A recent article by Forbes.com highlighted the most friendly countries for expats. Though not necessarily the most sought-after international destinations for everyone, these are the places where transplanted expats feel the most welcomed.
Being accepted by others is a natural human need. Though, as most expats have encountered, being thrust headfirst into a different culture does not mean an immediate welcome party waiting as you disembark the plane. In fact, the initial phases of adjustment can prove very trying and even exhausting at times. That said, not all expat destinations are created equal. Some foreign countries feel like home from the first day we arrive. It can be hard to quantify this feeling of comfort in another country. According to Forbes these are the top 5 most friendly expat locations:
5. United States
The earnings are a big plus for expats in the U.S., along with improved transport and housing situations. Though many express having difficulty with the more difficult-to-navigate healthcare and school systems.
Neil Young would be proud to know his home country is providing better working conditions and improved work-life balance. A total of 39% of expats say they are interested in committing to Canada for the long-term.
3. South Africa
First they host the World Cup and now locals in South Africa are welcoming expats with open arms. In addition to feeling welcome – 79% here said they were able to integrate well with the local community. The country offers expats financial perks, with 47% saying that relocating here has brought more access to luxuries, and 69% reporting an increase in disposable income.
Of expats living Down Under, 77% reported that it was easy to integrate well with the local community and 87% also feel welcome in the workplace. With the global economic crisis being a theme in today’s news, it can also be noted that the Australian economy is regarded as strong by 95% of expats. Australia also received high rankings in the raising children abroad category.
1. New Zealand
Known as the adventure capital of the world and more recently the Mecca for Lord of the Rings fans, New Zealand tops the list as the friendliest country for expats. A strong majority, 75% of those surveyed, said that it is quite easy to fit into the new Kiwi culture. Also, 55% (compared with 23% of surveyed expats overall) stated they will either stay or return to the country.
Feeling like an outsider is normal (because you are one). But remember before you jump on that plane, train, or automobile – there are places in the world where you are more likely to be met with warm smiles and open arms. Choose wisely!
Other highly ranked friendly countries that did not make top five include Turkey, UK, Philippines, Spain, Malaysia, Brazil, Italy, Mexico, Singapore, and France.
As an expat, which country made you feel most welcome? Let us know in the comments!