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British Expat Newsletter: February 2011

In this issue

This month

We’ve been away to Siem Reap in Cambodia this month, and as you’d expect, we’ve reviewed the place where we stayed – the FCC Angkor boutique hotel. What is a boutique hotel anyway? And does the FCC qualify as one? Find out in our review!

It’s hard to find the time to spare for travel when you’re chained to your desk in a nine-to-five wage slave job. George Marshall thinks he has the answer, and sent us a review copy of his book to prove it. Kay (who has her own views on this) has had a read to see whether her views tally with George’s.

Travelling by car and ferry may be a slow way of getting round Europe, but some of us still enjoy doing it that way. Melby, one of our Malta forum supporters, took his car from the UK to Malta via Livorno in northern Italy and has shared his experience with us all.

And as if all that wasn’t enough, we’ve also got a new list of expat expos, and a Pic of the Week from Pakistan’s Wild (North-)West. Have a look!

Editorial: Team dynamics

This month we have been working on a new project – a travel resource for disabled people. It’s still in its early stages but we plan to launch it some time in March. Here’s a preview if you’re interested.

Team dynamics are interesting. The last thing you want is a team full of people who all have the same personality traits. Dave and I are very different and so can offer quite different attributes to any team.

Unsurprisingly, several psychologists have devised psychometric tests to assess individuals for their aptitude for various team roles. The Belbin Team Inventory, created by British psychologist Meredith Belbin in 1981 as the result of ten years of research, is perhaps one of the most famous. It identifies eight principal team roles (though it’s since been expanded to include a ninth, the Specialist) and, through a questionnaire, seeks to discover how suited any given individual is for those roles.

I suppose you could say that much of it is common sense – the person who has most of the new ideas is the Plant, the one who does most of the work is the Implementer, and so on. But the process also throws up secondary and tertiary roles for the person taking the test, and these can often be revealing or even surprising.

A pal shared a “quickie” version of the Belbin test with us back in 2007, and we kept the results. Just for fun and interest, we decided to take the Belbin test again a few days ago, and we invited another member of the CanDoCanGo team to do so as well. He was happy to participate.

I don’t think that any of us were surprised at the results. If you’re used to generating new ideas, then you’d expect to show strong Plant attributes. If you’re the fault-finder type, then your dominant type is likely to be the Monitor-Evaluator.

The interesting thing for us was how we’d changed. It’s been a few years since we last took the test and our results had changed considerably since then. I found I was more well-balanced (don’t laugh!) compared to my quite extreme results from the previous test. Dave appeared to have become more innovative. I guess the changes could be due to us having worked together for so long.

What do you think about these tests? Do you find them worthwhile or do you think they’re just psychology mumbo-jumbo? Have you ever done one and have you ever had the chance to compare your results now with those from a few years previously?

We’d love to hear your thoughts, so please post on our forum discussion.

Many expats like to keep in touch with the goings-on in their home area back in the UK. If this strikes a chord with you, then could be just what you’re looking for – it lists every national newspaper and nearly 1,300 local and regional newspapers online. You’ll find the web address and other contact details for each newspaper, as well as other useful information. Have a look!

Write for British Expat

Would you like to write for British Expat? Sorry, we don’t pay for articles but if you have a website we’ll link to it in the author’s blurb below any of your articles we publish. We use all sorts of content as long as it’s useful and/or interesting to our readership.

We’ve started doing some quick trivia quizzes – five questions about any subject. So, if you’d like to write for us but don’t feel like producing a literary masterpiece, then why not try writing a quickie quiz about your city, country, or even your hobby? Please use our contact form to get in touch.

British Expat Amazon Shopping

Amazon don’t just do books, you know. We’ve teamed up with them to bring you the ultimate in online shopping – from a micro SD card to a garden shed! A great way to do your shopping online, especially if the shops aren’t up to much in your part of the world.
BE Amazon Shop: UK & EU | BE Amazon Shop: non-EU

Bizarre searches

Some strange search terms which have led people to visit British Expat recently:

  • arms
  • search
  • whilever
  • monk jokes
  • the point cambridge malta as it was and now
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  • economically self-sufficient
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So there’s a round-up of all that’s been going on. Come on over and see for yourself! Don’t forget…
Visit the BE website and join in with our lively community!

Till next time…

Happy surfing!

Kay & Dave
Editor & Deputy Editor
British Expat – the definitive home for British expats

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