Why become an expat?

Why do people become expatriates? Leaving the relative comfort and familiarity of one’s home country may sound scary for some, but the process can be thrilling for others. There are many motivating factors when deciding to uproot your life and start anew overseas…

For work

One of the most common, and obvious, reasons for moving abroad is employment. Whether sent on an assignment by an employer, or being recruited by an employer overseas, many people become expats for work. In fact, Internation’s Expat Insider 2018 reported that 31% of their expat participants had taken the plunge and moved abroad for their career.  Many expats make the choice to relocate themselves for work simply because their new location offers better or more employment opportunities than their home country.

For education

Some countries have a reputation for offering a high quality of education, which makes them attractive options for students. The opportunity to learn a new language by immersion in a new culture is also a great draw for students, particularly those undertaking a foreign language degree or where universities offer a year long exchange program. Parents wanting the best possible education for their children can also be tempted to relocate to countries with world-leading education systems and international schooling.

For love

If your partner was relocating internationally, would you make the move with them?  Many do, and these expats are usually known as the travelling/trailing spouse. Trailing spouses can find expat life difficult for many reasons, including lack of career prospects and social isolation. Some romantic types move overseas to join their love in their home country. It seems that this is a good idea, as 88% of expats who relocated for love reported that they were happy with their situation, according to the Expat Insider survey.

For the experience

For many expats it is simply the idea of living abroad that appeals. Whether it’s a specific country you’ve dreamed of visiting, a better quality of life, or simply wanderlust, many expat’s primary motivation for moving overseas is purely a lifestyle choice, rather than career or family motivated. For many the actual relocation process provides the varied lifestyle they save…The idea of global travel is enough of an incentive to make the move.

Other reasons

There are, of course, some less-than-positive reasons for choosing the expat life. Political or religious reasons, civil unrest and feeling unsafe can all be motivating factors for a move to a different country. Lack of opportunities at home is a commonly cited reason for relocation overseas, as well as relocating to be closer to family members already overseas… Of course the reasons for relocation are numerous and multifaceted and very much down to individual circumstance.

Have you ever lived or worked as an expat? If so, what was your main motivator? We would love to know!

Written by Sophie Watkins – Recruitment Consultant & Special Projects at Alchemy Global Talent Solutions.