For American citizens living abroad who wish to vote in the November 2014 US Elections, the absentee voting deadline is October 6th. Please find all relevant information here from the State Department.
Also, as of October 1st, 2014, the American Presence Post (APP) in Lyon is no longer accepting applications for U.S. passports and birth registrations, Social Security numbers and other federal benefits, and it will no longer provide notarial services. More information is available here.
I love Paris and Lyon, having lived in both cities. I know the advantages and disadvantages that come with everyday living there. Paris retains an aura of excitement for some, but Lyon certainly has a lot to offer in terms of quality of life for French and expats, on a smaller scale. Lyon remains relatively unknown, though, compared to its big brother Paris.
Which is why I’m glad to see CNN recently publish a profile of the city and its advantages.
You can read the article here, titled “8 ways Lyon outshines Paris”. Be sure to scroll through the images and captions as well as the article itself. I personally think Notre Dame de Paris is more impressive (at least in history) than the one in Lyon, but besides that I agree that there is a lot to discover in Lyon.
What do you think of Lyon?
I saw this really interesting post on Expatica France, written by Maria Foley. You should check out her blog I was an Expat Wife. I think #5 and #6 particularly resonate with me. Since my re-entry into the US since September 2012, I realize increasingly that I’m a better person for having lived abroad several years in France. It has prepared me well for many things.
What other habits do you find helpful in adapting to and succeeding at expatriate life?
I was an expat wife: The 7 habits of highly effective expats
Maria Foley takes a look at effective habits that make expats cope with integration into a new life and culture when moving abroad.
On Monday I presented my interpretation of Stephen Covey’s seven habits as seen through the lens of expatriation. Today all I’m borrowing from Mr. Covey is that iconic title. Here, then, are seven of the habits cultivated by highly effective expats:
1. They prepare: They take the time to study the new culture before they get on the plane, and get a head start on learning the local language. Either by reading, talking to other expats, or taking cross-cultural training, they develop an understanding of culture shock, learn how to recognise its symptoms and how to manage them. They’re then able to form realistic expectations of what lies ahead.
2. They introspect: They examine their own values, strengths and weaknesses. They gauge their tolerance for ambiguity, take stock of their resiliency reserves, and assess their patience levels. The work they did above shows them what’s coming; the work they do here shows them how they’ll respond to it.
3. They keep an open mind: They accept that things will be different and that constant comparisons to their home culture is counterproductive. They peel back the layers of their preconceived notions and stereotypes until there’s nothing left. They resist judgment. They don’t automatically blame everything that goes wrong on the country or its people.
4. They connect: They establish a strong in-country social support system of both expat and local friends. They nurture their family relationships. They keep in touch with loved ones back home, just not 24/7. They make a point of surrounding themselves with positive people, limiting exposure to the bitter and the bigoted expats.
5. They bend: They consciously adapt their behaviour to meet local norms. They’re flexible, but they know where to draw the line so they don’t compromise their values.
6. They take (reasonable) risks: They try new foods, activities, and experiences. They make mistakes and learn from them. They maintain a sense of curiosity and wonder that keeps them engaged in the here and now.
7. They keep a sense of perspective. Effective expats know that life has its ups and downs, no matter where you live. While they’re grateful for the chance to swim in a different pool, they know it comes at a cost. And yet they accept the downside as the price they pay for the richness and texture of expatriate life.
What can you add to my list of habits?
Maria Foley is a Canadian who lived and raised a family as an expat for many years. Aside from writing for Suite 101, Foley still writes about her expat life on her blog, I was an expat wife, and is currently working on a book about overcoming the challenges of repatriation. You can follow her on Twitter at @iwasanexpatwife.
The French government’s national census for 2014 started January 14th.
The news channel BFMTV has more information here (in French).
I’ve summed up the basics below.
There is also a (French) FAQ guide on the official Insee census site here.
The census allows the government to determine the population of France’s communes (villages, towns, cities), as well as key statistics associated with more than 350 different legislative and regulatory codes related to citizen issues (size of municipal government, budget, how many pharmacies per town…).
About 9 million French households will be concerned this year, as since 2004 the national census has functioned on a rolling basis every year. This means that a household that is part of a sample of the population will on average be surveyed a maximum of once every 5 years. (Before then historically, the census was carried out on a larger scale every 8-9 years nationally).
It is being carried out by 23,000 census agents recruited through different town halls, distributing surveys through the French National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies (L’Insee). These agents will have ID cards with a French flag.
They will be distributing 2 kinds of papers:
1) une “feuille de logement” – “Residential property sheet” which will collect info on the person’s property (house, apartment, condo…).
2) un “bulletin individuel” – “Individual ballot” which each person at the residency will fill out regarding their individual profiles.
Here’s the timing:
For villages/smaller towns: This year’s census starts today January 14 through February 15 for the 7,135 communes of France with fewer than 10,000 residents.
For larger towns/cities: The census goes from January 14 to February 22 for the 983 towns and cities that have more than 10,000 residents, as well as in the Antilles and French Guiana.
For Réunion: The census goes from January 22 to March 8.
Paper and Web versions
Those taking the census can fill out the papers and give them directly to the census agents, or bring them to their local town hall as well as l’Insee. They can also opt for the web version on the aforementioned site www.le-recensement-et-moi.fr for 412 different communes where that option is available. (In 2015, all communes will be available to access the web version).
I will be enhancing my content this year to provide more insight about expat issues.
Bupa International is known for working with international expatriates, employers and families.
They were recently able to answer some of my questions below that are relevant to expat issues. Please see those questions and answers below (note British spelling at some points).
They also recently interviewed me on expat issues, and that article will be posted later.
In addition, I’d recommend checking out their free guide to moving to France, available on this page.
What issues have you seen develop for expat clients moving abroad for the first time? What kinds of information do expats seek?
Moving abroad for the first time can be both exciting and daunting, and the issues facing expats often depend on individual circumstances. Those who are taking their family with them, for instance, may have the added responsibility of finding suitable schools for their children, and so issues can sometimes relate to the standard of education and any potential language barriers they may face.
A recent study from the Daily Telegraph identified the most common issues people moving abroad requested information about. Unsurprisingly, issues such as tax, domicile and residence featured high on the list, as well as information regarding employment, visas and work permits. International health care and insurance is another important aspect of moving abroad, and one which it is crucial to read up on in order to find the best arrangement for you and your family. Many people also enquire about international money transfers and currency exchange, whilst information on the transfer of UK pensions and overseas pensions is also frequently requested.
How easy is it for expats to get coverage for their families while living abroad?
We understand that modern day life can often bring about quick changes, such as moving abroad due to work commitments. Whilst an individual may have personal health cover, it is crucial to ensure the entire family are protected by a suitable health policy. Because of this, we have made it easy to tailor your health cover during your policy, meaning additional family members can be included as and when required.
Does Bupa prefer to work directly with both international and local employers rather than freelance consultants?
We strive to work with local employers wherever possible, but depending on location it may sometimes be impossible to rely solely on local or international employers. Varying legislations around the world mean that some Partners or Brokers may be required in order to give us the coverage needed. Our focus is always on providing the best possible service.
Happy New Year to you all!
I can’t think of a better way to start 2014 right than by partaking in a very valuable and helpful survey of expatriation and international careers.
A researcher and her team in Germany are conducting this important study (more information below).
Please submit your answers by February 28.
This will contribute to some great insights in this increasingly globalized world.
The results will be shared later this year.
Expatstudy is a research project by Hanna Sophie Simmons for the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich tackling the question how expatriation influences career success. No existing research has ever sufficiently addressed this relationship and standpoints are very contradictory.
Expatriation and repatriation issues cannot be generalized worldwide, as immense differences in repatriation policies, the recruitment and selection of expatriate personnel, sense of loyalty between the employees and their company, international staffing policies, expatriate contract length, and a country’s volume of self-initiated expatriates exist. Thus, with organizations around the world having never implemented a uniform stance on expatriation, more conclusive research on the relationship of international assignments and repatriates’ career success is absolutely essential.
We need your support and EVERYONE is welcome!
Whether or not you have ever been on an expat assignment, IT DOESN’T MATTER, you CAN still participate. YOU are the key to helping make this study unique and successful.
Without research, there is no development. Without your participation in this survey, there will be less research. So please dedicate 10 minutes of your time and participate. Your effort will not go unnoticed and will be greatly appreciated.
As the year closes and France brings in the new year in the next few minutes, I wanted to wish you all a happy holiday season and extend my best wishes for 2014. As they say, “tous mes vœux !”.
I look forward to sharing new content and information with you in the next year. Thank you for your readership.