The Foreign Service Journal - April 2017
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APRIL 2017



reated in 2005 as an expat blog,

has grown in to

a community of more than 1.8 million

members worldwide.

Present in more than 197 countries

and 500 cities, the website provides

a forum for expats to talk about their

unique lives, find employment in their

new country and deal with the logis-

tics of moving around (e.g., health

insurance, moving companies and

finding housing options).

Signing up is free, and members

can also be “Experts”—a group of vol-

unteers who liven up the forums and

make themselves available to answer

questions about their host country.

Those questions could be anything

from“Where can I find kosher marsh-

mallows in Vietnam?” to “How did you

ship your pet cat to Costa Rica?”The

experts have been there, done that,

got the t-shirt and are willing to share

their experiences.

American expats make up the top

10 largest communities of expats on

the site, closely followed by Austra-

lians and Egyptians. also hosts offline

events in a number of countries,

where expats can meet in person and

engage with each other and the local


The search function allows the

user to find those in or going to his

or her country of interest, and also

to narrow the search by nationality,

interests and age.

Each country page also has links

to bloggers from the area and a

dedicated page of the larger forum for

country-specific questions and tips.

—Gemma Dvorak,

Associate Editor


four members from a list of candidates

compiled by Congress.

They will report to the BBG’s Chief

Executive Officer (currently John F.

Lansing), who will be answerable to the

White House alone, and will have free

rein to hire and fire network heads and set

guidelines for programming.

The CEO will also have statutory

authority to meld all U.S.-government

international media outlets except VOA

into a single, consolidated, private, non-

profit corporation.

The new entity’s mission would be to:

(1) counter state-sponsored propaganda;

(2) provide uncensored local and regional

news and analysis; (3) help countries

help themselves in terms of indigenous

news capabilities; and (4) promote unre-

stricted access to uncensored information

sources, especially the internet.

Some experts have sounded the alarm

about the potential dangers of this devel-


Writing on on Dec. 15, Jeffrey Gedmin, who was president

and CEO of Radio Free Europe/Radio

Liberty from 2007 to 2011, concedes that

RFE/RL and other outlets have been con-

sistently hamstrung by the BBG’s dysfunc-

tion and poor governance.

But, Gedmin points out: “The BBG