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Joelein Mendez
I'm a little bit of everything...
I'm a little bit of everything...


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I love, love, LOVE contact lens cases! I got the one pictured in the blog at Target in case anyone was wondering.
New uses: put small earrings and other tiny jewelry in there to keep them from getting lost.  

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Ibiza: get ready for my awkward dance moves!

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The thing I miss the most about living 10 minutes from the Mexican border is being able to pop into another country for lunch. Especially the Sonoran hot dogs. Yum!

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Getting any kind of paper work done is the worst :(

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For the ladies: It'd be a god idea to carry around a large, yet light, scarf in case you need to cover your shoulders or chest.

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Tips for Marketing your Business in South Korea

Is your business doing well enough that you’re thinking of expanding abroad? What are you waiting for? Although the UK is the world’s sixth largest economy, it’s only the 11 th biggest exporter, which means that marketers aren’t making the most of taking their brands overseas. Don’t limit yourself to only doing business with BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China), there are many emerging markets out there with a demand for European and international brands, like South Korea. Whether you’re launching overseas, or exporting your goods, it pays to have a targeted export strategy.

Optimize your brand proposition

This is an important one for expanding overseas. Just changing the language on your website isn’t enough anymore; instead of translating your English keywords into Korean, find native speakers who can provide you with culturally relevant keywords that appeal to your target demographic. Any pictures you use might also need a cultural overhaul. For example: if you’re using a model wearing a top that displays cleavage you may want to reconsider; cleavage is considered a bit risqué, but never will you see such a display of legs, so perhaps shorten the model’s skirt for a more relevant look. Additionally, often overlooked web design options like color usage and symbolism can influence the way your brand is perceived.

Customize your product offering

Optimizing your product for the South Korean market is also important. Imagine your product is salad dressing. While you have done well selling 473ml bottles—that’s the size in my refrigerator right now—if you’re planning to sell in South Korea you may want to scale down. Not only are South Korean kitchens usually too small to store western-style jumbo sizes, the local eating habits are also typically different from their overseas counterparts. Cross-cultural competency is very important when expanding your business; take the time to get to know your consumer.

Leverage your brand’s heritage

British products, especially those made in the country, can be very attractive to foreign consumers. Sometimes it isn’t a matter of buying your product; instead, the consumer is buying your story. Who made it? Where did the ingredients and components come from? Tell the story of your product and how the people behind it worked to bring it to fruition. Link your story to anything that may emphasize it’s desirability to your demographic. Are you selling luxury goods? Then play up aspects of the product or brand that reflect the longstanding elegance and regality associated with the UK.

If you’re planning to grow your business internationally you may want to start learning the culture and language of the country to which you’re exporting. I can’t help with the former, but the first step to the latter is contacting us about language courses. Or, if you already speak a little Korean, check your competency with our language level test. Here’s your first lesson: 확대 행운. It means “good luck expanding”.

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Things no one tells you about moving to Spain

Moving abroad is an adventure. Unfortunately, that adventure is often idealized in the media. When one announces they’re relocating to another country no one ever says anything realistic like, “it’s going to be a nightmare getting your visa in order.” Instead, their eyes glaze over to the point where you can just make out Julia Roberts’ reflection in them and they say something in the vein of, “oh, maybe you’ll fall in love while you’re there.” I can’t say for certain, but I am almost positive that’s not why your employer is sending you there. Or maybe it is; your bosses have probably seen movies like Eat Pray Love too.
Back to the point: though it would be nice to gloss over all the unpleasant and unexpected parts of moving abroad, it’s going to happen anyway. That’s why I’m here, to hold your hand and tell you the truth.

The movies get it wrong. Yes, traveling is amazing, but what happens between the amazing parts can be a real pain in the rear. Everyone you’re leaving behind will treat your relocation like an extended vacation. It won’t be. Movies tend to gloss over the tedious parts of the journey like arguing with people at embassies and sorting out your residency paperwork. Even if your company has dealt with all this for you, there’s always a rude postal worker or neighbor to deal with. Take it in stride, all your missteps will be a great story later.

You need to get your electronics ready for travel. Most people will ask you if you remembered to pack enough underwear, but I’m going to remind you that if any of your important electronics (lap top, mp3 player, etc.) are on their last leg, you may want to get them checked out or replaced before you leave. Electronics can be very expensive in Spain. Sure, you could wait for your iPod to play its last song and have a new one mailed internationally, but that will result in A LOT of fees. Also, if you plan on using services like Hulu, Netflix, or Pandora, they won’t work in Spain unless you know how to block your computer’s IP address.

You won’t be able to get anything done in August. I don’t mean anything, but August is prime vacation time in Spain, and there will be instances where anyone you need to complete a task will be at the beach. So if you’re dealing with any red tape you might want to think about learning a few breathing exercises, because you’re going to need all the patience you can get.

 Time is relative. Nothing screams guiri (Spanish for foreigner) like eating lunch at noon. Spain runs on a later schedule than other countries; professional offices usually open from 10 to 2, then from 4 to 7. That mean lunch is had between 2 and 4, and dinner doesn’t start until around 10. Hang in there! Your body will get used to Spain time.

Learning language is hard. Everyone else will all tell you how easy it will be to learn since you’ll be in Spain. A few might mention how just about everyone speaks English these days and you can get by without having too much trouble. Not true. I’m your friend, so I’m going to tell you the truth. If you want to make an impression with your colleagues you’ll need to start learning and speaking their language, and, even when you’re surrounded with native speakers, it takes considerable effort. Try—I mean, really commit—and it’ll happen.

The most important thing on any trip is to have fun. You may not meet Mr./Mrs. Right, but you’ll find yourself falling in love with Spain in no time.

Are you relocating and need help with number five on my list? See how good your Spanish is with our free online Spanish level tests, then send us an inquiry about beginning your Spanish lessons!

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The Ins and Outs of Greek Business Etiquette

If you’re growing your business and want to establish a presence in the Greek market you’d do well to brush up on Greek etiquette. A lot of people out there would probably watch Mama Mia and My Big Fat Greek Wedding and call it a day, but not you. You want to go the extra mile. Building business relationships is all about mutual trust and respect, so show your investors/employees/partners/bosses that you are willing to go above and beyond for them by learning a bit of their business culture. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Greetings and First Impressions

Business dress for both men and women is conservative. Show respect by using titles in names until you are better acquainted. Shake hands at the beginning and end of the meeting. Later when you are on more familiar terms expect to be hugged, patted on the shoulder, or even kissed. Show how invested you are in the business relationship by having your business cards in Greek on one side. Present the Greek side when handing the card to a colleague.


Be punctual. Generally you should expect meetings to start and end late, but since you are a foreigner you should show respect by arriving on time. Business in Greece may move a bit slower that what you’re used to; take advantage of the situation. The first few meetings are generally used to develop trust and mutual respect, so be enthusiastic and show off all that Greek you’ve been learning. Your colleagues will appreciate the effort you put in. When you do get down to business, make sure all your materials are translated to Greek for ease of use. Don’t worry too much when the meeting strays from the agenda, this is normal. Discussions can get interrupted or sidetracked and instead of following the agenda, it’s used as a starting point and followed to the next logical talking point.

Cultural Tips

Greeks respect seniority. When giving a presentation, be sure to focus on your senior business colleagues, because they are often the determining players in decision making. Never say anything that may challenge someone’s honor or integrity; those values, along with the importance of family, are ones that should never be contested. Never, and I mean NEVER, give the “O.K.” hand sign (thumb touching forefinger) or the “stop” hand sign (palm outstretched towards the recipient); both are considered very offensive and could cost you a lot of business.

Though following these tips should give you an edge in your business dealings, there is one last thing which will really make the difference. Even though most Greeks speak excellent English, learning the basics of the Greek language lessons will show both commitment and respect for the culture of your new colleagues. Why don’t you take the free Greek level test and find out how much Greek you already know or send an inquiry for more information about taking courses.
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