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How Expat Communities Can Help You Adjust to Another Country

Posted Moving Fundamentals / September 11, 2021

According to some estimates of the US State Department, around 10 million Americans live outside of the country. So where are those expats communities, you probably wonder? And where are the largest American expat communities? We will try to answer these and many other questions that are on your mind when you are thinking about moving overseas.

If you are thinking about moving across the world and wonder where most expats live? You came to the right place. We will show you the most popular places to live abroad and what factors to consider when picking a place to set your roots. Furthermore, you will learn how to find fellow Americans in your destination of choice and how to connect with them in the most efficient way. Because moving internationally is a stressful event and you will need all the support you can get.

What Is an Expat Community? Why Do You Need Expat Communities?

Let’s start with some basics and answer how these communities work and why they can benefit you when relocating overseas. For starters knowing there is a strong community of your fellow citizens in some country will give you some sort of comfort and security. You’ll know that you are not alone there. Their experience in adjusting to living overseas can also be really helpful. Especially if you are relocating alone, connecting with people who can understand what you are going through will make the adjustment to a new country much faster.

Furthermore, if you connect with them before the relocation, they can give you useful information on how to move to another country. Also, where to find the best overseas shipping company. They can even help you figure out should you ship belongings by sea, or maybe by air? Those that moved before you surely also know what documents do you need to travel abroad? Answers to these and many other questions will be provided to you first hand from people with similar experiences.

How to Contact Fellow Americans?

Engaging with American people living overseas is the best way to accommodate and to learn as much as you can about the place you are relocating to. Overcoming the cultural shock will be much faster if you have people of your own culture to help you deal with it.

But how to connect with them? First and foremost, try with your friends and family, maybe they know someone who moved to the destination you are going to. Here are some other ways to connect with expats:

  • Join a sports club – Go online and find if there are any amateur sports clubs such as Football, basketball, or baseball. You don’t have to be an athlete, but there will be a great chase you run into Americans there.
  • Find English-speaking bars – There are probably some English-speaking bars you can find in the future location, where you will probably meet some countrymen. Also, look online and see if some bar is streaming a Superbowl or some other famous American event, and you will find your community.
  • Go on language learning courses – For example, if you are relocating to South Korea or some other non-English speaking destinations, you will have to learn the language and go to the classes. There is a high chance you will meet someone in the same position as you there.
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Digital Expats Tools You Can Use

If you don’t have time to search for places where you can meet people, you can always use modern technology. Post on all your social media you are planning to relocate overseas and ask if they know somebody in that location. You can also find groups on Facebook and join in. Tons of websites are explicitly dealing with connecting people abroad. Try InterNations or Go Expats. There are also apps you can download and use in search of a community or platforms you can join and do the same, like Meetup.

Where Are the Largest American Expat Communities in the World?

As we already mentioned, around 10 million Americans are living abroad. And you, like many Americans, are probably wondering what is the best country to live as an expat? If we only consider the number of US citizens living there, then the best country will be Mexico, with around a million Americans living there.

Second place is Canada, with 270,000 following the United Kingdom with 215,000 people. It seems that proximity to the border and similar culture makes most people want to relocate to these countries. But even if these are big numbers, there are growing expats communities all over the globe waiting for you to join them.

Is Mexico Number One Destination?

So let’s put aside the fact that Mexico and the USA are first neighbors. Proximity to a home is not the only thing that draws so many people to Mexico. For starters, Mexico is a big country with developed urban cities and tons of places where you can go off the grid. You can relocate to a tiny coastal village or to a mountain town. It depends on what you are looking for.

Another great reason Americans choose to move south from the border to Mexico, aside from its wonderful nature and cuisine is the really low cost of living. For example, in the most popular place for US expats, Merida, you can rent a three-bedroom home for $850 in the city center.

Or, if you want to stay in a California-look alike location, you can relocate to Ensenada (3 hours drive south of San Diego) and rent a three-bedroom home for $530.

What About Expat Communities in Mexico?

As we mentioned before, Merida has the strongest community. If you contact them in advance, they can give you some useful information and advice. For starters, never rent a home without air conditioning and to bring your own mosquito repellent. Also, they can inform you about the nightlife here and where to find an English language Library. And most importantly you will know that this city is safe or can ask them for advice where not to rent. For example, Merida and Yucatan are the safest countries in Mexico.

In Costa Rica, Good Life Comes Cheap

Costa Rica is considered a paradise and an excellent place to live, and yes, many Americans have built their personal paradises here. It has low costs of living. For example, you can rent a three-bedroom home in San Jose for $950 and eat in local restaurants for 5 to 10 dollars. This is a lot cheaper than living let’s say in Orange County, you will agree. But if you ask people who moved there for advice, they will tell you that you should try to stay here for a shorter period first before you relocate your entire life.

So talk to your international moving company and arrange a packing service after probation time spent in Costa Rica. You can even rent storage units and wait for your belongings to be shipped to you later on.

How to Connect With Americans From Asia?

There are numerous reasons to relocate to Asia. It has some of the world’s greatest cities and one of the fastest-growing economies on the globe. So if you plan to relocate to Tokyo, China, Korea, or maybe to Bangkok, one thing is for sure there will be plenty of job opportunities. And yes, you will have a strong American commune here too. So before you start with arranging a car shipping service, for example, ask people how traffic is there and whether it is worth shipping your car overseas.

What Are the Reasons to Move to Vietnam?

Vietnam has a flourishing economy, especially for people who are working online. It is a true paradise for digital nomads. The internet is fast and affordable, so you can work from anywhere. Also, a lot of Americans find jobs teaching English in schools or online. If you plan to relocate here, you should try and connect with people who were also once newcomers. Just to stay up to date on any changes that might happen – note visas rules and regulations are changing all the time.

Thailand Has a Strong Community Too

Same as Vietnam, Thailand has a strong community of freelancers. It is one of the most livable tropical paradises in the world, with an amazing beach just around the corner. And here you will meet people from all over the world. One of the perks of life there is a strict visa for a long stay, so if you plan to stay longer, you should find a job and get a work permit instead. A lot of people decided to open their own business here, so maybe if you connect with entrepreneurs, you can do the same.

In Europe You Will Find Fellow Americans Easily

If you plan to relocate to Madrid, Spain, or maybe to Portugal, you will find US citizens there. Even if you relocate to Turkey, you will hear English on the street. Living in Europe as an American is so easy.

Not only is everybody speaking English, but we share a similar culture, but most EU countries are safe. They have an excellent education system and healthcare programs, so Europe is an excellent choice if you search for the best places to relocate with family.

For example, if you decide to relocate to Germany, your kids will have free classes and learn German until they are ready to go to school. It will be the same if you relocate to Sweden. But no matter if you choose some of the best places in Europe to retire or just a place to enjoy and have adventures, you won’t be disappointed.

Why Is International Moving to the UK So Popular?

As we mentioned before, the UK holds the third palace among US citizens settled overseas. And it is no wonder that these are the numbers. There will be no need for breaking the language barrier, maybe just some modifications. If you relocate to the UK, you will find a fellow American in most cities, and with their help, you will adjust faster to a way of life in the UK. They can help you navigate through the paperwork you need to have, through their free healthcare systems, and last but not least, they can show you bars where football is playing, not soccer.

Check this video to see which countries are easiest to relocate to.

Moving Internationally Alone – What to Do Before

Once you make a call and decide where to move, you should immediately start with all preparations. Go online and find a commune in your city of choice. Don’t be shy. Ask all the questions you may have, no matter how ridiculous they sound. So if you are not sure should you bring your hair curler, just ask. If you connect with people on time, you will find a place to live and pick the right neighborhood much easier. And not to mention, you will navigate through paperwork with ease.

Other people can help you in picking the right overseas moving company too. They have already moved and probably have a thing or two to tell you about their experience. For example, how to pack your belongings for customs, what items to bring, and what not in any circumstances. But if you don’t find anybody to give you advice that is fine too. You can ask your company of choice for any tips you need. These are professionals with years of experience, who moved so many people overseas, so they can be a useful source of pieces of information too.

Daisy Wilson

Daisy was born in Salt Lake City and in her free time, she writes about moving and watches Charmed.

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