Integration into your new community is very important. When you move overseas, you want to know that you will be accepted into the community and make new friends quickly, which will in turn make the transition between countries and cultures easier.
International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2014 ranks countries for their ease of integration and below are three of the easiest places to make friends and get home comforts.
Malta is the Easiest Place to Integrate
Malta came top in the ease of integration category in this year’s Index with a perfect 100 points. An English-speaking island in the Mediterranean Sea, Malta offers a warm and sunny climate, and a peaceful lifestyle. Not on everyone’s radar, it is anchored almost in the center of the Mediterranean Sea, 60 miles from the Italian island of Sicily.
Just some of the benefits to living in Malta are a tranquil way of life, virtually non-existent crime, year-round Mediterranean sunshine, a reduction in your tax burden, and, of course, you won’t have to learn a foreign language.
The country comprises of an archipelago, with only the two largest islands (Malta and Gozo) inhabited (although the island of Comino has a few residents). Malta is just a few hour’s flying time from most mainland European cities and has excellent intercontinental connection.
Being English-speaking it is easier to communicate with locals and to conduct your business. Being understood, and understanding others, will help you to integrate into your new community and find your feet in your new home.
Ireland: Friendly Locals, Stunning Scenery
Ireland is known for its friendly atmosphere, amazing hospitality, stunning scenery, and of course the craic agus ceoil (that’s fun and music). The literal translation of “hello” in Gaelic is “a hundred thousand welcomes to you”… how much friendlier can you get?
Everywhere on this little island, history comes at you in torrents, the Celtic age of wonder, mystery and heroic deeds never ended in Ireland. Everyone in Ireland speaks English (even in the few Irish-speaking areas, mainly located on the west coast).
Don’t miss the most pleasant occupation in Ireland: sitting in a pub, sipping a pint of Guinness, and chatting. It is the best way to find your feet in your new community and to meet all your new neighbors.
Panama: A Strong U.S. Presence Makes it Easier to Integrate
First-time visitors to Panama City are often surprised to see evidence of the U.S. influence everywhere they turn. You’ll find a growing English-Spanish bilingual population here, the supermarket shelves are filled with imports, from comfort items like Heinz ketchup and Skippy peanut butter to luxuries like Alaskan salmon and caviar. A strong U.S. presence has long been a significant factor in Panamanian life.
Panama has hundreds of islands, but the mainland also boasts two coasts that in some places are only an hour or two apart. There are rolling green mountains where spring reigns eternal, fertile farmlands and idyllic villages all on offer.
The U.S. dollar is the official currency of Panama, locally referred to as the Balboa. Panamanians are considered relaxed, easy-going, and informal by Latin American standards. Its long association with the U.S. and international history means that Panamanians are accustomed to foreigners from all over the globe.
International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index ranks the top countries in the world for retirement across eight important categories for expat retirees. When considering ease of integration we ask questions like: Can you make friends easily? Is there an expat community? Are the people friendly and welcoming of North Americans? Are there comforts just like home?
Only the best retirement havens are ranked in this index so even the last on the list is still one of the best places to retire in the world.
To read the full report on this year’s Annual Global Retirement Index, see here.
Editor’s Note: Learn more about destinations where health care is affordable and good, living costs are lower, property is a bargain and the retirement benefits are top-notch. Sign up below for IL‘s free daily postcards and receive a FREE report on the world’s top 10 Retirement Havens.
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