Wednesday, August 27, 2008
ExpatFinder: Check It Before The Last Boarding Call
What's an expat to do???
One of the realities of the global economy is that millions of people -- tens of millions actually, move from their home countries to other places to work and live. And of course hundreds of millions travel overseas each year for business or pleasure.
I had an early life crisis when I was 26, right about when the Berlin Wall came down. I went to Europe to live for about 8 months, mostly in the newly free Eastern Bloc. One of the things you learn fast as an extranjero in another country is that it can cost you like 10X more to do daily life than it does a native.
First there is the phenom of locals versus tourist pricing, then there is the fact that getting from point A to point B can be rather complex until you know the ropes. Finally, every culture has its expectations about living spaces. For example, Americans tend to want a lot more living space than say, Swedes. Other culture may value bona fide urban life that can be very hard to find in much of the US, where cities sprawl.
For all these needs, now there is ExpatFinder, a new search engine geared specifically to the foreigner in a new land. Want to know cost of living in London? Whether to change money in the US or Paris? The need for health insurance in Dubai? You can find the answers to these and millions of other questions on this site.
A product of French and Singaporean firms in collaboration, this site clearly has a finite niche market, but that niche ain't tiny, and as someone who has tried to use conventional search engines, including my beloved Yahoo, to try to learn more about other countries -- even other US cities, the need it there.
When you look up, say, Hong Kong on a conventional search engine, you will be inundated with flight and hotel offers, but very little advice on what neighborhood would be a good place for a Yank to live.
And it is for that reason that ExpatFinder is out there. It'll be interesting to see how well they are able to monetize this set of needs.
Thanks for reading, and don't forget to write.