Moving abroad: how to choose the right country

June 29, 2018

The stereotype of the parochial American, unaware of the rest of the world, has never been accurate. Millions of Americans travel the world and, increasingly, are choosing to settle overseas, whether that is for work, study or retirement.

Of course, the idea of moving abroad brings with it a number of practical considerations, particularly if you have a family. You may need to do your research on appropriate childcare facilities or learn more about international education as part of your preparation.

However, while the practicalities are important, before you can get to that stage, it is worth considering which country is right for you and for your family. Here is a helpful guide that should shine a little light on the process of choosing an overseas destination.


Why move abroad?

The first question that you should be asking is why you want to move abroad. Is it for educational enrichment? Are you hoping to progress in your career or enter a new industry? Will your time abroad be spent teaching, or doing voluntary work? Are you simply looking for a pleasant country in which to spend your well-earned retirement?

If you want to move abroad for work reasons, then check out which countries have the highest demand for your particular skills. If you are interested in studying abroad, then your school or university may be able to advise you, though you will also need to establish the visa conditions associated with studying abroad. To make your stay overseas a success, it is a good idea to try to match your goals with what is available at your destination.

Culture and language

Another important aspect to consider is the cultural and language differences that you are prepared to accept. If you are feeling adventurous, or you want to learn a language or discover a new culture by immersing yourself into it completely, then you can focus on countries that appear to be the most interesting. For those who are not quite as adventurous, it can be a good idea to look for countries with a significant expatriate community, or where English is commonly or regularly spoken, even if it is not the main language of the territory.

Economic considerations

It can also be important to consider the economic conditions of the countries that you are considering. For those moving abroad for work, the general state of a country’s economy and its overall tax structure will be particularly relevant, and for retirees, the relative strength of the dollar against the local currency could be a major consideration, particularly if you don’t have a large fund to rely on in your retirement.

There is no doubt that moving abroad can be daunting, but if you do your homework and choose a destination that suits your circumstances, then it can be a truly rewarding experience that can open your mind, boost your resilience and confidence, and present you with opportunities that would not be available if you stayed in the US.