I’ve been speaking to the people at Internations about the best places to live as an expat and I also thought to ask about the worst. I was expecting Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq to top the list but in terms of numbers, these are actually the worst according to their survey.
Clearly expat life is subjective and personal. Or clearly some expats are delusional as many of these are awesome places to live. What do you think? Here’s the list in reverse order. Please note that I did not create the ranking myself; the poll was conducted by Internations and is a reflection of the views expressed to them by its members.
10. Turkey. The magical land of flying carpets, Turkish delight and fairytale souks ranks very poorly. I appreciate holiday life is not the same as expat life but my all time favourite family holiday hotel is located in Turkey and we will be returning year on year.
9. India. India?! Seriously?! Yes, my beloved India is right down here at the bottom. Seems like not everyone appreciates fabulous fashions, amazing curry and a proper cup of tea. What is wrong with these people?
8. Qatar. I haven’t been but an Expater mummy friend raved about the work life balance, the job security and the childcare here. She also explained that not everyone was lucky enough to enjoy the same expat package so clearly it varies from case to case. Qatar can be awesome it seems, if your company is awesome too.
7. Ukraine. We’ve all seen the fighting on the TV. Add to this a national diet laced with animal fat, a prevalence of thyroid cancer due to the chernobyl disaster, high living costs, a scarcity of family doctors and a population addicted to smoking, and I understand why this country is not top of the expat wish list. Then again my brother my returned from a trip to Lviv and it looked beautiful. So now I’m unsure.
6. Italy. Luxury cars, designer handbags, beautiful clothes and superb coffee. But alas no jobs.
5. Saudi Arabia. Women need a permit to exist. Western Expaters go there begrudgingly but often end up loving it though. I’m rather confused. Can anyone living there set the record straight?
4. Brazil. My sister in law lives here and while she regularly post photos of their children smiling in the sunshine, Brazil for expats is no holiday. Bullet proof cars, locked doors at all times, security 24/7. On my list for a holiday but as for a long term expat assignment? Not for me, obrigada.
3. Nigeria. My husband still compares anything rubbish in the UK to the magical land that is Lagos. In his eyes, Nigeria can do no wrong. Ikoyi, Victoria and Banana Island trump Notting Hill, Primrose Hill or anywhere along the Kings Road. Like Qatar, it seems that Nigeria is a love hate place and very much depends on your personal expat package. Photo by andryn2006
2. Kuwait. While some Expaters have praised their lifestyle in Kuwait, almost one quarter of the expats surveyed for Internations (23%) mentioned they are unhappy with their life there. While salaries tend to be generous, a decent quality of life cannot be bought it seems.
Photo by Defence Images
1. Greece. After a family holiday on a Greek island this summer one thing is for certain, the people here are lovely. Alas another thing is also true, it badly needs a lick of paint. Greece really needs a makeover, or rather cash, and a lot of it. Unsurprisingly, three in ten expats bemoan the lack of career prospects here, making it the worst place for expats in 2017.
The UK is not everyone’s cup of tea either. Britannia was voted the 54th best place to live. A significant slide over the years, mostly due to fears over Brexit and expensive housing. The not so Great Kingdom now ranks below Chile, Argentina and Indonesia, and just before China, Turkey and India.