Expat neighbourhood selection: 5 things to consider

January 02, 2020

Current neighbourhood

Where do you live now? Is it urban, suburban or rural? And how important is this to you? Don’t forget to consult anyone who may be moving with you. For some people an expat role is an opportunity to live in a completely different environment to what they are used to. For others, replicating their home environment is more important.


Visiting your destination

No amount of online research or Google Street View will beat actually paying a visit to your soon to be home. Soak up the atmosphere, try to visit the neighbourhoods on your shortlist and talk to people who live there. 

Proximity to schools

If you have school-going children, this is one of the most important factors to consider. Choosing a school for expat children is difficult. For many expat families the location of the school may well dictate the neighbourhood they live in. If the school you choose has a school bus service, you may have more flexibility.


Proximity to your work

If you are moving to a city your commute is something to consider. Some expats sacrifice the time it takes to get to work for a better quality of life for their partner or children away from the hustle and bustle of city life. For others, living close to the office is key to make the most of life in and outside of the office.


Proximity to other expats

Some neighbourhoods like Holland Village in Singapore are popular choices for expats. This may make it more or less attractive to you, depending on what appeals. If it is your first assignment and you are eager to connect with others in a similar situation then choosing a neighbourhood that is popular with expats could be the right thing for you. If you want to connect more with the local community, this kind of neighbourhood may not appeal at all. It really does depend on your personal preference. 


City vs suburbs

There are some cities in the world where most people live in or near the city centre, in others the city consists of the central business district but the majority of people commute from surrounding suburbs. Research your destination to understand which way your new home works. Be aware that if you choose a different option from the majority, you may face additional challenges e.g. public transport designed to get people around the city rather than out to the suburbs or vice versa.


Housing options

Finally, the availability of housing options may impact your neighbourhood selection, particularly if you are travelling with your family. City living is usually apartment led however in some cities there may not be apartments big enough to accommodate a family with children. If this is the case then you may have to consider neighbourhoods outside of the city which may have larger houses more suited to your needs. 

If possible, spend time considering the right expat neighbourhood for you. Choosing the right place to live is one of the best parts of preparing for life abroad so enjoy the process.

Don’t forget your health and wellbeing while you are away. As an expat you will need international health insurance so you and your family receive any medical care you might need. Get in touch today for expat health insurance quote