"When the world is running down, you make the best of what's still around"

The World is not for Us.

By Shanathalas
An expat is both a unique and a common thing. While less people than not pack up all their stuff and travel round the globe, its certainly not uncommon in 2006. But in our multi-national, globalisation, global-village world of 2006, expats are just not factored in by businesses.

Example 1. Banks. You would definately think that in todays world banks could talk to each other internationally. But no, while setting up our accounts here we were told we would have special fees until we can get a credit rating. We asked could they not get our credit ratings from Oz? And we got the blank stare like the hamster fell off the wheel. Oh no, that would be impossible. How hard would it be!!??? In Canada one agency controls everyone's credit history. In Australia, one agency controls everyone's credit history. but to think that there would be some way these two similar agencies could communicate between them? If only there was some machine that could somehow send words from one country to another?

Example 2. DVD regionality. The completely fake way to keep people paying a premium price for a basic product. You could pay $40 for a DVD in Sydney, or order it over the net for $9. But wait! Its a region 1 dvd and it won't play in your region 4 player. Luckily, aussies are use to that crap and large companies do put out multi-region players, simply because there is little material published in region 4 that Australians often have to order for overseas. But walk into an electronic store anywhere in North America and ask "do you sell multi-region dvd players?" and they'll look at you like you're wearing a eyepatch and just said "Arrrr, me hearties, give us your software or ye'll be forced to walk the plank". Oh no, multi-region dvd players are an abomination and you must be doing something illegal. Then you patiently explain that you've just moved from Australia (which in Canada gives the universal response "Oh I'd love to go there one day" like its some paradise on mars) and your entire 200 piece dvd collection is all region 4. Then you get the hamster off the wheel look. Then they explain that its illegal to make multi-region dvd players, so none of the decent brands make them, but they have a cheap korean knock-off brand they can sell you. Poor mum has gone through about three of these. They usually will only play half your disk, and break down in spectacular ways within a number of weeks.

Example 3. Overseas job references. Its always tough applying for your first job in a country. I went through it when I first arrived in Sydney. I was stuck waiting for over a week after the interview, cause the HR person kept "getting the timezone wrong to call my references". Jai just went through a similar thing here - thankfully he got the job (Congrats sweetie - you earned it!). But the look is universal when you've just completed the interview, and they get to the "we'll just need to check your references" part of the process. The perplexed look of "oh, they're all in Australia/Canada/England/blah". Like if your references in the same city would get more than a phonecall? "Yes, I'll just drop round and have a coffee with your old boss". But somehow people who don't call internationally regularly seem to think its this massive and difficult task.

At a non-business level, being an expat rocks, especially in places like Canada and Australia. People always want to know "where that accent is from" and say how much they want to go there. And it seems to me there are millions of us around the world, but somehow business just doesn't want to know about it.

6 comments so far.

  1. chelle 2:18 PM
    i don't know exactly but i think regioning is considered a breach of Trade Practices act in Australia, because its anti-competitive behaviour. like you say, some stuff just isn't made for region 4, so it has to be ordered from other regioned areas.
  2. Beppie 11:37 PM
    Hi Shannon! :)

    Have you tried looking online for the de-regionising codes?
  3. evelyn 2:56 AM
    I don't think they actually upheld that argument in Australia (of course not with the way our govt bends over for the US) but in New Zealand it did. It is illegal to sell dvd players that aren't multi-region in NZ.

    So far I've been lucky reference wise. No one has been at all concerned with trying to speak to anyone. For my last English job I even told her I wasn't sure the phone number was correct as I knew they'd moved offices and I received a strange look as she said "of course, we'll just email everyone, its easier".

    I'm also discovering it helps to have one job on your resume that's completely unrelated to your chosen field. I always get asked what it was like working at a casino. HR especially seems to like talking about something that isn't IT related.

    Being an expat (from a country that people generally like) is pretty good. You get excused for not knowing the "local" way to do things (if you're polite and friendly) although in the UK you have to be prepared for joke about how strange it is that you're not working behind a bar.
  4. Shanathalas 9:02 AM
    Hey Beppie,

    Yes, we have been looking online for those, but the major manufacturers have got wise and apparently the codes only work on the older machines now.

    I am keeping an eye out for codes that work on new machines.
  5. Dean Collins 1:35 PM
    Hi from another expat aussie but in New York.

    We wnt through the same problem and as I had over 500 dvds from Australia sent over when we moved maybe I was more determined than you.

    I can highly recomend the Philips MX5060D, it's a progressive scan dvd that with a code can be made multi-region and also has mp3 capability.

  6. Shanathalas 2:22 PM
    Thanks Dean for the DVD player suggestion. I will definately look into it.

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