Long winters, driving rain and wind that can blow you off
your feet. Such is the weather in Britain for much of the year. It’s no wonder
that so many Brits harbour a desire to live the expatriate life overseas,
soaking up the warmth and sunshine. At present there are estimated to be 5.5
million Brits living abroad but the real question is whether they’re really any
happier than their friends and family back in Blighty?
After all, moving abroad takes considerable effort and
money, not to mention all the paperwork and planning required. They say that
the figures never lie, so what do they tell us about British expats overseas
and their quality of life?
According to research by Lloyds Bank, the general feedback
from current expats is almost entirely positive. For example 68% of British
expats claim they’re far happier living in their newly adopted country. This is
in stark contrast to 7% who say they are less happy than they were back home,
and is often due to feelings of homesickness. Missing family and friends back
home is often a concern for those considering the move abroad, however the
better climate, value-for-money and lifestyle changes seem to easily make up
for these concerns.
Reassuringly, 64% of British expats claim they’re actually
better off than they were at home; helping once again to underline the
exceptional costs of living in the UK. Those concerned over the costs of
expatriate living should therefore feel more confident that most fellow expats
who have made the move seem to feel the move makes financial sense.
Moving abroad can be particularly problematic for families
with children. Youngsters may struggle to understand what is happening, and
tears may be shed over friends that will be lost. However even in terms of
child rearing, most expats voted their adopted country as far superior to their
experiences in the UK. 60% of British expats claim that their newly adopted
homeland is a better place to raise children.
A large reason for this opinion was the ability for their
children to experience new cultures and to pick up a new language. This ‘international perspective’ can make children better-rounded as well as
providing exciting employment opportunities in the future.
Even more surprisingly, for a country that prides itself on
its educational system – which has been mimicked by numerous countries around
the world – 28% of expats believe that the schooling in their adopted country
is better than their children experienced at home.
One final surprising finding from the Lloyds research
illustrates growing concerns over petty crime and anti-social behaviour in the
UK. While in general Britain does enjoy a relatively low crime rate, 51% of
British expats believe their adopted neighbourhood is actually safer than the
one they lived in back in the UK.