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Getting down to earth about expat life in PNG

Author - Tom Henry The Papua New Guinea & Port Moresby Expat Survival Guide is billed by author TOM HENRY as “a must read if you plan on working in PNG”.  Here’s an executive summary….

The Papua New Guinea & Port Moresby Expat Survival Guide, $27, ISBN 978-971-94601-7-6).  Available for electronic download from

Part 1: The Papua New Guinea & Port Moresby Expat Survival Guide starts out by covering the information you need on PNG itself; the people, food, history and culture - all important knowledge for those visiting or working in png.

Knowing these facts about this fascinating country will help you to understand how the country runs -- and help you to avoid some common expat blunders and help you to fit into the life here a little easier. Think of part 1 as a quick ‘PNG Culture 101’ lesson – forming the first part of your PNG Expat Survival course.

Part 2: For those in expat jobs, moving to another country often involves having to check through reams of bureaucratic legalese - written in such a way that it is often only understandable to those with a law degree.

So, in Part 2 the guide cuts through the reams of official government and company ‘legalese.’ It starts by explaining in plan English what different types of expat work contracts are common for the expat jobs in PNG, and what these contracts involve.

Too many expatriates come to Papua New Guinea not understanding that the work contract they accept sets the parameters of the lifestyle they can realistically have – both in PNG and from the money they send back to their home countries.

The guide gives you what may be eye-opening insights into what is realistically available for expatriates, both those who are working in Papua New Guinea full-time on resident contracts, and for those who only spend part of their time in country, working rotational shift contracts.

The guide then goes on to explain, (in English understandable even to us mortals without law degrees), the different types of visas and documentation you need for entering and working in Papua New Guinea, both for the various expat jobs, and for non-working spouses and children. It then goes on to explain what you should bring, (and why you should bring it), and what you shouldn’t bring (and why you shouldn’t bring it).

Part 3 of the Papua New Guinea & Port Moresby Expat Survival Guide covers what you, as an expat really need to know and understand both before and immediately after arrival. Whatever your expat job, this includes what you need to know and check before signing a work contract…  what you need to do and considered prior to arriving in PNG… when moving you family or belongings to and from PNG… and what you need to understand during your settling in period.

By learning these topics - and taking note of the tips learned from other expats hard experience, you will save yourself many unpleasant surprises, suffer less frustration, and avoid many of the mistakes and problems common to those who chose life as an expat in PNG.

You will also learn the truth about available expat housing and the general housing packages available for the different types of expat jobs in PNG -- resident and rotational, as well as what you must check to avoid the pitfalls - especially before signing your work contract or bringing your family to live in Papua New Guinea.

You will also learn about important local security and personal safety issues… why these are so important when working in Papua New Guinea… and actions to take to reduce the chances of having to be too worried about your safety. Health and medical information chapters are also in part 3.

These forewarn and hopefully forearm you, so you can take the actions required to prevent any needless mishaps - simply through heeding some suggestions from other expats experiences. In the hot and steamy climate, this is all crucial advice in keeping yourself and your family happy and healthy while you’re living and working in Papua New Guinea.

Everyone has to eat, and knowing what to expect – the good, the bad, (and in PNG, frankly the sometimes downright ugly), may well prevent you upset and frustration when dinning or shopping while in Port Moresby and elsewhere in Papua New Guinea.

Part 3 ends with some basic but important business information, including office and shop hours, banks, using local ATMs and currency exchanges, local mobile phones, the types of driving licenses available in PNG - and how to obtain them, traveling around the country, (an important topic itself for many expat jobs). Knowing this information is essential for your life as an expat working in PNG.

Part 4 delves deeper into life as an expat working in PNG. A host of helpful knowledge and experience to aid you and your family fit into the local expat lifestyle – without too many bumps in the road.

Coverage begins by explaining with light humour how you should dress and treat local people in various social and work situations. This is followed by some plain talking words of wisdom on matters of the heart, (or more truthfully, a somewhat smaller organ lower on the body that has caused problems for so many expats not used to local ways).

Finance, the cost of living in PNG -- and how much you need to budget for monthly outgoings follows next, along with some practical and effective ideas on how you can reduce your overall monthly cash needs - without downgrading your life as an expat.

More truths are revealed with some down-to-earth local knowledge on dealing with PNG domestic staff - after all, life as an expat wouldn’t be the same if domestic help were not around to make life easier (at least sometimes). an re

Tom Henry spent four years as the HRD Manager for a drilling company in PNG.  Here he developed and performed PNG country orientation programs for hundreds of expats

ceived national and international acclaim for his work


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