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5 reasons to be happy in a provincial city

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When you think of your expat life abroad, it’s very likely that your mind is filled with images of your destination’s biggest and most vibrant cities — New York City for the USA, London for England, Tokyo for Japan. However, if your expat adventure is about to start small, Expat.com is presenting you with the pros of living in a small city while abroad.

Capital cities are the common preference of young international employees, business people, and students who are moving abroad, as opposed to provincial towns. Apart from the abundance of career opportunities and the available facilities, a big city offers modern and diverse living conditions, with familiar options to turn to, that will probably decrease the impact of culture shock. But a smaller city or a town has its benefits, which might be more appealing to your current situation. Are you ready to leave the city lights behind?

Towards a healthy work-life balancet

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Whatever the reason for moving abroad — work, study, retirement, or family — expect to spend hours on public transport or stuck in the traffic in the heart of noisy and overcrowded cities. Wouldn’t it be more rewarding to invest this time in your favourite leisure activity, your family, friends, or in some extra hours of sleep? If you hear yourself saying “yes”, then you are one step closer to finding happiness in a small town. Shopping in the megamall is no doubt a fun way to spend a Saturday but don’t fret if there are only corner shops close by — this might be a call to start gardening, a blog on your expat life in a small town, or to rearrange your house and decorate with DIY crafts.

Concentrate on the things that matter

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Big cities can be very tempting — from Monday to Sunday, there’s always an event to attend and a new bar to discover. On the other hand, a town connects you with other aspects of everyday life in your host country, such as the traditions, the local population, and nature. You might be taking it easy, and you might be feeling that you are missing out on happenings, but it’s up to you to make the most of the opportunities that a town has to offer — volunteer with the local community, get to know your neighbours, include outdoors activities in your routine. You don’t have to be constantly on the go to live a fulfilling life.

Showcase your skills

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There are indeed more job openings in big cities, which cover all sorts of fields and sectors. However, provincial towns can help your career in different ways. First, competition in small-sized cities is not so intense, and all skills are highly appreciated, as they are not in abundance. Second, towns aren’t so exposed to innovation and technology, which helps pioneers and creative personalities be listened to when they have something interesting to say. So, if you are thinking to start your own business abroad, a town might be a better place to start from. Last, in small places, people are more likely to dedicate their time to others, which might be an opportunity for you to spend some time with a neighbour or friend to learn a new skill from them or to improve one that you already have.

Interact with your community

ambiance de petite ville
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In a small town, people are keener on getting to know their neighbours, helping each other, and building long-term social bonds. This is the perfect place to seriously connect with the people of your host country, understand the culture, and introduce to them your values and ideas about the world. So, feel free to open up and be sure to receive plenty of respect and to make some new friends — from the person who prepares your coffee in the café to the fruit seller in the market, these people have time for you.  

Spend less

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If you have been trying for a while to increase the amount in your savings account, but without success, a good starting point will be to understand why and plan your budget. The cost of living in a big city is much higher than in the province — apart from the obvious expenses (rent, transport, shopping), big cities come with a variety of activities (concerts, theatres, gym classes, restaurants and bars) which in their turn come at a high cost. Of course, you can lead an expensive life in a small city too, but not necessarily, if you are willing to change your consumption habits. For example, in most small cities you will find weekly fruit and veg markets (with fresher produce than in the supermarket and at lower prices).

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