Expat Life

Why the four-day work week is good for business

A company in New Zealand decided to test if the four-day work week was beneficial to business. Everything stayed the same, including salary, except employees were working one day less. The experiment lasted for eight weeks and proved that the work-life balance had increased from 54 percent to 78 percent. Stress levels had declined, and most importantly, the job performance wasn’t affected. In fact, it became mildly better.  After two months of trial, the company will be scheduling the four-day week permanently.  Productivity lasts less than 3 hours a day The CEO of the company, Andrew Barnes, was reading about a research project which revealed that employees are only productive for 2.5 hours a day. This is what made him consider a four-day week as an option. Andrew claimed that it was an e...

Why do Swedes have the longest vacation time?

Vacation in Sweden is something phenomenal. Local residents have 41 paid days annually. The country takes the lead on a global scale. Nearly two months of the year in total For many employed workers around the world 41 paid vacation days may sound glorious, but it is only a humble minimum for Swedes. In fact, legally they can be out of office around 2 months of the year. It is calculated with possible absences regarding personal matters, grief leave, public holidays and even a day off when you’re moving house.   However, the country keeps breaking down the standards: after taking the first 20 holiday days, Swedes are allowed to save remaining time up to five years. In addition, employers are responsible to inform their employees about their vacation situation in order to use it before thos...

Why people seem so mean as they age?

The differences between each living generation are based on diverse experiences that accordingly shape different approaches and can create barriers of communication or even provoke the inability to listen to each other. But this doesn’t necessarily need to be the case.  The latest studies show that the generation gap might not be relevant when it comes to the question why older people seem to be so mean. The aging process shrinks certain parts of our brain and that affects people’s embarrassment level.  This causes people to become less worried about what they are saying. It might mean that older people express their opinion that would normally keep only for themselves. Moreover, it is possible that people have always been this way, and aging simply reveals ones’ true character...

Tipping in Germany

The tipping culture in Germany is deeply entrenched. Thus, this article explains the most actual tipping habits: how much Germans favour waiters; and what expectations waiters have; So, read the article to avoid any possible misunderstandings and unnecessary blushing!  The information is based on a study, made by Dr. Christian Stegbauer, who is an academic at the Frankfurt University.  So, many people all around the world would use rational logic when tipping: if they like the services and food, they will tip the staff accordingly. Meanwhile, Germans have their own standards that aren’t based on a typical “calculations”. German tipping habits Tipping is known as “trinkgeld” (“drink money”) in the country. Interestingly, Germans are known as generous restaurant-goers, even though the tip is...

How does language affect our perception of reality?

Can a native language influence the way we think and express our thoughts? Can it shape our world accordingly? It is very likely. This topic catches a lot of attention among linguists and researchers.  They are trying to identify the relationship between language, culture, and perception. The words, grammar, metaphors we use influence the diversity in perception and experiences. However, it is quite difficult to measure what is the extent of a language’s influence. Culture, traditions, habits and local environment shape our mind too, for this reason they affect how we talk and how we express our opinion. Linguistic differences There are a few examples below which demonstrate the differences from a linguistic perspective among unlike nations. –          Eskimos have many more words to...

Does New York Shape Its Residents?

New York The New York can be anything you want it to be. It’s why countless people have pinned their dreams on this evocative city, thrown caution to the wind and shown up on its doorstep. As Frank Sinatra famously put it, New York is the “city that doesn’t sleep.” New York City is the American centre of gravity for all things modern and cool that evolved into a hyper-frenetic centre stage all the world dreams of performing on. This is the city that is always non-stop, 24/7 in its eternal quest to remain one step ahead of the rest of the world. Living In New York Visiting New York is fundamentally different from living permanently in the Big Apple. New York is indeed a one-in-a-million, exciting place to live and work. New York, however, is not for the faint-hearted, the vacillating nor th...

Expats in Switzerland: where do they belong?

Even though everyone is different, it is still possible to sort people into groups regarding their attitude to a specific matter. Expatriates in Switzerland are not an exception: they can be grouped to the tribes due to their experience and viewpoint of living abroad. Here is the variety of Switzerland’s expat tribes. The love refugee They can’t even properly explain how everything happened and how they found themselves living here: working on their residence permit, as locals kissing other on the cheek three times when they meet them. They became extremely punctual and no longer notice the church bells, which ring all the time. The taxpat People chose this place because it is easy to park some money here. However, the situation has changed over the years, but Switzerland still stays...

What our face tells about our internal system

Face mapping has been known since the ancient world. In the past, it was the main way to diagnose and prevent diseases and prescribe treatment. However, this ancient practice is also a widely used technique in today’s world, especially when it comes to nutrition and healthy life style. It works quite simply: an organ or body part is identifying with a specific point on the face, which shows existing disorders and diseases. Here are the main areas of our face that talk loudly, let’s take a look! Forehead It is related to gallbladder and liver issues. The forehead reveals the condition of our nervous and digestive systems. The main threats come from the stress, internal stagnation and dietary habits: deep lines on a young forehead can’t be mixed up with age wrinkles. It is a sign of some kin...

Internet censorship in China

Internet in China is strictly controlled by many laws and administrative regulations. It is the most extensive and advanced online censorship operation in the world. More than sixty Internet regulations have been created by the government of China, which have been implemented by provincial branches of state-owned ISPs, companies, and organizations. The governmental authorities of China block access to selected foreign websites and slow down cross-border internet traffic, also monitors individual activity of users. Moreover, it limits the access of foreign international tools and mobile apps; and requires overseas companies to accustom to the indigenous regulations. For this reason, this phenomenon has a worldwide famous nickname “The Great Firewall of China”. (Wikipedia) The Gr...

Lunch customs differ around the world

Food, tastes and eating habits varies greatly from country to country. The geographical zone and climate, traditions, individualistic or collectivistic culture also impact our edible choices. Let’s take an appetising tour around the world to see what people eat for lunch. Argentina Argentinians for their midday lunch are having a quite large meal, usually it is pasta or meat. Sandwiches de Miga or empanadas – pastries filed with meat, seafood or vegetables, are a very popular lunch choice too. China Lunch time in China is the same as in Western world. The menu is simple and usually doesn’t contain more than three dishes. So, typically it is rice or noodles with some meat and vegetables. Costa Rica The most standard option for lunch is Casado: a plate of rice and beans, served with plantain...

People can’t handle more than 150 off and online friendships

We do have a limited capacity of energy to socialize. Which means there are limits to a specific amount of people with whom we maintain personal boundaries. So, those late-night conversations with strangers online consume the same energy that we keep for our friendships offline. Dunbar’s number The PhD of Psychology at Oxford University, R.I.M. Dunbar, claims that human beings “can only handle about 150 friends, including family members”. The professor Dunbar and other researchers made a study built on investigation of brain scans. The study revealed that this number is based on an individual brain size: the extent of our neocortex, which is responsible for managing relationships, determines the quantity of people we know and keep social (offline and online) contact with. Time matter...

Tips how to make friends in rural French neighbourhoods

Relocating abroad and settling down is a great challenge. This is especially true if an expat moves to a rural area instead of going to a big international city. And what about the resettlement in rural French neighbourhoods? How to make friends and become accepted in your local community? Read all the tips below that come from the experience of our fellows who are living in the rural French regions. The French countryside with calm, no-rush, stress-free environment and long walks in the nature around vineyards sound idyllic. But being social creatures, we tend to communicate with other human beings. For this reason, even an idyllic world can become boring without interaction with people. Moreover, we can’t escape it: daily life provokes the communication with locals on many different leve...