2012 Retirement Index 

Easiest Places to Integrate

Easiest Places to Integrate

With prices dropping, a home in Ireland no longer needs to be a dream. ©Dreamstime/Patryk Kostimer

Ireland 99/100

While small pockets of Irish people still speak the native Gaelic as their first language, English is spoken by everyone in all parts of the country. While the accent can be difficult to grasp at first, most visitors will find themselves accustomed to it within days. Because language is the single biggest factor in ease of integration, Ireland naturally scores highly here.

However, Ireland also has a lot of cultural similarities to the U.S. American TV shows are aired on all the main networks, you can find many of the groceries from home without too much difficulty and you’re never far from an American beer.

The Irish are well known for their friendly, welcoming nature and they will do their bit to make sure you settle in rapidly.

Belize 99/100

Belize is the only country in Central America where English is the official language, thanks to its former status as a British colony. This is great news for English-speaking expats, who can side-step the first big hurdle many are confronted with if they don’t have a second language.

This makes everything from buying a meal to setting up a business far easier. Belize is also known for having an extremely open, friendly population.  It’s easy to make friends here, both with the locals and with its fast-growing vibrant expat community. They don’t care much for rules here, either. You can mind your own business, with no unwelcome intrusion into your affairs by her government.

Costa Rica 97/100

A little Spanish goes a long way in a country like Costa Rica, but you can survive without the language. Quite a large proportion of its population can speak English. If you find yourself having trouble communicating, there is usually someone who speaks English nearby who will be only too happy to help when you get stuck.

Rather than being a barrier, language can, in fact, be a bridge that helps you integrate. Take Sharon Harris, who moved to Costa Rica with her husband Lee. “We make new friends all the time,” she explains. “We also volunteer with an English conversation group at a school that teaches English as a second language.”

If you’re serious about a retirement in ultra-accessible Costa Rica and you’re ready to take the next step in the planning phase, then take a look at this.

Panama 96/100

Panama’s strong showing in the Ease of Integration category in the 2012 Business Index came down to a number of factors. For a start, many companies operating in this business-friendly nation use English as their language of commerce. Then there is its large, English-speaking  expat population while many locals also have a good standard of English.

According to the Latin Business Chronicle, Panama is one of the top three nations in the Latin America region when it comes to technology and Internet penetration—two other factors which can also help with integration. The fact that Panama is so close to the United States (there are dozens of quick, direct flights going to and from the U.S. daily), means that friends and family back home are never too far away. In fact, from New York, a move to Panama is little different than a move to California. It is also easy to take your pets with you when you move to Panama.

Editor’s Note: This article was taken from a past issue of International Living’s monthly magazine. To get full access to all past and future articles and to receive the magazine in the mail or online each month, simply click on the below button to subscribe to International Living magazine at the special introductory price of $49. You will get instant access to the current issue of the magazine as well 10 years of back issues. As an added bonus, we will also send you a FREE report – How to Retire in Paradise on $30 a Day. (You can cancel your subscription at any time.)


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