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Expat Life: Straight from the International Hire’s Mouth

When compared to foreign assignees, international hires typically receive less relocation support from their employer, find it more difficult to settle in to their new location, and are not as happy with life abroad. These are some of the findings from the Expat Insider Business Edition, a report based on the Expat Insider 2018 survey with 18,135 respondents.

Of the international hires surveyed, 56% were male, 57% were in a relationship, and 89% had a university degree. The top three industries of employment were education (17%), information technology (13%), and manufacturing and engineering (9%).  

Key Comments from International Hires:

  • ‘’I had a good job right from the beginning and opportunities to pursue my hobbies.’’ — American female living in Germany

  • ‘’I don’t like my employer’s lack of experience in supportive strategies for employees.’’ — British female living in Italy

  • ‘’I like that there are highly skilled expats like myself. There are plenty of opportunities for socializing and creating an elite network here.’’ — Italian male living in Luxembourg

  • ‘’I don’t like the lack of a social life. I also hardly have any kind of support network.’’ — Turkish female living in Germany

  • ‘’I normally make friends easily and while I have made many international acquaintances, there is not a single local person that I can call a friend despite being here for over 14 months.’’ — American male living in Denmark

  • ‘’I like the safety aspects for my family and children, the good healthcare, and the friendly atmosphere.’’ — Indian male living in Qatar

  • ‘’The challenges of living abroad excite me. The people are friendly, and it is awesome to learn the new culture and try new things.’’ American male living in China

  • ‘’Initially it is tough to integrate into Dutch society as a resident, but once you embrace it, it will embrace you, as is the case worldwide. You must embrace the local culture, or it will not work.’’ — Canadian female living in the Netherlands

  • ‘’It is difficult to integrate into the local culture and there is sometimes hostility towards foreigners.’’ — Turkish female living in Germany

  • ‘’I like the local culture and living in a multicultural society, while being fully integrated with the local people. It’s very enriching after living here for ten years.’’ — French female living in Bahrain

  • ‘’It’s impossible to make local friends, and that goes for adults and children. I have three children in primary school. Their language skills are more than adequate to communicate, and they have made friends from various nationalities, but not a single local one.’’ British male living in Switzerland

  • ‘’Colleagues at work are aware of the culture shock and make an effort to help.’’ — British male living in Germany

Findings and quotes from the Expat Insider Business Edition suggest that employers should consider providing more comprehensive support to their international hires, supporting them to settle in and ultimately find happiness abroad.


Read the Expat Insider 2018 Business Edition: Expat Insider is one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive surveys on life abroad (18,135 expats from across the globe took part in the 2018 survey — 10% of respondents were foreign assignees, 19% were international hires, and 8% were relocating spouses).

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