British expats don’t learn languages and chase the sun



British expats are not an adventurous lot and like staying near home and can’t be bothered to learn a foreign language. Only one in four move for work, while almost two-thirds of expats leave Britain in search of better weather.

Expat website Internations has just completed a survey that profiles the typical Brit abroad. The top expat destinations are all within a comparative stone’s throw – 8% head for Spain, 6% for Germany and 5% for France. Building a career is not the priority. The top reasons for a move are an improved lifestyle (15%) and relocating to a partner’s home country (14%).

The average brit abroad

Just over a third of expats have lived abroad for a decade or more (35%), while 49% plan to stay in the country where they now live for good. Although 18% have lived in more than one foreign country, for 28%, their current move is their first time as an expat. An astonishing 16% have lived in five countries or more.

Language skills come low down the expat must-do list. Only 36% speak the local language and get past with English. Many (39%) speak a little of their adopted tongue, while 13% only communicate in English. An overwhelming 83% are pleased with their move overseas.

The average expat age is 52 years old, two-thirds are married or living with a partner. A fifth of expats are retired. Of those that work, only 8% are self-employed. Most are managers or work for someone else, while 11% are teachers or academics at international or language schools.

Top and bottom expat destinations

Expats find their finances are a mixed bag. A fifth earn less than in Britain, another 18% admit they earn roughly the same, while 17% say they are better off. From those that work, one in four earn more than they did in Britain, while half say they have more disposable income than they need.

The Internations report does not only cover British expats – researchers spoke to 14,000 expats of 174 different nationalities living in 191 countries about their living and working experiences away from home.

Taiwan was the top expat destination, followed by Malta and Ecuador. The least favoured were Kuwait (67th), followed by Greece and Nigeria. British top destination Spain was 14th overall, while the UK was placed 33rd.