Category Archives: Expats

How to Get An English Teaching Certification

As an expatriate from an English-speaking country working in a country in which English is not the primary language, communication with both clients and other residents can prove to be rather difficult. This is even worse for expats who are not very good at using the language that is spoken in the country that they are currently in. This is perhaps the main reason why expatriates spend so much money each year trying to communicate with people back home. Fortunately, there are affordable international call-carriers they can use such as Pingo.

While the communication problem may seem to be unwelcome at first glance, an English-speaking expatriate can turn this problem into a money-making solution and earn extra income to supplement their regular income by teaching English to residents there. To do this, however, they will need to have a recognized certification that qualifies them to teach the subject. It is for this reason precisely that every day, the number of people looking for TEFL CELTA English-certifications online continues to grow.

There are many English-teaching certifications available today that are recognized and accepted all over the world. Some of these certifications can be obtained online without even having to physically sit in a classroom, while others are entirely physical without any online components whatsoever. There are still others that are a hybrid, combining both classroom training with internet components for online learning and certification. The subsequent parts of this article will be dedicated to a discussion of three of the most common and most widely accepted English-teaching certifications that are available today.

Three Common English-Teaching Certifications

They include the following:

1. Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL)

The TEFL certification is probably the cheapest and most easily accessible of all the recognized English-teaching certifications. There are many institutions that offer this kind of training today. The training itself is characterized by short training durations (usually 40 hours for the full course), and low rates of under $200 for the entire course. The training is done entirely online, and students can get their certificates and diplomas shipped to them upon completion of the course. Of the three main English-teaching certifications, TEFL is considered the least efficient, and is therefore less acceptable around the world, except for temporary teaching jobs.

2. Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA)

CELTA is the most widely accepted English-training certification throughout the world. The main reason for its wide acceptance lies in the fact that the training is entirely classroom-based with no online components at all, as well as the fact that the training is accredited by Cambridge University. This means that their training is more comprehensive and stricter as compared to web-based training. On the downside, it is much more costly than the other qualifications and takes more time to complete.

3. Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

The TESOL certification involves a combination of classroom learning and online learning. As such, it is recognized all around the world as being better than the TEFL training but not quite as great as the CELTA certification. The costs of certification along with the duration of training also lie in the middle ground between those of the two other certifications.

*It’s advisable that you use this simply as an informative guide and seek advice directly from the associations on how to get an English teaching certificate.

How to Handle Your Taxes When You’re Living Overseas

Tax season is here and many Americans are in the midst of gathering and sorting out their expenses and deductible information. Individuals and businesses are responsible for maintaining their income tax information, but what if you aren’t in the United States?

Many businesses and individuals find themselves living as expats in types of work that require them to relocate or even travel the globe while volunteering. There are even some international real-estate businesses which are becoming popular, as are retirees living abroad. These scenarios present the question: How do I go about paying taxes while living overseas?

An American duty

In 1913, the 16th Amendment was established permitting the federal government to accumulate funds by collecting income tax from American citizens. So, even if you don’t live in the United States, you are still responsible for paying their taxes. Regardless of whether you live overseas or not, it’s vital that you pay taxes for your income if you are an American citizen. Many ignore this important fact, and it can come back to haunt them later on. Also, American business owners who are presently in other countries need to file their taxes.

A common concern is that if you own a business in another country, you’d need to monitor your expenses and taxes paid so you can get a full deduction. It’s good to keep all your accounts on paper, so consider making payments with credit cards rather than cash. Many foreign countries can make this difficult to achieve, especially since cash is easier to use and handy to have. But, if you need to hold records for yourself or business, paper trials are a must for verifying transactions. Also, make sure you keep your expenses and accounts ready long before April 15th (even though for this year filing day is April 17th). This will give you plenty of time to prepare and catch any and all deductions you are eligible for so you don’t miss anything- especially valuable deductibles. You don’t want to run into any last minute issues or realize that you’re missing important information that can cost you in deductibles or even fines.

Because of the elaborate guidelines and regulations, it’s difficult to handle taxes when you’re oversees or living in another country, especially since operations in other countries have their own sets of procedures as well. Because expatriation treaties and taxes can be intricate and complex with the various rules concerning living situations and taxes that vary in each country, consulting with an expert in the field can alleviate and prevent any issues that can arise.

Lending a helping hand

Handling taxes as an expat should only be done if you’re well-versed in the rules and regulations that demand expert attention. Here are some qualities to search for when choosing professional assistance.

1. Not overloaded? If your tax or accounting services are incapable of handling your needs, you can’t expect them to be able to accomplish a professional job. Choose an expert that isn’t taking on more than they can handle.

2. Friendly and helpful qualities are always a plus. You can get accounting services from various professionals so you need to be sure that you are comfortable with who you choose. Don’t feel obligated to choose an expert because they are the only ones you’ve heard of. Do some research before settling on help that you feel comfortable leaving your accounting information with.

3.Some of the qualifications you need to look for in a professional would be experience with other CRM systems, tax software, and Big 4 experience. In addition to these qualities, make sure they have knowledge in handling taxes and tariffs in oversees situations, international regulations, and the present tax laws that exist in your country you currently reside in.

4. Quick access. Nothing is scarier than not hearing back from accountants that you’ve trusted with valuable information. This means that not only do you want to be able to quickly access them, but you want to constantly remain in contact, regardless of where you are. Do they have international access, and more importantly, do you have international access such as internet availability, or phone services that are direct? Contact is a valuable asset in preparing for tax time considering that time itself becomes essential when questions need to be answered or concerns need to be addressed.

Gaining assistance with your expat tax issues isn’t necessary, but it is strongly recommended. There are plenty of professionals that are ready to help, allowing you to spend time focusing on your own concerns, whether it’s business, volunteering, or just enjoying life abroad.

**Use this only as a guide based on available Feb 2012 public data.  Please seak out a certified accountant that has experience in International tax laws related to expats.

Tipping in Mexico Advice for Travelers to Expats Living Abroad

Tip It! How the basic task of tipping becomes an art

When planning to move into another country, many families manage to get ahead with their research and already have information on new schools, which facilities are the best and even how to get around the city, however, sometimes the problem isn’t what you researched, but what you didn’t.

Tipping people for services isn’t exactly a life-or-death situation; however, knowing when and what to tip can help you get the service you deserve and ease your way into fitting in with your new compatriots.
For a better explanation we’ll use Mexico as an example of when to tip and how to do it:

People on the street

Unfortunately, it is very common to see poor people asking money in the streets or “soliciting”, so it’s only natural you might want to reach a hand and help them out by giving them some money.
Even though it is your decision, it is not recommendable to do so because this practice ultimately prevents them from working or going to school (in the case of kids).

Gas stations

In Mexico, every gas station is packed with several people ready to pump your gas, clean your windows and even check the tires, if necessary.

Because these people earn minimum wage, the normal fee drivers usually give them is between 10 to 30 pesos, depending on the help they provided you.


Just like in America, the tip fee is usually between 10% and 25% of your total fee, depending on how well the service is. This also translates into coffee houses, hotels, bars and other places.

For a broader understanding about the importance of tipping, take a look at this article on Esquire magazine that tells you the right way to tip in other parts of the world. Also check out this additional About site article on tipping in Mexico.

Please comment and share this Tipping in Mexico Advice for Travelers to Expats Living Abroad

Spanish Version:

¿Cómo dar propinas? El simple hecho de dar propinas se puede convertir en todo un arte.

Cuando se planea mudarse a otro país, muchas familias logran adelantarse a la difícil tarea mediante investigación sobre nuevas escuelas, dónde se encuentran los lugares en caso de emergencia y hasta cómo moverse alrededor de la ciudad.

Sin embargo, a veces el problema no es lo que investigaste, sino lo que no pensaste en investigar.
El dar propina a la gente que presta servicios no es exactamente una situación de vida o muerte, sin embargo, saber cuándo y qué propina otorgar puede ayudarte a que te hagan un buen trabajo la próxima vez e inclusive sirve para encajar con tus nuevos compatriotas.

Para una mejor explicación usaremos a México como ejemplo de cuándo se debe de dejar una propina y cómo hacerlo:

La gente de la calle

Desafortunadamente, es muy común ver gente necesitada que pide dinero en la calle, así que es natural que tengas el deseo de apoyarlos y ofrecerles un poco de dinero.

Aunque es completamente tu decisión, no es recomendable hacerlo ya que esta práctica sólo lleva a que esta gente no busque un trabajo real o, en el caso de niños, que no asistan a la escuela.


En México, cada gasolinera tiene varias personas atendiendo para ayudarte a echar gasoline, limpiar tus vidrios y hasta checar tus llantas, si es necesario.

Estos hombres no hacen mucho dinero en este tipo de trabajo, así que es normal darles una propina de entre 10 y 30 pesos, dependiendo del servicio que te otorgaron.


Al igual que en Estados Unidos, la propina es usualmente entre el 10% y el 35% de la cuenta total, también dependiendo del trabajo que realizó tu mesero(a).

Para entender aun mejor la importancia de dar propinas, encontré este artículo de la revista Esquire que explica un poco más sobre esta situación en otras partes del mundo: