In pairs, answer the following questions:

  • Are you a friendly person?
  • Is being friendly important in life? How will your life be better or worse if you are friendly?
  • Are people from your country generally friendly?
  • If you had to describe “the national character” of people from your country, how would you do it?
  • What do you think it would be like for a person from another country to live in your country?

Article - Part 1

The World's Friendliest Countries

Beth Greenfield, Contributor

New Zealand

Living abroad doesn’t have to lead to homesickness. That’s especially true for people who have relocated to New Zealand, Australia or South Africa.

These are the three nations where it’s easiest to befriend locals, learn the local language, integrate into the community and fit into the new culture, according to the results of HSBC’s Expat Explorer Survey, released last month.

New Zealand, in the top spot, had high scores in all four categories. Seventy-five percent of respondents living there reported that they were integrating well in the local community; in Australia it was 77% and in South Africa 79%.

“New Zealanders as a whole seem like happy people, and that makes them friendly, helpful and kind people,” notes American expat Kim Brinster. Other positive aspects, she says, include a “pitch-in-and-help mentality,” as well as navigable government and health-care systems.

HSBC surveyed 3,385 expatriates in 100 countries between May and July 2011.

“As the largest global survey of expats, Expat Explorer allows us to capture invaluable insights into expat life and how it differs from country to country, continent to continent and from an expats’ home country of origin,” says Lisa Wood, head of marketing for HSBC.


  • befriend
  • integrate
  • expat
  • pitch-in-and-help mentality
  • navigable
  • invaluable


  • Which organization did this survey? Who did they survey? Where did they survey? and when did they survey?
  • Which country was ranked first? Why?

Part Two


Respondents rated their host countries on a slew of factors related to economics, raising children and overall experience.

To determine which were the friendliest, Forbes isolated the results in four categories: ability to befriend locals, success in learning the local language, capacity for integrating themselves into the community, and ease in which they fit into the new culture. All play into the ability of expats to create a new support structure, which New York-based expat coach Heather Markel says is among the biggest challenges when relocating.

“Because a majority of expats are so focused on closing the life they are leaving, they end up depressed at some point after relocating, because by not focusing on creating their new life before arriving, they end up with ‘nothing’—no friends locally, nothing familiar, a feeling of loss,” says Markel, who heads the Expat Coach Association, a trade organization with 120 members. “Other challenges include learning a new language, experiencing new foods, more or less convenience, how genders might be treated. The sense of loss for what they liked in the culture they left can be a big challenge, as can a changed lifestyle.”

The least friendly country for expats, according to the Forbes formula, was the United Arab Emirates. And among the countries most challenging for expats overall were Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Russia and India, according to this year’s HSBC survey results. India ranked in last place for the second year in a row.

“India is simply a minefield of relentless mental, emotional and practical daily challenges for most non-Indians,” according to Denmark native Pia Mollback-Verbic, who relocated there in 2007. “It’s nothing less than an obstacle course, which only can be navigated with a healthy dose of humor, incredible patience, and tolerance for the illogical.”


  • slew
  • integrating
  • relocating
  • minefield
  • relentless
  • obstacle course
  • navigated


  • What categories did the survey use to determine friendliness?
  • Why do many expats find it hard to move to a new country?
  • Which were the least friendly countries? Why was India particularly difficult?



Compare life for non-residents in Canada and your country. In the Lesson Document fill in the chart and decide which place is best. Then, talk to your classmates from different countries and compare results. Which country would be the easiest? Which the hardest?

Final Thoughts

  • Given what we’ve learned about expats and living and working in another country, would you be able to do it in the future?
  • Where would you like to live? Where would you not like to live?
  • Should your country be doing more to welcome foreign workers? Why or why not?