in Panama City and the other in Puerto Viejo – Costa Rica. The creative skills and abilities of Fernando are on display at our campuses. Coincidentally, the ages of our three daughters match the ages of our first three schools. Our three daughters and our son have been our motivation to continually work hard, improve and enjoy the schools!

Although in recent years the relationship between Fernando and me has changed, we continue to be business partners and to share a common vision regarding Spanish at Locations. New people have joined us that don’t share our history but they are realizing their own dreams within this company. Without them it would definitely not be the same! Because of them, I was able to not only finish my Master Degree in Spanish as a foreign Language, but also to enjoy what I really like to do, teach Spanish. I am fortunate to be active in the beautiful surroundings of our schools and dedicate time to other important things in my life.

"The Dutch" Working & Living Abroad #2: Juliette Kwee - Smokey Tours

"The Dutch" Working & Living Abroad #2: Juliette Kwee - Smokey Tours

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Who?

  • Juliette Kwee

Where?

  • The Philippines, Manila

Which initiative?

  • Smokey Tours

What?

  • Smokey Tours offers Slum Tours, Bicycle Tours, Market Tours & several other tours for visiting travelers & local Filipinos.

Something special?

  • Slum tour: slums are a whole other world. A world which at first glance seems so different to what the majority of the visitors are used to. We see people working hard peeling garlic, scavenging for recyclable goods and making food out of leftovers from garbage bins. Life is tough, it's dirty but it's not a depressing place. People are smiling and getting on with life. Visit one of Manila's poorest areas where people try to live and work and call home. Understand the issues that the residents face, and discover resilience in its truest form.
  • Cemetery tour: discover why some people choose to live inside a cemetery and learn about the beliefs and superstitions of Filipino's.
  • Education & skills development: Smokey Tours educates impoverished people to become professional tour leaders.Tour leaders of Smokey Tours improve their English, learn tour leading and leadership skills. 

Read more

And last but not least...a little insight in 'Why'

In January 2011, Juliette Kwee organized a photo tour for Bahay at Yaman ni San Martin de Porres. This ‘photo walk’ portrayed the way children live in the area of Tondo, specifically Smokey Mountain. 20 local photographers volunteered and donated their photographs. Juliette discovered the talents of the residents of Smokey Mountain: they tell stories about their neighbourhood with passion, pride and dignity.

The idea of a special tour was born. Juliette started recruiting and coaching potential tour leaders. To professionally develop the tours Juliette reached out to international likeminded organizations that were already offering slum tours in Brazil and India.

The Smokey Mountain tour became Smokey Tours’ signature tour (hence the name of the organization). Since the very beginning all the profit made with the Smokey Tours is donated to local NGO's. Smokey Tours now offers several different tours and keeps seeking improvement and growth opportunities.

Connecting Two Worlds (source Voluntourism.ph)

The Dutch psychologist Juliette Kwee, who has been living in the Philippines since 2008 and not new to volunteer activities, felt something stir within her during her first visit to Smokey Mountain, a poverty stricken area located in Tondo, Manila. Kwee could not help but notice the difference between Smokey Mountain and its neighboring area, Makati City. Kwee shares, “I went to Smokey Mountain and I was so touched by the community. But I also sometimes go to this posh park in Makati and I was shocked. It’s only half an hour from each other. I started thinking, ‘how can we connect this two worlds?’”

Kwee knew she has to use a tool that will appeal to Filipinos from all walks of life. She concluded: “What do Filipinos like? Filipinos like taking photos. We organized a photowalk and called some photographers to take photos of the children and to show the resiliency of the community.” The photos, which were put up in an exhibition, sent a powerful message that one could be happy without material things as long there is love, food, and the opportunity for education.

Kwee says that the special tour took shape when she worked with the Smokey Mountain residents and area officers. “I met some tanods at that time and I was amazed at how they could talk about where they’re from and what they’re doing with pride. “Why is there not a slum tour here?” she shares. Kwee sought the help of Chris Way, the co-founder of India-based Reality Tours & Travel, which won the Community Award at the World Travel and Tourism Council's (WTTC) 2015 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards Ceremony in Madrid, Spain. “I want to train people who can take their own initiative. To be empowered and to take responsibility. People are smart enough to make their own decisions,” Kwee says.

Smokey Tours has expanded its list of activities. Aside from the slum tour, tourists can now explore Manila while cycling, go to cemeteries and other local spots, and experience Old Manila. As a testament to the organization’s excellence, “Smokey Tours” has been ranked number one on TripAdvisor.

"The Dutch" Working & Living Abroad #3: Paulien & Karst - The Giggling Tree

"The Dutch" Working & Living Abroad #3: Paulien & Karst - The Giggling Tree

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Who?

  • Paulien Leisink & Karst Draaisma

Where?

  • China, Yangshuo

Which initiative?

  • The Giggling Tree

What?

  • Guesthouse accomodation close to Yangshuo (20 min bicyle ride)

Something special?

  • Cluster of authentic farmhouses: Paulien and Karst transformed a cluster of old authentic farmhouses, surrounding a courtyard, into a guesthouse in the Chinese countryside. The houses have been built with adoben which keep the rooms relatively cool in the hot summers.
  • Cookingschool: An Australian cookingexpert has set up a great cookingstudio. After a visit to the local market  you will cook 5 dishes by yourself with great instructions from the Chinese staff.
  • Local charity: The Giggling Tree and guests support Chinese people on a local scale: a local primary school, an elderly home, Chinese individuals

Read more

And last but not least...a little insight in 'Why'

Paulien and Karst travelled around the world for 2 years, working as volunteers in projects with orphans and handicapped children. They travelled from Eastern Europe to Afrika and Asia. China was the last big stop. From there they took the Trans Siberia Express, back to Holland. After 2 years, they wanted to travel again and started working as tourleaders, mostly in China.

Karst discovered a complex of old farmhouses while cycling around and saw the opportunity to start their own guesthouse, a longtime dream. It turned out that all the owners (27!!!) were willing to give the place out for rent. Negotiations could start. When all the owners were satisfied they pressed their thumb in red ink and the contract was signed.

The big metamorphosis could start: 80.000 rooftiles have been cleaned, removed, reput, walls have been broken down, rebuilt, rendered and painted, bathrooms were built, floors relayed, electricity has been put in and a watertank and a watersystem have been installed. These are just a few things that were necessary to turn this beautiful  authentic complex into a special guesthouse. Located on a splendid spot, about 5 km outside of Yangshuo in the middle of ricepaddies and Karstmountains.

Since 2012 they also opened a relaxgarden and since 2013 an outdoor swimmingpool is in use. In the Summer of 2013 Paulien and Karst made another dream come true by adopting their new son Raaf, from Ethiopia. Since September 2013 their oldest son Pelle is attending primary school in Guilin.

The Giggling Tree is managed by Dutch managers (other than Paulien and Karst) and their Chinese team. Periodically, new managers are welcomed at The Giggling Tree.

"The Dutch" Working & Living Abroad #4: Miriam Levie - TEFL in Spain & Italy

"The Dutch" Working & Living Abroad #4: Miriam Levie - TEFL in Spain & Italy

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Who?

  • Miriam Levie

Where?

  • Málaga, Spain

Which initiative?

  • TEFL-in-Spain, TEFL-in-Italy

What?

  • TEFL courses on location and online TEFL courses, Teacher Development & Spanish or Italian courses

Something special?

  • Trinity College London Certificate courses: The Trinity College London Certificate TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) is the highest TEFL qualification (same as the CELTA), validated by Trinity College London and recognised by the British Council and employers worldwide.
  • Teacher development courses: specialist course modules to improve your teaching skills and to be able to teach to various target groups
  • Career services: There is a big demand for English teachers in Spain and Italy. Compared to other European countries, the level of English is quite low, so Spanish and Italian people need to improve their English in order to find a good job in Italy or abroad.

Read more

And last but not least...a little insight in 'Why'

Miriam, nowadays Director and Course Tutor, gained her first experience in teaching English as a foreign language when she came to Spain in January 2005 to study Spanish. Spanish people have a generally low level of foreign language skills and Miriam found out there was a big demand for English teachers. First, she started giving one-on-one classes and later Miriam was offered a job at a language school, followed by a position as an in-company English teacher. She enjoyed it so much that she realised teaching foreign languages was her true vocation. Miriam understands what students are going through, because she knows exactly what it is like to learn another language. After several years of teaching Miriam wanted to further develop her skills related to the theory and practice in the area of teaching English and decided to study again. She received a Master’s Degree in Applied Linguistics at the Universidad Autónoma of Madrid. In this programme she specialised in Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Training and decided to set up a high quality TEFL school with other experienced teacher trainers.

"The Dutch" Working & Living Abroad #5: Roos Tieges & Ingrid van der Straaten - TCDF Thailand

"The Dutch" Working & Living Abroad #5: Roos Tieges & Ingrid van der Straaten - TCDF Thailand

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Who?

  • Roos Tieges
  • Ingrid van der Straaten

Where?

  • Thailand

Which Initiative?

  • TCDF, Thai Child Development Foundation
  • Eco-Logic, the 'Resort for Charity'

What?

  • The Thai Child Development Foundation (TCDF) supports local children in their development by making sure that customized medical care and education is also available to underprivileged children and children with disabilities or learning disorders.
  • Local Thai team members provide social support programs (medical care, education) together with daily life caregivers to underpriviledged children in their own village/community
  • Other projects where TCDF team and local+international volunteers work hands-on: emergenct funds, physiotherapy, nutrition programs, scholarships, occupational training center and perma culture farm, community learning center

Something special?

  • At TCDF they believe that the social outreach work can only be done well by working with local people who can develop a long-term bond of trust with the children and their caregivers through constant communication.
  • TCDF take care of children in their own community, without taking them out of their homes and never longer than needed
  • International and Thai volunteers open up the worlds of the children and the members of the forest community by sharing their (often unique!) skills and knowledge within the community learning center, yoga center and/ or on the organic farm.
  • TCDF try to limit damage to the environment. They are strict in handling garbage, reusing garbage, and recycling.
  • Eco-Logic, Resort for Charity with tourist accommodation, workshops, and tour packages, is on the same property of the Foundation. This sister company of TCDF is a Thai for profit company and is TCDF's main sponsor.

And last but not least...a little insight in 'Why'

TCDF is founded by a charitable Thai/Dutch family and has supported children in need on a direct and day to day base in Thailand since 2004. Ingrid van der Straaten has been TCDF’s full time volunteer and ambassador since the very beginning when she, and Rosalie decided to make a difference and dedicate their lives to this initiative! The other TCDF's directing founder, Rosalie Tieges, lives with her Thai family within walking distance of the Foundation; other Dutch board members live in Holland.The TCDF Community is a global network of people that believe in acting local and contributing to make a difference. The Thai board members are all people from the village including the village headman and active parents of children in the social programs.

Read more

"The Dutch" Working & Living Abroad #6: Frank Weijand - Merazonia

"The Dutch" Working & Living Abroad #6: Frank Weijand - Merazonia

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Who?

  • Frank Weijand

Where?

  • Ecuador, Mera, Amazon rainforest

Which Initiative?

  • Merazonia

What?

  • Wildlife conservation organization
  • Merazonia combines passion for nature with a professional approach on animal care and release, along with rainforest conservation and wildlife monitoring.

Something special?

  • Merazonia was truly built by volunteers for volunteers (and animals of course). Volunteers help the local team in the day to day care of the wildlife.
  • Donations are vital for the animal care and release projects of Merazonia. For the wellbeing of the animals they do not receive tourists in the reserve, nor do they get any governmental funding.
  • The World Wildlife Fund has called the area from Baños to Mera, “A Gift to the Earth” because of its beauty and biological importance to the region. 

And last but not least...a little insight in 'Why'

All founding members of Merazonia have a background in volunteering and worked as volunteers at several wildlife centres throughout the continent, before joining forces. The first work started in the fall of 2004, with every partner investing his own money in the project. Frank and his team are proud to have built this centre with their own hands, along with the many volunteers that joined them. Volunteers joined from day one in the heavy physical labor, carrying massive amounts of rocks and sand, and dragging beams through the forest. The only help they had was from a loyal workhorse Monty. Little by little the centre started to take shape. Supporting Merazonia has direct effect: with the help of volunteers and donors they implement successful and groundbreaking rehabilitation programs.

Read more

"The Dutch" Working & Living Abroad #7: Tessa de Goede de Ordoñez - Tess Unlimited

"The Dutch" Working & Living Abroad #7: Tessa de Goede de Ordoñez - Tess Unlimited

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Who?

  • Tessa de Goede de Ordoñez

Where?

  • Guatemala

Which Initiative?

  • Tess Unlimited

What?

  • Surgery of babies and children with a cleft lip and/or cleft palate, in close partnership with local hospitals, health posts and midwives throughout Guatemala
  • Other projects throughout Guatemala where Tess' team and local+international volunteers work hands-on: milk project, orthodontic care, psychological guidance, speech therapy

Something special?

  • Parents who have a child with a cleft lip or an clet palate have to try to overcome fear and their shame. Group therapy sessions, between parents of different children, also help them become more stable with their situation. Tess Unlimited provides psychological guidance for both parents and children, through experienced Guatemalan and international volunteers 
  • Campamento Sonrisas is a 10-day summer camp (yearly in November) organized especially for young adults born with a cleft lip and cleft palate. During this week they have different trips and activities to create an environment where they can share experiences, make friendships, develop social skills and have some fun. Each year Tessa and her team are looking for specialized volunteers like psychologists, speech pathologists, drama teachers (workshops) and creative volunteers

And last but not least...a little insight in 'Why'

In 2008, Tessa first discovered the beauty of South America. Not only because of its spectacular nature, but also because of the work she was doing as a volunteer. Tess began by caring for handicapped children in Peru and ended up as an English teacher in Ecuador. Eventually, she lost her heart to Guatemala. Tess perfected her Spanish and started working in a local public school and in the hospital with babies born with cleft lip and palate. This paved the way for other projects and ideas and led to the foundation of Tess Unlimited. Tessa has lived in Guatemala ever since, and she is fortunate to be able to work with a fantastic local/international team, supported by the Tess foundation based in The Netherlands.

Read more

"The Dutch" Working & Living Abroad #8: Frans Betgem - Green Trails

"The Dutch" Working & Living Abroad #8: Frans Betgem - Green Trails

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Who?

  • Frans Betgem

Where?

  • Thailand

Which Initiative?

  • Green Trails

What?

  • Green Trails: 1-2-3-+4 day(s) trekking tours, trails and exploration tours with an emphasis on and respect for local culture
  • Chiang Mai a la Carte: "umbrella" website about Chiang Mai with a focus on festivals, traditions, architecture, culture and meaningful encounters
  • Tong Bai Elephant Tour: elephant friendly day tour about the issue of the involvement of captive elephants in tourism
  • Chiang Mai on Three Wheels: Chiang Mai tours by samlor (bicycle taxi)

Something special?

  • Chiang Mai on Three Wheels, a social tourism enterprise, aims to preserve the samlor, a Chiang Mai heritage, as a means of transportation in the future. With these samlor tours they try to improve the livelihood of the taxi drivers by offering them jobs and (extra) education. In the old days, before the age of the automobile, there were hundreds of samlors in Chiang Mai. Nowadays there are less than 70.
  • Family Tours: these tours include trekking but also interactive and educational elements, with several trekking itineraries in the Chiang Dao area. This area is very suitable for family tours; there are lots of villages and lots of children.

And last but not least...a little insight in 'Why'

Frans Betgem is a Dutch national who has been living in Chiang Mai for more than 20 years. Frans' travels brought him to Southeast Asia in 1987. In 1990 he started working for Baobab Travel as a tourleader in Thailand. Frans worked for this company in Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines and Australia from 1990 until 1998. In 2012 he started his own business in Chiang Mai, Tiger Trail, nowadays re-branded as Green Trails. Green Trails commit to offer the best and most innovative cultural, outdoor and trekking tours in North Thailand. Green Trails believes in sustainable and responsible travel and always tries to create meaningful experiences, both for visitors and for the host communities. 

Read more

The World Habits & Country Customs Bundle

The World Habits & Country Customs Bundle

What are typical Asian habits, food customs and Asian philosophies?

What are typical Asian habits, food customs and Asian philosophies?

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Why this blog about habits and philosophies in Asia

I love Asia. I feel at home in Asia. I am half chinese and half dutch. I feel more at ease in filipino culture than chinese culture. I have a good friend from Japan. Throughout the years, I have tried to be open to everything Asia has to offer. To embrace Asia in my being, in my core and to understand and learn more of this continent in the world. Some of the things that really caught me...  Any Asian habits that particulary interest you? 

    Habits in China

    • Don't scoop food in your bowl for yourself, but wait for your host or hostess to do so.
    • It is impolite to eat everything in your bowl; leave a small amount as a sign of respect.
    • Slurping while eating is not rude in China, but rather a sign that you like the food. Let's slurp.
    • Never refuse an offer to have some food or drinks.
    • Red is the color of happiness, do not wear it at funerals.
    • When you have tea, make sure the teapot points at the other tables, not at a person on your table, that doesn't bring luck.
    • Squat toilets, yes they are still widely used all over China.
    • Public spitting is still a habit for some people. 
    • Drinking hot water is normal and considered healthy.
    • Early rising is a habit for many chinese people and to practice tai chi.

    Habits in Indonesia

    • Gotong royong is the spirit of communal cooperation and mutual assistance. It's a deeply ingrained value in Indonesian society and is often seen in neighborhood clean-up efforts or helping neighbors in need.
    • When having a meal together it is customary to wait for the host to start eating before you dig in. It is also considered impolite to refuse food that is offered to you. If you are full, you can take a small portion and say thank you.
    • Eating together is a time for families and friends to connect and socialize. Rice is a staple food in Indonesia and is usually eaten with every meal without rice it is not considered a meal. It's not uncommon for Indonesians to eat with their hands.
    • Life Cycle Ceremonies happen around various stages of life. Tedak Siten, a Javanese ceremony, celebrates a baby's first steps. Metatah, a Balinese ritual, involves the filing of a child's teeth to mark their passage into adulthood.
    • Batik - is an Indonesian fabric with cultural significance. Different patterns have different meanings and are worn for different occasions.

    Habits in Japan

    • Bonsai - Japanese people recreate nature in miniature, this specific horticulture is called bonsai. 
    • Ikigai - What is worth living? What is it worth coming out of bed for? What drives you? What inspires you?
    • Kintsugi (golden joinery) - is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum, As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise. You can buy Kintsugi kits in the Netherlands, it is in my opinion a very nice way to glue broken things, with golden glue. 
    • Kirei - is an activity. You look at all your possessions and decide what you want to keep and what can go away. It is an emotional literal clean-up and clean-up action. By cleaning up, you reflect on your past and future.
    • Kurashi - translates to “way of life” or “the ideal way of spending our time,” but like many words lost in translation, it means more than that. If you haven’t tidied using the KonMari Method, focusing on your kurashi will motivate you to start.
    • Mottainai - (もったいない or 勿体無い) It is a term of Japanese origin that has been used by environmentalists. The term in Japanese conveys a sense of regret over waste; the exclamation "Mottainai!" can translate as "What a waste!" Mottainai is the feeling of sadness you have when something hasn't reached its full potential. Recycle and repair. It's all about the love you have for your old stuff.
    • O-hanami - In april are the cherry blossom viewing parties.
    • Omikuji - These are slips of paper that tell your fortune, divided into kichi (good luck) and kyo (bad luck). Depending on the shrine there are various grades of good and bad luck in between. One theory says if you read it without showing anyone else and then tie it to the branch of a tree in the shrine grounds before going home, even bad luck is converted into good luck.
    • Omoiyari - Omoi is thinking, memories and emotion. Yaru is doing. It is empathy, freely translated, it is on the other hand more ordinary and special. It's just because it's part of everyday life in Japan, not just an empathetic reaction. It is special because it makes compassion a part of the community. How do you master omoi? Start with yourself, focus inwards. If you recognize and understand your own feelings, you can translate that into compassion for others. The essence of omoiyari is that you are aware, of other people in life. You behave in a way that is pleasant for others.
    • Shintoism - Shinto is the early religion of Japan. It is a combination of two chinese characters, which means: "The way of the gods." In Shintoism the Kami are being worshipped. Kami are gods of nature. Some kami are bound to be found in certain places, others are united with bigger objects and phenomena. Amaterasu is for example the god of the sun. Marie Kondo the "spark-joy guru of tidying" and her method, the KonMari method, is based on Shintoism. Keeping the house tidy is part of the practice.
    • Shinrin-yoku - I have sent my japanese friend once a photo of me snow bathing (in a bathing suit swimming in the snow) and asked her the japanese term for snow bathing. There is no japanese term for it. And I thought there was! The Japanese have a term for forest bathing: Shinrin-yoku. To be in the forest with the trees, will make sure you will be re-energized and that you can feel your own core.
    • Sumo, Judo and Karate
    • Tea ceremony - The aim of the tea ceremony (in a small space) is to reduce daily life to the barest essentials and idealize form. Behind this idea is to intensify the brief time spent together as a moment to be cherished. Tea utensils, the preparation of tea and the tea ceremony etiquette is all very important. When you will experience a true tea ceremony it is advised to prepare yourself to understand more beforehand of this Japanese ceremony.
    • Tenei- It is about patience and respect of the daily things. Try to find harmony in the day to day activities, to be correct and punctual towards others and to be persistent of the things which are important to you, even when it is not easy. 
    • Tokimeki - As explained by the latest Marie Kondo on Netflix or in her book, do what you like and what you think is important in your life…
    • Tsukumogami - According to Shinto animism, some inanimate objects could gain a soul after 100 years of service, a concept know as tsukumogami.
    • Omiyage and Temiyage - Omiyage and Temiyage are Japanese names for two kinds of gifts. Omiyage are souvenirs you bring home from a trip. Temiyage are thank-you gifts you bring when you visit someone. Japanese people have the habit of buying plenty of gifts for their friends. As a foreigner it is appreciated when you bring Omiyage and Temiyage.
    • Wabisabi 侘 寂 - A lot of things around me are Wabisabi, especially when you try to use things as long as possible. And when you are open to see things in the light they are, and not everything has to be perfect around you. Life in it's imperfection.
    • Zakka - is to be grateful for the normal, simple things that make life special. For example your favorite sweater of coffee cup.

    Habits in Mongolia

    • There are certain habits in the ger, the yurt
    • Sleep - Always sleep with your feet facing the door, never toward the altar.
    • Whistling - Whistling in a ger is considered rude.
    • Be aware that fire is sacred to Mongolians. Do not throw garbage into the fire.
    • Elders - Always let elders lead the way and do not sit with your back or feet to the altar.
    • Hospitality - When you are offered food or drink, accept it, even if it is just a little. Use your right hand, with your left hand for support. It is customary to give small gifts to your hosts, such as fruit, candy or alcohol.
    • Holding a cup - Hold a cup underneath, not by the rim.
    • Say no in an indirect way, that is polite.

    Habits in the Philippines

    • Use of 'face' in communication - Briefly raise eyebrows to confirm or to mean yes to a question and also used as a brief greeting (all silent).
    • Indicating direction by pursing lips and turning head in direction, all silent as well.
    • Baon - refers to the monetary allowance or food normally provided by the parent to a child who goes to school.
    • Bayanihan - When a house is broken, the whole community helps fixing the house. You might have seen the pictures of a group of people carrying a hut, when it needs to be transferred. It is a true community spirit. You talk, you help and protect the people around you. It is team effort, only possible when done with a group. It is truly a beautiful thing. 
    • Cockfighting is a popular national sport in big and small arenas all over the country. Goal is to gamble (win money) and eat the roosters who lost the game.
    • Finding your spot - Recently I was back in the Philippines, taking public transportation. When you would like to take your window seat, be reminded you have to climb over other peoples lap. Squeeze in between the seat in front of you and the seat with the passenger on it. Enough space, a little intimate but do-able, it has something about it.
    • Pacquiao - Filipinos adore boxer (and politician) Manny 'Pagman' Pacquiao.
    • Pagmamano - Children take your hand, put it on their forehead, as a way of greeting you. It is an act of respect. The child says mamo po, can I have your hand please? Most of the time, they say God bless (you), when put on their forehead.
    • Pasalubong -In the Philippines it is common when you have been on a trip, that you bring a token of love back to the people who stayed home. It is a filipino tradition of travellers bringing gifts from their destination to people back home. It can be anything, something to eat or to drink is always a welcoming gift, since filipinos love eating! It is actually not about what you bring, it is something that you have brought, so the other person knows you thought about them while away. The first time, I heard bring pasalubong, from multiple people, and didnt know how to act. When you see souvenir stores in the Philippines, it has the sign pasalubong. So now you are prepared.... just bring something back... 
    • Noise and music - Filipinos are crazy about high volumes and karaoke (called videoke) and music from the 70s like The Carpenters. There was one big world hit: Anak by Freddie Aguilar in 1978.
    • Remedio - Is fixing things, even though you dont know how to fix it. The filipinos use remedio. Remedio used to drive me crazy. It is fixing things with what you have, in a creative way, and if it works again... that will be clear in the near future. You have to be flexible to embrace remedio.
    • Squeeze - Squeeze your but, in the jeepney, also when you think it is already full. There will be place, when you squeeze. When you are for example sitting at the window in an airplane and you have two filipinos beside you, you squeeze your body in and out going to the aile. It is not a habit to stand up, when you can squeeze, when used to it, it works perfectly fine.
    • Volume - Pump up the jam, pump up the volume. Filipinos love loud music, loud talking, as long as it is lively. The high amounts of volume makes you feel festive and alive, even when there is not a party.
    • 'Whitening' products such as soap, make-up, deodorant are very popular, to stimulate white skin.

    Habits in South Korea

    • In South Korea, and other places I have seen it in Asia, they brush their teeth, three times a day after a meal. People bring portable toothbrushes and you often see people brushing their teeth in the washroom in their office.
    • Family is everything and the eldest son carries the responsibility of the family.
    • Kimchi is a national dish. People make kimchi at home. In the supermarkets a lot of dark bordeau red buckets can be found, so you don't see the stains of the herbs going to be fermented with the vegetables.
    • I personally love banchan. When you order Korean food it is likely you get a lot of different small bowls, (most of the time vegetarian) side dishes. For me as a dutch person, I can do without the maindish, since banchan is so delicious.

    Habits in Taiwan

    • Politeness - Taiwanese people are very polite and respectful. It is customary to bow when greeting someone and to say “thank you” and “please.”
    • Respectfulness - Taking off shoes when entering a house: In Taiwan, it is customary to take off your shoes before entering someone's house. This is done as a sign of respect and to keep the house clean.
    • Respect for elders is considered vital, as is loyalty toward the family.
    • Leave some food on your plate - It shows appreciation for the amount of food served and is considered polite.
    • Cleanliness - Using toilet paper with the right hand: In Taiwan, toilet paper is used with the right hand, while the left hand is considered unclean.
    • Bubble tea is a Taiwanese invention, same like stinky tofu. That stinks.
    • KTV – Karaoke is a popular waste of time or night.
    • Convenience stores – Open 24/7, with a variety of food, drinks and everyday items available.
    • Gifts – Knives and scissors are not appreciated and will be seen as severing a relationship. Clocks and handkerchiefs are best avoided, that will be connected to death and funerals. Check the label: made in Taiwan is not an interesting gift and the recipient from Taiwan already has (all) things made in Taiwan.

    Habits in Thailand

    • Thai people will talk about architecture, dance, festivals and food when you ask about their culture. 
    • Sanuk is a term to express that everything should have something sanuk. Something which is worth doing. The sense or approach with a little playfulness. Even work can be sanuk, singing while working, cracking jokes in combination with the thai smile. 
    • Saving face is important as is in many Asian countries. The habit is to avoid confrontation, and not to embarrass yourself or others.
    • Social rank plays an important part in society. It goes with obligations, obedience, caring for, respect, sharing of wealth. The "big person or senior" pays the bill when dining or entertaining. The person with the most social rank pays for everyone.

    Did you know that.... 

    Asia is the biggest continent in the world. It is huge, this is the list of most Asian countries (including the Middle East)

     

    What are typical European habits, food customs and remarkable philosophies?

    What are typical European habits, food customs and remarkable philosophies?

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    Habits in Albania

    • Superstitousness - Albanian are very superstitious people. The evil eye is a superstitious belief. The evil eye means that someone could become jealous or envious of you and your family and do a black magic ritual to bring you bad luck.
    • Other Albanian beliefs are don't point at a graveyard with your finger.
    • One for good luck: Throwing salt or sugar to the ground will bring good luck.
    • When you enter a friend's house step inside with your right foot first.
    • When you are in Albania, you can see Dordolec - That is a protective doll or stuffed animal placed on a house or property. It acts as a charm to ward off the evil eye – a curse believed to be brought on by envy. Essentially, it's a decoy to attract envious gazes, the homeowner's possessions will be protected from misfortune this way. Or Dordolec can also mean "scarecrow" which protects crops from birds.
    • Besa - An unique concept which means "keeping the promise" and forms the structure of Albanian social life. It emphasizes honor, loyalty and hospitality. It forms the moral code that guides interactions in daily life.

    Habits in Austria

    • People in Austria love their sweets, breakfast most of the time consists of sweet breads, or with honey or jam. Apfelstrudel is an all time Austrian favorite served with coffee.
    • It is normal to drink alcohol in Austria, also during lunchtime. Schnaps is a common drink, it is a drink with fruits, without any additional sugar in it.
    • To add (flat or sizzling) water with the wine, literally is very common. 
    • Costume is socially completely accepted in everyday life in Austria. Besides the famous Lederhosen and Dirndls, there are many other forms of authentic costume that you can find, not only in villages but also in cities. By the way the woman's apron is tied, you can tell if she is single or married.
    • In 1685 the first coffeehouse was opened. Austrian coffeehouses are famous. Did you know that Vienna's coffee houses are officially recognized cultural heritage and have also been recognized as such with UNESCO.
    • Yodeling is an ancient tradition found not only in Austria, but also in other Alpine countries. The history of yodeling goes back to prehistoric times, making it one of the oldest means of communication. With yodeling, people communicate with each other between two different mountains, always switching between chest and head voice. 
    • Almabtrieb - Once the days get shorter and temperatures drop, it is time for the shepherds and shepherdesses to take the livestock back from the alpine pastures to the stables. During Almabtrieb, people celebrate the success of summer and the fact that the animals have returned safely. There are parades with decorated cattle, farmers' markets and live music. Almabtrieb takes place every year between September and October.

    Habits in France

    • France is the land of liberté, égalité and fraternité. And every year the French show this by going on strike if they disagree with something. This often takes place in March and April. 
    • La Bise - It is quite normal in France to greet someone with some kisses. In some areas they give two kisses, in others even four. Moreover, this is also regularly done when you see someone for the first time and want to introduce yourself.
    • Both at noon and in the evening they eat warm food, and often go for three courses. It is therefore quite normal at lunch to order an appetizer and dessert, and it is certainly customary to drink a glass of wine with it. 
    • Think France, think cheese, baguette, madeleine cookies, champagne, escargos, crepes all bought on the marche (market).
    • Apéro: Around drinking time (between 6 and 8 p.m.), the terraces fill up with people enjoying an "apéro." This is a time to relax with a drink and some tasty snacks.
    • Chansons -  French music, or chanson, is loved around the world. Enjoy the beautiful melodies and lyrics of artists such as Edith Piaf, Jullette Greco and Charles Aznavour.

    Habits in Poland

    • Food, food, food and food. Love goes through the stomach. A lot of plates and a lot of food is meant as a warm welcome. Food like bigos, zurek, rosol and pierogi. There are a lot of choices of sausages and ham.
    • Poland is very proud of their culture and traditions. 
    • Wodka is the drink of the country, and special wodka bars. Many wodka with spices and flavors are served.
    • Wigilia (Christmas Eve) is an important celebration. 12 dishes without meat stands for the 12 apostles.
    • Name days are celebrated, you can compare it to celebrate a birthdays. Each day of the year is associated with specific names (of saints). Name days are celebrated with parties and family of course.
    • Kapcie are offered to you, once you enter a house or a hotel. Kapcie are your house shoes. You dont want to walk around in your shoes or on your socks.
    • Family is important, time is spent with family. 

    Habits in Portugal

    • The Portuguese are traditional and conservative. Innovation and major changes within the family or community are not easily accepted. Life in Portugal revolves around the family and even now in the 21st century, old customs and traditions can be seen daily.
    • Fado is a typical Portuguese music movement from the 19th century and the life song of the locals. While Fado used to be popular only in bars and brothels of the poorer neighborhoods in Lisbon and Coimbra, nowadays it is very popular and you come across it in many places.
    • Typically Portuguese are azulejos, Portuguese tiles that you find a lot on and in railway stations, churches and houses. Often they are blue and white, but they can also be richly colored.
    • Ginja - The liqueur is always served in a shot glass, with a spirit at the bottom. 
    • Port is also a typical Portuguese drink.
    • A lot of fish is eaten, which is not surprising given the coastline of 850 kilometers. Popular fish dishes are the bacalhau recipes used to prepare dried cod. It is said that there is a bacalhau recipe for every day of the year. Besides dried cod, grilled sardines and caldeirada, stew with potato and different types of fish, are favorites. The Portugese love their meat as well: chicken piri-piri or arroz de sarrabulho (rice with pigblood).
    • Most towns and villages in Portugal have their own traditional festas or romarias. Romarias are local religious festivals that honor the saints of a particular area in Portugal.
    • Time is relative and being late for appointments is very common. 

    Habits in Spain

    • Siesta-Nap and relax time (shops are generally closed) when the sun is shining between 2.30 and 4.30 PM.
    • Tapas-Shared with drinks and in company, small dishes. In many ways served from the counter or from the menu: grilled pimiento, manchego, chorizo, patatas bravas, tortilla.
    • Dinner is eaten late during the evening, 9 PM is general time to start. 
    • Flamenco-Dance from Andalusia, with costumes and music with a soul.
    • Eat a grape, every hour the clock makes a sound on new year's eve. Twelve times and it will bring you prosperity.
    • Kisses (two) are common as a greeting, also when you don't know each other well.
    • Manana, manana means tomorrow, in general do not stress out and take it easy. Do not worry the Spanish are not so strict with their punctuality, being late is common.
    • Cursing and talking loud is part of the culture. Often you can just follow conversations on the street.
    What are typical Mediterranean habits, food customs and remarkable philosophies?

    What are typical Mediterranean habits, food customs and remarkable philosophies?

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    The Mediterranean Sea is surrounded by 16 countries. Of these 16 countries, 6 are in Europe, 5 are in Africa, 4 are in Asia. The 6 European countries that border the Mediterranean are Spain, France, Monaco, Italy, Greece, and the island country of Malta and Turkey. The 5 African countries are Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco; the 4 Asian countries are Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Cyprus. Since the Mediterranean area is quite big, it is difficult to generalise, but let's try for a change.

    To me the Mediterranean is famous for food. Often people speak about the Mediterranean diet. A Mediterranean diet consists food that is found in the region like fresh vegetables, local herbs and spices, fish and seafood, lentils, poultry, eggs, cheese, yoghurt, nuts. Consume with (a moderate amount of) wine and plenty of water.  Many nutrition experts recommend the Mediterranean diet for health reasons. There is hardly any red meat in the diet.

    Habits in Cyprus

    • Family is a priority in Cyprus. Parents take care of their children. When parents grow old, children will take care of them. Old people take care of their grandchildren. Family is everything!
    • People Cyprus are generally slow and they postpone things until the next day. Nobody is in a hurry and try to enjoy every minute of life.
    • The meze is a selection of small dishes, like tapas. The meze is a good formula to enjoy multiple flavors and to socialize over a long meal.
    • Some people in Cyprus believe in the evil eye, which brings bad luck, there are charms to keep you protected.

    Habits in Egypt

    • The hot climate has defined the Egyptians' national character - calmness. People in Egypt like to take it easy. They are often late and spend a lot of time to make a decisions. Non-punctuality and slowness are justified by the habit of living by the "Egyptian time". It is from the Mediterranean habit to relax. Egyptians' favorite word is "Bukra", which means "tomorrow". Which reminds me of mañana mañana.

    Habits in France

    • Fresh and homemade are the two words that describe home cooking in France. Most meals are freshly prepared meals. Everything made from scratch from salad dressings to bread. It is a daily practice for many Europeans. The French are famous for drinking wine with their dinner. All in moderation, then it is even good for health!

    Habits in Greece

    • It is recently I have visited Greece. Greece was on my bucket-list. Greece with an interesting history. What I remember is that people in Greece consume greens as well as herbs numerous times. They love to drink herbal drinks such as chamomile, Greek mountain tea, and add thyme and oregano to their meal every day.
    • A Mediterranean habit is everything in moderation and it was coined by the Greek philosopher Cleobulus. It is key in living well.
    • Messimeri - is the Greek siesta, from 2PM - 5PM. Shops are closed, people are eating lunch or sleeping. 
    • A Greek year revolves around saints days and festivals. Most people are named after a saint, areas, stations, boats you name it. Did you know that name days are more important than birthdays? And of course take the Mediterranean habit to celebrate it all!
    • Panigiria is a celebration where everyone/the whole village comes together to celebrate. Music, food (souvlaki), the syrto, the sirtaki and other dances are ingredients of this celebration. 
    • The Greeks eat late, around 9, 10 or even 11 PM with a lot of ouzo (anis drink with 40% alcohol) and cozy times around the dining table.
    • The Greek used to throw their plates on the floor after the meal. This tradition is typically Greek, but already forbidden. It is dangerous because of the shreds flying around. When you see plates flying around, that might be because the restaurant has a permit. 
    • Olive oil and olive trees are found all over Greece. The Greek love their olive oil.
    • Mezedes - are the Greek tapas. Keftedes, salad, calamaris, souvlaki, octopus, spanakopita (spinach and feta in dough).

    Habits in Israel

    • Israeli diet is considered the healthiest of the world. It totally fits the Mediterranean diet, it is the Mediterranean diet! A lot of vegetables, lemon, chickpeas, moderate amounts of dairy and meat, and all with olive oil. All meals are served in small portions. 

    Habits in Italy

    • I remember my time in Italy with huge meals, of multiple courses, hours and hours spent around the table dining with friends and family. One specific ingredient used in Italy is olive oil. Healthy to the max, used in small portions. 

    Habits in Malta 

    • Daily life in Malta is very laid back. No one seems to ever be in a rush.
    • Many locals enjoy good conversation over a coffee. Malta is a very much family-orientated island, and you can see families spending time together.
    • It is too hot during the day, especially in summer, when the sun is high on the horizon, so the shops are closed and people are resting.

    Habits in Monaco

    • Monacan habits are also connected to food! Daily eating habits reflect a Mediterranean heritage. French and Italian influences can be found in the local recipes. Breakfast is very small, but lunch and dinner often have multiple courses.

    Habits in Morocco

    • Morocco has a small part of the country, which is on the Mediterranean coast. You will find Mediterranean habits in Morocco. Family is for most Moroccans is the most important element in life. It is family before work, friends and sometimes even marriage. Many Moroccans live with their families before and after marriage. The topic family is a populair topic to talk about. It is normal to inquire about details of family relationships of a person you don't know.
    • The people in the country are in general warm, open and do not have any inhibitions. A guest is a gift from Allah. People are likely to invite you to their homes. 
    • Dine and feed your guests even if you are starving is a proverb. The people are generous and will likely send you home stuffed and full. 

    Habits in Spain

    • Flamengo is the example of exercise in a fun way, while dancing. Joy and sorrow threaten to overwhelm you. The raw passion of flamengo can bring you to another world. Get transformed as well and listen to:
    • Pata Negra, Blues de la fontera (1987)
    • Chambao, Flamenco chill (2002)
    • Every one takes naps, the so called siesta. Shops are closed, people eat with family and friends and take a nap afterwards. The nap has the effect that you can't sleep early, so you work until later in the evening, since you had a siesta. You have dinner later and you sleep later.
    • Mañana mañana is a word from the Spanish language that means tomorrow and morning. This word describes the period of time between midnight and noon. It means it is done sometime tomorrow, which means no stress. Take it easy. Enjoy life and relax when possible.

    Please help me adding

    • Algeria
    • Libya
    • Syria
    • Lebanon
    • Tunisia
    What are typical Scandinavian habits, food customs and remarkable philosophies?

    What are typical Scandinavian habits, food customs and remarkable philosophies?

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    Why habits?

    For a while now, I am inspired by all kinds of ways of living... Hence this magazine about Scandanavian Habits. I wish you can add as well. You hear more and more about all kinds of Scandinavian habits. All kind of different habits or way of dealing with life, that are interesting. What do you think?

    Habits in Denmark

    Hygge

    • The danish word Hygge is impossible to translate, same as the dutch word Gezelligheid. What is the difference between Hygge and Gezelligheid, from my point of view? I think Hygge you are. It is a way of life, the way you live your life, instead of a way of making a sort of atmosphere. Gezelligheid can be made or the atmosphere is already with you, and thus as well a part of you. The dutch use the term Gezelligheid more of an atmosphere. It is not a reflection of you. Hygge is a mentality, a part of the danish identity. You will sit cosy at the couch with your thick socks, with a cup of Moon tea, in total harmony with yourself and the surroundings. You are, and you are not making an atmosphere. Not sure if I am right. What do you think?
    • "Hygge is een toestand die je ervaart als je in harmonie bent met jezelf, je echtgenoot, de belastingdienst en je ingewanden". - Tove Ditlevsen

    Habits in Finland

    Jokamiehen oikeudet

    • Jokamiehen oikeudet is common in Finland. They have a concept called ‘Everyman’s rights’, it allows everyone to roam freely in nature, camp, eat and pick berries and mushrooms anywhere in forests. How nice is that? As long as it all causes no damage or disturbance to nature or the landowner. 

    Sisu

    • Sisu is the national character of the people in Finland. It is determination, interior gutts that comes from inside. What else can it be, living in a dark and cold country? Does sisu also apply to where you are from?

    Habits in Iceland

    • Loud Sniffing - Sniffing in Iceland is not unusual, it's considered normal there. Blowing your nose is seen as impolite.
    • Dining etiquette - Talking with your mouth full, reaching out to the other side of the table, on top of someone else’s plate, eating quickly, using toothpicks is considered as normal dining etiquette. Same as obtaining a second without being offered is normal. Leaving the table before everyone is done, and bringing your plate to the kitchen is also normal.
    • Soaking in hotsprings - Icelanders take full advantage of their abundant hot springs. Public pools and hot tubs are a common sight, and soaking naked is a daily social activity for many.
    • Strong Naming Traditions - Icelanders have patronymic surnames, meaning their last name reflects their father's name.You either have the family name with -son or -daughter (dóttir) behind it.

    Habits in Norway

    Friluftsliv

    • Frilufsliv is the concept of an outdoor lifestyle. Rejuvinate in nature. Go on a date in nature. Walk, hike up the mountain, ski before work. Walking on sundays is a common habit. You get the point. 

    Helgefylla, Julebord, Afterski

    • Drinking alcohol in Norway is very expensive. So Norwegians specify the time, when alcohol is being consumed. The specific time in the weekends is known as Helgefylla. During holidays, at a Christmas party is Julebord, or after a day of skiing the so called Afterski. We call it Apresski, the drinking after skiing, but can be every day, we don't go skiing that often.... In Norway when it is alcohol-time, a lot goes down the throat. 

    Kaffepause

    • Coffee is the popular. Norway has a high number of amount of coffee drunk per person every year. Coffee in the morning, coffee in the afternoon, coffee in the evening. Coffee, coffee and coffee. With or without a cinnamon bun.

    Kos or koselig

    • What is kos? How is it done? It is like hygge, it can be practiced alone or with others. Inside your home or outside your home. In your bed, beside a fire place, on the couch, in a cafe, in the forest, on the beach. Actually anywhere cosy. Add a good book or movie, cookies and a few candles and you are totally koselig.

    Habits in Sweden

    Dostadning

    • Have you heard of the ritual Döstädning? It is called death cleaning. Cleaning everything up, before you die, so others won't be hassled with your mess. It is a good way of saying goodbye to things, to share memories and to give away stuff which are important to you to others you love and share the story behind things. 

    Fika

    • The Swedisch term Fika is having coffee or tea is a phenomena. It is part of life, an important time of day. Hanging out with friends and get to know each other. A common time to fika is 10 am or 3 pm. You can have tea or coffee or even something else. And a cinnamon bun is part of the deal. Different right? For me, a cinnamon bun is a whole meal. In the Netherlands we have cake when it is someones birthday, or eat a cookie together. Homemade cookies are still special, since not everyone has time to bake. What is your take on Fika?

    Fredags mys

    • Friday cosy or fredags mys is a popular concept in Sweden. It is eating comfort food, like pizza and chips. Wow, such a nice concept it is the dutch borrel, might be a little the same?

    Lagom

    • Just read a whole book about the concept of lagom. It is the Swedish way of life. Lagom is a balancing act, it’s a desire for the good doing everything just right. Lagom is an experience, art and a lifestyle. It is the design, interior decoration, architecture and nature.
    World cultures, customs, habits and philosophies - WorldSupporter Theme

    World cultures, customs, habits and philosophies - WorldSupporter Theme

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    Habits, customs and philosophies from all around the world

    Table of contents

    • What are habits and customs?
    • What are typical Asian habits, food customs and philosophies in Asia?
    • What are typical European habits, food customs and philosophies in Europe?
    • What are typical Latin habits, food customs and philosophies in South America?
    • What are typical Mediterranean habits, food
    ........Read more
    Checklist setting up a project abroad

    Checklist setting up a project abroad

    lifting ws

    Questions before setting up a project abroad

    • Are you willing to commit yourself for a long time?
    • Do you have enough of basic finances to start your NGO?
    • Do you have enough time to keep coordinating things and can you get help of the people around you?
    • Are you willing to ‘sacrifice’ your vacations the following years to visit your project?

    The idea

    • Are you going to set up your own project or are you going to cooperate with an existing local project/organisation that you want to support?
    • Are you aware of the local needs and practices?
    • Do you have enough support for your idea on the local level?
    • What will you do if you want to stop after a few years and in Holland they don’t want to prolong your idea?
    • What will happen at the local level then?
    • Can the project go on without your money and efforts and where it get its financial resources from?

    Research

    • Check which organisations/persons are already active on the area of your concern or a comparable idea
    • Check which foreign organizations are active near the location of your project and/or in the area of your concern.
    • Write down what your plan is. Think about:
      • The motive and the goal
      • The activities and the target
      • What stages your project needs to pass (from the start), what you want to accomplish and the things you want to accomplish in the long run
      • The cooperation with partners
      • The budget and how you are going to finance it (where will the money come from and what is the alternative plan if a financing organization won’t pull through).
      • The evaluation and the after-care (you will have to clarify your financial spendings to grant givers or donors).

    Plan your project

    • Make your organization legal (for example a foundation) or search for an existing organization, because that way it is easier to receive grants.
    • Make a protocol. You can register the protocols at the notary. The costs will be between € 350,- and 500,-. After that you have to subscribe your foundation at the commercial of the Chamber of Commerce. For that you’ll have to pay a yearly amount of € 20,- or 30,-.
    • If you would like to receive some legal advice or assistance: JoHo cooperates with an experienced legal advisor, who has monthly hours for this kind of things.

    Finance your project

    Money to finance your new project can come from:

    • donors: set up information activities to gain support for your organization
    • local firms: approach firms in your local network
    • grants: big NGO’s have special “grantcounters” for local initiatives, but there are also different smaller options for grants.
    • activities that bring in money: set up a tournament with your sports club, organize a benefit concert

    Tips 

    • Transport: transport of products will not be financed. Only NCDO potentially finances transport costs as part of a project. Transport of products often seems a good idea, because some products are cheap and plenty in our society, but often de transport costs are so high that the transport eventually is more expensive than to buy the products locally. By buying from locals the local economy is also boosted.
    • Orphanages: The financial supporting organizations are very reluctant concerning the financing of orphanages. Orphanages are an expensive way of helping orphans to have a place to sleep, because it costs a lot to build and exploitate an orphanage. You have to be able to guarantee that there is staff, money for food and education for the kids, the electricity bills can be paid etc. Furthermore, the housing of orphans in orphanages is mostly not the best way to solve the problem. (as opposed to staying with family, other inhabitants of their village etc).
    • Making movies, documentaries and books: these productions are often expensive, so it’s important to be able to answer the following questions positively if you want to ask for grants for these kind of projects: Is it clear what problem you want to show? Does the production suggest a solution? At what kind of audience does the production aim? Is the audience willing to receive the information the production will show them?
    • Once you are receiving grants from a financing organization, you sometimes can also recieve assistance with your project. The assistance contains for example trainings and workshops or sometimes the connection of your project with an existing partner of the financing organization in the local country. The assistance with projects is different for every organization. You can inform about this at the organization itself.

     

    Emigreren en vertrekken naar het buitenland - WorldSupporter Theme

    EXPLAINED

    Emigration checklist for financial matters

    Emigration checklist for financial matters

    emigration and finance

    1. Make use of a financial advisor

    • Discuss your current financial situation and financial contracts.
    • Gain advice about fiscal matters and sorting things out with the tax authorities (especially in the case where your go abroad as an entrepreneur or if you keep property in your country of residence after emigration). Make use of any tax rebate.
    • Get advice about your salary and where this will be deposited or get information about the consequences of your pension.

    2. Check means of payments & exchange rates/currency

    • Get an insight into how you pay for things in your new home country (cash, debit card, credit card, cheques).
    • Get familiar with new banknotes/coins and exchange rates.
    • Get in contact with the creditcard company to change the creditcard currency to that of your new home country. 
    • Get an insight into the transfer of money to and from abroad when you think you will make regular international transactions.

    3. Get in touch with your bank(s) 

    • Be informed about the consequences of emigration on credit cards, current accounts or savings deposits.
    • Are there continuous costs/accounts: arrange an authorized overdraft to someone you trust. Discuss this with your nominated signatory and give him/her restricted access to your finances. 
    • Convert your bank account into a nonresident bank account and terminate direct debit on time.
    • When stopping back account, hand in any bank cards.
    • Get advice about opening a new bank account in your new home country.
    • Get advice from your bank or financial advisor about investment funds.

    4. Get an insight into money lending issues

    • Gain information about terminating a mortgage.
    • Make use of experienced mediators, definitely when you are not yet familiar with financial and business related contracts in your new home country.
    • If you need extra loans, gain information about lenders.
    • Round off running debts and obligations before leaving.
    • Ask for experiences of other people who have emigrated to your new home country. 
    Emigration and living abroad checklist for legal and insurance matters

    Emigration and living abroad checklist for legal and insurance matters

    checklist legal matters

    1. Make use of a legal advisor

    • A scan of your juridical status and the possible risks abroad may be advisable.
    • Check the consequences for inheritance tax, family law, succession rights and matrimonial properties.
    • Possibly get a review of your new international contract (mind the differences in labour law).
    • Check our blog 'How do you assess the reliability of an international insurer?' (in Dutch)

    2. Look into the visa requirements & start the visa procedure

    • Expand the basic inventory that you made in the orientation phase.
    • Use online communities and forums, check recent experiences from people who requested the visa and have the same nationality as you do. Double check their advice.
    • Check for everyone if they need a work permit or residence permit, if they meet the requirements for that and which documents are necessary.
    • Some countries have extra requirements, such as medical clearances or police certificates.
    • Arrange a definitive contract or proof of employment with your future employer.
    • Contact the consulate or embassy before you emigrate and (double) check the current state of (visa) affairs.
    • Download all required documents and read the notices.
    • Plan way ahead, visa procedures can take long, up to several years (be flexible in purchasing/selling housing, finding temporary housing etc.).
    • Consider using a visa service company, especially for popular emigration countries.

    3. Check which documents you need to legalize

    • Find out if your new country has a treaty with your native country.
    • Find out which documents need translation and into which language.
    • Find out which documents you need to legalize.
    • Provide birth certificates, marriage certificates, evidence of (special) (work) skills, diplomas, recommendation letters.
    • Start on time.

    4. Check your insurance policies and ask for advice

    • Create an overview of your current policies, contract terms, contact information.
    • Ask about the consequences of your emigration with regards to current insurance policies and make sure that you terminate them in time.
    • Make sure that you terminate home insurances, property insurances, car insurances etc. at the correct time: not too early (not insured), not too late (double costs).
    • Read up on (international) health insurances. Find orientation on www.expatinsurances.org.
    • Get information from an insurance expert about:
      • Ending your current health insurance.
      • Whether your new country has treaties with your home country.
      • Whether to get local insurance or not.
      • Whether the insurance provided by your local employer provides enough coverage.
      • Getting international health insurance.
    • Start on time, mindful of  how long medical checks can take to complete.

    4. How to prepare documents?

    • Check the validity of all passports. Or arrange passports for family members with a different kind of ID.
    • Also bring: passport photos, drivers licenses (possibly a temporary international driver's license), birth certificates, marriage certificates, last wills, documents on euthanasia, police certificates, divorce papers, death certificates (if your previous partner died), recommendation letters, diplomas, resume/CV, medical files, evidences of being creditworthy, school files, insurance papers, student ID's, medicine recipes and proof of the vaccinations you had.
    • Make an easy-to-find archive for every family member with (copies of) personal documents.
    • Make sure you know about recent developments concerning double nationalities and find out how to extend your passport in your new home country.
    • Consider using an online/digital safe or cloud functionality and give access to your lawyer or someone you trust.
    • Gather receipts of the properties you take with you (proof you own them already, to avoid breaking import laws).
    Travel insurances and insurances for long term abroad - WorldSupporter Theme
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    Checklists for emigrants, nomads and expats - WorldSupporter Theme

    checklist

    You usually only emigrate once and even if you do it more often, the preparation takes quite a lot of work. JoHo has put together a handy checklist, so that you can get an idea of the arrangements that await you. The exact interpretation of each subject varies greatly from person to person. Please share your experience with your

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