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15 Best Places to Live Abroad for Expats

15 Best Places to Live Abroad for Expats

Many of us dream of living abroad but can often be scared to make such a big change to our routine lifestyles and leave our home countries behind. Daunting as it may be, living abroad can be a rewarding and fulfilling endeavor and can give you the quality of life you have been looking for.

From a warmer climate to a more easy going way of life, there are many foreign countries favored by expats who stay for a long time – and sometimes forever. Taking into consideration livings standards, opportunities and social aspects, here are our top 15 best places to live as an expat and why.

1. China

China

    China offers expats great employment opportunities with little competition. Those who embrace the culture and decide they want to live in China long term can see a host of employment opportunities as its economy is growing rapidly every year. Economists predict it will overtake the US as the world’s largest economy by 2018. China also offer expats low living costs and high disposable incomes, which is why many look to live here for a higher quality of life.

    Shanghai and Beijing are the most popular destinations for expats who live in China.

    2. Thailand

    Thailand

      A hot spot for expats, the ‘land of smiles’ as it’s commonly known offers expats a tropical climate, a huge array of sandy beaches and islands to explore, and a rich culture. The cost of living in Thailand is extremely low, and when combined with the friendly tax system means that disposable income can be very high.

      Bangkok, Thailand’s capital city, offers expats great employment opportunities.

      3. Switzerland

      switzerland

        Another popular destination for expats, Switzerland offers exciting employment packages and a high standard of living. It’s great for those who love the outdoors, as there are many beautiful lakes, mountains to hike in and skiing in the winter. The school standards for expats are also excellent, making it appealing for those with children. English is also widely spoken so day-to-day living can be stress free.

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        Unemployment in Switzerland is low and expats moving here don’t need to worry too much about finding a job before they arrive.

        4. Australia

        Australia

          Many foreigners who visit Australia don’t want to leave as it offers a great quality of life, beautiful beaches and a warm climate. Making friends in Australia is easy too, due to the lack of language barrier and the large number of expats who already live here. Australia is a great place to move to if you have children because of its wide range of schooling possibilities and recreational outdoor activities.

          Low population levels and high quality of life are two of the main reasons expats choose Australia as a place to live.

          5. Singapore

          singapore

            Expats in Singapore can benefit from generous financial packages, great career opportunities and low tax rates. Although education is expensive here, it is rated one of the top places for raising children abroad due to the quality of the education system and the array of schools.

            Public transport such as buses and MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) are cheap and very reliable in Singapore.

            6. South Korea

            Jeonju, South Korea

              South Korea offers expats a unique range of opportunities and a very different way of living. Jobs for expats are easy to find and usually very well paid, with apartments provided by the employer on the most part making living costs even lower. There are also many tight-knit expat communities in South Korea, making it easy to socialize and meet new friends. The excellent education system is also a pro for families wanting to move to this culture-rich country.

              South Korea has a cheap public healthcare system and offers great medical care, with most doctors speaking English.

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              7. New Zealand

              6607745255_783681d2fa_z

                New Zealand is constantly on the lookout for skilled workers to expedite to the country – especially those under the age of 30 – and skilled migrants can be granted a stay for up to five years. It offers a good climate and although income levels can be lower than other countries, quality of life is high, with its awe-inspiring scenery, low crime rate and state sponsored healthcare.

                New Zealand is great for those looking for a laid back and active outdoors lifestyle.

                8. Canada

                canada

                  Its national healthcare system, friendly locals and very high quality of life are just a few of the reason expats choose Canada as a place to live. It’s very welcoming to expats and skills shortages encourage foreigners to move here in order for the country to grow economically. It’s easy for expats to feel comfortable quickly in Canada due to its multicultural environment.

                  Canada was largely unaffected by the economic crisis, making it a very popular country for expats.

                  9. Qatar

                  qatar

                    Qatar is becoming increasingly popular among expats with an estimated 500 new arrivals every day. The salaries are generous and are tax free too, making disposable income very high. Car and housing allowances are part of many remuneration packages, and education for your children and airfares are often included.

                    The cost of living is lower in Qatar than in other UAE countries but salaries can still be just as generous.

                    10. Hong Kong

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                    hong kong

                      Where east truly meets the west, this bustling island has a population of over seven million people. If you’re looking for a fast-paced environment and an active nightlife, Hong Kong is definitely the place to be. Benefits for expats include its advanced healthcare system and elevated standards of schooling for children, along with great employment opportunities. The cost of living in Hong Kong can be high, so trying to negotiate a housing allowance with your employer can be beneficial.

                      Hong Kong is great for those looking for high incomes and career advancement.

                      11. Japan

                      japan

                        As an expat destination, Japan offers a rich culture and a chance to experience a very different day-to-day life. Currently around two million expats live in Japan, and in the larger cities such as Tokyo a large portion of the population speaks English. English speakers are also in demand and there are a large number of opportunities for language teachers, especially in the capital.

                        Japan offers a high standard of living for expats and a good education system for those with children.

                        12. Spain

                        spain

                          Spain is a very popular destination for expats due to the high temperatures and year-round sunshine. EU residents don’t require a visa to work here, meaning the move can be a lot easier. Skilled foreign workers also continue to be in demand with jobs such as engineering, customer service, skilled trades and language teachers widely available.

                          A huge 14% of Spain’s population are expats from a variety of foreign countries.

                          13. Dubai

                          Dubai

                            Two of the main attractions of moving to Dubai are the tax-free salaries and the warm climate. Some of the most popular jobs for expats are in construction, banking, oil and tourism. You can also enjoy a busy social life in Dubai as the expat community is thriving. Although it can be an expensive country, the tax-free salary means you experience a higher quality of life than in other countries.

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                            You will need a work permit, residence visa and an Emirates ID card to live in Dubai as an expat.

                            14. Germany

                            Germany

                              Germany is one of Europe’s most populous countries, with around 82.4 million people. It’s a lively and inexpensive country to live in as an expat, and if you have children the education system is great and healthcare is to a high standard. An estimated 250,000 expats live in Germany currently, with the numbers rising every year.

                              If you are already an EU citizen, you don’t need a visa to live and work in Germany.

                              15. The Netherlands

                              holland

                                The Netherlands is a great place for expats who love the outdoors. Cycling is one of the main modes of transport and looking after the environment is widely recognized. There are a lot of English speakers in the Netherlands too, but learning the language can work to your advantage and make day-to-day life that little bit easier. Skilled expats can also benefit from a tax-free allowance equivalent to 30% if they meet the correct criteria.

                                It is often more important to be able to speak fluent English than to speak Dutch when looking for employment in the Netherlands.

                                Featured photo credit: Expat via shutterstock.com

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                                Published on March 20, 2019

                                How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

                                How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

                                Have you ever felt lost in the minutia of your job?

                                As a business owner, I can relate to getting bogged down in the day to day operations of my business. Things like inventory, payroll, scheduling, purchasing and employee management take up the bulk of my day.

                                While these things are important and need to get done, focusing too much on the details can make you lose sight of the big picture. This is why having a good mission statement comes in handy.

                                What is a Mission Statement?

                                Put simply, a mission statement is an internal document that provides a clear purpose for the organization. It provides a common reference point for everyone in the organization to start from.

                                In other words, after reading your company’s mission statement, managers and employees should be able to answer the question “What are company’s main objectives?” For example, Southwest Airlines mission statement reads:[1]

                                “Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”

                                In this single statement, Southwest conveys the company’s goals of providing the highest level of customer service as well as providing a good working environment for their employees.

                                Mission Statement VS. Vision Statement

                                While the mission and vision statements are related, there are subtle but distinct differences the you should be aware of.

                                First of all, a mission statement is designed primarily as an internal company document. It provides clarity and direction for managers and employees.

                                While there’s nothing wrong with sharing your company’s mission statement with the outside world, its intended audience is within the company.

                                While a mission statement provides a general framework for the organization, the vision statement is usually a more inspirational statement designed to motivate employees and inspire customers. Going back to Southwest Airlines, their vision statement reads:[2]

                                “To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”

                                This statement inspires good feeling from the customer while motivating the employees to achieve that vision.

                                What Does a Good Mission Statement Look Like?

                                When coming up with a mission statement, it’s important to take your time and do it right. Too often, people (especially entrepreneurs) just write down the first thing that comes to mind and they end up with worthless or (worse yet) a generic mission statement that is utterly useless.

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                                Remember, a mission statement should provide a common framework for everyone in your organization.

                                When writing a mission statement, you should always try to incorporate the following;

                                • What we do?
                                • How we do it?
                                • Whom do we do it for?
                                • What value are we bringing?

                                Now, you can see how tempting it is to just come up with something generic that ticks off those four boxes. Something like “We provide the best widgets available online for the consumer.”

                                After all, that did check off all the boxes:

                                What we do? Provide widgets.

                                How we do it? Online.

                                Who do we do it for? The consumer.

                                What value we bring? The best widgets.

                                The problem with this mission statement is that it could apply to any number of companies producing the same widget. There is nothing to distinguish your company or its widgets from any of your competitors widgets.

                                Compare that mission statement to this one:

                                “We provide the highest quality widgets directly to the consumer at an affordable price backed up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If our clients aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll make it right.”

                                What’s the difference?

                                Both mission statements answer all the same questions of what, how, whom and value. But in the second statement, they are differentiating their company from all other competitors by answering the question “what makes us unique”.

                                Another way to read that is, “Why you should buy from us.” In this example, it’s because our widgets are of the highest quality and we stand behind them 100%.

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                                You might have noticed the statement didn’t say that we sell widgets at the lowest possible price. That’s because we are emphasizing quality and satisfaction over price.

                                A different company’s mission statement may emphasize selling widgets at the lowest possible price with little to no mention of a guarantee.

                                Hallmarks of a Good Mission Statement

                                1. Keep It Brief

                                Your mission statement should be no longer than three sentences. This is not your company’s magnum opus.

                                You should be able to distill the what, how, who and why questions into a succinct message.

                                2. Have a Purpose

                                A company’s missions statement should include the reason it even exists.

                                Make clear exactly what the company does with statements like “We strive to provide our customers with …….”

                                3. Include a “How”

                                Take this as an opportunity to differentiate your company from its competitors.

                                How do you provide a product or service that’s different or better than how your competitor provides it?

                                4. Talk About the Value You Bring to the Table

                                This is where you can really set yourself apart from the competition. This is the “why” customers should buy from you.

                                Do you offer the lowest prices? Fastest delivery? Exceptional customer service? Whatever it is that sets you apart and gives your particular products, services or company an advantage talk about it in the mission statement.

                                5. Make Sure It’s Plausible

                                It’s okay to shoot for the stars just to settle for the moon, but not in a mission statement.

                                Being overly ambitious will only set you and your employees up for failure, hurt morale and make you lose credibility. You will also scare away potential investors if they think that you are not being realistic in your mission statement.

                                6. Make It Unique and Distinctive

                                Imagine if someone who knew nothing about your business walked in and saw how it was operating, then they read your mission statement. Would they be able to recognize that mission statement was attached to that business? If not re-work it.

                                7. Think Long Term

                                A mission statement should be narrow enough so that it provides a common framework for the existing business, but open enough to allow for longer term goals. It should be able to grow as the business grows.

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                                8. Get Feedback

                                This is very important, especially from managers and employees.

                                Getting their input can clarify how they currently see the company and their role within the organization. It’s also a good way to get people “on-board,” as studies show that people are more likely to go along with an idea if they feel included in the decision making process beforehand.

                                9. Review Often and Revise as Necessary

                                You should review the missions statement often for two reasons.

                                First, as a reminder of what the essence of the company is. It’s easy to forget when you are in the day to day grind of the business.

                                And two, to make sure that the mission statement is still relevant. Things change, and not everything can be anticipated at the time a mission statement was written.

                                For example, if a mission statement was written before the advent of the internet, a company that use to sell things door to door now probably has a website that people order from. You should always update the mission statement to reflect these changes.

                                The Value of Mission Statements: Why Go Through All of These in the First Place?

                                It may seem like a lot of work just for a few sentences that describe a company, but the value of a well written mission statement should not be discounted.

                                First of all, if you are an entrepreneur, crystallizing the what, how, whom and value questions will keep you focused on the core business and its values.

                                If you are a manager or other employee, knowing the company’s basic tenants will help inform your interactions with both customers and colleagues alike.

                                Strategic Planning

                                A relevant mission statement acts as a framework for strategic planning. It provides guidance and parameters for making strategic decisions for the future of the company.

                                Measuring Performance

                                By having the company’s mission in a concrete form, it also allows for an objective measurement of how well the organization is meeting its stated goals at any one time.

                                Management can identify strengths and weaknesses in the organization based on the criteria set forth in the mission statement and make decisions accordingly.

                                Solidifying the Company’s Goals and Values for Employees

                                Part of a well run organization is nurturing happy and productive employees.

                                As humans, we all have an innate need for both purpose and to be part of something larger than ourselves. Providing employees with a clearly defined mission statement helps to define their role in the larger organization. Thus, fulfilling both of these needs.

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                                Now I’m not saying that a mission statement can overcome low pay and poor working conditions, but with everything else being equal, it can contribute to a happier and more productive workforce.

                                To Hold Management Accountable

                                By creating a mission statement, a company is publicly stating its highest values and goals for the world to see. By doing so, you are inviting both the public and your employees to to scrutinize how well the company lives up to its ideals.

                                So if you state that you only provide the highest quality products, and then offer something less, it’s fair for both the public and the employees to question, and even call for a change in management.

                                If management doesn’t take the mission statement seriously, no one else will either; and the legitimate authority that management rely’s on will be diminished.

                                To Serve as an Example

                                This is the opposite side of the coin from the previous statement. If the highest levels of management are seen taking the mission statement seriously and actively managing within the framework of the statement, that attitude filters down throughout the organization.

                                After all, a good employee knows what’s important to their boss and will take the steps necessary to curry favor with them.

                                Finally, use the company’s mission statement as a way to define roles within the company. You can do this by giving each division in the company a copy of the mission statement and challenge the head of each division to create a mission statement for their respective departments.

                                Their individual mission statements should focus on how each department fits in and ultimately contributes to the success of the company’s overall mission statement. This serves as both a clarifying and a team building exercise for all parts of the organization.

                                Final Thoughts

                                Developing a mission statement is too often just an after-thought, especially for entrepreneurs. We tend to prioritize things that we perceive will give us the biggest “bang for our buck.”

                                Somehow, taking the time and effort to sit down and think seriously about the what, whom, how and value of our business seems like a waste of time. After all, we got in the business to make money and become successful, isn’t that all we need to know?

                                That mindset will probably get you started okay, but if you find yourself having any success at all, you’ll find that there really is such a thing as growing pains.

                                By putting in the time and effort to create a mission statement, you are laying the groundwork that will give you a path to follow in your growth. And isn’t building long term success what we are really after?

                                More Resources About Achieving Business Success

                                Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

                                Reference

                                [1] Southwest Airlines: About Page
                                [2] Fit Small Business: 10 Vision Statement Examples To Spark Your Imagination

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