10 Best Countries if You’re an Expat Looking for a New Job

American expatriates who work abroad in France stand outside of an American bar in patriotic garb

American expatriates who work abroad in France stand outside of an American bar in patriotic garb | Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

Ever take a look around and feel the urge to run away? Just ditch your job, say goodbye to your friends and family, and take a long sojourn outside of the United States? Many people do — it’s common to daydream about leaving your job to go sit on a beach somewhere. But few of us actually do it. Those who do often plan well in advance. They’re expatriates, and they live and work abroad for extended periods of time.

You can do it too — if you’re willing to make some sacrifices, and have the money and bandwidth. Expatriates, or expats as they’re commonly called, are people who live and work outside of their native countries. You may know people who live in Mexico or Europe, for example. They’re immigrants to other countries, and may or may not decide to return.

People become expats for all sorts of reasons. You may want to immerse yourself in another culture, for example. Or perhaps the hustle and bustle of American life is too much, and you want to live somewhere quieter and slower. Hell, you might just want to wait out the incoming Trump administration. Whatever your reasoning, you too can become an expat.

But where should you go? The world is a big place, and you don’t want to end up somewhere where life is harder. Luckily, HSBC has released the latest results of its Expat Explorer Survey, ranking the top countries in the world for aspiring expats. By looking at economic and social factors, as ranked by those who took the survey, HSBC managed to compile a list of the 45 best countries for expatriates.

Here are the top 10.

10. Germany

A cyclist in Berlin, Germany

A cyclist in Berlin, Germany | iStock.com

Germany is one of the most stable and economically powerful countries in the world. That makes it an ideal place for expats looking to get out of the U.S. Its strong economy is what most people find appealing, and there’s plenty of history and travel opportunities to keep you entertained for years.

9. Bahrain

Khalid Abdulla Alhajeri looks at a natural gas pipe in Manama, Bahrain

Khalid Abdulla Alhajeri looks at a natural gas pipe in Manama, Bahrain | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

You probably didn’t think you’d see Bahrain on this list, but here it is! Bahrain is located in the Persian Gulf, on a small chain of islands. Being in the Middle East, a lot of the cultural and social norms are quite different than what Americans are used to. That may be the new experience you’ve been searching for, however.

8. Sweden

The waterfront in Malmo, Sweden

The waterfront in Malmo, Sweden | Malmotown via Facebook

Have a tolerance for the cold? Sweden is a great candidate for any expat looking to get out for a while. Sweden has top marks in terms of work/life balance, job security, and economic confidence. But social and cultural differences may be off-putting for some Americans.

7. Austria

A snowy scene in Austria

A snowy scene in Austria | iStock.com

If you want to head to Europe, Austria is a great destination. Though its economy is strong, social and cultural norms differ from the States. This can make it tough for some looking to work abroad.

6. Norway

Buildings of The Barcode Project are reflected on the water at sunset in Oslo

Buildings of The Barcode Project are reflected on the water at sunset in Oslo | Cornelius Poppe/AFP/Getty Images

Fancy a life like Ragnar Lothbrok? You probably won’t find much of the traditional Viking or Norse experience in Norway these days, but if you’re looking to work abroad, Norway would be a good choice. Strong social services and a lot of economic confidence make Norway the perfect place for aspring expats.

5. Switzerland

A town in the Swiss mountains

A town in the Swiss mountains | iStock.com

It’s not all chocolate, army knives, and secret bank accounts. Switzerland is one of the world’s top five countries for expatriates looking to work abroad. Though the country ranks very highly in many categories related to the economy, it lacks in many social and cultural areas. It’s pretty expensive, in terms of cost of living, as well.

4. Czech Republic

A Christmas tree in front of a Prague cathedral

A Christmas tree in front of a Prague cathedral | Michal Cizek/Getty Images

You always wanted to spend some time in Prague — well, here’s your chance. The Czech Republic cracked the top four on HSBC’s list, ranking highly in terms of work/life balance, economic confidence, and quality of life. It’s central European location makes a great base for further travels around Europe as well.

3. Canada

A view of the famous 'Morant's Curve' offering a beautiful view of the frozen Bow River and the Canadian Pacific Railway at Banff National park

A view of the famous ‘Morant’s Curve’ offering a beautiful view of the frozen Bow River and the Canadian Pacific Railway at Banff National park | Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images

Want to stay relatively close to home? Canada, “America’s hat,” clocks in at No. 3 on the list. With a lot of cultural overlap, Canada might be the perfect place to take an extended break. The country ranked high among those surveyed in many areas related to family and quality of life.

2. New Zealand

Queensland, New Zealand

Queensland, New Zealand | iStock.com

Live among the Hobbits and Kiwis! New Zealand is appealing for a lot of reasons, and according to the survey, the opportunities for career progression away from the U.S. are among them. The survey identified work/life balance, health, and quality of life among the top reasons expats love New Zealand so much.

1. Singapore

A rooftop swimming session in Singapore

A rooftop swimming session in Singapore | Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images

The No. 1 place for an expatriate to live and work? Singapore — a tiny city-state located on an island off Malaysia. As a global finance center, there are a ton of opportunities to be had in Singapore. The country ranked very high, per the HSBC survey, in categories like entrepreneurship, politics, and career progression. If you’re looking for a place to take a break from the Fly Fifty, Singapore’s the place to go.

Follow Sam on Facebook and Twitter @SliceOfGinger

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