If you’re jaded with the state of the British economy and you’re fed up with the ever shorter days and fewer hours of sunlight that we’re seeing as we approach winter in the UK, chances are you’re dreaming of escape.

You’re not alone either, it’s a fact that increased numbers of us Britons are actively contemplating a new life overseas in a bid to improve our lives.  And it doesn’t matter whether you’re approaching retirement, you’re young free and single or you’ve a family and you want to live and work abroad…people from all walks of life in the UK want to expatriate.

It’s all very well having dreams and hopes and aspirations however, but what about the realities of living abroad – do your dreams match the reality?  In this article all about living abroad as an expatriate we explore the best and the worst aspects of moving overseas and starting a new life.  The findings are based on an extensive survey of Britons who have already made the move.

The Alliance and Leicester have conducted a far-reaching and exciting survey into why Britons prefer living abroad.  It surveyed British expatriates in all the major overseas locations where we like to dream of living – from France to Spain and from Australia to New Zealand – and the findings of the survey are absolutely conclusive, explaining categorically what we love and also loath about living abroad.

The survey findings should hopefully give you some food for thought, reaffirming that which you suspected probably, but maybe highlighting some of the challenges and issues that you will have to face and cope with if you do decide to live abroad.  The survey broke down findings between different age groups and demographics, but for the sake of the overall results, the following are the top ten reasons why Britons love living abroad: –

• 57% find that the better weather makes their life more pleasant abroad compared to the life they had in the UK
• 56% cited the fact that they have a better quality of life now that they live abroad and that this is important to them
• Hand in hand with this finding is the fact that 53% of British expats enjoy the higher standard of living
• And a very significant 49% of those surveyed stated that for them, their new country was safer and enjoyed a lower crime rate than the UK
• A more relaxed and slower pace of life suited 36%
• Whereas a staggering 30% of Brits questioned admitted to having a higher income now that they live abroad, and that this was a top reason for them loving their new life
• The improved cuisine pleased 28%
• The overall ‘expat lifestyle’ was cited by 27% as being a great reasons for living overseas
• 26% enjoyed mixing with the local people and getting to know the local culture
• Whilst 19% said that they have found a more social society since moving abroad.

Chances are you’re not overly surprised by these findings, but hopefully they do reaffirm that which you’ve been thinking and that which is driving you to actively think about moving abroad.  However, before you sell your house and book your flights, have a look at the following issues that Britons cited as being problems with living abroad as expatriates.

Well over half of all expats surveyed admitted missing their family and friends, with 87% of Britons living in Australia stating that the worst factor about living down under was the distance that they are from family and friends.  Over one in five people surveyed admitted that language barriers are an issue for them too – which just goes to show that it is very important to begin learning a foreign language as soon as possible before you even plan your relocation seriously.  The more time you have to at least get to terms with the basics, the better you will fare abroad.  And finally, strangely enough, of those surveyed 9% admitted to missing British food, and 4% miss the UK’s weather!