As the New Year approaches, many people will probably start to think of ringing in new changes to their lives. And for many, that may mean finding a new place to live in.
InterNations, a massive expat network that publishes annual rankings on the world’s best and worst countries, asked 20,000 expats to rank the best cities in the world to live, work, and make friends in 2020.
Cities on this list range from Bangkok, Thailand to Calgary, Canada to Ho Chi Minh City of Vietnam. Scroll down to see if yours is on the list:
20. Bangkok, Thailand
The Thai capital is famously busy, but remains popular among tourists because it’s cheap and full of culture.
However, it’s becoming so overcrowded and smoggy that Thailand is considering moving its capital elsewhere.
19. Calgary, Canada
In November the city opened a village of tiny houses for Canadian veterans, which include a full kitchen, workstation, bathroom, and a living area.
The project is charging $600 a month in rent until veterans get back on their feet.
18. Budapest, Hungary
Budapest is known as the “City of Spas” for its wide selection of thermal baths.
17. Madrid, Spain
Spain was ranked one of the best countries for expats’ personal happiness, and to make friends and raise families.
Madrid is also starting to ban cars in an effort to reduce air pollution and improve safety.
16. Sydney, Australia
Sydney’s coastline, saltwater pools, and architecture are all worth visiting, Insider’s Rachel Hosie noted.
15. Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
The city is home to attractions including Ferrari World and a Louvre outpost.
However, it’s also very hot. The highest temperature in the region is 126 degrees Fahrenheit, and the heat could be unbearable by 2070, MIT scientists said.
14. Mexico City, Mexico
Expats told InterNations earlier this year that locals are friendly, and the cost and quality of childcare and education are good in Mexico.
However, many also said they worry about their and their children’s personal safety in the country.
13. Prague, Czechia
Insider contributing writer Marilyn La Jeunesse highlighted 15 things everyone should experience while in the city, from Baroque-style buildings to cafes and cocktail bars.
InterNations has also ranked Czechia the best country for women to work.
12. Doha, Qatar
Qatar is one of the world’s famous oil-rich countries, with much of its economy emanating from oil and gas exports.
However, it is in the middle of a bitter feud with its powerful neighbor Saudi Arabia, which has convinced other Gulf countries against Qatar, and is trying to build a 37-mile canal to turn it into an island.
11. Aachen, Germany
The spa city has plenty of historic sites and bars to attract foreigners, and is famous for housing the University of Aachen.
10. Basel, Switzerland
Almost all expats interviewed by InterNations say they are happy with their personal safety, local transportation, and environment in this city.
However, some three in ten respondents say they struggle to get used to the local culture and that they do not feel welcomed by the locals.
Basel is also considered the country’s best city for the cost of living and housing. However, that may not be saying much, considering Switzerland is one of the world’s most expensive countries.
9. The Hague, Netherlands
Though this city is ranked one of the world’s best for job security, expats say the range of careers available is limited.
Many expats also don’t like the Dutch weather.
8. Zug, Switzerland
Not a single respondent complained about the local transportation, quality of the environment, or personal safety in this idyllic lake city, InterNations said.
However, more than three in ten respondents said they struggle to feel settled in the city, and that people in Zug are unfriendly toward foreign residents.
7. Barcelona, Spain
Nearly every expat here is happy with the climate, range of leisure activities available in the city, and found it easy to get used to the local culture and make friends, InterNations said.
6. Lisbon, Portugal
According to InterNations, it’s easy for expats to get settled and make friends in this city.
The city, which is home to buzzing nightlife, easy access to the beach, and picturesque castles, was named the hottest travel destinations for millennials in 2019.
It’s also easy to get around Lisbon if English is the only language you speak, Insider’s Hillary Hoffower reported. You can read all of Insider’s coverage on Lisbon here.
5. Montréal, Canada
Montréal ranks highly in terms of work life, cost of living, and affordability of housing, InterNations said, noting that Toronto and Vancouver – two other major Canadian cities – don’t do as well.
Almost half of the respondents weren’t happy with the local climate and weather, though, with one Venezuelan expat telling the network “winter is too long and cold.”
This Asian city-nation is well known for its food and drink – it’s home to the world’s cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant and one of the world’s best bars – and has a booming economy.
Expats also say they feel safe in the city and are happy with its political stability, InterNations reported. However, they also say local transport costs are high and they struggle with work-life balance.
3. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Most expats say it’s easy to find housing in this city, which also has a relatively low cost of living, InterNations reported.
However, some complain about the city’s dirty streets and lack of environmental awareness.
One German expat complained to InterNations about Ho Chi Minh City’s “bad environment management” and “missing awareness about plastic,” and said that “everyone throws their waste on the streets.”
HSBC has also separately ranked Vietnam one of the best countries for expats to live and work.
2. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The city is known for its vibrant food and local culture, and is easy to get by with just English. The cost of living is also cheap, and it’s easy to travel around Asia from Malaysia.
However, expats say work prospects for foreigners are difficult, InterNations reported. The Malaysian government sets restrictions on the employment of foreign nationals in order to protect its local workforce.
1. Taipei, Taiwan
Taiwan is well known for its relatively low cost of living and wide range of food options.
Earlier this year InterNations expats also praised Taiwan’s local friendliness, cost of living, quality of healthcare, safety, and career prospects.
However, many people struggle to learn the local language, Chinese. The country was also one of the world’s first to legalize same-sex marriage this year.