Friday, December 13, 2013

The New American Expat by William Russell Melton

 This is a great reference book for anyone who is considering spending time overseas working. The author has decades of experience doing exactly that, and brings a great perspective to the table. If you've already done some international travel, some of it is perhaps a bit basic, but you can go ahead and skim on to the meaty bits.

I think perhaps some of the best material is regarding some of the attitudes and expectations, i.e., The Right Stuff, that Melton feels a successful expat must have in order to thrive during the experience:

  • Good communication skills
  • Adaptability/Flexibility
  • Openness
  • Tolerance/Patience
  • Sense of Humor
  • Humility
  • Creativity/Resourcefulness
  • Decisiveness
  • Commitment/Perseverance
  • Independence/Self Reliance

His list of reasons folks often become expats:
  • Professional. Career advancement, career expansion, job promotion, more money, increased knowledge of international markets, professional development, resume enhancement and building an international network...
  • Inquisitive. Personal (or family) growth, interest in expanding your personal experiences, interest in expanding your knowledge of the world, adventure, and desire to experience new and different challenges...
  • Remedial. Running away from a difficult personal situation or financial problem...a perceived boring and pointless life...
An amusing bit,
"I found it amazing that most Germans actually obey Walk/Don't Walk signs, whether or not a vehicle is approaching. As a New Yorker, I have always viewed these signs as merely advisory."

A handy tip,
"it is not uncommon in some countries for the lessee to be liable for the cost of repairing appliances if they break down or for routine maintenance costs that are traditionally paid for by the landlord in the United States".

There are some great appendices filled with reference web sites and recommended reading, though much of it seems a bit old, so perhaps updated editions?

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