Hamilton, New Zealand


Hamilton is one of the fastest growing regions in New Zealand, having gone from a mild-mannered rural region to one of the north island’s trendiest scenes in a short time. Its booming economy has earned the area the nickname of: “Hamiltron: city of the future.”

The Waikato River flows through the heart of the urban center, which today is a bustling retail district, filled with shops, cafes and restaurants. In fact, Hamilton currently has the second largest collection of cafes in the country! Furthermore, the 2008 Lonely planet guide states that “the city’s main street has sprouted a sophisticated and vibrant stretch of bars and eateries that on the weekend at least leave Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour for dead in the boozy fun stakes.”

Attractions abound throughout Hamilton City and its surrounding region. Hamilton Gardens is the region’s most popular tourist attraction and hosts the Hamilton Gardens Summer Festival each year. Other local attractions include Hamilton Zoo, the Waikato Museum, the Hamilton Astronomical Society Observatory, the Arts Post art gallery, and the SkyCity casino.

Hamilton also has a thriving student environment, symbolizing the city’s youthful buzz and growing optimism. The city is the perfect place for expats– pleasant weather, lots to do and best of all, it’s cheap! And the time to move is definitely now. Get in on the exciting growth of this up and coming locale while it’s still up and coming, and help make it into your own.

Ecomigration: Get Green by Becoming an Expat

In today’s difficult times, with the plummeting economy, jobs drying up and opportunities waning, there’s an endless list of reasons to relocate to somewhere that offers a brighter future. Here’s another reason: global warming.


That’s what Adam Fier and family decided before packing up and moving to New Zealand, according to the Washington Post. Fier, who is a former computer security professional at NASA, drew up a list of countries and regions which would fare better than others after 100 years of climate change. He decided that New Zealand was a much better fit for his family than the United States.

In fact, “eco-migration” has already become a serious reality throughout many parts of the world. Some residents of low-lying Pacific island nations are emigrating en masse due to rising sea levels. In Bangladesh, as storms, flooding and environmental disasters continue to increase year after year, millions of people have had to move elsewhere. Meanwhile, desertification continues to encroach upon Africans who are already plagued by drought and famine. And in the Phillipines, thousands have fled their homes due to deforestation.

All in all, there are an estimated 25 million “ecomigrants” around the globe, for one reason or another. With increased hurricanes, flooding and wildfires throughout various regions in the U.S., people here are starting to dream of greener pastures elsewhere too.

Of course, sheer desperation isn’t the only motivation for eco-migrating. For Adam Fier and family, avoiding the worst of global warming was only a small part of the decision to move. According to the article cited, nearly half of those who move to New Zealand do so for its “green environment”. It’s a world leader in renewable energy useage per capita, and it’s home to one of the world’s highest life expectancies.

Relocating to somewhere that helps you have less of an environmental footprint is as good a reason to move as any, and it’s something every future expat should take into consideration. Moving to somewhere for the cleaner air, clearer water and more predictable climate is good for you, but it’s only half as beneficial as living with a greener conscience too.

Navigating the Volcanoes of New Zealand

New Zealand is famous for its many volcanoes. These volcanoes have formed much of the geology of the country, especially in North Island. Though scenic, they can be dangerous, and their eruptions have caused many deaths. There are also many inactive volcanic regions that have formed some of the most beautiful parts of the country.

Taupo Volcanic Zone

The Taupo Volcanic Zone is a very active volcanic zone, which is located on North Island, and formed by a subduction zone in the crust. It gets its name from Lake Taupo, which lies in a caldera that was created by extreme volcanic eruptions. The Taupo Volcanic Zone is about 50 kilometers wide and 300 kilometers long.


One of the volcanoes in this zone is Mount Ruapehu, which is located in the south. Many major skiifields are located on this mountain, as well as several glaciers. It is the largest active volcano in the country, as well as one of the most active on earth. There are three major peaks on this mountain: Tahurangi (2,797 meters), Te Heuheu (2,755 meters) and Paretetaitonga (2,751 meters). The last historic eruptions occurred in 1995 and 1996. The last minor eruption occurred in 2007, which caused an earthquake and closed down the ski resorts.


Another volcano in the Taupo zone is Mount Ngauruhoe, having erupted 45 times in the 20th century. It last erupted in 1977, but will not likely erupt any time soon.


White Island (above), also known as Whakaari, is part of this range, and it is located off of the east coast of North Island. This island is uninhabited, though its eruptions have caused deaths a few decades ago to some miners and other workers. Its last eruption was in 2001, and today this island is privately owned and used for tourism.


There is also the Auckland volcanic field, which is underneath the metropolitan area of the city of Auckland. This is a dormant volcanic zone that probably will not erupt again for a few hundred years. There are about 50 different volcanoes in this field.

Otago Peninsula

Otago Peninsula

There are some extinct volcanoes in the South Island of New Zealand. One of them is the Banks Peninsula, on its east coast, which has many eroded remains of two large stratovolcanoes. Further south on the island’s east coast is the Otago Peninsula, which was largely formed by extinct volcanoes. Both of these destinations are currently very naturally scenic and often visited by tourists.

Navigating the Forest Parks of New Zealand


Mount Richmond Forest Park

Mount Richmond Forest Park is located in the northern part of South Island, partially by the city of Nelson. It is a large park with an area of 166,000 hectares, and it stretches along the backbone of the Mount Richmond Range, going from Saint Arnaud to the coast. Over 80% of this park is very dense forest, and there are over 436 kilometers of walking track throughout its grounds. People also go here for kayacking and fishing. For birdwatchers, there are some interesting species, like blue duck and yellow-crowned parakeets.


Aorangi Forest Park

Aorangi Forest Park is located on North Island, on its southern tip, about two hours driving from Wellington. Though often cloudy in this park, rain and fog are uncommon. This park is full of many geologic wonders, like impressive earth pillars and rock slabs. Lots of people go to this park for hunting and trapping.


Victoria Forest Park

Victoria Forest Park is in the wilderness zone between the West Coast and the Southern Alps in South Island. Though the largest forest park in New Zealand (210,731 hectares), it is not as visited as many of the other ones. It is famous for being mountainous and having beech forests. There are also impressive walks through the former mining trails, fishing, gold panning, camping and other such wilderness activities.


Rimutaka Forest Park

Rimutaka Forest Park is located on North Island, east of Wellington. The Rimutaka Mountain Range and Orongorongo River are located in the premises of this park, which is over 14,000 hectares. For those who are seeking a comfortable forest experience, Catchpool Valley is a nice area for picknicking, walking and swimming. There are also many walking trails in this park for all different levels of hikers.


Pirongia Forest Park

Pirongia Forest Park is located in the center of North Island, west of Hamilton. Mt Pirongia is a popular place to hike, with a summit of 959 meters. The park is full of interesting species of trees, and has lots of places to camp.


Lake Sumner Forest Park

Lake Sumner Forest Park is located in the Canterbury Region of South Island. It is a beautiful park for trout fishing, kayacking and mountain biking. Aside from Lake Sumner, several other lakes and the Hurunui River are located in the forest park.

Countries with the Lowest Population Density


If you are looking to move somewhere that has tons of space, or you are not looking to interact with lots of people, here are some great countries!


Population density: 8 per square kilometer

Population: 8,857,900

Land area: 1,098,580 square kilometers

This is a landlocked country in South America. It has a multiethnic population, but there is still a strong presence of natives.


Population density: 8 per square kilometer

Population: 9,826,400

Land area: 1,284,000 square kilometers

Chad is a landlocked country in Africa. It has a desert climate, and is nicknamed “The Dead Heart of Africa.” It has over 200 different ethnicities and linguistic groups.

Central African Republic

Population density: 6 per square kilometer

Population: 3,799,900

Land area: 622,984 square kilometers

This is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is one of the poorest countries in the world.


Population density: 6 per square kilometer

Population: 15,185,000

Land area: 2,717,300 square kilometers


Though this is the ninth largest country in the world, it is one of the least densely populated. It is landlocked, in Central Asia. It is home to many different ethnic groups, because many people were deported here during the USSR.


Population density: 5 per square kilometer

Population: 1,389,200

Land area: 267,667 square miles

Gabon is situated on the Atlantic Ocean in Western Africa. Because of its small population density and its natural resources and foreign investment, it is prosperous for its region.


Population density: 4 per square kilometer

Population: 765,300

Land area: 214,970 square kilometers

Guyana is on the Northern Coast of South America. Some of its regions, like Potaro-Siparuni and Cuyuni-Mazaruni, have less than 1 person per square kilometer.


Population density: 3 per square kilometer

Population: 32,805,000

Land area: 9,976,140 square kilometers

Canada is the second biggest country in the world, as it occupies most of North America. Most of the population lives on the border with the US. The northernmost parts are cold, snowy and largely uninhabitable.


Population density: 3 per square kilometer

Population: 3,086,900

Land area: 1,030,700 square kilometers

This is a country in Northwest Africa, on the Atlantic Ocean. Most of the country is arid desert or semi-desert, and this is expanding due to drought.


Population density: 3 per square kilometer

Population: 5,765,600

Land area: 1,759,540 square kilometers

Libya is a Northern African country, on the Mediterranean Sea. Though Libya is the fourth largest country in Africa, it is hardly populated, and 90% of the country is desert. Tripoli, the capital, has 1.7 million people.


Population density: 3 per square kilometer

Population: 438,100

Land area: 163,270 square kilometers

Suriname is a Northern South American country, smallest in the continent. It is a small, very ethnically, religiously and linguistically diverse country.


Population density: 3 per square kilometer

Population: 296,700

Land area: 103,000 square kilometers

Iceland is an island country Northwest of the European continent. Though most of the population lives in cities, the cities are still pretty small.


Population density: 3 per square kilometer

Population: 1,700,000

Land area: 600,370 square kilometers

Botswana is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. Most of the country is covered by desert, and it is a very impoverished country.


Population density: 3 per square kilometer

Population: 21,885,016

Land area: 7,686,850 square kilometers

Though Australia is a big country in the Southern Hemisphere, most of the population is concentrated in cities or on the East side of the country. The great majority of the country is desert.


Population density: 2 per square kilometer

Population: 2,710,000

Land area: 825,418 square kilometers

Namibia is a southern African country, that is on the Atlantic Ocean. Most of the population is concentrated in the North of the country.


Population density: 2 per square kilometer

Population: 270,000

Land Area: 1,565,000 square kilometers

Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. Its largest city, Ulan Bator, hosts about 40% of its population. Very little of the land is arable.

Navigating the Neighborhoods of Auckland, New Zealand


Many people dream of picking up their lives and becoming expats in New Zealand for its isolation and natural purity. Auckland is an important metropolitan area of New Zealand, and has many different neighborhoods to live in, according to one’s lifestyle.

South Auckland

Called Manukau City, this is the more Polynesian and Maori part of town, and is way more culturally diverse 50 different ethnic communities here. There’s also a theme park here. It’s a good place to shop if you live in Auckland, as it has many Pacific-style markets. than the rest of the city. There are approximately


Mt Eden/Epsom

This is a quaint residential area, which is a suburb of the Inner City, Auckland’s business district. It balances some nice greenery and sophisticated cafes throughout its streets and into the hills. It has a mix of mansions and inhabitants with old money, to some newer, less fancy student flats. This part of town is centered around a volcanic cone, Mt Eden, which has amazing views if you climb it. It’s a very trendy area full of cute cafes, shops and restaurants.

Posonby/Herne Bay

This is another suburb of the Inner City, and is pretty bohemian in its feel. Most people who have been to Auckland think this area has the best cafes, restaurants and bars. There are many old wooden houses. There are pleasurable things for young, hedonistic people who have money, all around the streets.

Eastern Suburbs

This part of town retains the most of Auckland’s British heritage, particularly in Howick. They are pretty far from the Inner City, which can be difficult if you area commuting to work. South of this area is more ethnically diverse.

Haurkari Gulf/North Shore

This is a beautiful part of town, and it has the residential area of Waiheke Island. You’ll find quiet suburbs and shopping centers. There is some expensive real estate located around Takapuna Beach. There are many easily accessible islands from here.


West of Auckland

West of Auckland exists Waitakere City, which is mainly a wine-growing region, and there is lots of aesthetic pleasure. There are many nice parks here. It also exhibits some aspects of early Eastern European settlements. If you drive 45 minutes west outside of Auckland, there are beautiful black sand and surf beaches like Piha BeachMuriwai Beach. (below) and


South of Auckland

South of Auckland exists the Franklin district, which is a rural area. More city people are flocking here.

Navigating the Lakes of New Zealand

lake taupo

Lake Taupo

Lake Taupo is the biggest lake in New Zealand, and is also the largest freshwater lake of Oceania. It is located in Waikato, and is 616 square kilometers (238 square miles) in size, which is about the size of Singapore. There are many trout fisheries in Lake Taupo, and they have recently introduced brown trout and rainbow trout. It is drained by the Waikato River; the Waitahanui River, the Tongariro River and the Tauranga-Taupo River all go into Lake Taupo. It is a huge tourist destination, with a nice temperate climate. People hold sporting events on the lake, like the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge, a famous bicycle trip around its proximity.


Lake Te Anau

Lake Te Anau is the largest lake in the South Island, taking up 344 square kilometers (133 square miles). Its name comes from the Maori word, “Te Ana-au,” which means “the cave of swirling water.” In terms of its freshwater volume, it can be considered the largest lake of Australasia. The lake has an interesting topographical shape, with three large fjords stretching to the west. They are named North Fiord, Middle Fiord and South Fiord. The main river that flows into Lake Te Anau is the Eglinton River, and the main river that flows th water out is the Waiau River. The land around the lake is mountainous and largely uninhabited, but it is a great place to visit if you relocate to New Zealand.


Lake Wakatipu

Lake Wakatipu is located in the Otago region, close to Southland, and is an area of 291 square kilometers (112 square miles). It is a narrow finger lake that looks like a large backwards “N” in shape, and is New Zealand’s longest lake, stretching 80 kilometers. The Dart River flows into the northern part of the lake, and then it is drained by the Kawarau River. It is a very beautiful lake, surrounded by mountains, and in proximity to vineyards. Lots of people go to Lake Wakatipu to do sports like paragliding and bungy jumping.


Lake Wanaka

Located in Otago, Lake Wanaka takes up 192 square kilometers (74 square miles). It is located in a U-shaped valley, and there are very high mountains on the western shore and moderately high mountains on the eastern shore. The town of Wanaka is situated on this lake. This lake flows out into the Clutha River, but it takes water in from Matukituki and Makarora Rivers. There are some sheep farmers in proximity to Lake Wanaka, and many people go to this greater region for adventure sports, jetboating and skiing.

Language and Slang in New Zealand


New Zealand is part of the English-speaking world, but is a very isolated country. It is sparsely populated, mostly consisting of descendents of Europeans colonists, but native Maori culture is influential on the greater society. There are also some communities of Asians. English is the universal language in New Zealand, but many people speak Maori. New Zealand English is unique enough have its own publication of the Oxford New Zealand English Dictionary. If you are planning on relocating to New Zealand, you should do some research about language differences and slang.

One tip: when you are referring to a “bathroom,” people from New Zealand will automatically think of a room with a bath in it. You’ll have to ask for a “toilet” to be specific.

Never confuse a New Zealand accent with an Australian one, as they’ll often get offended. They also have different slang and word usage from Australians.

Here is a dictionary of some commonly used New Zealand English phrases:

Bach: Small holiday home

Beaut: Great; good fun

Biscuit: Cookie

Bob’s Your Uncle: Used as “There you go!”

Boot: Car trunk

Brekkie: Shortened form of “breakfast”

Bugger off: Go away

Bush: Forest

Candyfloss: Cotton Candy

Car Park: Parking lot

Chips: French fries

Choc-a-bloc: Filled up or overflowing

Choice!: Cool, awesome

Chrissy: Christmas

Chuffed: Pleased

Cotton Buds: Q tips

Cuz: Cousin

Dairy: Corner store; convenience store

Dole: Unemployment benefit

Dunny: Toilet/Bathroom

Fizzy: Soda pop

Flannel: Wash cloth

Flicks: Movies

Flog: Steal

Fringe: Bangs

Get off the Grass: “No way!”

Good on ya, mate!: “Good job!”

Greasies: Fish and chips

Gridiron: American football

Hard Case: Joker/Funny person

Home ‘n Hosed: Safe or completed successfully

Hottie: Hot water bottle

Ice Block: Popsicle

Jersey: Sweater

Judder Bar: Speed bump

Jumper: Woolen sweater

Kiwi: New Zealander

Kick the Bucket: To die

Lemonade: 7-Up

Lift: Elevator

Lolly: Candy

Loo: Bathroom

Motorway: Freeway/highway

Naff off!: “Get lost!”

Nought: Zero

Pavement: Sidewalk

Petrol: Gasoline

Piker: Someone who gives up easily

Pong: Bad smell

Push Bike: Bicycle

Rellies: Relatives

Sarnie: Sandwich

Shandy: Drink that consists of lemonade and beer

Skiting: Bragging

Sparkie: Electrician

Suss: To figure out

Thick: Dumb

Torch: Flashlight

Twink: White-out

Wally: Loser

Whinge: Complain

Yonks: Referring to a long time ago; ages

Here are some common Maori words and expressions:

Kia Ora: Hello (literally: good health)

Iwi: Maori tribe or people

Kai: Food

Pakeha: New Zealanders of European descent

Wharenui: Big house; meeting house

Whanau: A Maori family

The Best Country for a British Expat

New Zealand

New Zealand

Where is the best place to live as a British expat? Anywhere within a three hour flight to the UK it would seem.

According to research by Alliance & Leicester International an expat in France can expect approximately ten friends or family to visit from Britain every year. Expats in Spain and Holland will have around eight visits a year. However, a British expat living outside Europe will see friends and family far fewer times, with expats in South Africa and New Zealand seeing friends or family two to three times a year at most.

In another study by Alliance & Leicester International, New Zealand was rated as the best place to be an expat, based on both quality of life and cost of living. An interesting study might also include a question about distance from friends and family—in the case of New Zealand, perhaps it is that very distance that adds to the appeal of the pre-existing qualities of the country!

While many people become expats simply because of their work requirements, many expats are motivated by a love of change, a passion for the chosen country or by the idea of bringing their skills to countries with a skill shortage. Still another group of expats are those who are motivated by the fresh start and the distance from their ‘old life’. For those Britons, a move to New Zealand must be the best plan.

Exploring the Beaches of New Zealand


Cooper’s Beach

Located on the Northland, Cooper’s Beach is a little township that is situated between two Maori settlements, and has an excellent stretch of golden sand. Beach-goers can also cool off in the shade from the red-emblazoned pohutukawa trees.


Waiheke Island: Onetangi Bay

Onetangi Bay is a large bay on the northern part of Waiheke Island, which is in northern New Zealand. There is a very wide stretch of golden sand here, and people can see views for miles away on clear days. It is a great place for water sports, such as surfing, swimming and sea kayaking. The rest of the island is also very romantic, full of farmlands, olive groves, vineyards, and forests. This place is only 35 minutes away from Auckland, the major city, by ferry.


Karikari Peninsula

The beaches on this peninsula are quite magical, with white sand and clear waters. There is a large stretch of beaches from Tokerau Beach to Rangiputa to Maitai Bay, with many opportunities for swimming. The Karikari Peninsula itself is a rocky land mass in the far north of the country, which enjoys subtropical climate.


Hot Water Beach

Hot Water Beach is an interesting place, which is located just south of Mercury Bay, on the Coromandel Peninsula. Further off in the water exist some underwater volcanoes with reservoirs of very hot water. This water then hits the beach surface, and cools down during this process so that humans can enjoy it. This water has high salt content, as well as calcium, magnesium, potassium and silica. This beach is also a good spot for surfing.


Mount Maungauni’s Ocean Beach

The town of Mount Maungauni is known as a coastal resort spot, located on a peninsula in the north of the country, near the city of Tauranga. There is both a harbor beach and an ocean beach that has great surfing spots. There was also an artificial reef that was established on this beach, but was somehow hampered by too many waves. Nevertheless, it is a wonderful sunbathing spot with nice scenery.


Kaiteriteri Beach

Kaiteriteri Beach is located in the Nelson region, which is the top of South Island in New Zealand. It is a smaller beach with golden sands, and is very sunny.

Learning the Social Customs of New Zealand


In New Zealand, approximately three-quarters of the country’s population is New Zealand European, and about one-tenth is Maori, the native society. There are also some sects of other Europeans, Pacific Islanders and Asians, among others.

There are three official languages: English, Maori and New Zealand sign language. English is used in most areas of business and government. Both English and Maori are used in the media, and both languages have influenced one another. Some towns in New Zealand have both an English name and a Maori name that are used interchangeably.

The New Zealanders of European descent are often called “Kiwis.” Kiwis are generally known to be polite, hospitable, friendly and somewhat reserved. They tend to be nice to people they do not know personally, and will say hello to strangers. Most people dress casually but not sloppily.

Maori people are also known to be friendly, reserved and hospitable. They are musical people who will sometimes start singing songs and expect others they know to join.

Both the Maori and the Kiwis have a strong pride in their country’s environment and maintaining in its beauty. There are tight restrictions at the borders of New Zealand on importing foreign species.

Kiwis are known to value equality rather than hierarchy, and mostly do not care for wealth, status or anything pretentious. The society has a welfare state that takes care of people who cannot afford food or housing. Maori people do follow a hierarchy that can come out in certain situations.

Greetings in New Zealand are very casual, and people take value in a friendly smile. Though you will probably be invited to use first names quickly, it is wise to address people by their proper names at first just to be polite.

If you are invited to a Kiwi’s home, it is customary to bring a small gift that is not too expensive. Simple flowers or chocolates always go well. At the dinner table, manners are generally casual, just wait to be told where to sit. Meals are usually served family-style.

If you are invited to a Maori’s home for dinner, you will probably be taken to a separate dining room building. Before everyone begins eating, the food must be blessed by the elders. The younger people in the family will often serve the food while the older people are working in the kitchen. You may be expected to sing a song from your home country or your culture, so have one prepared to share beforehand.

The World’s Best Airports


When traveling or moving, nobody wants to spend a good deal of their time in the airport. However, it is good to know which airports are better than others to prepare for your journey.

These airports were surveyed by the Airport Service Quality Survey by the Geneva-based Airports Council International. Surveys were distributed to over 200,000 people at 126 airports around the world. Some factors were courtesy, cleanliness and quality.

10. Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Only two miles away from South Africa city’s business center, this is a very conveniently situated airport.

9. Tel Aviv, Israel

Best in the Middle East, Ben Gurion Airport is very modern and comfortable. It has very tight security with guards speaking with you for at least ten minutes and asking you all sorts of strange questions, as they must avoid terrorist attacks.

8. Guayaquil, Ecuador

Jose Joaquin de Olmedo International Airport ranks best in Latin American and the Caribbean. It is named after a poet, and is made of modern glass architecture.

7. Zurich, Switzerland

Zurich Airport is Europe’s best, and is sometimes called Kloten Airport. The airport has an underground rail system underneath, in which you can travel around Switzerland.

6. George, South Africa

George Airport is the best in Africa. It is often used by the upper classes of South Africa, though many travelers come in for vacation.

5. Nova Scotia, Canada

Halifax Airport is the best performing airport in North America, though frequented by less than 5 million people annually.

4. Nagoya, Japan

Central Japan International Airport is constructed on a human-made island off of central Japan. It is a newer airport, which opened in 2005.

3. Hong Kong

Hong Kong International Airport is a common destination and connection for all around Asia, and is open for business 24 hours a day. Over 40 million travelers come here per year.

2. Singapore

This is the most popular airport in Southeast Asia. Air service into Singapore is an important factor in the economy, and the government puts effort into maintaining this.

1. Seoul, South Korea

The South Korean government puts much energy and money into maintaining the Incheon International Airport as a huge international hub. Since last summer, passengers have access to free showers, internet and movie screenings. Many expats head to South Korea to teach English, so they’ll see it for themselves!

In the United States, Portland International Airport, or PDX, is ranked the best.

The worst airports are: Leopold Sedar Senghor International Airport in Dakar, Senegal, Indira Ghandi International Airport in New Delhi, India, Mineralnye Vody Aiport in Mineralnye Vody, Russia, Baghdad International Airport in Baghdad, Iraq and Charles de Gualle International Airport in Paris, France.

6 Reasons To Hire An Expat Coach


Ed: The following is a guest post by Emmanuelle Archer, a French expat living in Canada. As a coach and consultant, she works with expats, diplomats and accompanying spouses to help them live their expat lives to the fullest. Emmanuelle’s focus is on addressing the emotional and motivational aspects of expatriation through her company, Winning Away Coaching Ltd., and her blog.

Living in a foreign country can be challenging for anyone, even experienced expats.

If you are having a hard time adjusting, the good news is that a) it is perfectly normal and b) help is just a phone call away.

An expat coach can be your best ally and a key partner in a successful relocation.

6 reasons to hire an expat coach:

1. You are a first-time expat and you want to ensure a successful relocation

unsurebyjasoonAs a soon-to-be expat, you likely have a lot on your mind: excitement, uncertainty… and a long to-do list. Save yourself stress and time by hiring an expat coach who will bring you emotional and practical support, while helping you plan ahead and prepare for your life abroad.

2. You have ambitious goals and you need support to reach them

You want to put your time overseas to good use. Maybe you want to write your first book, or start an online business. Consider partnering up with a coach who will support you every step of the way, from brainstorming with you to keeping you accountable for your goals and making sure you celebrate your accomplishments!

3. You feel isolated

Being away from friends and family is tough, especially if you cannot meet local friends easily because of language or cultural barriers. Your expat coach cannot replace your best friend, but he or she can wear many hats: supporter, sounding board, mentor and even shoulder to cry on when you need it.

4. You are suffering from severe culture shock or homesickness

If you find yourself feeling completely overwhelmed, angry at your host country or afraid to leave the house, an expat coach will help you get through this rough patch. Together, you will work through these negative emotions so you can move forward and enjoy life again.

5. You are an accompanying partner and you need help adjusting to your new life

As an accompanying partner, you are faced with specific challenges: isolation, lack of recognition, career interruption. An expat coach understands what you are going through and will help you design a life that fits you and your unique situation.

6. Expatriation is taking a toll on your family or your couple

International relocation can put a lot of strain on your closest relationships. Don’t let tensions and resentment build up; hire a coach who will help you assess the situation objectively and give you tools to keep your home life harmonious.

Residential Neighborhoods in Amsterdam


The city of Amsterdam in the Netherlands is shaped like a horse shoe, with the entire city based on a canal system. People even live in houseboats docked on the canals.

The Jordaan

The Jordaan is located west of the center, away from the city’s major canals. The streets are more tightly packed than many of the other districts.


The Jordaan to have a reputation as a working-class neighborhood, but that has changed. Many young and hip students, artists and young professionals now reside in the gentrified Jordaan alongside the original population. Some of the simple buildings now have trendy cafes and boutiques. It is a good place to live if you do not want to be in an immensely touristy part of Amsterdam, because there are hardly any hotels. It is easy to navigate this neighborhood by foot, bike and public transit, but not by automobile (hard to park).

Museum District/Vondelpark

This district is also known as Oud-Zuid. It is a place with lots of things to do and see for more mature and professional crowds. The Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and Stedelijk Museum are located in this area. Though many visitors flock to the museums, there are many fancy residential areas around them.


The famous Vondelpark is located in this area, which is visited by many tourists and locals. There are also famous shopping streets, such as the luxurious Hooftstraat, as well as Beethovenstraat and Cornelis Schuytstraat, which are all fun strips to indulge in the fashion culture.

Amsterdam East

This is a residential area on the Amstel River, and has been considered one of the more diverse neighborhoods of Amsterdam. It does have some cultural institutions, such as the Tropical Museum and the zoo. Some of the apartments offer great views of the river. It used to be a suburb of the city back in the 19th century, but many of the old buildings have been torn down and replaced by new ones.

IJ Waterfront

This area is also known as Westelijke (West) and Oostelijke (East) Eilanden. It goes along the river, and many boats and cruise ships make their way into Amsterdam through these docks. This neighborhood used to be full of old buildings and warehouses, but many of them are being torn down to make brand new residential, office and business buildings. Some of the older buildings are preserved, so there is a mixe of traditional and modern. Most of the residential parts are considered to be upper middle class. There is also a fair amount of culture in this neighborhood, such as the Maritime Museum and the NEMO science center.

Exploring the Major Cities of the Netherlands



Amsterdam is the capital and largest city of the Netherlands. The urban area has a population of over a million people, and it is the financial and cultural capital of the country. Amsterdam is famous for its beautiful canals and bicycles, and abundance of famous museums, like the Ann Frank House and Van Gogh Museum. This city is very urbanized, and is shaped like a horseshoe, based off of the central railway station. It lies on the River Amstel, and is also connected to the North Sea through a canal. Amsterdam is full of beautiful architecture as well as pleasant houseboats along the canals.

It is also the most touristy city in the country, as over 3 million people visit it annually for cultural reasons, as well as some debauchery. There is a very developed network of youth hostels to accommodate the visitors.



Rotterdam is situated in South Holland, and is the second largest Dutch city, with a population of 600,000 inhabitants. The port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe. The city is divided into its northern and southern halves by the river Nieuwe Maas, which has a series of bridges and tunnels. The historical buildings were mostly destroyed during World War II, so the city is more modern and financial looking. It is going through some urban renewal projects, so many new buildings are being built and events are being organized. Rotterdam is a city of many foreigners, especially from Suriname, Turkey and Morocco.


The Hague

The Hague is located in South Holland, in its western region. It is on the North Sea, and parts of the town are popular beach resorts. It is the third largest Dutch city, with a population of 485,000.

The Hague holds the seat of government for the Netherlands, even though Amsterdam is the capital. The historical part of the city holds some buildings from the Middle Ages, and some fancy houses from the 18th century. It is a more spacious city than many others in the Netherlands. Lots of civil servants and diplomats live in the Hague, and there is a sizeable foreign population from several different countries, making it a fairly diverse city. It is home to several international organizatons, including the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court.

Noah’s Arc in the Netherlands


If you’re into the Judeo-Christian faith or looking for some interesting Bible activity, but don’t want to live in Israel, consider relocating to the Netherlands. The reason is that Johan Huibers, a contractor, has recently constructed a replica of Noah’s Ark in Schagen, Netherlands.


This version of Noah’s Arc has been created in the same exact size as measured in the Bible: 150 cubits long, 30 cubits high and 20 cubits wide. To put that in perspective, it is two-thirds the length of a football field, and as tall as a three-story home. Inside, it imitates the Biblical interior by displaying life-size models of giraffes, elephants, lions, crocidiles, zebras, bison and more! It is made out of cedar and pine wood, but Biblical scholars debate exactly what wood Noah would have used.

noah-1Huibers built this replica mainly with his own hands, with the help of modern tools and assistance from his son, Roy. Huibers is a Christian who hopes this will revive interest in the religion in Holland, as church-going has declined in recent years. The arc’s construction began in 2005, and has recently opened to the public. There is also enough space for kids to watch a movie about Noah’s arc. The top of it has not been completed, but Huibers is planning to finish it off with a petting zoo that has chickens, baby lambs, goats and even a camel.


“It’s past comprehension,” said Mary Louise Starosciak, a visitor who had biked by it on a visit. “I knew the story of Noah, but I had no idea the boat would have been so big.” Other visitors were equally as stunned by such a creation.

Schagen is a municipality and a town in North Holland, in the region of West-Frisia. It is most famous for its West-Frisian markets, which occur from June to September. It also has a castle, shops, restaurants, pubs, terrace cafes, swimming pool, bowling alley and tennis courts. Click here for some other photos of the city.

Panoramic Images of Voldendam, Netherlands

American Expat, Kerry O’Malley, a fine-art photographer living in Eindhoven has been kind enough to share 3 panoramic photos she’s taken of Voldendam in The Netherlands.

Voldendam is a small town of approximately 22,000 people located in the municipality of Edam-Voldendam, just 38 kilometers north of the widely popular tourist destination of Amsterdam.

Click on the images to enlarge to see the spectacular full-size version.




Countries that Speak Dutch


Dutch is considered a strange language by many. Some describe it as a crazy combination of German (Deutsch)22 million people speak Dutch as a first language, and over 5 million speak it as a second language. Because of imperialism, it is spoken in some random parts throughout the world, or has influenced post-imperial languages. and English. It is a West Germanic language, though related remotely to some North Germanic languages. About


Where it all started, Dutch is the official language, and mother tongue of 96% percent of people in the Netherlands. It is the language of the media, school and government. If you go to the cities, most people speak English or German though. There are also a lot of immigrants who speak languages like Turkish, Indonesian or Moraccan Arabic, but know Dutch as well.


Dutch, or Flemish, is one of three official languages of Belgium, along with French and German. About 59% of people in Belgium speak Dutch. French and Dutch are the offical languages of Brussels, a big metropolitan and financial center of Belgium. You won’t hear it in the Waloon region.


About 20,000 people in the Northwest of France use French Flemish, a version of Dutch, as a daily langauge. They speak it alongside French, which is gradually causing this version of Dutch to die down.


The Dutch had Suriname as a colony, and had its residents work on their plantations and learn Dutch. About 60% of the population speak it as a mother tongue, and 24% more of the population know it as a second language. It is a member of the Dutch Language Union.

Aruba/Netherlands Antilles

Dutch is not common as a mother tongue here. However, many people do speak Dutch because it is used in the schools at all levels. These countries are both part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Many people speak Papamiento, a Creole language that has Dutch influence. Some people in the Northern Antilles speak English as opposed to Dutch.

South Africa

South Africa exhibits the largest affect of linguistic influence from Dutch imperialism. Many people speak Afrikaans, an Indo-European language that derived from Dutch. It is the majority language of one-third of South Africa’s population, mainly in the western region. It is also spoken in Namibia.


Though the Dutch were present in Indonesia for about 350 years, there is hardly a presence of their language left over. A small percentage of older people in Indonesia can speak Dutch. Some people in the legal profession know Dutch because of some of the law codes were written that way. Malay is the official language. However, the Indonesian language has many borrowed words and phrases from Dutch.

Pokhara, Nepal


Pokhara is the third largest city in Nepal, and it is considered by many to be the most beautiful place in the world.

Situated next to Phewa Lake and cradled in the northwestern corner of the Pokhara Valley, in no other place do mountains rise so quickly. Within the 30 km area, the elevation rises from 1,000 m to over 7,500 m. That breathtaking rise has been the muse for spiritual inspiration and nature loving adventure seekers from around the world.

The city also has a great live music scene, with plenty of eccentric bars and hotels, and a thriving nightlife scene. It’s no wonder it is fast becoming the destination of choice in Nepal for travelers and expats alike.

The climate is sub-tropical, but due to the elevation the temperatures are moderate: the summer temperatures average between 25–35 °C, in winter around 5–15 °C. So although you may think of cold weather when you think of Nepal, think again.

Aside from being a destination for mountain trekkers (about half of all tourists visiting Pokhara are there for the start or end of a trek to the Annapurna Base Camp and Mustang), there are also plenty of mountain lakes, majestic waterfalls and raging scenic rivers to enjoy too.

Lying at the center of an important old trading route between Tibet and India, Pokhara has a deep rooted history as a crossroads for travelers. In fact, until the end of the 1960s the town was only accesible by foot and it was considered even more a mystical place than Kathmandu. Many of the mountains around Pokhara still have medieval ruins worth checking out as well.

Temples worth visiting in the older part of town are Bindhyabasini temple and Bhimsen temple. Another temple, Barahi temple, is located on an island in the Phewa lake, accessible only by boats. Meanwhile, the best viewpoint of Pokhara is Sarangkot (1,600 m) and Thulakot (in Lekhnath a part of famous Royal Trek from where four lakes Phewa, Begnas, Khaste and Dipang and whole Annapurna range can be seen) to the west of the city. It’s a can’t miss hike, sure to entice any apprehensive aspiring expats.

Getting around town isn’t too difficult either, with several bus routes mostly running from north to south. Getting in and out of town can be done at Pokhara Airport, situated in the middle of town, which offers flights to Kathmandu, Jomsom, Manang, Bhairahawa (Siddhartanagar) and Bharatpur. Helicopters to Manang and Jomsom are also available for charter.

Furthermore, the city of Pokhara has some important educational institutions. Prithivi Narayan Campus, IOE Western Region Campus providing engineering education, Foresty Campus, Nursing Campus under Tribhuvan University and Manipal College of Medical Science under Kathmandu university.

All in all, it’s everything an expat needs. Get there soon before the rest of the world discovers this incredible city en masse. See for yourself whether it truly is the most beautiful city on Earth!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...