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Angloinfo World: Property

Country or city living: which is best for expats?

March 15, 2017

One of the biggest questions you can face when you decide to move overseas for the first time or for the tenth time – as an expat family, a single expat or a retiree – is whether to move to the countryside and small-village life or whether to head for the local big smoke. You might not find it a difficult decision to make – perhaps you’re already a ‘no way to mud and weird night time noises’ person or a ‘no way to concrete jungle and pollution’ person. But if both country and city are on your radar, perhaps for work opportunities or schooling options, here are some of the pros of each that might help you decide which would be a better choice for you:

Country or city living: which is best for expats?

The “pros” of country living

Cost of living

Generally speaking, the cost of living is lower in the country than in the city, though that’s probably more to do with not having so many things on offer to do, so there’s less temptation to spend.

Open space

Homes in the countryside almost all come with some sort of outside space and have access to more parks, greens, public paths, walks and common land than city living.

Country or city living: which is best for expats?

Community spirit

It’s easier to get to know a local country community because it’s small. However, there may be a downside to smallness – depending on the location, you might find it hard to fit in with locals who have lived there all their lives and all their families’ lives!

Country or city living: which is best for expats?

Nature’s own

It goes without saying that a life in the country is going to expose you to more nature, whether that’s at the seaside, in woodland, forests, rivers, ponds, lakes or mountains. Of course, there’s nature in the city (and just watch David Attenborough’s Planet Earth II Cities episode if you think it’s limited to pigeons, rats, and the occasional fox) but not on the same scale and regularity as in the country.

Fresh air lifestyle

Life in the country is slower, less polluted and there’s less of the “keeping up with the Jones’” to worry about – in most locations. There’s less traffic congestion, so it’s easier and faster to move about, but you’ll need your own transport.

Country or city living: which is best for expats?


The “pros” of city living

Public transport and accessibility

If you want to depend on public transport and walking to get to work, school and entertainment, city life is probably more your “bag”. In some country areas, it’s almost impossible to live a modern lifestyle without a car.

Country or city living: which is best for expats?

Cultural diversity

Living among several different nationalities probably isn’t going to happen in the countryside, but it will be the norm in most major cities, so if that’s a major attraction of expat living head for the bright lights.

Career and job opportunities

In a big city, the world will be your oyster when it comes to work opportunities. Try finding a job in, for example, marketing in the countryside…you’ll find it’s about as common as hens’ teeth, but widen your circle to the closest city and you’ll discover lots of choice. If you are looking for a new job or career, visit Angloinfo Jobs, which lists job opportunities for expats all around the globe.

Country or city living: which is best for expats?

Local amenities

Just about every big town and probably all cities have every amenity going from public swimming pools to shopping malls. A village might have a small shop, pub, playground and school but probably not much else, so everything else has to be driven to. Does that bother you?

Attractions and entertainment

Where to start…? Museums, theatre, new film releases, shows, restaurants… either you love to be surrounded by it all, all the time or you’re happy to dip your toe in occasionally and beat a retreat to the countryside…

Country or city living: which is best for expats?

If you had a “yes, I want that kind of life” feeling when you read the country pros then that’s probably the expat lifestyle you should chose, but if the country pros made you yawn then, well, head for some city living!

For a taste of properties to rent or buy that fit both lifestyles, visit Angloinfo Property. To find out more about living in 43 different countries around the world visit Angloinfo’s How-To guides, featuring housing, healthcare, education, transport, working and much more.

by Angloinfo World editor. Find out more about Angloinfo World editor here.

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