Crown Relocations

7 Best Places to Live Overseas Where Expats Enjoy a Better Work-Life Balance

By Betsy Burlingame

Summary: Looking to find a place to move overseas where you can achieve a better work-life balance? Expats talks about 7 of the best places to live overseas where family and friends are top priority.

Living Overseas - 7 Best Places to Live Overseas Where Expats Enjoy a Better Work-Life Balance

An increasing number of millennials are escaping the rat race and moving overseas to find a better work-life balance. Here are 7 of the best places for expats to find a better work-life balance abroad:

Lisbon, Portugal

"Lisbon is a great city for socializing. There are many expats and digital nomads here who are always open to meeting new people. It is great for young people, as well as older expats with a wide range of options and close proximity to the beaches and lots of bars, clubs and restaurants," said one expat living in Lisbon.

"There's a little bit of everything in Lisboa (Lisbon). Public transportation is a must in this city. There are a number of outdoor cafes where you can enjoy a coffee and people-watch. However, sports is the priority in Lisbon. Futebol (Soccer) is king here. Sporting and Benfica are the top soccer teams in the city. Be careful about wearing green (Sporting colors) in the Benfica neighborhood," said one expat who moved to Lisbon, Portugal.

"The Lisbon area serves a great number of industries. Tourism and service tend to be areas of extreme importance at present. Technological industries and research in science and medicine also play important roles for many. Having a clear plan and perhaps prearranged employment behooves the would-be expat," advised one expat. "The main industry in Lisbon is tourism. Most opportunities exist in the tourism and hospitality industries. Networking with the locals and business groups would be the perfect way to find new jobs," commented another expat. "Job employment agencies are the best way to go for looking for work. However, most require fluency in Portuguese. If you come from the United States, the UK, or any other English-speaking country, your best bet is to look for companies from your home country that are specifically looking for English-speakers," said another.

Uvita Costa Rica Expat

Costa Ballena, Costa Rica

The Costa Ballena region of Costa Rica includes several beach towns along the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. The beaches include Playa Dominical, Playa Dominicalito, Playa Hermosa, Playa Ballena, Playa Pinuela, Playa Ventana, Playa Tortuga and Playa Uvita, which is part of Marine National Park Playa Ballena.

"This area is more like a village. We have a very international crowd; Dutch, French, Canadian, American, Estonian, Indonesian, etc. We have a great mix of restaurants and the area is reputed to be a culinary high point of the country. Lives revolve around social events more than work, we have a local soccer team that competes with the Ticos in town and there is a bull ring for our annual bull riding contest. Many are involved in philanthropic endeavors, helping the local schools, an orphanage from San Isidro En General, etc," explained one expat living in Ojochal, Costa Rica near Playa Ventana.

"Tourism in the area is very high so work takes a strong priority to keep everyone happy and returning to the area. However, family is a very strong factor. Many Costa Ricans from the Central Valley visit on weekends and holidays. It is not uncommon to see families and friends relaxing at the beach with a picnic and hammock, enjoying the breeze and socializing. Surfing is a major sport in the area so surf lessons are high on the list for a fun activity. Hiking Miro Mountain is a popular activity which includes wildlife spotting, camera opportunities, and general fitness," explained one expat in Playa Hermosa.

When asked about job opportunities in the Costa Ballena area, one expat replied, "Residential construction and related, pool design, construction and maintenance, landscape design and maintenance, interior design and maintenance, restuaranteur, tourist related activities, shops, services." Another expat in Playa Hermosa said, "This is a retirement place. The Costa Ricans and expats who want to work do tourism and fishing primarily. Real Estate is a big business here."

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Budapest Expat

Budapest, Hungary

"Budapestans work and play equally. The city offers many opportunities for and many places to socialize with like-minded people. The possibilities are diverse and endless regardless of age," explained one expat living in Budapest, Hungary. "In my opinion they revolve around socializing. Hungarians seem to place a lot of focus on Holidays, meeting in cafes, traveling to the countryside to visit parents/grandparents on weekends. I say socializing and not family because individuals find it difficult to save money therefore there is a low birth rate," commented another expat.

"Most opportunities exist in the service sector. To have a chance to be hired and for career advancement, fluency in IT and foreign languages is a big plus," said one expat in Budapest.

Newcastle Australia Expat

Newcastle, Australia

With a population of over 300,000, Newcastle is located on the coast about 2 hours north of Sydney in New South Wales. "The work life balance in Newcastle is great, that's one reason I have been here so long. You can't beat the beach lifestyle and there is plenty to do sports wise. This is the kind of city were you can do a different physical activity each day. Head down to the beach, Merewether to Bar beach strip early in the morning (6 a.m.) and you will see Novacastrians exercising everywhere," remarked another expat living in Newcastle, Australia.

The biggest employers in Newcastle include Downer EDI, University of Newcastle and Hunter New England Health.

Haifa Israel Expat

Haifa, Israel

With a population of over 250,000, Haifa is the third largest city in Israel. It's a little over an hour north of Tel Aviv. "Haifa is a family city. The beach, the forests and nature trails are big attractions. It takes less than an hour to get to Tel Aviv which is the main commercial center. There is a huge hi-tech center in Haifa which employs many expats and it is close to another major hi-tech center - Yokneam. The city of Haifa is focussing on the younger generation, students etc., and are working hard to improve facilities and housing options for them," remarked another expat who made the move to Israel.

Netherlands Expat

The Netherlands

It seems like expats in cities and towns across The Netherlands all agree that while work is important, life in the Netherlands revolves around family and socializing.

"Family and socializing are very important in the Netherlands. People rarely talk about work; they are much more inclined to speak of their many and frequent travels all over the world. Sport is also extremely important (especially football). Where we live in Limburg, team handball is quite the rage," said another expat in Netherlands.

"This isn't a major tourist destination so the foreign network is much smaller. Here, six degrees of separation is more like three degrees of separation. The foreign population is very diverse, I was once at a party with 20 people and every single one was from a different country! Life revolves around moderate amounts of family life, social life and the outdoors. Nature is at your doorstep, with the Waal river and Ooij polder less than 10 minutes biking from the center of town. Nijmegen is a fine example of a very pleasant middle-sized city," explained one expat living in Nijmegen, Netherlands.

"Most everyone's life in the Netherlands revolves around family, but having said that, life here is really not that different from living in a big city in the states... work, socializing, entertainment (music/theater/art), sports, religion...its all here! Lot's to do for both single people or families. Utrecht is mostly a city of University and education. There are several hospitals (Medical Centers) in the area. Holland is not such a big country and therefore many people reside in the Utrecht province, but commute to Amsterdam for work. The IT businesses employ many people here. If you have not re-located here through an existing job, then the best place to find work here (after you get the required work documents)is to go to an 'Uitzendbureau'( a hiring firm) to be placed in a job (most of these are temp firms, but it's possible to get on permanently in a job here). There are many 'Uitzenbureaus' in Holland," said another expat.

"Unless you have been transferred here from your work, The Netherlands requires you to have some sort of sponsorship, or job and proof of self health insurance to be able to stay," advised one expat.

Panama City Expat

Panama City, Panama

"Priorities start with family, extended family, family friends, other friends, socializing, sports, all other non-work related activities, and finally: work! [Job opportunities are] Service oriented and light manufacturing with associated career opportunities. Most new job opportunities are filled through friendship associations rather that the social media. While published job opportunities exist, the final selection for the positions are usually among recommended applicants Mass openings soon become filled with known applicants." said an expat living in Panama City, Panama.

"Panama City has a lot of things going on. It's changing in so many directions, the beaches are NOT crowded and if you get off the beaten path even less so. Coiba Island Snorkeling and diving, beautiful El Valle, birds and fauna, the birds alone in the parks just inside Panama City are amazing, the Volcano Baru and north areas, Puerto Amuelles, a town that is being renewed. The fresh seafood... fresh food in small restaurants," described one expat.

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About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder of Expat Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Some of Betsy's more popular articles include 6 Best Places to Live in Costa Rica, 12 Things to Know Before Moving to The Dominican Republic and 7 Tips for Obtaining Residence in Italy. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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First Published: May 30, 2018

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