How many reasons are there for moving abroad? Perhaps as many as 57,000,000! That astounding eight-digit figure is the estimated number of expatriates in the world. Their specific backgrounds and reasons for making the big move are just as multifaceted as the globe itself.
Thanks to our Expat Insider study, based on over 14,000 respondents from around the world, we have identified a variety of “expat types”: each has their particular reasons for relocating. Some were simply practical and others were profoundly emotional.
Unsurprisingly, the prospect of great employment opportunities motivates a large percentage of expatriates. Other reasons for moving abroad include the desire for a better quality of life, a comfortable salary, promising career options, as well as an international education.
Which Type of Expat Do You Identify With?
The foreign assignee is the “classic” expat — a corporate employee, often in a senior or management position, who was sent abroad by their company. There are also those who go abroad on their own initiative, to study and gain some intercultural experience — and simply stay on after getting their degree. Others are headhunted by a foreign employer for their professional skills, or their entrepreneurial spirit prompts them to open their own business in another country.
Of course, expat life isn’t all about new and exciting career opportunities or a top-notch degree. For one in four expatriates, it’s actually about love or family.
The romantics tend to follow their heart across oceans and borders to build a new life with the person they love. Similarly, traveling spouses choose to relocate for the sake of their partner’s career, while some expats simply long to be closer to other family members, like adult children or aging parents.
Last but not least, it’s an incurable case of wanderlust that drives the adventurous type to leave hearth and home behind. They see moving abroad as a personal challenge, a journey of self-discovery: along the way, they explore other countries and cultures, travel the world, or even settle in their dream destination.
What’s Your Story?
But there’s much more to expat living than abstract types and statistics! To celebrate reaching 1 million likes on Facebook— sadly, we haven’t reached 57 million quite yet — we asked our followers why exactly they packed their suitcase and set out for the unknown. You can hear some of their individual stories in our video, from running Dubai’s very first ice-cream van to meeting the love of their life on vacation in Mexico. A heart-felt thank you to everyone who shared their personal expat story with us!
And what’s yours? Can you identify with their motivations from our video, or would you like to add your unique reason? 1 million and counting…!
(Video credit: InterNations; image credit: iStockphoto)