"HSBC surveyed 5,339 expatriates in nearly 100 countries between May and July 2012. Respondents rated their host countries on a slew of factors related to economics, raising children and overall experience. (Because countries with fewer than 30 respondents were deemed statistically insignificant, its final rankings include only 30 countries.) To determine which were the friendliest, Forbes isolated the results in four categories: ability to befriend locals, success in learning the local language, capacity for integrating themselves into the community, and ease in which they fit into the new culture. All play into the ability of expats to create a new support structure, which Dallas-based expat coach Doris Fuellgrabe says is among the most important steps one can take to ease the trepidation and loneliness that often come with relocating.
“Research in neurology and neurobiology proves that we humans are wired for connection. For some expats, maintaining relationships with old friends through online social media is a workable solution, but the success of organizations that offer real-life meetings cannot be denied. For example, Internations.org is one expat organization taking their virtual community into the real world with monthly meetings in cities across the globe,” says Fuellgrabe, a founding member of the Expat CoachAssociation.
“Successful expats come in all shapes and sizes, and the traits they have in common include self-awareness, openness and a sense of curiosity about the new country, patience, the willingness to add some new behaviors, a sense of humor, and the ability to deal with uncertainty—sometimes over prolonged periods of time,” she says.
Landing in welcoming, easily navigable countries tend to help, of course. The least friendly country for expats, according to the Forbes formula, was India. The country most challenging for expats overall, when considering every category on the survey, was Kuwait, according to this year’s HSBC survey results, while Hong Kong ranked highest overall."