I don’t know what happened when I was doing my research prior to moving abroad but I missed a whole list of amazing and useful resources. These resources would have been a great help in the planning and decision making process so I want to share them with you. I’ve tried to run through the benefits of each one so you can pick and choose what you need. Drop me an email if you have any questions and leave your comments (at the end of the post) with any useful resources you have found/used as part of your research for moving abroad.
Resources for Moving Abroad
This site is actually provided by the CIA (United States Central Intelligence Agency for those who don’t know), which was a surprise to me. But then again, who better to know a whole load of stuff about 267 world entities.
The World Fact Book covers the following topics on each of the countries it features:
- People and Society
- Transnational Issues
Now I’m not joking when I say that within each of these sections there’s a crazy amount of information. For example, under the People and Society heading you can find out about languages, life expectancy, birth rates, percentage split of population (male/female), percentage split of age groups, religions and employment rates. And that’s just scratching the surface.
This site will tell you how well the economy is performing, how much the country borrows/owes, the GDP, the history, problems with other nations, growth rates and a huge amount of other information.
If you want to get a real understanding of the make up of a country then The World Fact Book will definitely be a great start.
Expat Explorer is a nice interactive site that lets you view the rankings of countries based on different criteria that you select. You’ll get presented with a map of the world and you can choose the things that are important to you, such as:
- Higher quality accommodation
- Making friends
- Local culture
- Cost of raising children
- Quality of childcare
- Work/life balance
- Healthy diet
- Saftey of your children
It looks like there are over 50 different criteria you can choose from and the map will change depending on what you select.
The information is all powered by survey results from expats living in those countries. They fill out a questionnaire based on the 50 criteria, which then helps to rank the countries.
When you click on a country you can see more details about each of the different 50 criteria in terms of where the country ranks for each one individually. Only issue here is that not all the countries have all the criteria so it’s a little bit pot luck.
The other great feature of the site is that you can compare countries. So if you’re in a position where you have two or more destinations to choose from you can pitch them against each other to see which ones best suit your priorities.
I think this site needs some improvements in the amount of data it has for each country but it will absolutely give you a feel for what real people think about a place based on their own experience. And perhaps you’ll be someone who will contribute to the site in the future?
I have to quote the opening paragraph on the Numbeo website to tell you what they do as it sums it up so well:
Numbeo is the world’s largest database of user contributed data about cities and countries worldwide. Numbeo provides current and timely information on world living conditions including cost of living, housing indicators, health care, traffic, crime and pollution.
This site will be a great help to you when it comes to budgeting and finances, as well as other things. I don’t know about you but I really struggled to get a definitive list of costs for standard things from groceries through to utilities and broadband. Numbeo covers average costs for almost everything you need to worry about, including the following
- Groceries – Bread, milk, cheese, water, fruit & veg etc etc
- Utilites – Electric, water, Gas, phones, internet
- Rent – Inside and outside city centres
- Clothing and shoes
- Transportation – Trains, taxis, petrol etc
- Sports and leisure – Health clubs, Tennis courts etc
As I said, these are just a few of the things covered and there’s a whole load more.
Numbeo also covers areas like crime, pollution, quality of life and some others. As with Expat Explorer, the data is provided by people who live in the locations so have first hand knowledge and experience.
By using these three sites you’re sure to get a fairly grounded view of what is going on in a country, how much things cost and whether it really aligns to the lifestyle you’re looking for.
I’ve also found some great blogs from people who have moved abroad and are sharing their experience to try and help others (like me). I’d definitely recommend you take a look.
Moving abroad blogs
A great site with a huge amount of information about moving abroad. Posts cover a whole range of topics and destinations across the globe and I’m sure you’ll find something on the site that will help you with your journey
Expat Child is a site that is specifically aimed at parents who are looking to relocate abroad. There are tons of articles, ranging from ‘Repatriation and the Reality of Going Home‘ to ‘Where is home?‘ (a great post). The range of subjects on Expat Child is great and similarly to Miss Move Abroad, you’re most likely to find articles that will cover completely relevant topics to you.
A really easy to use site, Move Me Abroad covers the key areas of relocation, from property and work through to pets and languages. They have some great resources on the site and I found the layout of the information was easy to understand and navigate. A nice short and sharp post I like is ‘How to feel closer to home when living abroad‘. I agree with these points although we were in a slightly different time zone to our family (only an hour out).
Although I agree when people say that you can do too much research, I also think that you need to do more of the right research. What I mean is, you could spend hours and hours reading forum posts from miserable expats and people with really strong opinions about things, which probably wouldn’t do you much good. Alternatively you could spend time on sites like the above, getting factual information as well as some article based information to add a bit of emotion to your research. This will mean that the time you do spend researching produces more valuable and useful output that will help you with your move abroad.
If you found this post useful then it’ definitely worth you checking out a couple of my other related posts. I’d recommend:
- 8 critical things to consider when deciding whether to relocate abroad
- Essential mobile apps you should download to help with moving abroad
I hope these sites help. As I mentioned at the beginning of my post, feel free to add a comment below with any resources/sites you have used or are using as part of your relocation. I’m sure people would appreciate your help.