Thinking of becoming an expat? World of Expats says preparation and planning is key

Thinking of becoming an expat? World of Expats says preparation and planning is key

Newspaper reports - on the back of academic research released this week - have claimed that British people who move to Spain are ‘more unhappy' than those who stay at home. Dr David Bartram from the University of Leicester said that migration can be disruptive to social ties and sense of belonging and that British people can feel excluded from local community networks, because of a reluctance to learn foreign languages and integrate.

Nigel Ayres, Founder and CEO of World of Expats, says that while moving abroad does not guarantee happiness - people who plan the move and carry out as much research as possible at the outset, will settle better and be in a stronger position to enjoy their new life.

"Moving abroad can be a culture shock and it isn't the same as visiting somewhere warm and friendly as a tourist," says Nigel, "Preparation is therefore key and expats do need support. This support isn't necessarily only practical help - there are emotional issues to consider as well. But, staying in touch with friends and relatives back at home is much more easily achieved today by using technology, social media and other means."

Launched last year, World of Expats is the first all-encompassing information service which highlights everything a potential expat needs to consider before moving to another country - including buying a property, advice on education, work or culture.

"Many of the people in this latest survey are retired people - who moved to Spain 10 years ago or so - when selling your property in the UK and buying a cheaper apartment in Spain was very popular, but awareness of some of the pitfalls was not as high," says Nigel. "Since then the underlying problems with unlawful developments, the oversupply in the Spanish property market and the impact of the recession and Euro crisis on the Spanish economy have led to problems. Added to that, there are always those who face family issues, such as needing return home to help look after grandchildren or elderly relatives."

He continues: "We can't plan for every eventuality - but getting advice from professionals, regarding investments and pensions etc is key. It is also important to avoid common pitfalls by ensuring agreements are translated by an independent translator (do not rely on the vendor's translation) and taking independent advice from an English-speaking lawyer and surveyor acting only for you. They should be familiar with the area where you are buying, but be sourced to ensure they are not connected with the developer or the vendor. In addition, talking to people who already live in that country is useful too in identifying common problems."

World of Expats is a global community, providing advice to anyone thinking about living abroad, whatever their age and whatever their motivation for becoming an expat. The organisation is launching the first in a series of exhibitions aimed at potential expats and property buyers in London this November (14 and 15 at ExCeL). This will be followed by exhibitions in Birmingham (April 2015) and in three US cities next year (New York, Chicago and Houston).

"We are very excited about our World of Expats Fairs - as, for the first time ever, potential expats will be able to access all the information they need regarding their move in one place, making it possible to plan everything from start to finish," says Nigel.

The first World of Expats Fair takes place at ExCeL in London in November includes exhibitors covering the following areas:

• Property abroad
• Property services
• Retirement overseas
• Relocation services
• Destinations
• Recruitment
• Expat lifestyle

In addition, there are a variety of workshops available, free advice on family and cultural issues and the chance to network with other potential expats and existing expats.

"I truly believe that with all these tools at their disposal, expats will make better informed decisions about their move abroad," says Nigel. "This means that, hopefully, they are well placed to make the most of the opportunities that a move abroad can offer."

Notes to editors:
• Launched in September 2013, World of Expats is the first destination for expats.
• The site provides a combination of destination specific guides for expats, together with information and advice covering all of the issues faced by expats, as well as tools and access to services.
• has been launched by Nigel Ayres, former co-founder of The Forum for Expatriate Management, a global community of professionals involved in managing international assignee programmes at large and medium-sized corporates. Nigel has lived and worked as an expatriate in Hong Kong, Malaysia and twice in California.
• In launching World of Expats, Nigel is partnering with Living Abroad, a leading provider of destination information and other services to the global mobility market.
• Among the services offered by World of Expats is Hot Properties - which provides links to properties from Rightmove Overseas. In addition, there are property guides from The Overseas Guides Company (OGC).
• Foreign exchange services and advice is available from an alliance with Smart Currency, while Oversea Mortgage Broker gives access to advice on financing an overseas property purchase.
• World of Expats has also announced a partnership with VisitRentals - the world's largest online inventory of serviced apartments and aparthotels.
• Other tools and services available on the site include a job board powered by Xpat Jobs.
• World of Expats will also be hosting exhibitions in London, 14 and 15 November (at ExCeL) and three US cities next year (New York, Houston and Chicago).


Posted: 24th of April 2014

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