Five Friday Highlights: Siestas, Expats, and Global Expectations

Global Expectations

If you have ever established residence in a country other than your own, you know that settling in involves so much more than unpacking. In today’s highlights, insight into life in Vietnam for an expat as well as issues that in one way or another reflect changing economies and customs in several countries.

When you think of Spain, do you envision businesses closing for lengthy afternoon siestas? Siestas have actually been in decline for a decade but businesses in Spain are grappling with ways to empower their employees to use their time effectively while also handling child care and other work/life balance issues (childcare can be scarce in Spain). Learn more from the Harvard Business Review’s piece, Don’t Call it a Siesta – What Spain’s New Work Hours Really Mean.

Even if you never cross the border of your own country, you are almost certain to communicate electronically with other cultures. As Bridging the Cross-Cultural Gap Through Email Etiquette explains, cultural differences need to be bridged in email just as much as they do in person. It shares four strategies for more effectively communicating across culture via email.

Get a glimpse into one of the parts of the expat puzzle (childcare) in The Cost of Motherhood for an Ex-Pat in Vietnam. Diana Metzger, whose family moved to Vietnam from the US in connection with her husband’s position with a Dutch NGO, discusses how the Vietnamese view her as a working mother, healthcare, consumerism, and the cost of living (baby formula, for example, is imported and prices can reach $65 for one canister.)

How China Can Avoid the Middle Income Trap explores the difficult choices China faces as growth slows. The author explains why some people in China see reason for optimism yet others have “serious reasons for concern; environmental degradation, corruption, high debt levels, to name just a few. Unless China can address its governance challenge, I fear that the pessimists will prove right. Issues of governmental authority will drive the direction of China’s economic trajectory.”

If you are an American who has traveled abroad, you may have been surprised at how your home country was perceived. Research what other countries tell their citizens about what to expect in the US, and you may see a different “US” than the one you call home. UK issues travel warning about anti-LGBT laws in U.S. states is one example.

What would you tell a visitor to your home country? Email me by clicking here to let me know!

Image Credit: 123rf/Timur Arbaev