Best Place for Americans to Work Abroad??

I wanted to get some opinions on the best places for Americans to work and live abroad. My whole life I have enjoyed traveling and spending time in foreign countries. With that said, I hope to live abroad for a couple years at some point in my professional career.

I would love to hear any insights you guys might have on the best places for Americans to live and work. Specifically, I plan on doing this sometime in my late twenties, before strings get attached. I would love a place where English is commonly spoken if that helps narrow down the list. Additionally, being close to other major cities or places of interest would be great as that would allow for weekend travel opportunities.

Thanks!

Comments (59)

Jul 11, 2019

I think London or Australia. Both are English speaking, and with London you could easily take weekend trips all across Europe while you are there. Seems like a great way to explore a new country & continent.

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Jul 11, 2019

Agreed, thanks.

Was able to do a short study abroad in London last year and really enjoyed it. Such a great city with so much going on. Not to mention close proximity to so many other European cities.

Jul 11, 2019

London or Singapore

Jul 11, 2019

US is the only country in the world that taxes its' Citizen worldwide income (and also NOT use the metric system).

Jul 12, 2019

Only income over ~100k

Jul 12, 2019
RussianBot:

US is the only country in the world that taxes its' Citizen worldwide income (and also NOT use the metric system).

Liberia and Myanmar as well...plus the U.K. sometimes

Jul 15, 2019

Theft pisses me off mad

Jul 12, 2019

Yes, London is a great city, but the culture is similar.

I lived in Amsterdam for a bit - everyone speaks English, yet you get that true pan-European experience.

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Jul 12, 2019

Thanks. Amsterdam seems like an awesome city. Had a 24 hour layover there one time. Very clean and the people are incredibly friendly. Wish it didn't have such a shady reputation, I feel like the first thing Americans think of when they hear the name is hookers and drugs. Even though both of those are in fact present, the city is also filled with tons of art and culture (And great dj's).

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Jul 12, 2019
Irishfox13:

Even though both of those are in fact present, the city is also filled with tons of art and culture (And great dj's).

And if you ever want to train... it has the best kickboxing facilities in the world.

Also, Germany and Belgium are easy to get to for quick trips.

Jul 12, 2019

Only average/mainstream ppl think of Amsterdam this way, and certainly not the Dutch.
There's much more to Amsterdam than these 2 tourist traps (red light + weed), but there's nothing "shady" about it anyway.

Amsterdam is very organised, public services work very well, it is a clean, international, with great architecture, easy commute, interesting ppl and mixes a nice hipster vibe (along with anything else you may look for in a city if this is not your thing).

Drawbacks finance-wise:

-Dutch backs have capped salaries and bonuses,
-International banks focus on BENELUX primarily (language skills?),
-There are the occasional megadeals, but it's much more of a MM market,
-Big presence of smaller VC(maybe), Growth(a lot), and local MM buyout funds, but not as much megafund activity (as far as I've noticed)

There's a lot of hidden "gems" fund wise, e.g. Alpinvest secondaries and some others, but language may be a barrier, depending on your plans. And the real estate market is cray...

A Dutchman in London

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Jul 12, 2019

Definitely agree with London since it's so connected to Europe for travel whether by train or plane.

I wouldn't discount a LatAm cities incl. Mexico City, Sao Paulo or Buenos Aires - all 3 are amazing, esp. if you're a younger American guy.

Singapore, because Singapore.

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Jul 12, 2019

That's a good point, thanks. Kind of forgot about LatAm. Do you think not knowing Spanish would be a big issue in those three cities?

Jul 12, 2019

i second that, Mex City on my list

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Jul 12, 2019

Portuguese* in Sao Paulo

But no, I don't speak either beyond basic proficiency (Uber conversation, hotel reservation, ordering at restaurant type stuff) and I get along just fine. If you're working in high finance, energy, law, medicine or consulting everyone speaks English.

Jul 12, 2019

Good catch, thanks. Looking to get into energy finance (Finance major, Energy Studies minor), so I will definitely keep those cities in mind.

Jul 12, 2019

Where do you work and is it full-time or do you just do business trips there often? Seriously would like to work abroad for 2-3 years when my son gets to 4-5 years old and curious as to how people get there.

Jul 12, 2019

I spent a week per month in Sao Paulo through 2017 and 18. In one of MX, Panama, Colombia or Uruguay twice a month this year depending on what's happening. BA is a random trip, 6 or so times a year.

Living there FT for me at least would require putting together sufficient business in that location to justify getting a satellite up and running. I'd also probably become fluent in 12 months, amazing how quickly you learn a language when forced into the environment.

Controversial
Jul 12, 2019

To add to this for your consideration, LatAm persons that speak English are not very easy to understand. I worked at an American subsidiary of a foreign bank and every time we had a call with them it was so hard to comprehend with their accent. Something to keep in mind!

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Jul 12, 2019

BUENOS AIRES

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Jul 12, 2019

Until the economy collapses again...

Jul 12, 2019
InVinoVeritas:

Until the economy collapses again...

The girls are so hot there, id take that bet any day for the chance to score some premium BA chicks

Jul 12, 2019

People have thrown in European cities.

My bias given my career has been in Asia...

Hong Kong or Singapore. The former is more enterprising, gritty and a real city. Generally English is spoken for business and you can more than get by with it. The latter is cleaner, more Disney-fied (or like the Truman Show), ethnically diverse, phenomenal local food. I think partying in HK is more fun and though not cheap, more reasonable than Singapore (taxes on booze in SG...)

Both are well connected to the rest of Asia. The number of places one can go within a 3 hour flight are enormous, especially with the number of carriers. Public transport is too easy as is getting through immigration and security.

Oh and taxes are low. Think sub 20% for the foreign tax threshold. In short for the first $115k you don't pay US taxes. Anything after that Uncle Sam essentially taxes but takes into account that you've paid local taxes. The other trick is housing allowance upto a certain amount $100k USD/year for Hong Kong is also not taxed, so worth structuring that in. In short unless you make a fair bit of coin Asia is a good tax arb.

Then there is the Middle East (by which I mostly mean Dubai). Not my kind of place but the facilities are fantastic, rent reasonable and I think local taxes are low or Zero. Plus you are close to fascinating places in the Middle East, North/East Africa and South Asia.

The word of warning is to try to make sure you have a link to home base so you can go back, else it can be hard once you are pegged as "Asian/Middle Eastern"

Enjoy.

Good Luck

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Jul 12, 2019

I'm going to be straightforward here... how many of these places are good to work, or provide a chance at a career, if you're black?

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Most Helpful
Jul 12, 2019
BobTheBaker:

I'm going to be straightforward here... how many of these places are good to work, or provide a chance at a career, if you're black?

Global organizations will certainly provide a chance of a career regardless of your skin color and to a certain level. Of course your local counterparts may or will say all kinds of inconsiderate things (even if they were educated in the west or are even from the west - the things I have heard...). As one goes higher in the ladder he/she may face real obstacles and many things will be unsaid but acted upon.

Definitely in Asia you probably won't be that senior as they will usually want "local presence" (which means people from that country) and that's becoming a global thing, so for higher level stuff the best bet is the US or maybe London.

Regionally (and my experience is in Asia) often times a Caucasian from HQ can carry the flag and often does but then he/she often leaves after a few years when politically pushed out, paving the way for a local, or promoted to a bigger job back home.

The real challenge may be social. Not necessarily in making friends, but little things. Walking to a friend's apartment with a bunch of people? You may be the only one the security guard pulls aside and asks for ID and jots it down/calls your friend to come get you. Dating tough or people literally run away from you? Yep (though the people you do actually date on a relative basis will be super cool and nice since they are being "adventurous"). People following you around in stores? Check. Can't get into a bar/club/restaurant because they have a "dress code" and then you walk in and see like 4 Caucasian dudes in shorts/sneaker/whatever chilling? Yep. Charged cover or stopped in line unless your group of friends vouch for you? Check. People talking behind your back in the local language? Check.

I can't speak for the Middle East, but as great as my experience in Asia has been, stuff like that just gets super tiring and old. Everything is about ethnicity, like all the time. And this doesn't go for just being Black, but if you are say Chinese in Japan, or Southeast Asian in China/HK, or Indian anywhere or etc. Stereotypes abound? Yep.

This sounds super bearish, but I'm trying to keep things realistic. I would still strongly encourage a stint abroad. Just make sure you try to keep a strong connection to home-base with colleagues/bosses (this means when you visit home, spend a few days "working out of the office" so you are present, send social emails/texts, ask how things are etc). In the end, home base is often where the power is....

Feel free to PM for more.

Good Luck

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Jul 12, 2019

Much appreciated! Great Insight.

Aug 4, 2019

I am hearing Singapore is becoming more closed off to foreigners?

Jul 14, 2019

Any answer that doesn't take into account getting a visa to live/work in that country isn't a serious answer.

Jul 14, 2019

Im abroad in Denmark right now, pay is pretty good, though HCOL. Very good work/life balance, expats get a flat 32% tax rate for the first 7 years if you make over $117k, so you end up paying similar taxes as the usa. Really good public transport, free healthcare, and good night life. Everyone speaks english, only thing that sucks is everything is closed on Sundays.

Array

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Jul 15, 2019

Do you know if the expat thing applies to EU citizens as well? Really fascinating stuff.

Jul 16, 2019

As far as I know it is a Denmark tax law to attract high level talent from the good EU schools.

It is actually 32.84%, but you can read about it here. I haven't heard of any other EU country offering it.

https://www2.deloitte.com/dk/da/pages/tax/articles...

Array

Jul 14, 2019

Surprised that nobody has mentioned Canada yet. Probably literally the easiest place for Americans to live and work outside of America, including from a visa standpoint. Yes it is cold but that also makes for great outdoor sports/activities, if you're into that sort of thing.

Jul 14, 2019
sheldonxp:

Surprised that nobody has mentioned Canada yet. Probably literally the easiest place for Americans to live and work outside of America, including from a visa standpoint. Yes it is cold but that also makes for great outdoor sports/activities, if you're into that sort of thing.

My guess is that Canada would certainly be up there for many as a place to work/live abroad.

But for an American (I think folks with myself included thought the OP is American) that it may not be much of a "change" or "unique exotic experience" which I think may have been the purpose of the thread. I could very well be wrong.

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Jul 15, 2019

Thoughts on Nairobi anyone?

Jul 16, 2019
Making Gravy:

Thoughts on Nairobi anyone?

Having visited but never lived there, probably fascinating. Based on my many EM experiences (though mostly in Asia), you will see and experience lots of interesting things (general, I know). And if you don't limit yourself to only five star hotels or having only foreign friends, you will probably grow a lot intellectually, socially and potentially even professionally.

You will see all kinds of rapid change, whether its consumer habits, the middle class getting bigger, technology adoption, various mishmashes of western practices/tech etc combining with other factors to apply to local practices (business or personal or otherwise). You may go away for 3-6 months, come back and think to yourself "what's happened? Man stuff has changed!" You will probably make friends with all kinds of adventuresome/interesting/varied types (if foreign) as well as make local friends who can show you unique insight into local culture, living and ways of life. Conversations typically won't be boring since the perspectives will be so different and often the intellectual level of it will be high (especially if you pick the right people).

You will also probably be up close to significant poverty, corruption, socioeconomic inequality, poor sanitation and cultural/religious practices that you are either against or not used to etc. This is part and parcel of being in an EM and it can be a challenge at the best of times, and make people so uncomfortable that they leave (or limit themselves to said 5 star hotels for their tenure). But this is the stuff that makes you grow and gives you unique perspective and character.

All else equal and knowing nothing more about your situation, I'd say, "why not?"

Good Luck

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Jul 15, 2019

Any major European city: London, Paris, Hague, etc, they're all amazing, you can get by on English alone, and travel is quick and easy across the continent. I think everyone should live in Europe at some point. There's so much history, you will never get bored. No matter where you set up to live you can travel on weekends to many great cities, and they're all close. You can experience Europe on your spare time, meet cool people from all over the world, and bask in the heart of Western Civilization.

Asia: Tokyo, Hong Kong, Bangkok...Asia has many super-cities, and they are amazing. Food is excellent, crime low, and the weather is always good.

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Jul 15, 2019
Bizkitgto:

Any major European city: London, Paris, Hague, etc, they're all amazing, you can get by on English alone, and travel is quick and easy across the continent. I think everyone should live in Europe at some point. There's so much history, you will never get bored. No matter where you set up to live you can travel on weekends to many great cities, and they're all close. You can experience Europe on your spare time, meet cool people from all over the world, and bask in the heart of Western Civilization

Asia: Tokyo, Hong Kong, Bangkok...Asia has many super-cities, and they are amazing. Food is excellent, crime low, and the weather is always good.

Europe ain't been the heart of western civilization for a minute bro.

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Jul 15, 2019
BobTheBaker:

Europe ain't been the heart of western civilization for a minute bro.

It isn't?

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Jul 16, 2019

As much as us Brits would just love for you to join us in London, we heartily endorse you spending some time working with our good friends in Paris. They love Americans even more than we do!

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Funniest
Jul 17, 2019

Let's not forget that the French at least speak proper English as compared to whatever the fuck comes out of British mouths.

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Jul 18, 2019
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Aug 4, 2019