Sending employee on International assignment – Keys for success

You would like to send one of your employees on international assignment, in order to set up a foreign branch or to conduct a major project? In this article you find essential questions to prepare the international assignment of your employees.

What often is an exciting and challenging step for your employee, means for you as HR manager a lot of work. Why? Because in case of an international assignment it is of course not enough to buy a plane ticket and wish your employee a safe journey.
Your task as a HR Manager is rather to accompany your employee with all organizational steps and to consider all eventualities. You have to assist your employee as well as possible on the way abroad.
The challenge is to work through a series of questions, questions that are crucial to the success of the international assignment for you, for the employee and also for the company!

ZenExpat has prepared some of the most important questions when sending your employees on international assignment:

  • Is the employee suitable for an international assignment? Is he/she motivated?
  • What is the length of the mission? What is the start date?
  • During the stay abroad will the employee be still linked to the Home Company, or must a new contract with the Host Company be signed?
    What is about the employee’s salary? What elements have to be included, added to the remuneration?
  • How will the employee be insured? Does the employee remain within the Home Country social security? Is there an agreement that prevents double contributions? Will he / she be enrolled in the social security of the host country? Is the company financing the relocation of the employee?
  • What is the budget?
  • What are the implications of the stay abroad for the taxes payable by the employee?
  • What other administrative details should be considered? (Visa, work permit)

Especially if you are not used to sending your employees abroad the above-mentioned questions can help you to prepare the international assignment of your employee and serve as a guideline.

Please feel free to contact me for any further information.


Published on August 7th, 2012 © Alexander Raths – © ZenExpat’ Publications 2012

Arrival within a new country: How to integrate rapidly and stay ZEN

global deal goldBy Julia Noyel

Arriving in a new working and living environment is not always easy, especially if you don’t know anybody at the host country. Your friends are far away and maybe you feel a bit alone. You will have to find new friends, especially if you decide to expatriate for a period of 1 to 3 years. In this article you will learn more how Irma from Mexico managed her integration to France.

Continue reading “Arrival within a new country: How to integrate rapidly and stay ZEN”

How to find a job abroad

earth jobsThe decision is clear: you want to go abroad and work abroad definitely, build up a new life in a very different country far away from your home town. But how to find a job abroad? In this article you find tips about how to find a job abroad.


You know the country and people habits and culture of your desired country, you already know where you want to go, the only thing missing is a job so that your dream can actually become a reality.
The same is true of course if you accompany your partner, who has been sent on expatriation. You do not want to sit there on the couch, but also be professionally active.

Well, how to find a job abroad?

First of all, you should check your qualifications:

  • Is there a place for your skills and your competences in the country? Or maybe you have to get further training? For instance on language skills. Find out whether you can, for example, do an intensive language course.
  • What is the economic situation? Which profiles are demanded in the country?
  • Should you apply only once you arrived in the country or would it be better to send your applications in advance?

There are many organizations that offer help on these topics. These are, for example, Internet forums where global mobility professionals or expats already share their experiences, but also local job agencies might provide initial guidance and advice, sometimes even financial support.

Keys when you prepare your application file for finding a job abroad

When you prepare your application file you should adapt to local requirements. Each country has its own rules and preferences, regarding the length and overall design of the CV and motivation letter (with or without photo, concise or detailed, one page or more pages)
Once you have your CV and motivation letter ready, you can start the search. The easiest is to apply to offers on the internet on global job markets or local newspapers, employment agencies or recruiters. You can also buy company lists at the chambers of commerce.

Also contact companies directly you would like to work for and ask them if they have got any jobs available in your field: consider country specific requirements for your application.
The latest local networks are also extremely valuable, which can be expat networks or colleagues or the employer of your partner, or simply the local sports club. Never underestimate social networks on the Internet, such as Xing, Viadeo, LinkedIn and Facebook. Networks shorten and facilitate many ways! Ultimately the job in your dreamland is always a matter of luck, but – and this is before anything else – of patience and confidence. Stay in control even during long dry spells in mind: You have a dream and therefore the motivation is for potential employers at least as important as a professional qualification.

In our article, we gave you essentials questions you would need to look at befor taking a decision. If you are still unsure whether your idea is feasible or not, you can take an expat coach. Even a one- to two-hour conversation with an experienced expatriate coach can help you to clear away doubts.



© Franck Boston – © ZenExpat’ Publications 2012

School search during your expatriation

Finding a appropriate school during expatriation can be tricky. In this article you find some advice to for searching a school for your kids and pro and cons of local and international school.

Moving to another country as a family means a lot of changes for everyone, especially for the children. In order to make this time of change as easy as possible, it is always a good idea, to start planning the future life of your kids as early and thoroughly as possible. Finding the right school is crucial. This will help your children to get used to the new environment.

We’ve collected the most important points you should consider when searching for a school. First of all and quite obviously, you should think about where you’re gonna live with your family and where to find the next school from your future house.
As soon as you know, which country, region, city is your target, you will have to get all the information available on the schooling system. Normally you get them at the local Town Hall – or online.
The choice of the school might have a certain impact on where you’re gonna move with your family. Once you know, whether you want to live in a city or chose the countryside, you can start your school  search. It’s always recommended to have you school chosen before moving.

Usually there are three schooling-options during Expatriation:

1. The international school
2. The foreign-language-school (e.g. a german oder english school in France)
3. The local school

In the big cities you often have the opportunity to send your kids to an international school. This option is especially advantageous, when only moving for a limited period of time, as children will have contact with a educational system that is similar to that in their country of origin. However, costs for these schools might be considerably high, but sometimes your employer will step in for you and take at least some of the costs.

Secondly, you have schools in your mother tongue. There your child will be educated largely in its own language. Also, the educational system of the school might be similar to identical to that of your country of origin.
A local school offers the advantage of getting into close contact with the culture of your new home country. A second language will be easily learned by your child and the costs of education are normally lower than at international schools, at least as long as you don’t choose a private school.

The choice of your school might largely depends on the time you and your family are going to stay abroad. You might also have to answer certain questions. Will your child (or children) have enough time to learn the new language? Do you want all your children to visit the same school? Do the school cover all ages? What, if not? Which degree do you finally want for your children?
Therefore, the most important thing before moving is to get all the necessary information on schools and the educational system in your destinatary country. Talk to other expats and expat parents, before making your choice, make up your mind.
Below you find an short overview of the different schools in Germany, USA, England and France.

Nursery Schools / Kindergartens
Primary School
Junior School
École Primaire
Middle School
High School
Senior School

© ZenExpat’ Publications 2012


Working abroad a guarantee for a better life? Fed up with bad weather?

EmigrateYour colleagues are getting on your nerves and your fellow countrymen even more so? Is working abroad a guarantee for a better life? ZenExpat’ gives essential questions you would need to look at before deciding going abroad.

A lot of people have decided to leave the country for above mentioned reasons in order to start a new life somewhere in the distance! What looks at first glance to be the easiest way to get rid of your past life, after a short reset of the own life, the idea turns frequently out to real mess.

Many hang at the first hurdle and the dream of working abroad ends faster than many had thought. It still sounds so easy, but it must constantly reminded: to emigrate and work abroad is something completely different than the last holiday in Spain, Norway or Canada.
Going and working abroad on a permanent basis is something completely different! In past you layed on the Costa del Sol in the beautiful sun, now you need to go through a hill of formes in an overcrowded stuffy office! A veritable paperwork war! Cancellations, registration, entry fees! At the beach you felt stress-free, now you seem to be on another planet.
Settling to a new country takes time. According to Black and Mendenhall, we will go through various stages until we get adapted to a foreign culture. If you want to emigrate, work abroad then, you must first of all clarify some very basic things.

Questions you should ask yourself before going abroad

First of all, the personal situation should be considered. Family members who depend on you? The situation of you partner  and your  children.
Please also consider the health conditions of you and your family.
And then very important: What do you do there? Of course, practical and technical issues,  social security and tax issues should be considered too. Already too many immigrants have suffered with their lofty ideas and have financially over-estimated their situation.
Clarify just in time questions about your property? House, car? A move from Europe to the U.S. means a significant cost, for instance. For a family this can be up to 15 000 EUR. You should have savings of at least 6 months, in the event that you do not find a job immediately. Not to forget, the administrative costs.
Of course, it should also be kept in mind that you are in a completely new social environment : you have to invent entirely new, which, fact seems at first an adventure, is in the long run quite stressful. New friendships have to be established, some new hobbies to be found. Everything is new: new culture, people, habits, language (intensive preparation required).
Emigration is a real project, which should be well prepared. The preparation time should be at least 6-12 months. With the right preparation, your dream of living and working in your dream country can easily become a reality. You do not want to forget any important issues?

In our article we gave you essentials questions you would need to look at before taking a decision. If you are still unsure whether your idea is feasible or not, you can take an expat coach. Even a one- to two-hour conversation with an experienced expatriate coach can help you to clear away doubts.


Published on August 6th, 2012 © lassedesignen – © ZenExpat’ Publications 2012

How to find an intership abroad

circle of friendsYour are studying and you would like to find an internship. In this article we give you some advice to stay find an internship abroad. Working abroad during your studies has a lot of benefits. Not only you get practical experience but an internship abroad is also a good way to learn a language and to learn to adapt to different cultures. Maybe you might find it difficult to find an internship abroad. Here you find 4 keys to succeed when searching an internship abroad.

When you are planning an internship abroad

  1. you have to start your search early, at least 3 to 6 months (depending on the destination) before the planned start
  2. you might do a quick research about the application requirements as they are different for each country
  3. you might translate and adapt your motivation letter and resume
  4. Follow up your applications regularly by contacting the companies you applied to

You want to know some strategies to find an internship abroad ? I can show you how to find an internship abroad.

Generally, you have the possibility either to look for an internship before leaving or to search once you arrived. If you are already in the country because you are studying it is often easier to search once you have started the studies.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using an internship program?

Internship program provide might be very costly, but once accepted into the program, you the provider has to guarantee a placement. Another plus is that they will also help you with the visa requirements.
Finding your internship on your own requires that you know what you want. You need to be proactive and willing to invest a lot of time in screening employers and sending your application. However, at the end you might be proud of the result and you will save a lot of money. Moreover, your university might also assist with the visa and you might also contact a coach who might help you.

If you would like to get more information for your internship abroad, feel free to contact me.

© ZenExpat’ 2013, Julia Noyel, © michaeljung –

Living in Japan culture and local habits

You are living in Japan and wondering about culture and local habits in Japan? In this article you find tipps from Nancy when living and doing grocery shopping in Japan. 

Japanese house style it`s very small comparing to living style in other countries like in USA or Latin America or Europe where you have a big kitchen… enormous stove, oven (that you can actually can cook a turkey) huge refrigerator with everything included! 

In Japan, yes you have stove, a mini one, mini microwave and a refrigerator to storage food for maximum for 2 days. 

Why? Because in Japan its normal to go almost everyday to the supermarket or grocery store and buy fresh food. You also have to understand that this is a costume. The house wife is in charge to manage every month their husband paycheck and deal with it to pay rent, water, gas, electricity, school, food and to give to their husbands a monthly payment for beer, drinks or any social activity with coworkers after work. So that’s why when you go for shopping all are you going to find will be baskets and not all those big-enormous carts, ok 2 level baskets and that´s it.
The house wife is in charge to manage every month their husbandpaycheck and deal with it to pay rent, water, gas, electricity…
Before going to the super market or “suu-paa” (Japanese way to say super) usually you need to make a list to buy exactly all the items that you need for your dinner and not spend more money than your budget and refrigerator allows. (ok this situation it´s similar in any other country, but you will see the difference) While you are living in Japan you need to adapt to local habits

Here are the tips and way to go for grocery shopping in Japan:

1. Try to get a local newspaper and check out all the discounts and on sale stuff of the supermarket. Usually there is one day of the week that the local super market post on your mailbox or they include on the newspaper the offers of the whole week…so then based on that you can plan your dinners or any other item as toilet paper, shampoo, etc. for to buy it exactly on the date they are announcing the sale.
2.  After you plan your lunch/dinner/breakfast menus, make a list and include all the stuff you need. 
3. Once you get to the super market, take a basket and go straight to the section you need to find your stuff… ok if you are buying lot of things you can get one of those “compact 2 level carts for 2 baskets” and start your shopping. 
4. If budget is not important for you, you can go any hour of the day to the super, but here there is a tip, if you have a budget and same couple of yens, go to the super market between 4pm and 6pm. You are going to find for half price all the fresh items, like beef, chicken, fish and some vegetables, including all those bento boxes (lunch boxes) the super market prepares. Super markets usually do this because they never keep any cooked meal for the next day. In case of fish, you will never find fish from yesterday (because they consume lots of sashimi cuts.) So this is the best time of grocery shopping ! GRANTED ! Remember: just buy what you need for the day because then when you get home you will say to yourself… Where I am going to put all this stuff !!! Your fridge is not that big ! 
5. Just be careful on one thing, thetax of the product is not included! Don’t become any shopcoholic buying all those beef for your bbq. 
6. Of course there are always “last minute offers” but don’t be crazy! Think first if you really need it. Usually those offers are in the entrance and there is a cd with a salesman voice taped inviting you to buy all those things..that’s funny ! 
7. Once you bought everything here comes your nightmare… the cashier ! Believe it or not…  Japanese cashier are fast ! Why? Because per person there are no more than 10 items !! So it`s quick and fast ! Need to get rid of those coins? Yes.. this is the right time you have been waiting for. Japan its one of those countries where paying with a credit card its not as massive as in  USA. Usually when you are giving the money to the cashier, they count it first and say out loud how much money they are receiving from the customer; They never put it inside the cash register machine the money before the customer agrees with the change. (this is in case there is any question about how much money they receive from the customer) I think this is a good practice !  
8. Also the cashiers are fast because they never pack your stuff. You have to do it yourself.This is to avoid long lines, and you can put your stuff on your own way on your plastic bag (supers always can provide you with or better bring your own thinking about recycling).
And that`s it you are set to go !  
Curious thing you will find is that comparing to Peru where raw eggs are always right next to the cashier lines, in Japan and I think in other countries they do have special aisles for that. Why is that? To not break them while you are shopping and dealing with your kids!
This is about going to a regular local super market, I hope that in some way my tips helps you and in my personal opinion, going to a Japanese super it’s a totally different experience.
See you soon with more curious things about my experiences! 
Nancy Yoshiwara is 34 years old and a 2nd generation of Japanese born in Peru, South America. She lived abroad but now is living in Lima, her home town and will see where destiny takes her!

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Arrival within a new country: Strategies to face the unknown and stay ZEN

Arriving in a new working and living environment is not always easy, especially if you do not fluently speak the language: A new country, a different environment, new customs and people. Altogether this might cause uncertainty and give us the feeling to being lost after the initial excitement of being in a new place has waned off. Far away from our familiar surroundings we suddenly feel clumsy, helpless, not fitting and our morale goes down. Many aspects of life are either unknown, surprising, or just different from usual. We would like to actively participate and integrate to our new work and living environment. Nevertheless, we feel there is a kind of blockage and don’t not know how to tackle it. Even simple things become an insurmountable challenge to us as attests Lucian Visan, a Romanian/Canadian who relocated from Toronto to France.

Continue reading “Arrival within a new country: Strategies to face the unknown and stay ZEN”