Aerial view of European town next to a harbor.

6 Best Places to Live Abroad

Considering living abroad? Whether you’re planning to do a study abroad program, relocating for a job opportunity, or simply want the experience of living outside of the U.S. for a while, there are plenty of places that offer a high quality of life, incredible culture, and unique adventures for your life overseas! From countries with low costs of living and great education to countries with breathtaking views and fascinating histories, here are some of the best places to live abroad!

Austria

Skyline of Vienna and a church at sunset. Photo by Instagram user @v.for.vertigo
Photo via @v.for.vertigo

Primary Language: German
Exchange Rate: $1.11 (in US Dollar)
Most Popular City: Vienna

If you’re looking for one of the best places to live in Europe, look no further than Austria! This country’s industrialized economy, green living philosophy, booming entertainment scene, and highly-rated education make it an incredibly sought-after place to live abroad for Americans. Ranked as the top city for quality of living in the world, it’s no surprise that Vienna is the most popular place to live in Austria. The area boasts affordable housing and a fantastic public transportation system—and it’s one of the safest cities in Europe! Some of the best things to do in Vienna include exploring Schönbrunn Palace, attending open-air musical festival Donauinselfest, and visiting the world-famous Belvedere Museum.

Ecuador

Skyline of churches and homes in Cuenca, Ecuador. Photo by Instagram user @pedroflores2286
Photo via @pedroflores2286

Primary Language: Spanish
Exchange Rate: Currency is the US Dollar
Most Popular City: Cuenca

Ecuador should be at the top of your list if you want to experience what it’s like to live in a foreign country. People who move to Ecuador come for the budget-friendly real estate, as well as the top-notch cuisine. The city of Cuenca, in particular, is a hot spot for those wanting a more relaxed life abroad. The area’s spring-like climate, excellent walkability, strong healthcare system, a growing American expat community, and gorgeous outdoor spots like nearby Cajas National Park are just a few of the draws for foreign transplants. Looking for things to do in Cuenca? Explore historical sites like the beautiful Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepción, or check out some of the city’s fun events featuring parades, fireworks, artisan markets, delicious eats, and much more!

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Germany

Skyline of Berlin gold statue on church. Photo by Instagram user @ferditakesphotos
Photo via @ferditakesphotos

Primary Language: German
Exchange Rate: $1.11 (in US Dollar)
Most Popular City: Berlin

One of the best countries for Americans to move is Germany, thanks to its universal healthcare, tuition-free schools, fast commutes, and out of this world food! Obtaining a visa and staying in Germany for long periods of time can get tricky as most visas last only 90 days, but it’s well worth it for all the amazing places to live! Berlin is a vibrant city that draws a younger crowd of expats because of its energetic music and art events like Lollapalooza Berlin, strong employment in the tech industry, and blossoming LGBTI community. Berlin is also just a quick train ride from Munich, another hot spot for Americans living abroad who want good healthcare jobs and to celebrate the world-famous Oktoberfest.

New Zealand

Tall buildings in Auckland, NZ with a purple sunset. Photo by Instagram user @vhthomas
Photo via @vhthomas

Primary Language: English
Exchange Rate: $0.64 (in US Dollar)
Most Popular City: Auckland

Easily-obtainable work visas, plentiful outdoor activities, affordable healthcare, and fantastic education are a few reasons why New Zealand is considered one of the top countries to live in. Out of the 4.6 million people who live here, one-third reside in the beautiful Auckland, New Zealand’s business hub. The city has a heavy mix of transplants and locals who love the city’s fast pace, as well as the quick access to the beach. Not to mention, Auckland is a top destination for those studying abroad since University of Auckland and Auckland University of Technology are both in the area. When residents aren’t busy working hard, they’re exploring all of the natural wonders of the terrain like the Waitomo Glowworn Caves or the village of Hobbiton from the set of the The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Switzerland

Colorful buildings next to a river in Zurich. Photo by Instagram user @christofs70
Photo via @christofs70

Primary Language: German
Exchange Rate: $1.01 (in US Dollar)
Most Popular City: Zurich

Switzerland is more than just delicious chocolate and breathtaking views of the Alps—it’s also one of the best places to live in Europe! While the cost of living in Switzerland is among the highest of European countries, its low crime rate, top-rated school system, eco-friendly mentality, and finance jobs with high-paying salaries are worth the extra cost. Zurich is a popular destination for those living abroad because of the city’s well-developed public transportation and access to amazing universities and international schools. Local and transplants alike love attending festivals like Knabenschiessen, hiking up the trails of Uetliberg, and perusing the shops along Bahnhofstrasse.

Thailand

Red sunset behind a large temple in Bangkok, Thailand. Photo by Instagram user @we.thailand
Photo via @we.thailand

Primary Language: Thai
Exchange Rate: $0.03 (in US Dollar)
Most Popular City: Bangkok

Holding onto tradition while also pushing toward the future is what makes Thailand one of the best countries to live in the world. This Southeast Asian country has something for people of every lifestyle: high-tech industries, resort-quality beaches, vast parks to hike, and amazing cuisine. Bangkok is at the center of it all with colorful markets, extravagant rooftop bars, affordable skyrise apartments, and job opportunities in the finance, manufacturing, and communications fields. In your free time, you can check out one of the many floating markets for fresh produce or walk down the well-known Khao San Road to get a tattoo or pick up some Pad Thai. When moving to Thailand, just be sure to keep an eye on your visa expiration date, as you’ll receive a fine for each day that you overstay!

Looking for ways you can make money while living in a foreign country? Give one of these 18 ideas for working abroad a try!

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