Advertising
Advertising

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.

        Advertising

        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.

              Advertising

              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

                    Advertising

                    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.

                            Advertising

                            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

                                More by this author

                                expat 15 Best Places to Live Abroad for Expats

                                Trending in Work

                                1 How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules 2 How to Answer the Interview Question “What Motivates You?” 3 10 Signs of a Bad Boss and How to Deal with Them 4 How to Figure Out What Motivates You at Work 5 Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

                                Read Next

                                Advertising
                                Advertising
                                Advertising

                                Last Updated on January 21, 2020

                                How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

                                How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

                                We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

                                So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

                                While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

                                Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

                                What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

                                How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

                                But what does being productive actually entail?

                                Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

                                Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

                                It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

                                Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

                                9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

                                1. Avoid Multitasking

                                Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

                                Advertising

                                Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

                                If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

                                2. Turn off Notifications

                                According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

                                Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

                                The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

                                Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

                                3. Manage Interruptions

                                There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

                                Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

                                If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

                                By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

                                4. Eat the Frog

                                Mark Twain once famously said that:

                                Advertising

                                “if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

                                What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

                                We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

                                Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

                                5. Cut Down on Meetings

                                Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

                                You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

                                The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

                                But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

                                If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

                                6. Utilize Tools

                                Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

                                If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

                                Advertising

                                And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

                                Some examples of tools that could be used:

                                Communication
                                • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
                                • Samepage for video conference software.
                                • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
                                Task Management
                                • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
                                • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
                                • Wekan for an open source option.
                                Database Management
                                Time Tracking
                                • Clockify for a free tracker.
                                • TMetric for workspace integrations.
                                • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

                                You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

                                7. Declutter and Organize

                                Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

                                Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

                                Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

                                Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

                                8. Take Breaks

                                Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

                                As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

                                Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

                                Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

                                Advertising

                                9. Drink Water

                                Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

                                Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

                                Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

                                A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

                                If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

                                You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

                                The Bottom Line

                                The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

                                After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

                                In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

                                A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

                                Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

                                More About Boosting Productivity

                                Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

                                Reference

                                Read Next