What are the friendliest countries in the world? Both expats and travelers going abroad can feel isolated being in a new country with people who speak a different language and have a different culture. Going abroad is much easier for those starting a new life and more enjoyable for those traveling when you’re in a welcoming, friendly country with a positive outlook on out-of-towners and people of different cultures. Some countries are more tolerant than others.
While this might seem like a matter of personal experience, InterNations conducted a survey of over 180 countries to find out which countries are most welcoming to expats and foreign travelers. The survey measured each country’s friendly attitude toward expats, ease of making local friends, and expats likely to stay forever.
Some popular travel destinations such as the United Kingdom, France, and the United States, were among the unfriendly or rude countries in the survey, placing 55th, 55th, and 36th respectively.
The ranks in this survey change dramatically within a few years as many factors can greatly affect a country’s attitude towards foreign travelers or expats. Four years ago, the United Kingdom was the 19th friendliest country and has now dropped to 56th place. One Portuguese expat explained that he believes Brexit has something to do with the decreased friendliness in the country. Some of the least friendly countries for expats are Switzerland, Austria, and Kuwait.
The ten friendliest countries in the world are:
- Costa Rica
The ten friendliest countries have rates from 81% to 94% for friendly attitudes towards foreign residents. These are far above the global average rate of 67%. With the exception of Cambodia, all of the top ten countries ranked in the top 15 countries with the highest overall life abroad satisfaction.
Portugal is reportedly the friendliest and most welcoming country for expats in the world. According to the InterNations survey, 94% of Portugal locals have a friendly attitude towards expats with most people said to be friendly and helpful and looking out for one another. Approximately 36% of expats reported that they feel at home right away and 47% said that they would possibly stay in Portugal forever. Portugal is also one of the safest countries in the world.
Costa Rica ranks first for expats making local friends, with a 78% rating. Furthermore, 88% of respondents felt content with their new life in Costa Rica and 81% feel at home in the new culture, which is why 48% of expats report that they intend to stay in Costa Rica forever (compared to 29% globally).