The Best Countries to Live as an Expat

Has the political climate of your home state-driven you to seek out greener pastures? Have you always wanted to live abroad, but are uneasy about the prospect of finding a local community to embrace? Are you curious about the international hotspots for Americans living abroad? Well then, you’ve come to the right place.

Today, we’ll scour the globe for the best places that you, our prospective American expat, can conceivably call a home away from home. Sun, sand, culture, food — we’ve got it all! So, sit back, relax, and start scheming ways in which you can quit your job because these are the best countries in the world to live as an expat.


If the goal is to move countries without having to learn a new language or travel very far, Canada may be the place for you.

Sure, the money may be a bit goofy looking and people say “eh” a lot. On the flip side, the country has free healthcare and it’s large and varied enough that you should be able to find a city or town that offers a speed of living that’s agreeable. Enjoy the progressive lifestyle of San Francisco? Check out Vancouver. If you’re more of a city slicker, check out Toronto.

You won’t need to learn how to construct igloos from scratch but, depending on where you land and where you’re coming from, you may need to acclimate yourself in the winter months.

South Korea

An abundance of entertainment, a technologically advanced infrastructure, and a soaring economy has been drawing American expats eastward to South Korea in droves. More established, career-minded expats often land jobs working in the Research and Development Field for companies like Samsung and Hyundai. On the other end of the spectrum, the backpack-toting younger crowd should be able to find opportunities to teach English.

Though it may be a bit of a culture shock, that’s part of the fun. South Korea is busy, competitive, and ready to explore.  And, with over 130,000 American expats, you should have no problem connecting with like-minded people.


The online community of expats InterNations recently released the findings of its “best places to live as an expat” user poll. Among the results, the Kingdom of Bahrain came in at seventh after coming in first the two years prior. Despite six spots, being in the top 10 is an impressive feat, nonetheless.

Why does Bahrain rank so high? The expats that participated in the survey reported that settling into Bahrain’s style of life was relatively easy. The findings described an expat paradise that celebrates a multitude of cultures and enjoys a fantastic education system.

Costa Rica

If you’re an American looking for a way out, don’t sleep on Costa Rica. The South American paradise usually performs well on the InterNations user poll.

According to those who lived there, Costa Rica is easy to settle into and meet friends. Plus, when you consider the recent bump in the country’s education quality and availability of childcare, it’s a great place to raise your young family too.

Overall, Costa Rica looks to be a great place to retire, raise a young family, and earn a living as an expat. If you’re looking for a quality of life bump outside of the U.S., consider Costa Rica.


Mexico has always been a popular destination for American expats seeking warmer weather and a change of pace. So, it’s no secret that Mexico securely sits in the top five of the InterNations poll.

Mexico is affordable and easy to settle in. Plus, it enjoys a near-perfect climate year-round. Sure, Mexico can be a touch more dangerous than the American cities that you’re familiar with, but not by much. In Mexico, your money goes further, the work/life balance is much friendlier, and the food is some of the best in the world.

You know what? I think I’ve convinced myself. Adios.


Safe, affordable, technologically advanced, and full of opportunity, Taiwan is a popular landing spot for Americans looking to work abroad. The East Asian state boasts a population of roughly 23-million people and is bordered by China, Japan, and the Philippines.

After being pushed from the top for the 2017 and 2018 surveys, Taiwan recently regained the top spot in the InterNations’ expat-friendly rankings. The people are friendly, the work/life balance is accommodating, and the region is naturally beautiful too.

As of 2014, there were just under 5,000 Americans living in Taiwan, though that number has surely gone up by now. Remember, just because you aren’t in America, doesn’t mean that you can’t live the American dream.


Portugal has long been celebrated as a culinary landmark with a celebrated culture and friendly locals. Urban centers, beach towns, rural landscapes — Portugal has got it all. Also, living in Portugal can be quite affordable too. If you aren’t dead set on living in Lisbon, you can conceivably rent a place of your own for as little as $375 per month.

Although securing a working visa can be a bit convoluted, it’s far less restrictive than places like Japan or Germany. From great healthcare, friendly locals, and world-class food, Portugal has it all according to American expats

New Zealand

If you want to experience living and working abroad but hope to return home in a year or so, then you and New Zealand could be a match made in heaven.

New Zealand is a natural wonder with towering mountain ranges, incredible hiking experiences, and world-class wine. The country is an adventure-seekers dream come true. But don’t get things twisted, New Zealand is exceptionally modern. Auckland, the largest urban area in the country, is not-so-quietly transforming on to a tech-industry juggernaut.

A few notable cons though, New Zealand hands out short-term work visas like hotcakes, but long-term visas are a different story. Also, expect to pay more. Island life isn’t cheap.


The Republic of Malta may not be the first thing that comes to mind when picturing an island paradise. However, it certainly should be considered when scoping out places outside of the U.S. to call your home.

Malta rests just south of Italy. As a little island in the Mediterranean Sea, it is one of the smallest and densely populated countries in the entire world.

If you don’t speak Maltese, that’s ok. The country’s second language is English. More pros of moving to Malta include an affordable cost of living, 300 days of sunshine, and an abundance of job opportunities.

Sign. Me. Up.


The Republic of Colombia sits on the northwest of the continent of South American, sharing a border with Panama, Venezuela, and Brazil. The country presents a wide variety of climates, city sizes, and job opportunities depending on your preferences and field of expertise.

Expat after expat agrees the people of Colombia are incredible. They’ll welcome you with open arms and, in the more rural areas, even treat you like a minor celebrity.

Speaking Spanish is a plus, but you should be able to get on fine without it. Then again, if you end up moving to Colombia, you’ll probably never leave. So, you’ll certainly pick up the language in time.

Khongtham / Shutterstock



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