Have you ever thought about leaving your regular life behind and moving across the world? So many of us dream of it, but the prospect can be intimidating — Will you find a job and a nice place to live? Will you enjoy the food and the culture? Will you be able to adapt to a new way of life? And, perhaps most importantly of all, will you make friends in a foreign land? HSBC recently came out with the results of a survey of expatriates across the globe. They received enough samples from 30 countries across the globe. Below, we’ve ranked the top 10 countries based on friendliness (tweaking Forbes‘ formula), including criteria like: integrating into the community, making both local and expat friends, having a great social life, and others. Click through to read more about the world’s friendliest countries.
1. Cayman Islands
London. New York. Tokyo. George Town? Make no mistake, this tiny Caribbean country is one of the most important financial centers on the planet. With its gorgeous scenery, incredible beaches, luxury shopping, and high-end restaurants, the Cayman Islands is truly an expat paradise. And it’s the friendliest destination, too! It earns high marks for, “making friends,” “feeling welcome at work,” “integrating into the community,” and “learning the local language.” If you’re willing to tolerate an exorbitant housing market, a high cost of living, and the questionable ethics of being an offshore tax haven for corporations and the super wealthy, the Cayman Islands is the place for you.
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Though expats in Spain are troubled by the nation’s economic woes, most of the expats surveyed didn’t move to the country for economic reasons in the first place. Indeed, none of the expats surveyed had any plans to leave the country. With a thriving expat community, largely made up of people from the United Kingdom, Spain is favored for its weather and easygoing lifestyle. They’re not just sticking to each other, either — nearly 75 percent of those surveyed were trying to learn the local language, a key factor in attempting to integrate into the community.
It’s hard to find a friendlier place than sunny Down Under. Of course, English-speaking expats thrive in Australia — with marks for social life, making friends with locals, and feeling welcome at work. In fact, nearly half of expats surveyed said they had more local friends than expat friends!
4. United Kingdom
Another English-speaking country where integrating into the community and feeling welcome at work rank highly, 93 percent of expats in the United Kingdom aren’t looking to leave anytime soon. Though the cost of living is very high, the UK ranks highest in terms of entertainment availability and quality.
Our neighbor to the north is a haven for expats raising children, coming in at number one. It’s not too shabby for adults, either — friendly locals, feeling integrated into the community, and having more local friends than expat friends are all reported in the survey.
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A rich cultural tradition, incredible scenery, great weather, and opportunities for sports and leisure activities are all motivators for expats. Seventy four percent of respondents cited friendly locals — more than many of the English-speaking countries on this list!
7. United States
With great schools, a high quality of life, and high salaries, most expats in the United States want to stick around. Expats are also less likely to have a hard time making friends and socialize only with other expats than the world average.
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Most expats move to Germany for their jobs — but soon discover a friendly, welcoming people in an interesting culture.
Though there are significant challenges when it comes to learning the local language, expats in China find it easy to make friends and have a great social life.
Of course, expats in Italy love the food, the weather, the quality of life, and the culture, but they rank the romantic nation high for learning and using the local language. It ranks dead last, however, for feeling welcome at work. Our suggestion? Go for the easygoing lifestyle, not the jobs!