For Condé Nast Traveler, by Sebastian Modak.
There’s a lot to consider before moving abroad: The effect of a transfer on your daily life, how it will impact your family, will health care meet your needs, is it the right move for your career and bank account? Well, global financial services company HSBC — who know a thing or two about expats’ concerns — is here to help. The company just released the results of its annual Expat Explorer Survey in which researchers asked a range of questions to 27,000 expats from 190 different countries and territories. The questions and the resulting rankings were separated into three overarching categories, or “leagues,” — Family, Experience, and Economics — and all of them considered when compiling the overall rankings. Here, counting down from ten, are the best countries in the world to live in as an expat.
Survey respondents had an overwhelmingly positive experience with expat life in Germany, especially when it comes to economic indicators. The recent EU shake-up caused by the Brexit vote seems to have done very little in swaying that outlook: The country came in first place for job security as well as economic confidence. So, how do you make the most out of a stint in Germany? Several survey respondents recommended learning the language and enrolling younger children in public school so that they can do the same.
This island kingdom in the Persian Gulf makes the list, and it’s not only because of the lack of income taxes facilitated by vast oil wealth. Yes, the majority of respondents (65 percent to be exact) said they have more disposable income than they did at home, but Bahrain takes the gold medal when it comes to another crucial contributor to overall quality of life: Survey respondents said it was the place where it is easiest to make new friends.
When making the decision to move overseas there’s more to consider than career prospects — especially if you’ll be resettling with kids in tow. When it comes to families, there’s no better place to make a new home than Sweden. In fact, three quarters of expats in the country report that their children’s quality of life has improved since moving and that Sweden offers improvements over their home country in terms of their kids’ health — long, dark winters notwithstanding — and available childcare resources.
In a ranking of the best cities for expats released earlier this year by Mercer, Vienna came out on top for the seventh straight year. The access to cultural landmarks, safety, and general ease of life were all cited as reasons why, and Austria makes the top ten here for many of the same reasons but also due to the quality of family life in the country. While it can be more expensive to raise a child overseas, a whopping 77 percent of respondents said the benefits — a better education, more comprehensive family healthcare (Austria comes in at number one in that metric) — outweigh those costs.
What would a top ten list be without Norway, that Scandinavian nation (population 5.2 million) consistently rated the best country in the world. The country takes living well very seriously, whether it’s by banning fossil fuel-powered cars or by enacting laws like allemannsretten, (“freedom to roam”), which stipulates that all uncultivated land — the forests, the fjords — is open for anyone to explore and interact with. When they’re not gallivanting around the wilderness, 60 percent of expats report a “positive experience of the working culture” in their new home, too.
See the rest of The Best Countries to Live in for Expats on CNTraveler.com
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