KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia ranks among the top three countries where expatriates adjust quickly and feel at home, a survey commissioned by HSBC Group shows.
According to data from last year’s Expat Explorer survey, the countries where more expats felt at home in less than a year are Bahrain (66 per cent), India (63 per cent) and Malaysia (61 per cent).
This compares to 48 per cent of all expats surveyed globally, HSBC said in a statement. Expats looking to settle in even quicker can consider moving to Mexico, where 42 per cent said the country felt like home instantly or in less than six months, just behind Bahrain (47 per cent) and Malaysia (43 per cent).
The Expat Explorer survey is commissioned by HSBC Expat and conducted by YouGov. The last Expat Explorer survey was completed by 21,950 expats from 198 countries through an online questionnaire in March, April and May 2015. Singapore was ranked the top country for expats overall.
According to these findings, expats experience different milestones on their path to feeling like locals. Making friends or developing their social life and starting to understand the local culture and etiquette have played the greatest part in making a strong connection with their host country.
“In Malaysia, 53 per cent expats said making friends was an important milestone on the way to feeling at home, while 22 per cent said knowing their family were enjoying life in their new country,” the statement added. Fifteen per cent of expats said successfully learning to use the local language was an important milestone for Malaysia to feel like home. Finally, 43 per cent expats in Malaysia say understanding the local culture helped in feeling a stronger connection with the country.
Older expats find it easier to settle in: 35 per cent of those over 55 years old said their host country felt like home within their first six months, which compares to 33 per cent of 18 to 34 year olds and only 29 per cent of 35 to 54 year olds. “If you’re living or working abroad and are 18 or over, we want to hear about your experience to help other expats navigate the opportunities and challenges of life abroad,” HSBC said in the statement.
The 2016 Expat Explorer survey is open to all expats from now until 17 April. The findings of the 2016 survey will be released in the autumn and available online via the interactive Expat Explorer tool, where people can compare different countries using a broad set of criteria covering the main areas of expat life.