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According to the latest InterNations Expat Insider report, the stereotype of the expat bubble seems to be becoming a thing of the past. Just 33 percent of respondents said that they were only friends with other expats, while the majority, 48 percent, said they had a mixture of expat and local friends in the location they moved to. 

Joanne Danehl, Global Practice Leader – Intercultural and Language Training and Partner Support, said: “I am not surprised to see this, but I am excited by the trend! One key to a successful international relocation is the creation of personal and professional networks that support cultural integration. Friendships with local nationals is an excellent way to appreciate and experience the new location.”

The survey reveals that the main factors affecting the number of local friends you make abroad are your age, location, nationality and your reason for moving. Respondents from English-speaking countries and those who had moved abroad for love rather than work were among those more likely to have local friends. 

Overwhelmingly, however, respondents in the Gulf states did remain in the expat bubble. The majority of respondents in Qatar, Kuwait, UAE and Saudi Arabia said their friends were mostly expats. Expats in these locations cited the number of other expats in their area or their workplace as the main reason for this. 

As well as being surrounded by other expats, common barriers to making local friends indicated by respondents included cultural differences, language barriers, membership of expat clubs and their partners friends being expats. 

Moving internationally and want to ensure you can survive outside of the expat bubble? Click here to learn more about Crown Relocations’ Language and Intercultural Training. 

Read the full InterNations Expat Insider 2017 report here


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