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As David, a student of art remarks, "I’m so glad I took the gap year, because it’s given me a better perspective of life and career, preparing me to try out new things outside my comfort level, and learn from every experience!".

Today, just like him, more and more students are considering taking a gap year to improve their future prospects, boost their resume or just for a fresh start. Gap year refers to the period where students take a year off before entering a career or higher education. These are opportunities to grow, learn and develop new skills which will help them in the future. 

Here are a few gap year ideas that can boost your career.

1. Volunteer

 As a volunteer, students can develop connections within the community and gain wide experience. It helps develop life skills which will be very useful for their future.

2. Learning a new language

Students can use their gap year to learn one or more new languages. Not only will it help them navigate their daily life, but experts suggest that multilingual candidates often earn more over time. 

Gap year ideas to boost career

3. Teach English

English is the global business language. The ability to teach and command a class in English looks amazing on a student’s resume – not everyone can do this.

4. Learn cooking

Cooking is a sensual art that creates wonders. Mastering this art will not only satisfy your hunger, but will also create a sensational career opportunity. 

5. Get creative

Students who love art/architecture/sculpting/creative challenges can use this year to develop and indulge in their passions. They can enroll into art school, intern at an art gallery or even work as an apprentice. All of these will add value to their resume.

However, students should ensure that they take all necessary precautions before they embark on their gap year journey. Instead of carrying wads of cash, they should invest in a prepaid multi currency travel card that will help them, save and use money wisely. Families and friends should at all times know of their whereabouts and they should make sure their phones are reachable and topped up at all times!

 

As David, a student of art remarks, "I’m so glad I took the gap year, because it’s given me a better perspective of life and career, preparing me to try out new things outside my comfort level, and learn from every experience!".

Today, just like him, more and more students are considering taking a gap year to improve their future prospects, boost their resume or just for a fresh start. Gap year refers to the period where students take a year off before entering a career or higher education. These are opportunities to grow, learn and develop new skills which will help them in the future.

Here are a few gap year ideas that can boost your career.

1.       Volunteer

 As a volunteer, students can develop connections within the community and gain wide experience. It helps develop life skills which will be very useful for their future.

2.       Learning a new language
Students can use their gap year to learn one or more new languages. Not only will it help them navigate their daily life, but experts suggest that multilingual candidates often earn more over time.

3.       Teach English
English is the global business language. The ability to teach and command a class in English looks amazing on a student’s resume – not everyone can do this.

4.       Learn cooking
Cooking is a sensual art that creates wonders. Mastering this art will not only satisfy your hunger, but will also create a sensational career opportunity.

5.       Get creative
Students who love art/architecture/sculpting/creative challenges can use this year to develop and indulge in their passions. They can enroll into art school, intern at an art gallery or even work as an apprentice. All of these will add value to their resume.

However, students should ensure that they take all necessary precautions before they embark on their gap year journey. Instead of carrying wads of cash, they should invest in a prepaid multi-purpose travel card that will help them, save and use money wisely. Families and friends should at all times know of their whereabouts and they should make sure their phones are reachable and topped up at all times!

"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn." - Benjamin Franklin.

That’s what an international internship is all about. If you really want to stand out from millions of graduates, you need to be true to the old adage, that life begins at the end of your comfort zone. You need to get out of your cozy home and create your own opportunity by finding an international internship. In addition to gaining industry skills, you’ll also learn invaluable life skills from living abroad. It will help you grow personally and professionally.

Here are some more key reasons, why you should consider spending a semester interning in a different country.

Increase the market value of your resume

Interning abroad makes your resume a lot more desirable to employers. Employers prefer hiring people who have such broad experiences, since it ensures their employees have a great attitude, and are sensitive and comfortable while communicating across cultures. In short it increases your market value by several fold!

Learn unique skills

Interning abroad is an easy way for you to develop and learn additional skills. For people who are looking to expand their horizon and delve into fantastic careers, a stint abroad is exactly what they need.

International Internship is Good

Challenge yourself

It’s definitely easier interning from your home country than living abroad alone and working. Students who intern abroad are constantly challenging themselves to move out of their comfort zone and this trait will definitely be a bit hit with employers.

Develop a new perspective

Interning abroad opens up your mind and helps you think from a new perspective. This way, when you are employed back home, you can bring a lot of new ideas and concepts to the table, which will work in your favour.

Personal growth

Living and interning abroad will definitely make anyone more creative, flexible and broaden their horizon. Include with that the opportunity to learn new languages, and develop better social skills and you’ve got a winner here!

To get started, speak to the faculty or advisor in your college/university and work with them to get in touch with the proper contacts for international placement. Choose a reputable money service provider to take care of all your forex and money transfer needs and don’t forget to get a travel card which can also work as your debit card.

So, is international internship good for you? In our books, it’s a definite yes!

Easter is just around the corner. It is one of those few occasions when families gets together to celebrate with atleast one special dish, that has been handed down through generations.

Let’s peek into these traditional dishes from around the world that’ll intrigue you.

Hot Cross Buns – UK

Hot cross buns are a delicious treat savored on Easter mornings. Even though this tradition is largely followed in Britain, it is not uncommon to find people indulging in hot cross buns in various places around the world as well.

Pashka – Russia

It’s a pyramid shaped mound of cheese which is prepared all week long and is brought to the church on the day before Easter, to be blessed. This pyramid of cheese is usually decorated with various religious symbols.

Easter

Bun and Cheese – Jamaica

Easter morning treats in Jamaica are sweet and spiced bread which are topped with creamy and mild cheddar cheese – the Jamaican version of the English hot cross buns.

Mammi – Finland

Mammi is actually a traditional Finnish Easter dessert made from molasses, salt, rye and powdered orange zest. It is consumed on Easter mornings with cold milk or cream and sugar. Preparing this dish takes days and is definitely worth the wait.

Schinken im Brotteig – Germany

This name literally means ham in bread and that’s exactly what it is. It’s a traditional German Easter dish and is made in almost all homes in Germany.

Ma'amoul – Lebanon

Maamoul is a delicious traditional Middle Eastern pastry that is made on religious holidays such as Easter or Eid. The pastry is filled with pistachios, dates and walnuts.

Pacoca de Amendoim – Brazil

This sweet treat is made from peanuts, sugar and cassava flour and is served on Easter in every Brazilian household.

Torta Pasqualina – Italy

This delicious spinach and egg pie is eaten on Easter Sunday in Italy. Traditionally it’s served cold and features whole eggs inside the pie to give it a unique appearance.

Fesikh – Egypt

Fesikh is an ungutted fish which is salted and dehydrated and is typical to Egypt. It is consumed with various other delicacies on Easter.

Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá – Portugal

Bacahau is the Portuguese name for cod and this dish, which is made of bacalhua, potatoes, onions and eggs, is served for Easter lunch in Portugal.

You can always add these scrumptious dishes to your Easter menu, but the best way to savour them is to visit these countries during Easter and enjoy their food the traditional way.

Book your flights tickets early and ensure you get your travel cards before you leave, to ensure your exchange rates are locked in. Pack your bag and off you go on a culinary journey!

Do you love good climate, pristine countryside, amazing culture, excellent health care, colorful traditions, history, and of course, the chance to lead a better life coupled with immense career and financial growth? Then France should be your haul.

If you are planning on moving to France, here are a few customs you may want to be aware of.

Being formal:

Formality comes to them naturally and they expect the same from others. The sooner you understand this and adopt this attitude, the easier it will be for you to integrate into its society. For example: the French often say "Excusez-moi de vous deranger, monsieur/madame" (Excuse me for disturbing you, Sir, or Madam), instead of simply saying excuse me!

Greeting people:

It’s the French norm to shake hands when introduced and also when saying goodbye. Kissing on the cheeks is reserved for known acquaintances, friends or relative, but children will almost always be kissed on their cheeks.

Planning to move france

Gifting etiquette:

When invited by someone for dinner, it’s customary that you carry a small present usually in the form of chocolates, a bunch of flowers or a plant. Do not carry foreign food or drinks– they are generally not well accepted. Be careful with the flowers as well, as certain flowers are used only for occasions or can even denote bad luck.

Eating out:

Always be polite, and greet your waiter when you enter a restaurant. Go through your menu and when you are ready to order, keep the menu aside, so your waiter can approach you. Tips are usually included in the bill, but it’s customary to round off the bill and pay.

Eating in:

Even casual family meals in France are a formal affair. When invited to someone’s house, you will need to follow certain etiquettes. Do not begin eating before the host says bon appétit and do not pour your own drinks (except water). If you are not offered another drink, then it’s time to leave. It’s polite to eat everything on your plate.

Conversation topics:

Certain topics are a big no-no and you should not mention them in your conversations. These include talking about money or asking someone what they do for a living. Stick to discussions on food and drink. Even if you are in the midst of a heated discussion, do not raise your voice as it is considered vulgar.

Before you leave you home country, make sure you tie all loose ends, and take care of your financial obligations. Once you reach France, find a good money exchange service provider, so you can easily send home money and do not hesitate to ask for help.

Take your time and enjoy your life in France – it’s all a part of the big adventure of relocating to a new country.

Does traveling for food fascinate you?

Just for food aficionados like you, several food festivals are organised around the world. So join the celebration and indulge in your favourite delicacies from across the world.

Salon du Chocolat Festival, France

A five day annual event, this festival is a chocolate lover’s dream come true. The event features more than 200 chocolatiers, pastry chefs and confectioners. Visitors are treated to demonstrations by the greatest pastry chefs, conferences, live performances by cocoa producing countries, book signings, workshops for children, chocolate marketplace and the most drool worthy fashion show featuring clothes made entirely of chocolate!

Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, Australia

Launched in 1993, the annual Melbourne Food and Wine Festival is a hallmark event in a gourmand’s calendar. Thousands of food and wine lovers descend to Melbourne every year to participate in this 10 day celebration of food. Don’t forget to join in the signature event of the festival “The Longest Lunch” where a record number of people gather together every year from across the globe for a three course lunch.

Food festivals

Savour, Singapore

The tiny multicultural island of Singapore packs quite a punch with its variety in flavours from around the world. It is no surprise that Savour, the four day event celebrating over 50 signature dishes from world class restaurants is a must-visit on every food lover’s travel diary. Gourmet cuisine, cocktails, wines and Christmas goodies all combined, make Savour one of the world’s best annual food festivals.

Pizzafest, Italy

An annual event since 1995, the Pizzafest is a four day celebration of one of the most loved food in the world. Set in Naples, the birthplace of pizza itself, this festival has world famous pizzeria compete against renowned local pizzaioli.

Napa Truffle Festival, USA

Napa Valley in the USA is well known to the world as a heaven for food and wine lovers. However, for the past seven years, the valley has also been hosting the Napa Truffle Festival in the month of January. This carnival brings together the best chefs to ensure that the world’s ‘Truffle curiosity’ is well catered to.

However before you step into these food festivals, remember to use a prepaid travel card instead of carrying wads of cash. Paying for all your purchases, the travel card lets you enjoy your food without worrying about pickpockets.

So, go ahead, begin your culinary journey!

Top five beaches in Dubai

Friday, 07 April 2017

Are you a beach lover? Then Dubai can be your haven this season. There are plenty of beautiful beaches which are free for public use and are always bustling with people swimming, jet-skiing, picnicking or playing beach games.

Here are top five Dubai beaches you can revel in.

Jumeirah

Jumeirah is a family oriented beach with clean water, plenty of restaurant and cafe options. One can get a good view of the Burj Al Arab (most luxurious hotel in the world) from here. If you plan on having a nice time paddle boarding, then this is the beach for you. You can also take some amazing pictures here, especially with the gorgeous sunsets.

Marina

Marina is yet another beach that is free for public use. You can always spot visitors here bellowing in happiness, no matter which day of the week it is. This beach offers almost all water sports options like diving, banana boat, fly board, jet ski etc. The restaurants and coffee/ juice bars by the beach are awesome. Great place to walk, swim and enjoy activities.

UAE beaches

Kite

This is the beach where kite surfers meet and it’s super fun to watch them or have a go yourself. Regular kite festivals are also held here and each one of them is a spectacle to watch. Apart from kite-surfing, there are also banana boats, donuts, deep-sea fishing and kayaking available. There are also a variety of restaurants and food trucks available here which offer amazing international cuisines.

Al Mamzar

Pure and sparkling blue water, soft and clean sand, palm trees, less crowd, excellent park, cool air – Mamzar Beach should be among the top places you must visit when in Dubai. Mamzar has 5 beaches in coves around the coast of the park and is very popular with tourists and residents. Each beach has sheltered areas with changing rooms and showers. You can also rent chalets complete with a barbecue area on a daily basis.

Umm Suqeim

Umm Suqeim is a quiet and spacious beach with a great view of Burj Al Arab. In spite of its location, it’s never overcrowded here and families, couples and individuals can easily find a space to relax. Food and drinks are available at a few restaurants along the beach. Thanks to a well-constructed running track and numerous water sports activities, you have plenty of options to be active at this beach.

So what are you waiting for? Go out, enjoy the beach to beat the heat. A travel card and cool summer clothes is the only thing you require to have a gala time. However, do note that both men and women must dress modestly when on the beach.

Sending your child abroad for higher education is an important milestone in both your lives. This is what will shape the path of his/her future career.  So which are the best places in the world that offer an excellent standard of education? 

Three important factors needs to be considered in order to answer this question. 

  • Quality of education the university offers
  • Employability level  
  • Aesthetics of the place itself

 Based on these three criteria, we have listed out the top five countries for higher education in the world.

Australia

According to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2015-16, Australia has 31 universities, out of which six are among the top 100 in the world. Australia has a small population and the prospects of finding a good job post your child’s education are very high.  The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) gives your child the flexibility in the choice of courses and also ensures their college/degree is government accredited and genuine. Also, all foreign student rights are protected by law under the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS).

Higher education

Canada

Vibrant culture, stunning natural environment, massive regional variations and one of the best educational systems in the world – all this makes Canada an excellent destination for international students. Degrees from Canadian institutes are internationally recognised, and tuition fees and cost of living for international students are among the lowest in the world. No wonder, more than 150,000 international students go to Canada every year for higher education. Finding a job here is also comparatively easier for international students.

Dubai 

Dubai is a lot more than just shopping and tourism. Dubai boasts of a high quality education system and is home to some of the best educational institutes in the world. Once a student completes their education, they can easily get a job and transfer their student visa to a work permit, thereby ensuring they have a solid future. And the best part is, with their employment visa, they can work and study simultaneously!

Germany 

The economic powerhouse of Europe, Germany is one of the best places for getting your higher education degree. The tuition fee is minimal and in some cases, students don’t need to pay any fees at all!  It’s no wonder that more than 250,000 students from around the world choose to study in Germany every year. An impressive 37 German universities can be found in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2015-16. Finding a job in Germany is not too difficult provided your child knows the language.

USA

USA has some of the best educational institutions in the world. Over 750,000 international students attend American universities every year, and despite the high fees and increased cost of living, students love living here. With 106 American educational establishments listed in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2015-16 - not to mention seven within the top ten - it's fair to say that the country merits its place as the number one destination for international students.

Ensure your child carries a travel card, so that he doesn’t have to deal with the challenges of carrying hard cash and losing money to exchange rates.

 

Sending your child abroad for higher education is an important milestone in both your lives. This is what will shape the path of his/her future career.  So which are the best places in the world that offer an excellent standard of education?

Three important factors needs to be considered in order to answer this question.

·         Quality of education the university offers

·         Employability level  

·         Aesthetics of the place itself

 Based on these three criteria, we have listed out the top five countries for higher education in the world.

Australia

According to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2015-16, Australia has 31 universities, out of which six are among the top 100 in the world. Australia has a small population and the prospects of finding a good job post your child’s education are very high.  The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) gives your child the flexibility in the choice of courses and also ensures their college/degree is government accredited and genuine. Also, all foreign student rights are protected by law under the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS).

 

Canada

Vibrant culture, stunning natural environment, massive regional variations and one of the best educational systems in the world – all this makes Canada an excellent destination for international students. Degrees from Canadian institutes are internationally recognised, and tuition fees and cost of living for international students are among the lowest in the world. No wonder, more than 150,000 international students go to Canada every year for higher education. Finding a job here is also comparatively easier for international students.

Dubai

Dubai is a lot more than just shopping and tourism. Dubai boasts of a high quality education system and is home to some of the best educational institutes in the world. Once a student completes their education, they can easily get a job and transfer their student visa to a work permit, thereby ensuring they have a solid future. And the best part is, with their employment visa, they can work and study simultaneously!

Germany

The economic powerhouse of Europe, Germany is one of the best places for getting your higher education degree. The tuition fee is minimal and in some cases, students don’t need to pay any fees at all!  It’s no wonder that more than 250,000 students from around the world choose to study in Germany every year. An impressive 37 German universities can be found in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2015-16. Finding a job in Germany is not too difficult provided your child knows the language.

USA                  

USA has some of the best educational institutions in the world. Over 750,000 international students attend American universities every year, and despite the high fees and increased cost of living, students love living here. With 106 American educational establishments listed in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2015-16 - not to mention seven within the top ten - it's fair to say that the country merits its place as the number one destination for international students.

Ensure your child carries a travel card, so that he doesn’t have to deal with the challenges of carrying hard cash and losing money to exchange rates.

Travelling to and fro home or even buying tickets for family members to visit you, is an integral part of expat life. So how can you save on the considerable amount of money that is spent on the flight fares? One easy way is to book your flights with low-cost airlines. While there are many such airlines all around the world, we bring to you the top five low-cost airlines serving the Middle-East.

Here you go!

Air Arabia – Headquartered in Sharjah, Air Arabia is a leading low-cost airline that services Middle-East and North Africa. The airline operates flights to 51 destinations in the Middle-East, North Africa, the Indian subcontinent, Central Asia and Europe. They also run an amazing loyalty program and points thus earned can be utilised to cover costs of entire or partial flight tickets, excess baggage allowance, travel insurance etc.

Flydubai – This is a government owned low-cost airline, headquartered in Dubai. The airline operates between a total of 95 destinations, serving the Middle-East, Africa, Asia and Europe from Dubai. Flydubai offers both the business class (which was introduced in 2012) and economy class services. Each of them provide great full meal services, excellent seating arrangements, and priority check-in for business class passengers.

Amazing low cost airlines

Jazeera Airlines - Jazeera Airlines operates out of Kuwait and has been instrumental in popularizing low-cost carriers in the Middle-East. It operates scheduled services for the Middle-East countries. They offer business and economy class as well.

Flynas - Formerly known as Nas Air, Flynas is a low-cost airline service based in Saudi Arabia. Flynas is the country’s first and only budget airline! This carrier also performs Hajj services. The countries Flynas flies to, are Egypt, Turkey, UAE, Jordan, Bahrain, Kuwait and Lebanon.

Onur Air - Onur Air is a low-cost airline service with headquarters in Istanbul, Turkey. The airline operates scheduled services to Iran, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Austria, France, Germany Netherlands, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine.

All of these airlines offer amazing services with no frills or fuss. Now that you know the best options in low-cost airlines, go ahead, book and reserve your air tickets and pay for them at any UAE Exchange outlet across the UAE. Remember that it’s imperative you book your tickets from reputable sites to ensure your money and safety is guaranteed.

Top 5 parenting apps for expats

Thursday, 06 April 2017

This old adage is undeniable. ‘It takes a village to raise a child’!

Living in a foreign country and trying to raise their children without any help from family is a stressful reality most expats face. However, thanks to modern technology, parents can now download and use several parenting apps which will definitely make their lives easier.

From locating and keeping tab on the child’s whereabouts, to keeping them entertained and even translating their cries, these apps are definitely the support, most frazzled moms and dads desperately need.

Find My Kids

The Find My Kids app helps parents track their wandering children. Using state-of-the-art GPS navigational technology, such apps provide alerts when their children return from school, or head out to play or even if they leave the intended premises.

Cry Translator

Most parents to new born babies have but one wish – if only they could understand what their child was trying to say and understand why he/she has been crying incessantly for hours together. Cry Translator is the app for them. It identifies the reason for a child's cry with 96 percent accuracy and within 10 seconds. Thus, parents can know what is keeping their child awake and also how they can address the need.

top 5 parenting apps

Mamabear

Mamabear not only tracks a child’s whereabouts but also monitor’s the child’s social media accounts, text messages, and can even let parents know if their child is driving or riding fast! It’s a perfect all-in-one app.

PBS Play & Learn

PBS Play & Learn is a wonderfully addictive teaching app for young children. This app teaches new skills and vocabulary in a fun and interactive way and will keep your child busy long enough for you to get your chores done.

Baby Connect

Every parent will agree that they need all the help they can get during the time their child is a toddler. Keeping up with their schedules can be taxing. Parents cannot afford to miss out on their child’s feeding times, doctor appointments or medications. This is where the Baby Connect App comes in. Baby Connect helps parents manage a baby’s life by tracking feedings, diapers, sleep, activities, medicines, and much more.

Needless to say, apps have made lives of parents extremely easy and even though we have listed only five of these apps, there are hundreds of them available for smartphones. Of course apps cannot replace family, hence you can plan frequent trips home or try to get your kin to travel to spend time with your children. You can easily now pay for your flight tickets, at any UAE Exchange branch, across the UAE!

Maintaining a healthy financial investment is a must for any individual, to build wealth. If you are an expat, the need to stay invested in a diversified portfolio is multi-fold, as the uncertainties of globalisation such as currency and commodity fluctuations hover over your money.

What’s an investment portfolio?

Investment portfolio is a bag of financial products that are intended to avoid and balance the potential risk factors that hinder wealth creation. A good investor is one who understands this. So he never puts all his eggs in a single basket. Depending on the investor’s risk appetite, specific financial instruments are chosen for investing. An aggressive portfolio includes high risk/high reward propositions such as stocks. On the other hand an investment portfolio which contains debt instruments such as government bonds is known as a defensive portfolio.

We will introduce you to a few investments below.

National bonds and saving certificate

National bonds are issued by the government, it usually doesn’t have a fixed interest rate but it’s considered very safe. Savings certificates are issued by reputable regional banks and they have a fixed rate of interest. The maturity periods on both national bonds and saving certificates can be of small term and long term.

Investment Portfolio

 

Gold

Consider investing in gold or gold related mutual funds if you have hard cash. The advantage of gold is easy liquidity and it generally goes up when other asset classes goes down.

Stocks

When a company is publically traded, the company as a whole is valued in small units called stocks. Stocks allow stock-holders to own a portion of a public corporation. The UAE for example has three stock exchanges, Dubai Financial market (DFM), Abu Dhabi Securities exchange (ADX) and NASDAQ Dubai. Stocks of multiple companies are traded here from retail companies to financial institutions.

Mutual funds

Mutual fund consists of mixture of stocks, packaged as a single unit; it’s a pool of money from different investors that is used for buying products such as stocks and bond. Mutual funds are managed by experts of the financial field who have a higher chance of picking good stocks compared to people who have lesser expertise.

Initial Public Offering (IPO)

IPO is the first sale of stock by a company to the public. In a financial market like the UAE where multiple companies are being listed in stock exchange for the first time, your portfolio would benefit from buying these stocks, because the companies being listed are well run and profitable.

Exchange Traded Funds (ETF)

As their name suggests they are funds that are traded on Public Exchanges. What this means is that you can buy and sell the funds exactly like you would buy and sell a stock.

Ensure you connect with the best wealth management service provider, who can explain these portfolios in detail and help you make the right choice.

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