Most British expats believe that moving abroad has resulted in an overall improvement in their health, new research has found
15 December 2016
Some 61% believe that their physical health has improved and 64% think their mental health is better than it would have been if they had not made the decision to go for a new life overseas.
The research from global health insurer AXA PPP International also shows that while moving abroad can be stressful in terms of finding a home, a school for those with children and settling into a new job, it is the sense of adventure that makes it worthwhile.
‘Following your dream can be very good for mental health and wellbeing. If you’ve always imagined you would one day go and live abroad, chances are you are likely to get a great sense of satisfaction and happiness on achieving this,’ said Dr Mark Winwood, director of psychological services for AXA PPP.
‘What’s more, a lot of countries experience better weather than here in the UK. This leads to a more active and outdoor lifestyle, which as we know contributes greatly to overall better health,’ he added.
However, he urged those making the change to make sure they are prepared. ‘A lot of people get caught up in the adventure of living overseas and don’t realistically consider the everyday practicalities of living somewhere new,’ he said.
‘It’s good to be excited about your new life but also really important to think about how that will play out in reality. Make sure you do your research and carefully consider where you want to live, not just the country but the location too,’ he pointed out.
He believes some of the key issues to take into account are things like the location of main transport routes, local amenities, what schools are nearby, and whether there are social or expat groups you can join to meet new people.
‘You don’t want to get caught out and be in a vulnerable situation in an unknown country such as a feeling of isolation for you or your family as this may well have the opposite intended effect on your health and wellbeing,’ he explained.
He added that there is a lot to think about when moving abroad such as tackling a new language, making friends and settling into a new job within a different culture. ‘In fact the research showed that a quarter of people found learning the local language the most difficult part of working abroad,’ he said.