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The Best Countries For English Speaking Expats
Many expats face the challenge of dealing with a language barrier, or at least having to improve their existing foreign language skills on the fly. For some people, this is part of the cultural exchange that comes with living in another country, for some others it may be a barrier to entry. Luckily, there are a number of countries outside the United States where you can easily live and enjoy daily life while only speaking English. In this post we take a look at some of the best and most popular options.
The Netherlands – With around 15 million English speakers as well as a healthy expat community, the Netherlands is one of the most English-friendly countries you can settle in outside of the United States. Along with Sweden (see below) and Denmark, the Netherlands is one of the highest rated countries in Europe when it comes to English language proficiency. Combined with much of the culture and European sensibilities that many expats yearn for, the ability to live in the Netherlands while only speaking English gives it a much deserved place on this list.
See the section at the bottom of the page under “Resources” for a link to the English Proficiency Index, which has more information about which countries rank well in this regard.
Sweden – As we mentioned in the above section about the Netherlands, Sweden also ranks very well for English speaking ability. The country also offers beautiful natural surroundings, a quality standard of living, and a good work-life balance for many who settle there. Sweden is a particularly good destination for female expats since they have a stronger focus equality, which extends to services such as child care.
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Singapore – Singapore has recently been among the top destinations for expats since it offers many of the things they desire: strong economy, great culture, plenty of English speakers, and clean, well-run cities with strong education and child care.
But those luxuries definitely come with a price, as Singapore is one of the more expensive international destinations to live. You can see from the Cost of Living Index in the resources section at the bottom of this page that Singapore ranks near Paris and Los Angeles in terms of cost of living. Still, it’s a price that many English speaking expats are willing to pay.
Germany – Germany is a great expat destination for those who only speak English for several reasons. The first is that Germany itself has a very high level of English proficiency, as do many of the countries that surround it and are nearby. Austria, Poland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, and the Czech Republic are all countries with a strong grasp of the English language.
Germany is also on the affordable side, especially when compared to many parts of the U.S. You also can’t do much better if you’re looking for a culture that enjoys food and drink. It should be mentioned that some Americans have a hard time adapting to some of the social and cultural elements of life in Germany, so be sure to have an understanding of those before moving.
Expat Moving Resources
- Cost of Living Index – An easy to use website that nicely displays rankings for cost of living in different countries and cities, as well as cost breakdowns for different items such as food and housing.
- English Proficiency Index – This index allows you to view each countries ranked by their English proficiency. You can compare different countries and also browse the survey results by geographic region.
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