Friday, 8 August 2014

Countryside vs. City: Which Expat Are You?

Image Source: creativecommons/williamcho

If you’re thinking about making the move, trading like for like is no bad thing. Swapping skyscraper for skyscraper or sheep for sheep, will give you something familiar to draw upon, but there’s a lot to be said for trying something different!

With this in mind, we've drawn together some reasons why ‘City Slickers’ shouldn't rule out the countryside, and three reasons why the city may have something to offer ‘Country Bumpkins’.

What rural retreats can offer City Slickers:

A Ready-made Community
For the more timid expat, there is no easier way of integrating into a society as when you have little choice. But that’s what’s best about being an expat. The friendships you make will be more durable as nothing builds a relationship faster than seeing the other person often.

A Crash Course in Cultural Practices
A small community can mean you have to adapt quickly, but also means that the learning is more interactive, as you won’t simply be making observations from the side-lines. It’s always useful to learn as much as possible before you go, but there’s nothing like hands on experience!

A Slower Pace of Life
You may need to learn things faster in the countryside, but you also have time to absorb. Fully appreciating the charms, quirks and nuances is what leads to some of the best experiences.  From the mountains of Japan to coastal villages of Spain rural destinations have a lot to offer.

Why bright city lights can seduce Country Bumpkins:

The opportunity to encounter a vast number of people should never be underestimated. To be able to meet those you adore, those you cannot stand and those you’re still making up your mind about, without village politics, is exhilarating.

New York may be known as the city that never sleeps but it no longer stays awake alone. Increasing numbers of cities have night lives to delight and fascinate. The Eiffel Tower’s light display and Singapore lit up, are just a couple of the beautiful views in cities after dark. From fantastic sights that only get going once it gets dark, to the sheer volume of things to do, boredom is not an option.

Eating out in the city is an adventure in itself. The variety of dishes in the city is not to be sniffed at (literally)! You may easily find the place you want to return to every night, or never eat in the same place twice!

In other words, where to settle is more of a question of your desire to get involved.  Whether you prefer to dive in to a local community head first or dip your toe in the water there are certainly benefits, as both the city and the countryside have so much to offer.

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