Iberian nations dominate InterNations Quality of Life 2017 index

Portugal

With kids now going back to school across Europe, many parents will perhaps be reminiscing on their summer holiday in the Mediterranean and how nice everything was. They might even think about living there (that’s the dangerous thing about holidays – they tend to force a what if rethink in people’s minds).

Southern Europe wouldn’t be a bad choice, either: the latest InterNations Quality of Life Index shows that Portugal and Spain have the best standard of living rated by expats in the world, divided only by 2016 winner Taiwan (which is also a wonderful destination, albeit for different reasons).

On that point, it’s interesting to see blocs in the index – Denmark, Sweden and Finland are bunched together, as are Germany and Luxembourg. It does feel a little like a Eurovision Song Contest of living standards.

The top 20 is as follows:

1. Portugal
2. Taiwan
3. Spain
4. Singapore
5. Czech Republic
6. Japan
7. Australia
8. Switzerland
9. Costa Rica
10. Germany
11. Luxembourg
12. Denmark
13. Canada
14. Sweden
15. New Zealand
16. Finland
17. Netherlands
18. UAE
19. Malta
20. South Korea

Portugal’s success, coming a year after the nation won football’s European Championships, shows the country on the ascendancy. Perhaps. It might not be a surprise to the organisers of the amazing coworking retreat Offsite Immersive in Guia, offering a pool and a nearby beach.

Overall Quality of Life aside, the Quality of Life Index grouped countries under five categories: Leisure Options, Personal Happiness, Travel & Transport, Health & Wellbeing, and Safety & Security.

InterNations polled 12,500 expats of 166 nationalities based in 188 territories and asked them to rate 43 aspects of life overseas.

British Millennials and Generation Z want to work abroad, confirms British Council and Demos report

British Airways jet taking off

These are anxious times, especially for younger people. Not only is the world pulling in different directions, we now have missiles flying over Hokkaido.

In Britain, its Brexit looming over the country rather than a long-range missile, albeit hanging like smog. It’s toxic, we know it’s there, but we can’t make out its features and what to with it. Even the government is seemingly flummoxed.

A new report, Next Generation UK Survey, produced by think tank Demos for the British Council in September 2017 shows that young people in the UK are worried about Britain’s position in the world, and what it means for their future, revealing that:

  • 68% of young people believe international experience and a global outlook are essential for their personal goals
  • 57% are positive about the effects of globalisation on their own lives
  • 13% have worked abroad, but 56% are ambitious to do so
  • 10% have studied abroad

The report recommended protecting and securing opportunities for young adults travelling, working and studying abroad:

in order to enable all young adults to achieve their potential, opportunities for young adults to engage internationally need to be protected in the Brexit negotiations. Furthermore, due attention must be paid to increasing opportunities so that those who do not typically benefit can participate in them….

These objectives are given weight by evidence that interacting with other countries can be beneficial in a number of respects (though research is fairly limited to the higher education context). For example, research has shown that students who undertake a year abroad during their undergraduate degree are more likely to pursue postgraduate study, secure better paid jobs and have higher incomes; and are less likely to experience unemployment. In addition to making an individual more committed to their degree and enhancing their CV, studying abroad can have a marked impact on personal development, improving independence, confidence, communication skills and other intercultural skills – with often greater benefits ensuing when the cultural difference between the home country is wider. Young adults who study internationally often become more cosmopolitan, taking more of an interest in international affairs; they travel more and are more likely to live in another country later in life.

These are sound recommendations. Studying abroad worked for me: I was an Erasmus student in Madrid during more fortunate times, though I later headed East to Asia, rather than to continental Europe, to live.

The aspirations of young people also echoed words made by Sir Martin Sorrell, who encouraged young Brits to acquire work experience in China.

It’s clear that young people are concerned about what’s coming next,  but are nonetheless eager to explore new horizons. This should be given priority in Brexit discussions, rather than trivial considerations like the colour of the new British passport (which is beyond stupid).

The Next Generation UK Survey is part of the British Council’s Next Generation series, which focuses on the attitudes and aspirations of young people, and uses data gathered to inform policy.

The survey’s data came from almost 2,000 18-30 year olds polled by Ipsos Mori, focus groups with 80 young adults across the UK, analysis of young adults’ use of social  media, and a policy roundtable with stakeholders focused on youth engagement.

Berlin is the best city worldwide for digital nomads, shows surprising survey

Berlin

Vancouver took top spot recently in PeoplePerHour’s index of the best cities worldwide to launch a startup. The freelance marketplace also turned their attention to the location independent movement – digital nomads who work remotely, wherever they fancy.

The Nomad Index ranked cities on factors that included co-working spaces, monthly salary, tourist visa requirement, crime rates and cost of living, giving top spot to Berlin.

The German capital, coming second worldwide behind Vancouver for startups (clearly, it can do no wrong), was recognised for its outstanding co-working facilities, relatively low rent and cost of living, and a low crime rate.

Other cities in the top 10 look a little more questionable, with the likes of Istanbul, Bangalore and Bangkok coming ahead of established digital nomad favourites like Ko Lanta, Chiang Mai, Jeju and Bali.

How is it, for example, that Kuala Lumpur ranks 9th, with northern neighbour and more digital nomad friendly Penang nowhere to be seen?:

1. Berlin
2. Istanbul
3. Bangalore
4. Vancouver
5. Lisbon
6. Bangkok
7. San Diego
8. Tel Aviv
9. Kuala Lumpur
10. Athens
11. Manchester
12. Melbourne
13. Miami
14. Moscow
15. Amsterdam
16. Stockholm
17. LA
18. Tokyo
19. Sydney
20. London
21. Rome
22. Singapore
23. NYC
24. Paris
25. San Francisco

Xenios Thrasyvoulou, founder and CEO of PeoplePerHour, meanwhile has done his bit for brand Britain, pointing out the attractiveness of London and Manchester as digital nomad locations (though where Brexit fits into all of this is anyone’s guess):

While British digital nomads may not place visiting London and Manchester high on their bucket list, it’s good to know that the UK is ready to accommodate overseas freelancers with a taste for travel, which has the potential to terrifically boost local economies. And of course, there’s nothing stopping local freelancers benefiting from the perks available to the travelling gigsters

Vancouver is the best city worldwide for startups, reveals PeoplePerHour

Vancouver skyline

With seemingly everyone wanting to disrupt or launch something these days (how different things were in the nineties, when we all had hobbies and adult learning to entertain us), where is best to start The Next Big Thing?

Vancouver, apparently.

The Canadian city ranked first in an index compiled by PeoplePerHour, who assessed locations worldwide on quality of life, cost of living, rent, office space, monthly salary, starting a business and best country for business.

The list shows that smaller cities have triumphed against “goliaths” like Singapore, London, New York, Tokyo and Paris, who all sit in the bottom half of the table (and will probably face relegation unless they become more affordable).

It confirms what many of us suspect: it’s easier to start a business when you’re not saddled with high living costs and rent.

Unsurprisingly, Berlin is best in Europe, Bangkok is top in Asia (though digital nomad hotspot Chiang Mai can’t be far behind), and Melbourne – which generally does well in quality of life surveys – is Australia’s highest showing.

And how about Manchester? A capital of creativity in England, the city came third – much like its football teams – well ahead of the swaggering UK capital:

1. Vancouver
2. Berlin
3. Manchester
4. Lisbon
5. Stockholm
6. San Diego
7. Bangkok
8. Melbourne
9. LA
10. Bangalore
11. Kuala Lumpur
12. Singapore
13. Istanbul
14. London
15. Sydney
16. Tel Aviv
17. Amsterdam
18. Miami
19. Athens
20. Moscow
21. San Francisco
22. NYC
23. Tokyo
24. Paris
25. Rome

Tokyo triumphs again in Monocle Quality of Life Survey

Shibuya, Tokyo

Monocle has announced its Quality of Life Survey for the 11th year running, in which 25 cities worldwide were ranked for liveability. For the third successive year, Tokyo was named most liveable city by the culture mag (here’s something for the conspiracy theorists: Tokyo-based Nikkei Group became a Monocle shareholder three years ago).

The list is a curious mix of hipster favourites such as Berlin and Portland and hyper-expensive sprawls like Hong Kong (ranked second by Mercer’s Cost of Living Survey) and of course Tokyo (ranked third in the same survey), making it a mashup that would likely appeal to both the monied elite and counterculturalists. Which begs the question: should it really be called a Quality of Life Survey?

The rundown in full:

1. Tokyo
2. Vienna
3. Berlin
4. Munich
5. Melbourne
6. Copenhagen
7. Sydney
8. Zurich
9. Hamburg
10. Madrid
11. Stockholm
12. Kyoto
13. Helsinki
14. Fukuoka
15. Hong Kong
16. Lisbon
17. Barcelona
18. Vancouver
19. Dusseldorf
20. Amsterdam
21. Singapore
22. Auckland
23. Brisbane
24. Portland
25. Oslo