People think of America as a country where people come chasing the American dream. However, between three and six million Americans live abroad instead. Many of them chose moving to Asia as a start of a new chapter in their life. So, do you think you’re due for a dramatic change of scenery? Are you relocating to Asia for a job? Would you like to enrich your life with a new, exciting experience? Then read on, as this article has prepared a short list of countries appealing to American expats.
Singapore is a strong contender when it comes to moving to Asia
Singapore boasts a super strong economy and a surprising amount of English speakers. Unlike many other Asian countries, almost everyone speaks English or can track down someone who does. Some expats have taken to calling it ‘Asia 101’ because of the ease of communication. If you’re worried about moving to Asia because of the language barrier, this is the country for you. Not only that, but the country is ranked as extremely safe. Though people rarely see the police, there are almost no crimes. That’s because the country has severe penalties for criminals.
The country measures only 31 miles from east to west and 16 miles from north to south, making it very easy to explore. Not only that, but it’s a good home base for exploring other countries, as it’s very well connected via airlines. Unfortunately, the country is very expensive. Only 31% of expats actually own a property. However, the company you’re working for might provide you with a COLA – a cost of living adjustment – that eases the burden considerably.
Consider Japan when thinking about your Asia move
Moving to Japan is the most popular choice, with good reason. It can be difficult to get a visa, but it’s really worth it. Japan is an entertainment and technological powerhouse. The history of the country is vast and storied, and the Japanese are usually highly traditional. Many people sign up to get a work visa by being English teachers, as Japan seeks out native English speakers for their schools. You don’t even need to be a certified teacher! While knowing the language is helpful, if you’re signing up to be an English teacher it’s not very relevant. You’ll learn it as you go! Most schools insist on their English teachers speaking solely in English to their classes. Moving to Asia is totally a viable career goal!
South Korea is an option that many don’t realize
When you think about moving to Asia, consider South Korea. Unlike its cousin, South Korea is experiencing a glorious expansion. And you wouldn’t be the only expat living there – over 130,000 Americans made this country their new home. Most expats live in Seoul, a highly modern city full of entertainment and hidden gems. A testament to the modernization of the country, the Wi-Fi speed is one of the fastest in the world and everything is very well connected. Public transit is nothing like America – namely, it actually connects things. Between K-Pop, K-Dramas, and Korean food, this country has a lot to offer no matter what interests you.
Though the weather is extreme, and the housing can cost a pretty penny without a roommate, South Korea is a solid choice for your Asia move. If you can get the visa that is – though not impossible, working visas are rare for those not teaching English.
Thailand is a good choice when moving to Asia
Thailand seems like a tropical paradise. The people are friendly and accepting and the infrastructure is strong and sturdy. And the cost of living is very low! Renting an apartment in this country when moving to Asia is very cheap. That’s a good thing because foreigners cannot own Thai land. So, you would be able to purchase a condo, but not a house. However, if you crave living in a small town, renting tiny scenic bungalows is even cheaper than condos. Food and festivities are plentiful and very easily reached. Living in Thailand also makes exploring other countries easy, as it’s connected to many cheap airlines.
But, reaching Thailand might be tricky.
Thailand runs a tight ship when it comes to visa rules, making long stays tricky. Long-term work visas are difficult to obtain, as Thailand has a law obliging companies to hire four Thais for every foreign worker.
Be aware of the culture shock when moving to Asia
No matter what country you pick, moving to Asia is bound to net you some culture shock. For example, people in Japan are polite. No, really polite. South Koreans rely on VPNs due to the possibility of online censorship. People from Thailand have really lax laws concerning weapons – yes, even guns.
- Don’t refill your own glass in Japan when out with friends. Let them do it for you, and do it for them!
- People in Japan value privacy and silence – being noisy is very rude.
- People in Japan wear sickness masks when they’re sick with a cold or the flu, out of courtesy to everyone else. Not wearing one sends a message that you don’t care about other people, and will make you disliked.
- Take off your shoes indoors. Yes, even some high-class restaurants will require it. Stock up on socks without holes.
- Everyone will expect you to adapt to their culture. That’s not a bad thing – isn’t that what Americans expect of foreigners too?
- If you’ve settled on moving to Asia, make sure to check the visa requirements.