Category Archives: Expats

5 Questions from a World Nomad Traveler to an Expat Living in Colombia

Guest Post Interview of Jasmine Stephenson an expat living in Colombia and former World nomad traveler.

1st Question:

So your 27 and you went from Living in Florida to traveling the world. What inspired you to sell all your stuff and make that leap of faith to migrate to a new country not once but twice?

I just wanted something different for my life. I wanted to define my own version of success, live the way I wanted to, see other cultures, learn, explore.

2nd Question

You’ve lived abroad as a Nomad to Expat for over 4 years. How long & often do you call home to stay connected to friends and family from when you first left to New Zealand to now in Colombia?

I catch up with my family once every week or two.

3rd Question:

What would you say to inspire a Pingo customer to take this giant leap to becoming an Expat and/or Nomad to experience a life travel adventure?

Like Nike says, Just do it!

4th Question:

Can you share a culture shock experience while living abroad or perception experience of Americans?

I’ve had a few of those… probably the most laughable one was when I got blamed personally for causing the global financial crisis.

5th Question:

What advice would you give to someone considering being an Expat in Colombia?

I’d say that if you want to move to Colombia, don’t listen to the news. What you see on TV is very different from the daily reality that we live in here. Learn Spanish (at least the basics), talk to others who live here, and come visit. Find out why more people now than ever before are learning the truth behind the tourism slogan, “The only risk is wanting to stay.”

Expat Living in Colombia

Advice From an Expat Living in Colombia

Guest Interview Post Author Bio:

Jasmine Stephenson is a travel blogger who left her home in 2007 to live life on her own terms. She is currently living in Medellin, Colombia. Catch up with her on Facebook and Twitter.

When Illness Strikes While At Work Abroad With Children

Health Advice For Living Abroad With Children

Getting sick is never fun, but it is something that everyone will at some point experience in their life. Whether it’s a simple cold or a serious ailment, illness can leave us feeling miserable and sometimes even a little helpless. During our under-the-weather experiences, it’s always great to see a familiar face and hear friendly voices, but when we’re outside and away from our family circles, we often feel a little alone while living abroad with children.

Even our family may feel a little helpless since they cannot be there for you when illness strikes. When you’re work abroad with children and at a distance from your family and familiar friends, coping with sickness is basically left up to you. Maintaining your health, getting medical advice and assistance, and having to support yourself all on your own can be difficult, but the truth is that you don’t have to do it all on your own. And though your family may reside in a completely different country or continent, they can still be there for you when you need them the most to handle living abroad with children.

Helping keep things on track

When illness becomes serious, and it often strikes when we least expect it, it is always a good idea to enable your family to take care of any necessary processes that still need to be maintained when you can’t take care of them. In these situations, your family can take steps that will ensure that you and your life abroad are in good hands.

Provide your family the contacts you have, such as work, school, and friend circles so that they can assist you by handling bills and information for a care network. In many emergency situations, it is a good idea that such entities as work and school are quickly notified.

Despite their distance, you may depend on family abroad to arrange for transportation, grocery shopping, and other daily provisions. In serious illness situations, these care-essentials will make a large difference in your quality of life and enable a speedy recovery. Such simple tasks that a completely healthy person may take for granted can become an incredible hassle when we’re feeling under the weather, and it’s a great opportunity for your family to help even when they’re far away from your work abroad with children.

A different kind of help

Sick and yet so far away from family, keep in mind that they can’t really help you physically, but they can still be there where it really counts. They can be there in heart and provide advice and social support. This is one of the biggest concerns of anybody suffering from an ailment. The feeling of being alone and having to face not only the day’s regular challenges but also coping with sickness can leave an individual feeling a little depressed and helpless.

Because physical distances can become a barrier between individuals and their family, you can utilize an International service that’s not like typical prepaid calling cards keep your family close, even when they’re far away while living abroad with children. An economically sound method, prepaid calling services help your family stay in touch and provide the support needed when you’re confronted with illness.

A renowned saying, laughter is the best medicine, is very true. People that smile more and have a happier experience tend to recover at a quicker rate because they have the will and determination to recover. For these reasons, it is a very practical idea to discuss and chat regularly and keep a firm schedule to do so.  Your family chat experiences will give you something to look forward to and enjoy. You won’t feel alone and it will take away feelings of helplessness that are often associated with sickness.

Just knowing that they are there for you will make a huge difference in your recovery. Keep in mind that it also helps them to know that they are helping you through your recovery as well. Despite their distance, communication services provide one of the best tools by which we can stay in touch with our family circles and keep the important people in our lives a little closer to the heart.

Even when you’re in a new country surrounded by new people and places, you can still count on the familiarity of your family and friends to be there when you need them most. Even when illness strikes and you’re feeling a little helpless, the ability to communicate across long distances will provide you with the social support you truly need to recover as quickly as possible to work abroad with children

**Photograph “Young Man Sitting on Bed” by aaaal3xxx under Creative Commons Attribution

How to Survive Long Term House Guests

Everyone has had guests in their home. Some stay for dinner and others stay for the night. But, sometimes guests are here to stay for a while. Long-term guests will definitely affect every aspect of your lifestyle, some of which can be great and a few which may seem like a burden.

Though, since you are providing a house and roof for your long-term visitor, it is essential that you create a situation in which everyone will benefit from. In order to be as hospitable as possible while maintaining the comforts of a lifestyle that you are accustomed to, you need to plan and prepare for situations that will or might arise during your guests stay with you.

The topic most any host is primarily concerned with is the issue of avoiding crowding. At the same time, you don’t want to make your guest feel as though they are a burden to you. Space is always a concern, and is often only missed once it is occupied. A spare bedroom may have transitioned from storage into your guest’s new sanctuary. This means that you will have to plan out how you will adapt to a new occupant. What space will they need? What space will they want?

Though space can be limited and double-bunking or room sharing may be required, it is still necessary to provide some room so that guests can have space to themselves. Personal time is still important, and will be necessary when they need it. You don’t want them to feel like they are constantly without privacy, especially since this may leave other members of the family without privacy as well.

To aid in this objective, it is important to set long term house guest rules list. What is appropriate conduct? When and where should certain operations be conducted? Are there curfew house guest rules? This will include such topics as bathroom usage, living quarters, and the use of amenities such as the internet, phone, and kitchen. Setting down a solid set of base-line house guest rules is important. Though, you must still keep in mind that you don’t want your home to seem like a prison or your guest may feel as though they aren’t openly welcomed in your home. Set house guest rules that are fair and justifiable, such as not eating someone else’s food or leaving a mess for someone else to clean up. As for facility usage, such as the kitchen and bathroom, a fair schedule should be arranged to help maintain fairness throughout the household.

It is likely that your International house guest will need personal coaching as well regarding cultural differences and what practices will help them adjust to their new environment. Different countries have their own unique styles and habits, so it is important that you are there when your guest has questions or needs help adjusting to their new living abroad experience.

Plan ahead, such as school schedules and daily activities. Getting organized and balancing your time budget is essential to a successful experience, although it isn’t always considered until time becomes a pressing matter. Prior to your long term house guest’s arrival, make sure that you will be able to provide allotted time to take care of their needs. They may have schooling or work to conduct while they’re here, so it will be necessary that they are able to take care of those needs.

There is also the concern about keeping track of your guests. They’re in a new country, experiencing an unfamiliar culture and geography. Planning an effective communication method is a practical and efficient way to ensure your guest’s safety while they are staying with you.

Since it is up to you as the host to make your guest comfortable, providing certain amenities is necessary to aid them in their experience. When staying abroad, remembering home and being able to stay in contact with family from their home country is a comfort that helps immigrants adjust to their new home better.

However, long-distance calls can be an expensive addition to standard phone services, and aren’t always readily available. Prepaid international calling card service allows your guest to enjoy staying in touch with family while working abroad to save money. Pingo offers a family plan to have your relatives make a web dial International call with rates typically around 1.75 cents per minute by using Pingo Soft Phone and setting up sub accounts to manage your family’s account all online.

Long term house guests shouldn’t have to be thought of as a burden in your home. Through careful organization and proper planning, you can present a positive experience for your entire family. As a caring and hospitable host, it’s up to you to ensure that they feel welcome in their new home.

**Photograph “PA Mill Run: Falling water – Guest House – Living room” by Wallyg under Creative Commons Attribution

Best New Immigrant Gifts to Send Overseas To Your Family

Many immigrants travel in search of new and better opportunities, some for business, others for freedom. Regardless of the reason, not everyone immigrates with their entire family, and for most, there are still many family members that remain in their homelands.

While you are abroad, there is often the desire to stay in contact with the family you love. There are various means of communication for this, some of which are feasible and others that may not be so easily achieved.  We’ve compiled some of the best new immigrant gifts to send overseas to your family.

What to send?

Perhaps the most classic method of communication is writing. Whether it is a postcard or a lengthy letter, the mail has delivered messages and packages throughout the world. But, you may be concerned about what types of things to send to your family. What types of things would be useful? How can you remind your family that you are thinking of them, even when they are on a completely different continent from you?

To combine the two, nothing is better than a gift that says you are being thoughtful as well as mindful. Start by thinking about what you needed when you were home. Were there some items that were on a wish list? Perhaps there were a few items that you needed which weren’t readily available or may have cost too much in your homeland. Certain items can be rare in other countries, while exuberantly abundant in others. This may be a great time to buy gifts to send overseas to your family for these few items that are “hard-to-get.”

Lighting up their life always is appreciated

What about lighting?  It’s always great to have a guiding light in your house, especially when you find yourself in the dark. A simple hand-held LED flashlight is always a handy gift and comes in handy in just about any situation. Some flashlights are even combined with a small tool assortment, making them a handy tool to have around the home. Certain tools can be handy and may even be needed for your family to conduct business or work in their homeland.

You should also consider clothes. What about gear such as shoes and boots? These things can be customized to just about anyone’s style or desire, and there are even locations where you can get custom made t-shirts with pictures or writings on them.

Consider a box collection of postcards that has a variety of different scenes of your new city or country. It will save your family the trouble of writing you back, which is a plus since you’ll be able to hear from them more often. As they write to you, they can get an idea of where you are and share some of their experiences with you as well.

Music and art is not always readily available abroad, especially music that is specific or regional. You can share a taste of your new culture or even provide a few favorites that they don’t have. Regardless, music always makes for a great gift. Just make sure you send them the means to play it with as well. In addition, the arts combine a wide range of different mediums. You may have family members that enjoy painting or drawing. As simple as it may sound, some paper and pens can go a long way to making someone happy as a gift to send abroad.

The gift of your voice

What about a way to call you back? Not every country is renowned for its cellular services, and this would make a great opportunity to look into singing up for Pingo to take advantage of the Family Plan to make international web dial calls from over 200 countries for just 1.75 cents per minute. Then you’d be able to stay in contact with them more conveniently with guaranteed crystal clear quality.

Pay attention to the rules

What type of postage and packaging would you need? Consider what you will need to be able to send packages across international borders. What is allowed to travel across boarders? You don’t want to send anything that will be returned or confiscated, so do proper research on banned or prohibited items.

Communication is doubly important.  You’ll want to consider investing in a prepaid international calling card service  so that you can update family on gifts you’re sending or even the stories that “go with” your gifts.

Take the time to think of the thoughtful things you can send your family that can help them out as well as remind them that you are thinking of them. Send them a message or gift to send overseas, but always send them your thoughts. Though you may be in a completely different country, you can always stay close as long as you never forget those you love.

**Photograph “Amazing Treasures from the Land of Mr. Cranston and his Crime Fighting Ladyfriend Bumbles!” under Creative Commons Attribution

Best Practices For International Job Interview Questions

When applying for an international job, how should you go about it? The best practices for an international job interview questions actually require the same detailed research and planning as you would do when applying for a normal interview for a job back home. Anyone from India or the world expecting to take part in an interview of this type needs to thoroughly consider a number of things before the Int. job interview actually happens.

The first thing that any interviewee needs to understand is that the interviewer has already looked at their resumes and their technical skills and has been impressed to a certain extent. Being chosen for the International phone interview means that the interviewer is already considering the interviewee for the position and the outcome will be determined by how well this person does in the Int. job interview process, and how adeptly they apply the best international job interview practices.

Preparation is vital

Preparing for the interview is essential and extremely important. The first of the international job interview best practices is to take time to research the company that is doing the hiring. Conducting proper research will allow you to understand the employer better and also build a strategy about how you are going to answer the questions. As you find out what the company stands for and what working for them would involve, think of possible International job interview questions they might ask, and be sure to gather all the information necessary beforehand that you will need to answer any questions they might ask. This way you will already have the answers at your fingertips when you are actually on the phone for the interview. Also remember to keep your answers as short and straight to the point as possible.

Background noise can make a big difference

In any international call, both parties should be able to understand each other. A second one of the important international job interview best practices is to make sure that your surroundings are quiet at the time that you are expecting the call. Receiving the call at a place that is quiet will allow the interviewer to hear all your answers and make it easier for them to understand you even if you have an accent.

Be sure to have a reliable phone service like Pingo that backs every call with 100% call quality guarantee to ensure you have a clear line to call your interviewer with VS attempting to be cheap with a free but really low quality VoIP service.  So that you avoid dropped phone calls or lousy call quality to not hear your great job interview answers.

Focus is another very important part of the international job interview best practices. It requires that one be attentive and listen to every question that is being asked. After listening carefully to the question, then focus on answering as clearly and concisely as possible.

In any interview, one hopes to portray characteristics that he believes sets him apart from the rest of the applicants. It is no different when it comes to international job interview best practices. When participating in an international interview, answer in such a way as to state clearly what you will be bringing to the company and how the company is going to benefit by hiring you over another individual. This is where the person from India being interviewed gets to state their strong points.

Make a first impression that’s worth a second look

Since the interviewer is not able to look at your facial expression during a phone interview as they would in a normal interview, international job interview best practices state that one should always be enthusiastic as he speaks. Speaking enthusiastically about the company that you are being interviewed by, about the industry that they work in, as well as about the position that you have applied for, leaves one at a better position as the interviewer is also motivated to listen.

Lastly, international job interview best practices require that one be able to create a lasting impression. How one answers the questions will show whether they are professional and well prepared for the interview or not and this is what can make one stand out from the rest.

* Use this only as an informational guide and please seek professional advice from a certified International job placement recruiting coach.

**Photograph “George” by Abbiemead under Creative Commons Attribution

Advice To Finding Paid International Internships Abroad

The hardest thing to do is find a powerful, high-paying job that you can attain directly out of school. Many professions, especially in the practice of nursing and various fields of science, will never hire or accept someone that has little or no experience. We hope this post helps you in finding paid International internships abroad.

So the question has always been “how do I get experience?”. Difficult without a job that pays, it is sometimes only found through the art of an International internship. Here, you can begin developing the skills you plan on using throughout your global career. But, there are plenty of things to consider and be aware of before you begin an internship abroad, regardless of what type of profession you may be seeking for the future.

A few tips

A good practice is to basically keep talking. Start by talking to strangers regularly. You’ll need the practice and familiarity of involving yourself in a new cultural environment with new faces and people. It will give you the opportunity to practice your conversing abilities, language skills, and master the ability to communicate in general.

Not to be forgotten, you must also listen to what others are saying. Communication comes in two parts, and strongly depends on your ability to listen and pay attention to what is going on around you in this new country that you may be immigrating too. During a work abroad internship, you must be quick to learn and adapt, especially since you must conduct work while you expand your knowledge.

Think before you do. Don’t just dive in and buy a plane ticket, even if you’ve been told that you need to act fast, and even if it costs reasonable thinking. You are in a learning situation in which you are here to learn from those that already know, so rely on them to teach. Mistakes will eventually happen, but an internship abroad must rely on what they know, not what they assume. Always hit the books, at least until you find your own career path.

Set up and arrange goals before you aim to tackle a task. Make your goals realistically challenging. Don’t aim too high, but don’t set yourself up too low or you won’t be able to hit your target.

Time is a commodity

While global internships abroad have plenty of knowledge to offer an expectant and open mind, it comes with a valuable cost: time.  Internships abroad offer education and experience in the stead of a high monetary compensation. Basically, you normally don’t get paid for the work you perform with most internships. So you need to work harder to find a paid International Internship abroad. Even paid, the cost of living may leave you with the need to produce a quality source of income, such as a second evening or weekend job.

Of course, juggling both an internship and a second job is difficult, especially when school becomes another factor in the situation. We’re limited to only a certain amount of time each day, leaving interns with limited amounts of opportunity for themselves and personal time. This can become a psychological issue which must be prepared for in order to properly handle. One of the biggest problems is that those that are interns living abroad, do not anticipate the lack of time within a day or even for the next weeks or months during which they can “take a breather” or a break-like opportunity. If you are going to participate as an intern, plan to be working around the clock with little to no time for yourself. So plan some extra time to travel and enjoy the country at the end of your work abroad internship.

So how do you handle yourself when time seems to fight you at every angle? You have to provide for yourself and consider the future at the same time. Being of two minds in one place can be difficult, but if you plan your day correctly, you can squeeze every valuable moment out of your day.

One thing you can never ignore is your ability to stay in touch with everyone. Paid International internships abroad are all about preparing for the future. You gather valuable practice and education and will eventually be awaiting career openings wherever the best opportunity may be- regardless of where they are in the world. That leaves you to consider buying a prepaid international calling services for communicating with family and friends anywhere in the world. If your internship demands travel, then you’ll always be able to make the most out of every moment of your day without dealing with expensive long distance calls and limitations that Telecommunication carriers may have.

Work abroad internships will be a challenge for anyone anywhere in the world. Preparing the mind to not only provide for themselves but also work to gain education and fight time can be a difficult challenge. But, those that understand what lies ahead and know what to plan for will be able to tackle such a challenge and be ready for the opportunities that the future will provide in this growing global economy.

* Please use this material as a guide only and seek professional help from a certified International internship placement service or college work abroad support office.

**Photograph “Working” by Alex: under Creative Commons Attribution

A World of Father’s Day Celebrations

Pingo prepaid international calling serviceFather’s Day is one of the most celebrated holidays throughout the world. While many cultures have their own histories, religions, and specific cultural ideals, there are a few common similarities that everyone in the world shares. Fathers have played a key role in just about every society, raising their children, protecting their families and lands, and passing on their teachings to the next generation so that they too can do the same for their own families.

While a father is often renowned for his position in the family, in many cultures, father-figures are also honored with equal or greater passion. These figures may be patriots or even teachers that make an effort to create a safer world for all of us to live in.

A background of impression

Mrs. John B. Dodd of Spokane, Washington was the founding initiator of Father’s Day, advocating its message in honor of her own father who had fought in the American Civil War. After the war, his wife had died, leaving him to care for all six of his children on his own. Witnessing an inspiration amongst father figures, Mrs. Dodd continued promoting the holiday to churches, organizing the first initial date of June 19th. It wasn’t until President Woodrow Wilson approved it in 1916 that it became increasingly celebrated. In 1924, President Coolidge made it an official part of American culture. But even before its initial establishment, the principle of honoring our fathers and father figures had spread out across the world, often the only difference being the date on which to honor those that have affected our lives so greatly.

Celebrated throughout the world

The most widely celebrated date for Father’s Day is always on the third Sunday of June. People from all over the world use this common day to pay respects to fathers and father figures in their culture. But there are also cultures that imprint their Father’s Day traditions on a specific date, rather than a day. Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Uganda all share the common date of June 21st, which also celebrates the first day of the summer season. Regardless of whether or not it lands on a Sunday, Father’s Day is celebrated on this day, possibly because it was the initial date selected by its founder.

Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea all share a similar date which is invariably different from other locations in the world. The first Sunday of September marks their Father’s Day celebrations, which is very similar to what is practiced in the United States. In the northeastern parts of Europe, Father’s Day finds itself pinned to yet another unique date. Finland, Sweden, and Norway have dedicated the second Sunday of November to honor their fathers. Originally, the idea of Father’s Day was inspired by American practices, and the date on which it is celebrated is seemingly the only difference between the vast distances of the world.

Honoring fathers

In many of these countries, like Australia, the United Kingdom, and Mexico, Father’s Day celebrations are similar. Sunday is often a day when most businesses are closed, giving fathers an opportunity to spend time with their families. Such traditions may incorporate festivals in the park, enjoying entertainment such as movies or concerts, and even simply enjoying an opportunity to relax for the day.

There are also those that encourage the practices of being a father with others. Education and becoming proactive in their community are popular practices, often considered an honorary role in their society. Here, they pass their fatherly wisdom onto new or future fathers within their community, encouraging a better life for everyone they encounter in life.

Regardless of where you are in the world, it is always important to be able to contact fathers that have impacted your life in some way. Your travels may separate you from each other, but you always have the option of giving them a call. International calling services are ideal for such scenarios, allowing you the luxury of staying in contact with those that matter the most.

While Father’s Day has only been officially recognized for little under a century, its principles have been practiced by people throughout history. Honoring your fathers by learning from their wisdom and passing it onto the next generation is the most powerful gift you can give. Fathers are more than just a family title or position, they are the people that teach and help others in hopes of creating a better world for tomorrow.

**Photograph “Father gives playful chase to his daughter on the beach” by Mikebaird under Creative Commons Attribution

Royalty Across the World

Throughout the world, there are various types of governments and constitutions that represent our homelands. Some have presidents, some have parliaments, and some rely on the representation of the people through the senate. However, royal monarchies have been around since the dawn of time, represented by the titles of their kings and queens who reign over the lands.

In a world where democracy and republics have become the popular style of governing, the image of the monarchy has fallen into the background, replaced by democratically governed bodies. And while these governments continue to work for the people, there is still a place in the public eye for the royalty that exists in the present day.

So first you may consider asking yourself if it is important to celebrate royalty. Why should we celebrate another country’s royal holidays? Perhaps you’re in a new country where the celebration is popularly celebrated. Shops close down and crowds gather to watch parades and enjoy festivals.

While there are those native to their own lands who feel strongly about supporting their royalty and what they represent to the people of the culture, it is also important to consider that royalty has an attraction for people throughout the world. The image of a queen or king can attract those that aren’t native to a nation, and these celebrations find their way into the world news, bringing the world a little closer together.

Under the constitution, Queen Elizabeth II of England has been a reigning figure over the United Kingdom for over half a century. The recent Jubilation Day was celebrated to commemorate the enduring reign of the Queen over more than just the nation of England. Sovereign nations throughout the world fall under the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Australia, Jamaica, Grenada, and Belize are just a few to list. In all, the Queen is head of sixteen sovereign states and is the head of the fifty-four member Commonwealth of Nations.

The recent call for celebration in England commemorated the standing sixty year reign, currently regarded as a Diamond Jubilation, which is the second longest reigning period in the history of the British Monarchy. Needless to say, it was a grand reason for celebration.

However, that is not the only holiday dedicated to the Queen. Australia celebrates the Queen’s birthday on the second Monday of June, commemorating a yearly celebration to honor the leading figure of their governing body. This national holiday is separate from the celebrations that take place in England, and are associated with festivities and entertainment.

Across the land and sea, Japan also dedicates its own day to honor their Emperor. Currently, Emperor Akihito’s birthday marks the celebration on December 23, but the royal holiday actually changes with each new emperor. Known as Tenno no Tanjobi, the celebration always changes to reflect the current emperor’s birthday and has so for the past 2000 years.

With a current government very similar to that of the British Monarchy, Japan’s emperor represents the image of the people and plays little role in the political governing of the nation. But on December 23rd, the festivities take off with public appearances and speeches offered by the emperor, accompanied by banners and flags to commemorate the legacy of the nation, not just the emperor.

There are also countries that celebrate what helped design and create their nation. Norway’s royal family recently celebrated their National Constitution Day on May 17th, which has been one of their biggest celebration events since 1814.

Everybody dresses in the best spring clothing because the spring-time atmosphere results in many outdoor festivities. Children enjoy hotdogs and ice cream while adults stick to cured meats and sausages. Breakfast parties are thrown prior to the parades and following festivities.

Though not considered royalty, even the Presidents of the United States have their own particular celebration to commemorate the services that the office of presidency provides for the people by the people. Other democracies and republics throughout the world also celebrate their own political figures, and though not dubbed the titles of kings and queens, the Office of the President is certainly something to celebrate too.

Regardless of where you are in the world, the celebration of royalty is largely popular, even amongst non-natives. Much like the popularity of the Queen of England’s Jubilee celebration, there were those that wanted to be there but couldn’t because they were traveling. For these reasons, international calling services allow you to stay in touch with your homeland celebrations, regardless of where you are. You’ll have the opportunity to stay in touch with your fellow natives so that you can always take a moment to celebrate your country’s royalty.

**Photograph “64509199 – Prince Harry and Lady Louise Windsor” by Loren Bentes under Creative Commons Attribution

Celebrating Uganda Martyr’s Day in the U.S.

Countries and cultures throughout the world celebrate dates, people, and ideas that have shaped the world they live in. For countries like Uganda, changes in culture have affected the nation and its inhabitants in many different ways.

Religiously, one of the most celebrated occasions in Uganda is their national Martyr’s Day. While it may seem like it would only affect the country, the people are the true carriers of culture and ideals. As people migrate and journey throughout the world, we find ourselves learning more about how places and people affect us wherever we are.

A sacrifice made

From 1885 to 1887, Charles Lwanga and his groups of companions were oppressed and condemned for their Roman Catholic religious stance. At the time, the current political struggle had found them to be a threat to their own stance, resulting in the deaths of a great many religious followers who would not renounce their faith.

Pope Paul VI later canonized their names amongst the martyrs, affirming the importance of their struggle and stance for their beliefs. Since then, June 3 has been a day dedicated to the memory of these martyrs who gave everything they had so that others might also believe. One of the largest martyr collectives in the world, this occasion sets Uganda’s celebration amongst the great historical notes. Since then, Uganda’s population has grown to over seventy-five percent Christian, most of who are of catholic belief.

A long journey home

Because of the powerful effect these martyrs had on the Ugandan religious heritage, many Ugandan natives undergo a pilgrimage back to their homeland from countries across the globe. From distant lands, these pilgrims navigate their way to the Namugongo Holy Shrine, which is where the 22 Catholic martyrs are remembered for their bravery and stand against tyrannical figures that struggled to oppress their beliefs. Throughout the nation, celebrations are held, but for most of the devout, the pilgrimage is of great importance.

While many native Ugandans will partake in the journey, not everyone is able to make the pilgrimage. Many Novenas are practiced in the days and moments leading up to the climactic celebration, and these can be practiced at participating dioceses. You may take the time to discuss your own localized celebration with your church, and also make efforts to contact fellow Ugandans to organize your own celebration.

For those that do make the journey, staying in contact during a pilgrimage is important for not only safety, but to enable those who could not make it to partake in the celebration. Those abroad can share the moments of celebration with friends and family throughout the world.

This June, we remember those who laid down their lives for what they believed was right. As a result, people throughout the world have the opportunity to practice their own religious beliefs without persecution. While making the pilgrimage is an important part of culture, it is not always a viable option for everyone. So, we do what we can to remember and celebrate the heritage of Uganda.

About Pingo:

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**Photograph ”Uganda” by Hannah.Copeland under Creative Commons Attribution

National Heroes’ Day

Heroes are remembered throughout history. People do what they think is right, even though it sometimes comes at great cost. But the outcome often brings about great changes in the world, providing a brighter future for us all.

And so, on June 9th, Ugandan heroes are born and remembered by those whose lives they’ve affected. For the country of Uganda, the celebration of National Heroes’ Day is a time to remember those who have worked to liberate and progressively better the nation. Many people remember those that made sacrifices for the Ugandan people, ideally taking into consideration the fallen soldiers of the civil war that took place from 1981 to 1985. Soldiers and leaders who had made great sacrifices to create a better world take their place in the hearts of the people.

Of course, there are those that strive to remember all other types of heroes, such as the Ugandan doctor Matthew Lukwiya who detected a deadly Ebola outbreak before it spread. He fought to contain the contagion before it spread uncontrollably throughout the nation. As a result of his selfless efforts, countless lives were saved.

Celebrating your Heroes

Organizing cultural performances is one of the best ways to celebrate National Heroes’ Day. Heroes are unique to each land, so traditions, foods, and festivals should be practiced on this day to commemorate the heroes of your homeland.

One of the best ways to remember your nation’s heroes is to learn your cultural and national history. Take the time to research the people that went that extra distance to create a better world for us to live in. And always remember that heroes come in all sizes, both big and small. Even our fathers and mothers make sacrifices to ensure a better world for us, so be sure you remember them as well.

Of course, traveling abroad can leave you removed from your family, home, and culture, making such celebrations difficult. Regardless of where you are, you can always find a way to remain in touch with your culture. International calling services allow you to contact your home and family, acting as a constant reminder of the heroes that provided you with all the great opportunities you have today. By utilizing prepaid calling services, both you and your family can share these important dates, despite the distance that divides.

Heroes across the world

Many countries and cultures across the world also have their own dedicated National Heroes’ Day. United Kingdom, Barbados, Cape Verde (also known as known as Hari Pahlawan) in Indonesia, Mozambique, Namibia, Philippines, Romania, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Jamaica are just some of the countries that each have their own unique day and reasons for remembering their heroes. While the differences of dates, names, and personalities and purposes differ throughout the world, the reason we remember our heroes will always be the same. We take the time, even if it is just one day a year, to remember these people that helped to make the world a better place, which is really what we’re all here to do.

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**Photograph ”American Heroes Celebration” by Texas Military Forces under Creative Commons Attribution