With some areas basking in as many as 300 sunny days a year, almost one in ten expats from the UK heads for Spain. Nearly seven in ten saw the weather as an advantage in leaving home, according to InterNations’ Expat Insider Report.
One British expat in Australia was typically impressed by the climate, commenting “the weather is my favorite thing about this country. It has a big impact on my mood — I wake up happy when the sun is shining.”
Many make the move to sunnier shores later in life, which explains why the average British expat is almost eight years older than their average international counterpart (51.2 years old versus 43.5).
Pensioners are the biggest group from the UK living abroad and with their school days long behind, they struggle somewhat learning the local language. Six in ten find it a challenge, but with English being widely spoken across the globe, the British can frequently survive with their mother tongue alone. As many as 56% living abroad find it easy to get by without speaking the language of their country of residence and more than half admit to only speaking the language a little or not at all. “The thing that bothers me most is the inability to speak the language but I am having lessons to remedy this,” said one Briton living in Spain. However, this language barrier does not mean the British keep to themselves. Over a quarter of British expats describe their friendship group as mainly comprising local residents — a bigger proportion than of expats worldwide, where just 19% have mixed with the locals.
Best Countries For Expats
For the first time since the Expat Insider survey was introduced, none of the previous year’s top three destinations lead the ranking: Surprise winner Bahrain even leaps from nineteenth position to first place, winning the overall ranking. The Gulf State makes it easy for expats to feel at home due to its friendly local residents — nearly nine out of ten expats rate the friendly attitude of Bahrainis towards expats positively. In addition, about three-quarters of expats in Bahrain are satisfied with their jobs, compared to a global average of 64%.
Runner-up Costa Rica, and Mexico in third place, also rank among the top 20 in terms of working abroad, but are even more valued for their extremely friendly local population. In fact, nearly nine in ten expats rate the friendly attitude of locals towards foreign residents positively in both countries, compared to a global average of only 67% of expats feeling this way about their destination.
Worst Destinations For Expats
The countries featured in the bottom three, on the other hand, have remained the same for the third year in a row. Greece has now hit rock bottom, ranking last overall, as well as in terms of working abroad, personal finance, and family life. Half of the respondents in Greece say that their household income is not enough to cover their daily expenses, which is more than twice the global average.
The main issue in Nigeria and Kuwait, sixty-third and sixty-fourth out of 65 countries, remains the constant struggle with the quality of life. More than two in ten expats in Kuwait are unhappy with their life in general, compared to only 10% of expats worldwide. In Nigeria, safety and security cause additional problems, with nearly seven in ten rating their personal safety negatively.