Survey: Korea Ranks 27th Best Expat Country to Live In

by Jeff Liebsch
Busan Haps

A recent report shows that South Korea is ranked the 27th best expat country to live in.

The study released by InterNations surveyed more than 14,000 respondents across the globe for its Expat Insider 2016 index, one of the largest expat surveys worldwide.

Taiwan was the #1 place for expats to live in according to the data, with Malta second and Ecuador third. Kuwait, Greece and Nigeria were the bottom three as voted by expats.

Korea at 27th finished sandwiched between the United States at 26th and Portugal at 28th. Other Asian countries Vietnam (11th), Singapore (13th), Thailand (18th), and the Philippines (23rd) finished higher than Korea, while Japan (29th), Malaysia (38th), Hong Kong (44th), China (48th) and Indonesia (52nd) trailed the ROK.

Here is a look into how Korea stood in terms of a few key analysis of the survey for expats which looked into 67 countries around the world with enough respondents.

Quality of Life: Life is good
Korea rated 11th in quality of life — scoring 7th in travel and transport, 16th in health and well-being, 22nd in safety and security, 34th in personal happiness and 42nd in leisure activity options.

South Korea also scored very high in quality of medical care, placing 4th.

Ease of Settling In: Not so Friendly
Korea’s ease of settling in scored a very disappointing 52nd on the survey — to put it mildly, it’s not easy to mix with the locals according to the data. Korea ranked 50th in terms of friendliness, 51st in finding friends, 52nd in the ease of the local language and need to use it and 55th in feeling welcome.

Best and Worst Countries for Working Abroad: Korea’s getting better every year
Working abroad fell into three subcategories — job and career, work-life balance and job security. Korea ranked a surprising 22nd in this category thanks to job security which ranked 11th, while work-life balance ranked 41st and job and career ranked 42nd.

Korea has been improving in this category as it ranked 31st in the inaugural survey in 2014.

Family Life: It’s a good place to raise a family
Korea ranks 19th for expats in terms of family life where they rated four subcategories — quality of education (4th), family well-being (11th), cost of childcare and education (24th) and availability in childcare and education (33rd). Korea also ranked a very respectable 5th for child safety.

Personal Finance and Cost of Living: Not so friendly on your pocketbook
Korea ranked lower on these two items — personal finance ranked 23rd while cost of living ranked 35th — while services are definitely cheaper than other countries (not to mention the speed in which they happen which isn’t in the survey), prices aren’t quite as cheap in the peninsula for goods as some articles may make you believe.

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