Calling all expats!

10th May 2010, Comments 12 comments

Join Expatica's European Expat Panel to share your views on living abroad.

Since April 2008, Expatica has partnered with Ruigrok | NetPanel to form the European Expat Panel to look for qualified participants — you. This panel provides the ultimate opportunity for expats to share your views on living abroad.

Survey results are published on Expatica and used as a source of information for articles and other features. More importantly, your views and experiences help Expatica and other companies understand your needs and requirements, and could possibly  improve your quality of life abroad.

“Expats are hot,” said Ruigrok | NetPanel Managing Director Marja Ruigrok. “They are a group of innovators who left the comfort of home for the adventure of living in another country. They are usually highly educated, high-earning world citizens with distinct ideas, needs and preferences.”

”Often, very little is known about expats,” Ruigrok added. “This is the reason as to why Expatica and Ruigrok Netpanel joined forces”  to find out more about the needs and wants of expats.  

Surveys which we have conducted over the past few years include challenges faced by women expats, housing, education, finance, labour and general quality of life.

If you are keen to lend your voice, join the European Expat Panel by going to Share your opinions on the issues that internationals face in every day life. As a panel member, you will receive a maximum of 12 email invitations per year to take part in short online surveys.

Research data and results are available upon request. Organisations in need of information about expatriates can contact

12 Comments To This Article

  • Jake posted:

    on 24th November 2008, 20:04:33 - Reply

    Life here in Amsterdam, Holland is not easy for expats. In fact, one is up against a lot of obstacles such as finding an apartment (which can be harder than finding work).
    One is taken advantage of by ruthless landlords. I won't go into detail here.
    The Dutch people are not nice. Very reserved. You don't fit in unless you know Dutch. Even so, they have their friends since they were children. You'll always be an outsider.
    Working for the Dutch is equally different. You're up against people with a different mentality from what you were used to.
    Me personally, I have suffered at the hands of landlords, bosses and loss of income having not received Social Welfare when unemployed even though I paid taxes and am an EU citizen.
    I see Norma's comments above and agree that foreigners indeed are treated with disdain.
    Gladly, I have a partner here who is not Dutch either. Without my partner I'd have taken off out of here a long time ago. This is a lonely place if you are really on your own here.
    As for making friends here, your best chance is with other expats.
    The Dutch are so tight with money, are generally abrasive, bash, abrupt, arrogant and ignorant. They love to jump the queue on you, are blunt to the point of insulting you, think they are superior to you and are very rigid. Liberal, here. No way!
    A few good points about them is that they are usually efficient, sometimes honest in their directness, have good infrastructure and of course love to speak English (probably cos they want to show off their level to you!).
    Other than that that's it. Customer service is diabolical. They simply don't care.
    Amsterdam though is a very pretty city. I like it. Lots to see and do for everyone.
  • Norma posted:

    on 5th November 2008, 17:03:06 - Reply

    I have lived and worked in Singapore, England, Abu Dhabi, Cayman Islands, Germany, West Africa(Nigeria) Nederlands and am now living in Madrid for the last one week.
    The only place in which I experienced difficulties was in The Nederlands. I never clicked with any Dutch nationals inspite of the fact that I sit in 2 Dutch bridge clubs and have Dutch partners and played bridge two evenings a week. I lived in an only Dutch areas and attended many Dutch functions (My husband Is Dutch) and my daughter went to the Gymnasium I lived there for 6 years.I find the majority of them especially those educated ones insensitive and nationalsitic. Foreigners are treated with disdain. I always have to prove to them them that I am well educated, have more worldly experience than any of them, have a social standing etc,etc. The sellars are nice maybe because they need our euros.
  • anonymous posted:

    on 12th October 2008, 13:07:36 - Reply

    I have no much problems getting jobs but the problem is that i fall into dubious and criminally minded employers, it was an eye opening experience to know that some so called patrons are taking advantage of vunerable job seekers like me.

    One of several experience i had was shocking to me. lured to do things the way he does it; I need the job but I soon became the victim at the end.

    Employers should be made to strictly advertise their job vacancies, and not the usual underground selection processes. This helps keep them at check. that is where i have been hit. One patron told me to come and start work the next day; i had worked 4 days before i had to sign the job contract. Of course he wanted it that way. he droped me before the normal 14 days to avoid preavis obligations, he takes another person ; and it goes on and on. While i was still working with him , an old and angry employee was coming to destroy our completed jobs. destroyed our resting rooms, police came ; they hardly questioned the character of the patron. I think the patron was erratically considered untouchable or above stupid things.

    But fortunately fore him, am less violent. He is of Italian origin; he even boasted about his nationality, but little did he know that my first country of residence was italy. I spoke the language; dined and wined with good Italians. I have met good , honest Italians who even saved my life.
    my point is that expats are still not well protected from shady characters. solution is that , there should be strong controls about recruitment. transparency, records.
    imagine a refusal to be involved in unethical gimmicks of an employer. You loose the job too. I got involved yet i still lost it.
    So bad as some voices are not really heard.
  • mandi coates posted:

    on 10th September 2008, 13:20:18 - Reply

    i have lived here in netherlands for 2 years i find that the dutch are very arrogant and ignorant, they refuse to speak english and look down on any one that dosnt speak dutch... i dont know where they get this.. as for comming in line with europe well they jst do what they want, my hubby is a carpenter he was told today by a dutch construction company that it dsnt matter that he is all legal here and paying tax he needs a dutch passport.... how racist if you hold any passport from any european country u can work there its discusting my dream of a better life 4 my family is still a dream maybee spain was a better plan at least its sunny there
  • Happy Nomad posted:

    on 19th August 2008, 21:09:29 - Reply

    My work involves coaching expats adjusting to a new culture or a new job in a new country and based on the experiences of my clients as well as my own experience as an expat myself I agree with Gaffer, expats do not form a homogeneous group, each one has his/her own story.

    The original description made by Marja Ruigrok used to be valid about 20 years ago and it is bad need of an update. Here are some things that distinguish expats:
    What motivated their move in the first place, career ambition, a desire to discover more of the world, an irresistable attraction for a specific country or a search for a place to retire in a more sunny climate or a cheaper part of the world.

    Other factors that would distinguish expats are: their income,anywhere from poor student to highly paid executive, to a being a nanny, and if they have a family life or not, as well as the way they go about a social life in the new country they are in, either blissfully ignoring the locals or making efforts to blend in.

    In my experience the only thing that holds true for all expats is to be ready "to expect the unexpected"
  • HistoryTechDoc posted:

    on 16th June 2008, 11:52:45 - Reply

    Personally, I feel myself rather fortunate to have been living here in South (Zuid) Limburg since 1989. Although the first 10 years were very difficult, I was able to contribute enough into the tax system to now be able to have excellent health care insurance that would have bankrupted me had I remained at home in the U.S. with my systemic rheumatoid arthritis complications.
    Although I have taken Dutch lessons now for over 4 years, I still do not understand how, my employer thought that I could learn Dutch sufficiently enough to communicate fluently with only 20 (twenty) hours, not weeks, of language training! Dutch is a language of seemingly unending exceptions and idiomatic expressions.
    No wonder that I just read in today's Metro Nieuws page 3, that approximately 1.5 million Dutch citizens and Residents are not considered to be sufficiently trained to read or write the Dutch language--in other words 'Functionally illiterate' for living here in the Netherlands. Furthermore, and perhaps more importantly, 2/3rds of this number are not immigrants, but one million Dutch natives (about 1 in 16)! So it's apparently not just we Expats that are having trouble learning the Nederlandse taal, aka the Dutch language. Part of the local problem extends itself into dialects that are closer to being distinct languages rather than just Dutch 'accents'. Down here there is more of a Germanic influence on both the pronunciation and vocabulary.
    Language remains the most intractable problem facing the EU and no one sees any solution in sight for the next 30 years. At least that was the view I personally heard in Zurich from Lord Cockfield about 15 years ago and I do not think it will be much different for the EU by 2023.
  • gaffer posted:

    on 14th June 2008, 14:37:17 - Reply

    In our experience (English - six years living in France) anyone who thinks that "ex-pats" can be treated as an homologous group is not in the real world.

    Apart from a depressing level of "DailyMailishness" and colour prejudice we have found as wide a variety of opinion, attitude and expectation as in any other random group of people. I also suspect that the outlook of those of us here in Les Landes will differ from that of ex-pats in Dordogne and in company with our French neighbours will be extremely different from Les Parisiens.
  • candlelight posted:

    on 11th June 2008, 16:58:36 - Reply

    I have just moved to France after 6 and half years in Spain. My experiences are that your location does make a difference to how you are treated by both foreignes and other ex-pat´s. I am much happier now. When it comes to intolerence, the Brits can be as bad with each other. I too have been accosted in supermarkets by Brits wanting help. Not all Brits have the ability to learn languages especially later in life. I know someone who is dislexic and has terrible learning difficulties. Therefore may take a long time to be able to communicate. They are not ignorant,lazy or stupid.I arrived in France only Speaking English and Spanish. Had a terrible accident which resulted in hospitalization. I was in no condition to speak what little French I have. I received the most wonderful treatment from all the French medical staff that I encountered. Not one person made any derogatory remarks of my not speaking French. I am happy to say that I am on the mend and looking forward to spending my retirement surrouned by wonderful countryside and even more wonderful people.
  • Val posted:

    on 2nd June 2008, 14:44:43 - Reply

    I live in The Hague, in The Netherlands. Since it is the city of expats - I mean diplomats; ambassadors; people working in international organisations, it caters only for these rich and posh people. However, I am an expat (with a previous experience of 6 years in ireland) but I am not an ambassador or a diplomat - I am currently looking for work actually. Let me tell you that the Dutch just hate having Europeans here because they don't need to speak dutch, yet the Dutch speak easily english and french - their own language come from these two (as well as german) so it's only normal that the dutch should speak those foreign languages rather than us europeans learning Dutch. In addition, for a city of international communities to which The Hague's inhabitants should be proud of, I have never seen so much ignorance and intolerance towards foreigners. In the administration they just ignore you if you speak english only (and I am french by the way). Therefore I am planning to leave The Netherlands for a new european country, I can't wait - I have had nothing but troubles and stress for the 3 years I have lived here.
  • Mari posted:

    on 27th May 2008, 11:23:49 - Reply

    I totally agree. I am an expat living in France and I have yet to see any other expats looking for excitement. Most are retired and looking for the easy life. I have been standing in stores with my husband and we have been accosted by Brits who want our assistance in getting what they want, rather than try and speak the language themselves, some exitement. Saying that we are renovating our 14th century building, but we do have three children in French schools, who have thrown themselves into French life with gay abandon,the way that only children can do. Life can be tough here but we love the friends we have made, who laugh at our expense with the many cock-ups we make. C'est la vie!
  • zazidanslemetro posted:

    on 8th May 2008, 11:36:51 - Reply

    "Often very little is known about ex-pats"
    Marja Ruigrok
    You said it Marja
  • zazidanslemetro posted:

    on 5th May 2008, 11:59:08 - Reply

    I do not know where Marja Ruigrok lives.Ca veut dire on which planet.I have lived in france for almost six years and I have yet to meet these highly educated,high earning world citizens looking for adventure.There are economic refugees,those aiming to improve their social status(too competitive in UK)who refurb a 14th bus shelter and never stop talking about it,and the Dailymailers who think britain is going to les chiens,but where are these others?