A series of on-line training courses for expats around the world has been created with the aim of providing more than just cultural information and making the experience a happier one.

The Florida based Global Coach Center Academy, an on line resource for expatriate courses, has teamed up with cross-cultural trainers around the world to bring affordable training to expats.

Its “Welcome to Living in ...” courses are initially available for China, Germany, Spain, Russia, the Netherlands, Israel, and the Philippines with more countries being added in coming months.

They are available to both companies and individuals. ‘The idea to create the courses came to me when I realized that there are many expats who do not have the benefit of such training,’ said owner Margarita Gokun Silver.

‘Life is difficult enough when you move as an expat, why make it even worse by not knowing things you need to know about the culture and living before you move,’ she added.

The courses, she added, provide not only cultural information, but also modules designed to compare your cultural blueprint with that of the country you are going to. ‘This helps you to prepare for what is ahead,’ said Silver.

The information for each country covers the national culture of the country, the corporate culture, a culture shock module and exercises. It also looks at what makes expats happy.

It says that happy expats are intensely curious and accept others around them rather than trying to change them. They also tend to look at their new life as an amazing learning experience and see opportunities rather than moan about those they have left behind.

‘The Life of an expatriate can consist of one move after another. Sometimes we know when that move is coming and sometimes we don’t. Opportunities that were open to us in one place may not be available in another. But there will be new opportunities, so do you want to spend the time lamenting about what you left behind or do you want to spend the time listening and looking out for what’s opening up for you?’ said Silver.

She also points out that being an expat has a tinge of sadness as they leave one place and move on. ‘The difference between a happy expat and an expat who isn't happy is that for the former the sadness is something that’s natural and something that doesn’t take over his/her life and makes a victim out of him/her.

‘It’s easy to say that everything around you is horrible; it’s easy to sulk in your misery when you’ve convinced yourself that it’s not up to you; and it’s easy to put a barrier between you and the place you live in. Yet there is no way you are going to be happy where you live, if you consistently engage in criticism, sulking, and stonewalling. Staying clear of those attitudes will help you be happier,’ she added.