European expatriation among the youth

  • Young girl
Published last year

European Millennials seem to be keen on leaving their home country for another country within the continent in search of academic and professional experiences. Students and professionals between 18 and 28 convey an enthusiasm for learning new languages, living in different cultures, and, of course, gaining a better education or establishing an international career. Here, is an overview of the expat life in seven European countries as recorded by the Think Young think tank.

Why do European students and professionals expatriate?

European students have different reasons to want to move to another European country, but the predominant one (46%) is to seize an opportunity to study at a university or a school abroad. Young Europeans are constantly looking to expand their knowledge, and what better place to do so than in a world renowned institution in one of Europe’s most popular education hubs? Among the participants of Think Young’s survey, other determining reasons for expatriation are: experiencing another culture (38%); learning another language (33%); and improving your CV (32%) for better career opportunities.

Young European students are less likely to base their decision on the lifestyle, education conditions (affordable and accessible education), or cultural heritage (including the customs and the values of the local people) of their destination.

Millennials have repeatedly been stereotyped as lazy, self-obsessed,and job-hoppers. But once we go beyond the labels, we can see that Millennials are nomads at heart, globally minded, less patriotic, and accepting of differences (in culture, religion, appearance). So, it comes as no surprise that half of the survey’s professional participants are seeing relocation as a chance for personal development a way to engage in the common good of a wider community, as well as to find their passions, integrate work into their lives, and be creative.

The benefits of expatriation

What do the European youth believe that they gain from expatriation? 67% of the young professional expats answered ‘‘career advancement’’, 57% believed it was a ‘‘better quality of life’’, and 42% referenced an “increased social life” as a key benefit. Anything finance related or more practical (such as savings, living costs, healthcare provision, and banking) isn’t identified as a beneficial effect of expatriation.

Choosing the right destination

Making the decision to move to another country is a huge step to take, but how do young Europeans choose their destination country? In general, the lifestyle, economic stability, safety, and the cultural heritage are the factors that young expats-to-be are taking into account before making the final decision. The everyday quality of life and the time shared among personal, social, and work life are at the top of young expats' priorities. On the other hand, the climate, romantic relationships, and the availability of leisure activities are less important elements, and almost non-decisive when it comes to moving abroad.

The financial challenges abroad

Millennials have come (or are coming) of age during a severe economic downturn, which makes them more aware of how to manage their finances. Moving abroad has financial implications, and it can take sometime to adapt to the new cost of living (accommodation, transport, leisure, education fees, etc.), as well as to understand the conversation rates and make sense of the new currency you are using. All of these are challenges that have to be dealt with and overcome for a successful and stress-free life abroad which forms part of the notion of personal development. Advance research of costs and average salaries in the destination country is a good starting point for every expat-to-be -- millennial or not.