The best cities for expats in 2018

  • moving abroad
Published 9 months ago

Career prospects, costs of living, quality of life, and leisure are only some of the various factors taken into account by those planning to move abroad. To help you choose the best destination, gives you an insight into the world's best cities for expat careers and in terms of affordability, education, culture, and leisure, according to the latest HSBC Expat Explorer Survey report.

For your career

San Francisco

Home to the famous Silicon Valley and with the biggest number of expatriates working in tech companies, San Francisco stands out as the world's best city for career prospects. More than half of expatriates having moved to San Francisco believe they are now enjoying better career prospects even though the cost of living is quite high, especially in terms of accommodation, food, leisure, and other aspects of everyday life. Thanks to its prosperous economy and dynamic labour market, London ranks 2nd, attracting foreign professionals from all around the world with not only career prospects in various fields but also a higher salary (around US $ 107,863 annually) than the global average. New York comes with no surprise as the world's 3rd best city with a range of opportunities in the finance sector. Hosting the European headquarters of technology giants such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon, Dublin is another attractive cities for foreign professionals, as much as Birmingham where expatriates claim that their salaries are high enough to allow them to save a bit.

For your wallet


The cost of living is another key factor to take into account if you're planning to move abroad. For a greater purchasing power, you should perhaps turn to Bangkok. More than two-third of expatriates in Bangkok believe that the cost of living there is lower than in their home country – which is one of the city's biggest strengths. Also, you might be surprised to learn that Berlin and Prague have also been mentioned by expats as being affordable, mainly due to their high wages. More than half of them say the cost of living there in very attractive, as well as the number of public holidays. Kuala Lumpur and Warsaw also come up in the top 5 most affordable cities.

For your children's education


If you were to move overseas with your family, which would be the ideal city to raise your children? Once again, Singapore stands out for its quality education at all levels. Every year, international schools, universities, and other higher education institutions welcome foreign students from all around the world in large numbers. Expat children speaking neither English nor French can turn to Toronto where schools offer tailor-made curricula. English and French-speaking students will find it easy to adapt as well, and have the opportunities to take up foreign languages. The Scottish education system is also praised by a lot of expatriates families, with Glasgow ranking 3rd followed, by Edinburgh.

For cultural enrichment

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There is a common misconception that moving abroad is mostly about finding better career prospects and a better salary. While this might be true to some extent, expatriates are now mroe keen about discovering new cultures and enjoying a more pleasant and relaxed lifestyle. With over 700 art galleries, its vibrant musical scene especially focusing on techno and electronic music, as well as its great cultural diversity, Berlin ranked as the world's best city for cultural enrichment. From iconic landmarks to events and festivals that are held all year round, there's always something to see and to do in Berlin. A cosmopolitan capital city, Buenos Aires ranks 2nd with its diverse culture and the number of activities available for each and everyone. Buenos Aires is world famous for its historical architecture dating back to the 19th century, and the various options for entertainment such as the Teatro Colón and the modern MALBA museum, not to mention its sumptuous cuisine. According to expatriates surveyed, Buenos Aires has better food and restaurants than Barcelona and Hong Kong, for example. Prominent in arts, culture, gastronomy, and fashion, London, Paris, and New York come with no surprise in the top 5.

For leisure


While most of the week will be revolving around work and home, you're probably wondering what you can do during your free time. Have you ever wondered which are the world's best cities for leisure? A haven for surfers, Sydney is well known for its idyllic beaches and its range of leisure activities for expats, including sports and well-being. Moreover, most expats surveyed claim to have a more active lifestyle and to enjoy a better health and a greater well-being since their move. Vancouver ranks 2nd for providing a better quality of life and physical health to its residents. Like Sydney, Vancouver also offers a lot of leisure options including the splendid Stanley Park and the Whistler Blackcomb ski resort, close to the 2010 Winter Olympics site. Los Angeles made its way in the top 5 thanks to its beautiful beaches and striking hiking trails, followed by Oslo and Zurich.

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