Even the most patriotic person will sometimes look at their home and ask themselves “Why do I live here?” Maybe inept political leaders who misspell “tap” on Twitter are driving you away, or perhaps you just hate the elitist snobs that spend their days looking down on you and long for the simple beach life, far from your landlocked nation. The trouble is, the world is a big place, so if you decide to go anywhere else, where to choose? There’s innumerable options to consider with benefits and drawbacks galore. How to know where the best places to live are, and what the places are actually like?
Well, if you’re looking for a nation where the people tend to be open and welcoming of foreigners, which few are, then you’re quite fortunate that InterNations has produced a list of the most friendly countries in the world where tourists and expats (or “immigrants” as you’ll be known when you leave your nation of origin) are typically welcomed with open arms.
Least Friendly Countries
Though the friendly nations are great to visit or to dwell, there’s some spots on the globe that aren’t really either, at least if you’re hoping for a warm welcome from the locals. Most Scandinavian countries are suspicious of outsiders and tend to be a little aloof by nature, so it will take a long time for them to warm up in Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, and many parts of northern Europe.
Parts of southern Europe, like Greece and Italy, are also unkind to anyone not from their land, to a degree that some might consider racist. Extra politeness will win you points in both places, though, as will exceptional manners the world over.
Middle Eastern nations that have had a lot of external conflict are also a little frosty (understandably) to immigrants and tourists, particularly if you come from a nation that has bombed them in the past. For Americans, this tends to reduce options to two square blocks somewhere near Iran. They tend to think of Americans as oppressive, militaristic, greedy, mad bombers for some reason.
Most places fall in the middle, with neither exceptional warmth, nor real icy receptions. Then there’s lands that seem to love outsiders, happily inviting them in to the nation, adding your cultural distinctiveness to their own.
An economy that is largely built on American dollars and a lush forest landscape on an island that has some of the most gorgeous beaches and astounding waters, then couple that with a nightlife that can cater to every appetite, and you’d be happy as well. Always happy with diversity and highly community-oriented, Taiwan begs you to fit in, fall in, and love every minute of it.
Amerindian culture sank into the marrow of Ecuador and still shows up today, making them especially affable to the English-speaking world. Ecuador has loose border restrictions as well, allowing all nationalities to arrive without needing a tourist visa. A passport and enough cash to get you by is about all that is required to check it out. The mix of nationalities tends to make everyone feel a little out of place, which leads to a lot of kindness and acceptance of many cultural varieties.
Malta loves to take in immigrants, accepting large numbers of Africans in particular, but just as happy with Americans, Europeans, and Asians. The small nation is a massive melting pot where a stroll down the street can lead to any number of languages and bastard language offshoots cropping up.
Though a little cooler on the United States since the populace elected a president that wants to build a wall that they need to pay for, Mexico generally adores outsiders, due in part to tourism being a huge part of the economy, but also to bring in a populace that is looking to change the face of Mexico and help build it into the global power it should be.
The one problem outsiders have in New Zealand is that they often are treated too normally, practically blending into the background and being taken as an ordinary sot going on about her/his business. New Zealanders don’t like to stick out, and they don’t like to force others to feel out of place either, meaning they’ll often turn anyone into a local, whether they want to be or not.
A huge tourist country, everyone there speaks English, which makes it easy, and love to do so with outsiders. Point of fact, it’s harder to learn Spanish in Costa Rica because when you immerse yourself in the language, you mostly get English.
This is a strange one. Australia has some of the most restrictive immigration policies in the world, since they want to keep their wonderland safe. Yet, they adore people from around the world. Since it began as a prison colony cut off from its homeland, the sense of disenfranchisement has made it an open place where the people all want to marry someone from somewhere else. Expect easy romance if you’re at all suave.
Located in central Europe, Austria is basically a bus station for the nations that are more popular, like Germany, Italy, and Hungary. This means they flat don’t care much about immigrants, and offer a great location for visiting other countries that tend to be frosty toward outsiders, so you can ingratiate yourself.
The tiny, forgotten nation of Luxembourg knows what it’s like to feel like an outsider, being stuck in a land where no one seems to even know you’re there. Thus, they throw open their doors to anyone, as if they were specifically trying to be everything France isn’t. They do it, and do it well.
The Czech Republic
The tourism in Prague can put a few people in that city off of expats and they often have a special disdain for college kids going there to be pretentious. However, prove you’re the slightest bit more acculturated and sophisticated than the average university sophomore and you’ll fit in fine.
While the Vietnam invasion was a gross misstep in the weird war on communism, Americans and all others are still welcomed by the people who recognize the past is the past and hating a nation or a world for misdeeds is a waste of time. The deep-seated oppression that the country has suffered, along with the profound ideological split between communists and democrats in the nation has brought them to believe that sometimes it’s your neighbor you can’t trust and a stranger who can be your best friend.
Friendly to a fault, Canadians tend to love people from anywhere but America. They tend to think of their southern friend as violent, grotesque, immature, brash, and unsophisticated. Work to avoid being those things, and they’ll never know you’re not a local.
Singapore is a sketchy place, but the fact a lot of money comes in from overseas makes them quite friendly to outsiders, but maybe that’s so they can take your wallet.
Oddly the polar opposite of most of its immediate neighbors, Spain seems to mostly love to party, to dance, to make love, and they don’t really care what color you are while they do those things.