EURONEWS – After a year of lockdown, many people are looking for a change – whether it’s a temporary move to become a digital nomad or a more permanent change to become an expat in a new country. But with so many countries to choose from, deciding on your new home can be overwhelming.
Luckily, the expatriate community organization InterNations is here for you. They just published their Expat Insider 2021 survey who discovers the best destinations to live and work abroad.
Based on information from more than 12,000 respondents, the survey is one of the most comprehensive research in the world on expatriate lifestyles.
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The study examines the satisfaction of expatriates with regard to quality of life, ease of installation, professional life, personal finances and the cost of living in their respective countries of residence.
This year, respondents were also invited to provide feedback on their experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on their way of life abroad.
Here is the verdict.
Where are the best locations for expats – and why?
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Vietnam is the perfect place for expats looking to save money while living their best life. Its beaches, delicious food and fascinating culture make it a great place for anyone who wants to try something new.
Canada is best known for its friendly people, world-renowned beauty and, more recently, for being the place to be for social distancing, with just 38 million people over nearly 10 million square kilometers.
Ecuador, a South American country, is deeply rooted in history. It is home to one of the oldest civilizations in the world, has its own pyramids and UNESCO World Heritage sites including the Galapagos Islands and the city of Quito. Fun fact: if you venture to Chimborazo volcano near Riobamba, you will be at the world’s closest point to the sun (due to the bulge of the equator, sorry Everest).
Australia is known for the attraction of its mega-cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. It also includes famous sites such as Bondi Beach and the Great Barrier Reef. Fancy spending weekends barbecuing in the heat of the afternoon? This is the expat spot for you.
6. New Zealand
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After her stellar handling of the COVID-19 pandemic by their Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, it’s no surprise to find beautiful New Zealand in the top 10. In addition to her competent handling of the public health crisis, the NZ produces great wine and offers people. ski and surf lessons. This corner of the world really has it all.
Expats can travel to Portugal for hot summers, alfresco dining, stunning cities and – most importantly – Pastel de Nata, a delicious custard tart usually served hot and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon. Also a good for golfers as the small but mighty country is famous for its diverse range of courses.
The Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur is one of the financial and commercial powers of Southeast Asia. The country is also home to a selection of UNESCO World Heritage sites, beautiful beaches and secluded islands.
3. Costa Rica
Coming in third place, the sumptuous Costa Rica. It is home to tropical beaches and incredible national parks that are home to an array of rare species of plants and animals. Costa Rica is a timeless favorite of tourists who wish to immerse themselves in the concentrated biodiversity of this Central American country.
Great coffee and the mantra “pura vida” (pure life) can be added to the call list.
Meanwhile, in Mexico, delicious food and sunny beaches – plus a rich history that is still present in its Mayan temples – make for a perfect escape. The scenery is one of extremes: rugged mountains, dense rainforest, and blue waters mean there is never a boring weekend. It is also the birthplace of margaritas. We think it’s relevant.
Coming in first place overall, Taiwan, a small island in East Asia, is known for its colorful night markets, free WiFi in its larger cities, and vegetarian cuisine. It’s also home to one of the best health systems in the world and an obsession with Hello Kitty (we’re talking themed restaurants, planes dressed in cartoons, and even branded beer).
Where should expats avoid in 2021?
Of the 59 countries analyzed, the lowest scores were Kuwait (59th), Italy, South Africa, Russia, Egypt, Japan, Cyprus, Turkey, India and Malta (50th ). According to the study, Kuwait is the hardest country for expats to feel at home, Italy is the worst for personal finances, and expats in South Africa have concerns about their security.
The UK was 45th, ranking poorly for personal finances and ease of settling in – however, it scored higher for working abroad, ranking 29th. Notoriously bad weather was also taken into account.
What has been the impact of the pandemic on expatriates around the world?
Almost half (45%) of survey respondents say COVID-19 has had an impact on their current stay abroad or on their resettlement plans. The pandemic means 8% of people who hoped to move to a new destination in early 2020 ended up canceling their plans.
About a fifth of those surveyed were happily living abroad until COVID hit and moving them home sooner than expected. For potential expats, hopes of moving abroad have been put on hold, affecting around 35% of people. However, the pandemic also means that around 1 in 10 people have now decided to move abroad, with the hope that 2021 will be the year.
When asked what the greatest impact of the pandemic is on their personal life right now, survey respondents highlighted the effect it has on travel (25%), social life ( 23%) and work (16%).
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