Today, the urban destinations of American expats are numerous, and expanding. In addition to the more traditional destinations (Mexico, Canada, Israel, Australia and many countries in Europe), in recent years we’ve seen new currents of American migration, especially towards Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America. They tend to choose these destinations for a combination of personal, cultural, linguistic, educational, professional and economic reasons. It’s also important to mention that many Americans are also heavily influenced by their family and social networks, and often choose their host country, and city, accordingly.
Above all, the trend of American expatriation to urban destinations is the most notable, especially to “global cities” where they find international lifestyles, cultural opportunities, diversity, excitement, and of course growing urban expat communities.
Moving to a big city abroad is an an exciting adventure!
You meet people from all over the world. As a foreigner in a big city it’s just natural that you fall into the international social scene and meet other amazing urban expats.
Freedom and independence. Living abroad is essentially living outside the box and as a foreigner you generally aren’t held to the same expectations as locals, which means a life of independence and freedom from society’s rules and expectations.
Freedom from a boring life. Everything is new and different: new language, new culture, new food, new friends, new customs…
You increase your intelligence. Yes, all these new and different experiences, new language, new culture expand your mind in ways you never thought possible.
You also learn a lot more about yourself and grow and change so much just by getting out of your comfort zone and challenging yourself.
Lots of young and educated Americans are expatriating from the United States, more than ever before. Why? Here are a few of our theories, based on interviews with 27 Americans living in Buenos Aires.
1. The Rat Race
Many of the Americans interviewed mentioned their dissatisfaction with the “rat race”, the “fast pace of life”, the “competitive” atmosphere and the “work-oriented lifestyle” in the United States. According to them, Americans place too much emphasis on professional success and spend too much time working.
The good, the bad and the ugly of the transience of the expat communities in global cities.
The revolving door of expat friends when you live abroad
Most of the participants in my case study of Americans living in Buenos Aires claimed to have more foreign friends than local ones, and in many cases, those friends are English-speaking or American friends. In this context, many commented on the “revolving door” of expat friends in Buenos Aires due to the typically temporary nature of American expatriation to Buenos Aires.
making American friends is easy when you’re abroad!
Meeting other expats when you’re living abroad is actually really easy if you live in a global city. In fact, in my personal experience and those of other expats, making new American friends is way easier abroad than it is in the States.