My husband and I are planning an exploratory trip to Panama in the spring. Coincidentally, one of the big names in the publishing-for-expats business is holding a conference in Panama City at the same time.
I’m seriously considering attending. If I go, I’ll not only be listening and taking notes for myself but for all of you as well. I’ve been wondering for a long time whether these events provide reasonable value for participants.
Oh, I know what the promoters say, and so do you if you’ve been reading expat sites for any length of time.
You get the email in your inbox. It promises all sorts of benefits. Included are testimonials like the one from Bob and Carol A. in Dallas, who tell you that the conference helped them invest $5 in a property they sold 10 minutes later for $5 million, got them in touch with a supportive, wonderful expat community of like-minded individuals that they’ve been fast friends with ever since, saved their marriage and cured their son’s cancer. (Well, maybe I’m exaggerating about the cancer, but you get the picture.)
Do I seem just a wee bit skeptical to you?
I’m really hoping it would be helpful and worth the money. I understand that the information itself can be found — free or at a much lower cost — through websites and books. I also know there’s a whole lot more going on at these events than just raw information.
There’s the power of making personal connections with others, both the experts and other wannabe expats. There’s the value of having all the information in one place instead of spread out all over the internet. There’s the reassurance that you’re not alone, and the chance to see the place you’re considering living.
There are other tangible and intangible benefits that I probably haven’t considered.
But there’s only one way to answer the question, “is it worth the price,” and that’s to either pony up the money to attend yourself, or rely on an objective observer you trust.
So Here’s the Deal
If you’ve attended one of these conferences, let me know in the Comments what you liked and what you didn’t like about it.
Whether you’ve attended a conference or not, fill me in on the kinds of information you need most to help with your overseas move. Let me know whether you would appreciate an objective (probably slightly cynical) assessment from me about the conference’s value.
Based on the responses I get within the next week, I’ll make my decision.
If I end up attending the conference, you can be sure that I’ll let you know what I really think of it.
If you’re reading this in an email, you’ll have to go to the website to leave your comments. Or you can leave your comments on the Future Expats Facebook page.