European countries a bad expat experience?

HSBC Expat Experience, the second report of the Expat Explorer research came out. This particular report focuses on expat experience in terms of quality of life, settling in and integrating into the local society. When comparing to the 2009 results (Canada the best place for expats!), Thailand and Canada are still the top two countries. Bahrain replaced Australia for 3rd place.

Making friends an ordeal in Europe?

Expats living in Europe are apparently having the hardest time making local friends, with the bottom five countries European. The Netherlands came out the worst, with only 36% of expats finding it easy, and was only slightly topped by Germany (40%), the UK, Switzerland (both 42%), and Belgium (44%). The language barrier could be an excuse, if Spain and France hadn’t ranked 9th and 12th respectively.

Spain seems to be quite the destination for those looking for love, as 68% of single expats found a partner there!

UK still not quite all that

As in 2008 and 2009, the UK ranks top overall for entertainment but also last for overall quality of life. The weather is particularly difficult to adapt to with 37% of expats struggling, compared to 21% worldwide. Other nuisances include the commute to work (46% have it worse than at home) and housing (only 22% think their housing is nicer in the UK).

Expats keen to continue travelling

Expats are spending less time in their host country. The percentage of expats who settled for more than five years went down from 58 in 2009 to 35. Yet, some countries remain attractive on the long run: Thailand (47%) and Canada (42%) especially.

Despite not settling, expats are not really looking forward to going home. Indeed, 71% would like to prolong the experience and move to another country.

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