'Insider' survey ranks Czech Republic low for friendliness, high for quality of life

While most expats were satisfied with local life, many found the language to be a particular barrier to settling in.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 18.05.2021 16:14 (updated on 18.05.2021)

The Czech Republic came in 15th out of 59 destinations in the Expat Insider 2021 survey. It ranks among the top 20 countries in all indices except for the ease of settling in.

This was the seventh edition of the survey published by networking group InterNations. The survey ranks expats’ satisfaction with the quality of life, ease of settling in, working life, personal finance, and the cost of living in their respective country of residence. Additionally, this year respondents shared how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted their lives.

The Czech Republic improved over the results of the previous survey, where it had its worst-ever ranking at 18th place, but it had been as high as 10th in 2016, ’18 and ’19.

Overall, Taiwan, Mexico, and Costa Rica are the best expat destinations worldwide. All of them attract expats with their ease of settling in and good personal finances. On the other hand, the bottom three countries, Kuwait, Italy, and South Africa, all perform poorly in the Working Abroad Index.

Expats in the Czech Republic showed a high level of satisfaction with their working life (third) and the quality of life (seventh). While the Czech Republic also does well in the personal finance (13th) and cost of Living (18th) indices, it lands in a below-average 49th place for the ease of settling in.

“Public transportation, healthcare, and many services in general are very good. Additionally, there are plenty of job opportunities and a good work-life balance,” an Italian expat living in the Czech Republic said.

In the quality of life index, the country scored fourth in the travel and transportation subcategory. The Czech Republic ranked first in travel opportunities, with 97 percent of expats rate them positively, versus 84 percent globally. Some 94 percent of expats are happy with the country’s transportation infrastructure, versus 76 percent globally.

The Czech Republic ranked sixth in the health and well-being subcategory, with 85 percent of expats happy with the affordability of healthcare versus 61 percent globally. Although the Czech Republic ranks slightly below average for its climate and weather, coming in 34th, some 84 percent expats are satisfied with the local leisure optionsm versus 72 percent globally, as well as their own socializing and leisure activities, at 81 percent versus 67 percent globally.

“I like being in the center of Europe and find it easy to travel. It is also easy to travel within the country by public transport,” a Canadian expat living in the Czech Republic said.

In the working abroad index, where the country came in third, some 82 percent of expats rate their working hours positively, compared to only 66 percent globally. Overall, 80 percent of expats rate their work-life balance positively, versus 66 percent globally, and 59 percent are happy with their local career opportunities, versus 45 percent globally.

Out of all survey respondents in the Czech Republic, 78 percent are employed full time or part time, 11 percentage points more than the global average. Three out of four expats rate the state of the local economy positively, versus 62 percent globally.

On the other hand, the Czech Republic performs badly in for ease of settling in. The country lands in the bottom 10 of the friendliness subcategory, in 55th), with 28 percent of expats rating the general friendliness of the population negatively, versus 16 percent globally. Another 35 percent describe the population as generally unfriendly toward foreign residents, versus 18 percent globally.

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The Czech Republic also ranks 55th in the language subcategory, with 77 percent of respondents state that it is difficult to learn the local language, versus 42 percent globally. Overall 24 percent of expats agree that it is not easy to live in a Czech city without speaking Czech, versus 29 percent globally.

“The language has been a major barrier,“ an expat from Ghana living in the Czech Republic said.

The Covid-19 pandemic has not affected the plans of most expats in the Czech Republic: 74 percent state that it has had no impact on their stay abroad, which is more than 10 percentage points higher than the global average. Only 4 percent were planning to move to yet another country but have changed these plans, versus 8 percent globally, and only 2 percent say they are planning to move home sooner than expected, versus 5 percent globally.

When it comes to the official communication about Covid-19 and related regulations, 65 percent of survey respondents rate it positively, which is one percentage point less than the global average.

For its annual Expat Insider survey, InterNations asked 12,420 expats representing 174 nationalities and living in 186 countries or territories to provide information on various aspects of expat life, as well as their gender, age, and nationality. Participants were asked to rate up to 37 different aspects of life abroad on a scale of one to seven. With around 4 million members in 420 cities around the world, InterNations is the largest global community for people who live and work abroad.  

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