Maria Iotova

A wanderer at heart, when people ask me where I come from, I say “it’s complicated”. Understanding people and reading books are the best investments in life. My favourite artist is my dad, and these days I am fixated on making dreams come true.

Eight habits expats in Greece cannot resist

In spite of Greece’s lingering financial crisis and high levels of unemployment, especially among the youth, the country has remained an attractive destination for expats who are looking for low cost of living, sunshine, and a booming startup ecosystem. The cradle of Western civilisation, Greece is a large source of history and culture. Once you overcome the initial culture shock, you won’t be able to resist Greek people’s passion for introducing you to the Greek way of life; before you know it you will be celebrating name days, and you will be hugging and kissing your friends when you meet them.

Please, don’t ask me these expat-related questions again

Expatriation started as a necessity when I was looking to progress with my academic studies of a Master’s degree in England. However, it was earlier in my life, when I began travelling for leisure, that I figured out moving countries is a lifestyle I would like to revel in. Since 2007, I have lived and worked in five countries in Europe, Africa, and East Asia, and I am currently preparing for my next expatriation project. I may find it easier to board a plane and start all over again than deciding what to have for dinner, but the journey is not anxiety and sorrow-free. So, if you are interested in how a life away from everything you take for granted is, please don’t ask me (or any other like-minded expat for that matter) any of the following questions — here’s why.

Moving countries: Why I am more with less

I have always been very thoughtful about the things I own, and how I organise them in my space — whether it’s the tiny studio in South Korea, the shared-flat in Ghana, or the two-floor house in Mauritius. I love change, and I see moving to a different country as an opportunity to reset my reality and rediscover myself; living abroad helps me look at things with fresh eyes and get rid of preconceptions. Packing is a big part of the whole moving process, and when you have to limit your belongings down to two suitcases, you reconsider the value of possessions. Here’s how I learned to put my life on the scale and hit the 23 kg target.

Έφυγαν από την Ελλάδα της κρίσης και διαπρέπουν στο εξωτερικό

Είναι νέοι, έξυπνοι, μορφωμένοι, που αποφάσισαν να εγκαταλείψουν την Ελλάδα την εποχή της κρίσης και να δοκιμάσουν τις δυνάμεις τους στο εξωτερικό. Τα κατάφεραν με επιτυχία και πλέον, αν και νοσταλγούν την πατρίδα, δε σκέφτονται να επιστρέψουν μόνιμα σε αυτήν.

The best things about living by the ocean

Research shows that spending time by the ocean is beneficial both for our physical and mental health. Some expats are consciously in search of seaside destinations to fill their life with joy and fresh sea air while others accidentally find themselves on the shore, only to ask how on earth were they living before without the breathtaking sea view. Today, on World Oceans Day, Expat.com celebrates the future of our oceans with a few points which commemorate the best aspects of expat life by the ocean.

The world's outstanding entrepreneurial ecosystems

Both expat and local entrepreneurs contribute to national economies and the global economy to make the world a better place through unique products and excellent services. But where in the world are the best places to set up your business or join a charismatic team of changemakers? Startup Genome, a solid support system for technology organisations in forward-looking cities, has composed a geographic and sectorial report, which signals the beginning of a new technological era. We present the startup environment in some of the most entrepreneur-friendly cities.

Observing the holy month of Ramadan around the world

There are more than one and a half billion Muslims worldwide, many of whom greeted Ramadan last Thursday as expats in a non-Muslim country. Also, there are many Western expats in the midst of the 30-day fasting in Muslim countries such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia. Expat.com looks at how both expat groups can enjoy the holy month of Ramadan — whether it is while abstaining from food and water from dawn till dusk or trying to understand the deeper meaning of this experience for the people who engage in it.

Timor-Leste: Where work meets quality of life

Xian, an Australian-Chinese-Filipina, amateur photographer, badminton player, and swimmer among others, moved to the island nation of Timor-Leste three and a half years ago to continue her wonderful work on gender equality and the prevention of violence against women. Xian has absolutely adapted to the unique style of island living, and shares with Expat.com some tips on making the most of your expat experience in Timor-Leste — spoiler alert: food and snorkelling included.

Four nature experiences to bring out your inner Zen

When it comes to enhancing our clients’ mental and physical well-being by helping them reconnect with the natural world, Heritage Resorts has no equal. It offers immersive nature experiences that will help you disengage from the stress of everyday life while improving your physical and mental health. Heritage Resorts’ health experts invite you to discover the art of eco-therapy, or of healing thanks to contact with nature. Are you ready to rediscover your inner balance?

Rwanda through the eyes of a professional expat

Sila, from Nigeria and Turkey, is now living and working in Rwanda after she agreed to accept a relocation job offer. In the heart of Africa, and home to the continent's largest rainforest with a third of gorillas' world population, Rwanda is one of the proudest nations regarding conservation of natural habitats. When not teaching the principles of leadership to talented, pan-African students, Sila is enjoying the variety of restaurants and the convenience of moto rides, which can take you anywhere in the country's capital city, Kigali. However, there are three things that Sila needs more time to adapt to — living without caring housemates, the lack of spicy food, and the calmness of the city.

How a holiday in Mauritius turned into a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

Before completing her Master's in Non Profit Administration in San Francisco, Kelly was working in both the corporate and government sectors of Singapore, her home country. Two years ago, what was supposed to be a short-term visit to her husband's mother land, Mauritius, opened their eyes to the flaws of the local food system. Ever since, they have focused on developing a sustainable farming model in Mauritius with international applicability. Kelly speaks to Expat.com about the unexpected change in the course of her life and how she feels about Mauritius, her new home.

Handy Smartphone: Empowering our guests with the latest technology

Modern travellers are used to managing their trips via their mobile phones, from checking-in on the go and finding their way around with Google maps to taking pictures and rating restaurants. Smartphones are now as indispensable as a good holiday read. Veranda Resorts enthusiastically brings the functionality of a smartphone to all its guests with Handy, the world’s first mobile operating system for the hospitality industry.

Chief characteristics of a serial expat

Whether you become an expat because you crave change, build an international career, or follow your spouse, expatriation comes with certain, and sometimes somewhat unexpected challenges. To find out how likely you are to cherish your new life abroad or how much of a devout expat you are, see how many qualities and skills you can check off our list. But, don’t despair if you are not acing the test because, as long as it does your heart good, you can learn some of these skills.

Why is e-learning important: An interview with an expert

In a fast-evolving job market, where new sectors are emerging every few years, employers need to consider how they will upgrade the skills of their staff, so that they can respond to the new demands. Employees, on the other hand, must find ways to keep up with the changes in the workplace. Investing in e-learning comes with many benefits for both sides — fewer hours and costs of training new staff, and more engaged and responsible employees. Stephen Somerville, Director of Business Development at FutureLearn, talks to Expat.com about the importance of e-learning for businesses and employees, and the current trends in e-learning.

Nomadic lifestlye: The way to freedom

What is better than having the opportunity to earn a living while travelling around the world? The lifestyle of a digital nomad has its ups and downs but first and foremost is rewarding, and it gives you the freedom to discover new cultures, meet interesting people, and create the life you want to live in. Sanne, a digital nomad and blogger, has been living on her own terms for nearly a decade and speaks to Expat.com about her nomadic journey.
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