Foreign Direct Investment published a top 20 list of the world’s best cities for an expatriate job posting. Many of these seem the perfect choice when it comes to lifestyle, the vibrancy of the community, the weather and the sights.
We have taken the liberty and rounded the list up to represent the top ten expat cities for the perfect way of life. So if your boss ever gives you a choice, you will have a good idea on where you like to be relocated to.
Barcelona City [credits: Roblisameehan via flickr]
Barcelona’s appeal has long drawn businesses of all kinds to its fold. With awards for the city’s architecture and a seven year nomination for Europe’s best city for quality of life by Cushman & Wakefield, Barcelona has the perfect mix of infrastructure, Mediterranean lifestyle and culture to attract workers.
Many stay on to enjoy the sun, the beaches and the fabulous cuisine. To top it all off, Barcelona is close to major capital cities in Europe and a favourite weekend and holiday destination to boot.
Budapest [credits: Bill Barber via flickr]
Having emerged as one of central Europe’s powerhouses since the collapse of the Socialist bloc in 1991, Budapest has also established itself as a favourite for many expatriates. One of the biggest attraction of Budapest is the exotic culture, especially for those people from Western Europe.
The lure of a chance of scenery and lifestyle beckons many to put their hands up for overseas working assignments.
The relatively short drive to Vienna in Austria (250km) makes Budapest accessible enough for those who favour weekend travel. The city is home to some splendid buildings, with plenty of culture and history thrown into the mix.
The city has still kept its old day charm and that is probably one of the biggest attraction factors of Budapest.
3. Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires [credit: Hiro via flickr]
Also called the Paris of South America, Buenos Aires is a sexy city with plenty of outdoor culture. Swanky cafes jostle for attention with glam nightclubs, designer stores and plenty of fine dining.
The way of life differs somewhat from other parts of the world and new expats will have to get used to the Buenos Aires lifestyle. The most notable being the very late dinners (not before 10PM) and late nights in general. To balance this lifestyle, the locals chill out in the afternoons with a relaxing siesta.
For expats, Buenos Aires is also a gift in regards to the cost of living. $50,000 can see someone as a new property owner and around $300/month are often enough for rent in a modern apartment in a good neighbourhood.
There is certainly a European influence in Buenos Aires. Those who need consistent entertainment will not be disappointed as the countless galleries, eateries, clubs, cinemas, beaches, shops and theatres provide plenty of choices for anybody.
4. Cape Town
Cape Town is know for the breathtaking beauty and vibrant lifestyle. The climate, the beaches, the scenery and the close by vineyards are all reasons enough to consider a working or even relocation stint to this great city.
Sadly though, there are still huge pockets of third world poverty and this is often reflected in the clash between the two world’s.
The city has its roots back in 1652 and many remnants can still be found from the old days, giving history buffs plenty to see and do. Despite the heritage, Cape Town is a cosmopolitan city these days with much going on.
A lively arts community as well as a great mixture of culture is one of the city’s main attractions. Expats can’t help but to feel right at home when they arrive.
The life is certainly more relaxed in this part of the world and it isn’t rare to spend Friday afternoons in the surf instead of at work.
The one drawback which holds people back in general and safety concerns due to increased crime.
On the property front, prices are no longer as affordable as they once were.
Lake Michigan, Chicago [credits: straight edge via flickr]
Chicago’s neighbourhoods and friendly locals are reason enough to get settled with ease for new workers who relocate to the area. Situated in a great spot to allow for easy travel all around the country and worldwide, Chicago is a prime choice for those executives who are required to travel a lot on the job.
Also known as the windy city, Chicago has a wonderful mixture of relaxed lifestyle with a cosmopolitan twist. Recreation on Lake Michigan is second nature to many locals who enjoy their weekends in summer. Winters are usually very cold and hold their own attraction for snow bunnies.
Jumeirah Beach, Dubai [credits: Rannu via flickr]
Much has been said and written about Dubai in recent months, but the biggest attraction for expat workers is the fact that the emirate offers a tax free salary. While this was one of the main reasons overseas workers favoured working in Dubai, things don’t look so rosy these days with increased rent and property prices eating up the surplus of wages for many.
Changing property market aside, Dubai is a luxury oasis where expats work hard and play hard. Recent changes in the work law sees many expats expected to work 6 or 7 day weeks as the weekend has been moved from the previous Friday and Thursday afternoons to Friday and Saturday. With the time difference between the emirate and Europe this provides considerable challenges for the office environment.
One thing is clear though, with Dubai’s extensive array of entertainment and lifestyle choices expats will never ruin out of things to do and see.
O’Connell Street in Dublin [credits: Infomatique via flickr]
Dublin is known for the love of the locals for music and pubs. It isn’t rare to see an impromptu music jam session going on in one of the city’s 1,000 pubs. Expat workers also love the rich cultural lifestyle Dublin offers.
Many business deals are sealed in a pub and the city’s workforce is said to be highly educated and technologically advanced.
The friendly locals are easy enough to bond with and making friends is second nature for overseas workers in Dublin.
8. Hong Kong
Hong Kong [credits: Alex via flickr]
If there is one city that incorporates a fusion of east meets west, then it would be Hong Kong. The bustling city is chock-a-block with people from all walks of life and origin. There are the Chinese, the Brits and the countless other multi-nationals from around the world.
The stark contrast between old and new, Chinese and British is still highly visible all around the city. However, venture outside the central hub of Hong Kong and you find plenty of tropical scenery, including great beaches and local markets.
It is a glitzy city that breathes day and night, 24 hours non stop. Luxurious shopping, cruises in the harbour and ritzy lunches in 5-star hotels are not uncommon activities enjoyed by expat workers.
Busy street in London [credits: Ard via flickr]
London is a favourite for many expat workers. Not only can they enjoy a rich mixture of culture around the city, but the social aspect of living in London is reason enough for many to relocate.
Regardless of preference of food, entertainment or shopping, expats will find everything under the sun within the city and the outer suburbs.
One thing many agree on is the fact that living in London does come with a hefty price tag. Everything is expensive and requires a good enough salary to be able to enjoy all London has to offer.
Manama Skyline [credits: Harold via flickr]
Manama is a relative unknown for many westerners, but this Bahrain hot spot is bustling with weekend residents and expats who are out to have a good time.
The colourful mixture of culture and lifestyle attracts many workers to Bahrain. It is less developed than Dubai and has retained its Arabian flavour which is a strong attraction factor for many. Despite its rich heritage, the area offers plenty of western luxuries for expats who require this type of living.