SURVEY TAKEN IN MAY 2012 68 ANONYMOUS EXPAT RESPONDANTSALL QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ARE REPRESENTED IN THIS PRESENTATION NORMAN VISS AND LINDSAY MCMAHON
How long have you been an expat?30.9 26.5 < 2 years 3-5 years 5-10 years 20.6 21.1 >10 years
How much of a risk-taker are you? 1.5 13.2 I hate to take risks and will avoid them at all 39.7 cost I will take moderate risk if outcome is fairly45.6 predictable I can take a high level of risk if I have done all possible research I will take significant risk whether researched or not
How risky is expat life compared to non-expat life, in your opinion? 27.9 More risky Less risky 2.9 The same 69.1
Three most common risks expats face50 45.3454035 32.8 32.830 28.1 2525 21.9 20.3 18.820 15.6 14.115 10.9 10.9 12.5 9.410 7.8 7.8 4.7 4.7 5 3.1 1.6 0 T…
Other expat risks mentioned Exchange rate risk Going No job for native spouse Pain of Spouse continualdepression goodbyes Specialist medical care
How aware were you of risks you might be taking? 0 13.2 26.5 Complete naivete 13.2 Didnt want to think about risk Somewhat 47.1 Very much Obsessively (0%)
How has actual risk matched expectation of risk? 8.8 13.213.2 Much less Much more Just as expected 30.9 Dont know Impossible to say 33.8
How has your willingness to take risk changed since you became an expat? 4.4 Not at all 32.4 I now want to take less risk44.1 I now am able to take more risk 19.1 What is risk?
Moved to three Not having a better Not following through Moving without fully Getting seriousdifferent countries in grasp of the language on professional understanding living medical care in rurallast 10 year opportunity - giving up costs Asia as it seemed easier to not pursue. In retrospect I should have taken the risk.Professional Subjecting my kids to Not being able to be Starting a business If you go for drinks beadvancement extreme stress there when family moderate and always members are sick/ have a backup plan dying for a taxi or transportationNot being aware of Giving up my former Waded into local Giving up my career Leaving friends andsocial rules network (working as a community despite to support my ex- family behind and freelancer) language/cultural husbands career. starting fresh differencesJob insecurity when The cost of life (vs. High change in Moving to a country Give up my job, andreturning home after a income) werent clear cultural environment where I knew no one thus important2 year assigment in to us before we pension benefitsour companys head relocatedquarterBuying a house Missing income I moved to a country More international Gave up my own job opportunities / not with...no job security travel to trail after spouse able to work because and high of visa unemployment RISKS EXPATS TAKE – IN THEIR OWN WORDS
More expressive with Trusting local Buying local property Ive started my own Not me personally, butfamily and partner completely while others business in the middle saw expats married say not to do that. of the current men engaged in recession extramarital affairs/prostitutes because it was so easy to do, no fear of consequencesLeaving a familiar place Riding in cars without Buy à house without Crossing third-world Insisting on my ownto go to a complete seatbelts in countries résidentiel visa borders cultural normsunfamiliar and different with high accident ratesplaceLeaving a secure job Not wearing helmets Started a new business Not factoring in private Relying on my partners and a social networking health care expat career to provide community the income - never intended but just happened and now the risk is he loses it and I dont have the prof caacity to even half waymatch his earnings.Risk of depression from Eating questionably Savings Not creating deep Career reorientationestrangement from sanitary food regularly friendships as I thoughtfamily or familiar routine I will probably move on but now I might not so have to start forming friendships.Moving expenses are Praising your home Reduce my (physical) Changed careers Leaving my family onalways unpredictable. country to be a better social network the other side of theNot knowing with place ocean.certainty what RISKS EXPATS TAKE – IN THEIR OWN WORDSstate/country Im going
RISKS EXPATS TAKE – IN THEIR OWN WORDSGetting out of the Different cost of living in Pregnant and give birth Difficult return to the Moving to a countrysystem of my country of the 2 countries in country that use country where I didnt know theorigin much less medical language intervantion than the country i come fromNot to be around when Moving abroad without Kids have to keep ...where Im not a native Drop in income/my parents age and get already having a job adapting to new speaker of either of the retirement savingssick environment languages they speak hereBought a house in a More open to mental Leaving everything Return to home country I bought a propertyforeign country health issues and behind and start a which I am struggling to isolation complete new life. sell and now cannot rent for an amount that will cover my mortgage because of the points systemLeave a secured job at Creating a life far from Living in an old soviet Change compagnies Eating foods withouthome to go abroad on a the usual apartment building (risk knowing theirpromise of enhanced of gas explosion, source/safetyprofessional electrical fire)development whichturned out to be trueTrying anything and Travelling alone in Engaging in Got married! Expecting family to fit ineverything on the menu unfamiliar areas with no antigovernment with plans local language skill platforms
RISKS EXPATS TAKE – IN THEIR OWN WORDSStress of day to day Crossing the street.... Travel Established friendship Discussing politicalthings in another seriously strains with distance and religious issueslanguage and romantic ventures are interrupted.Established entirely Risk my children losing Not having any job Lack of insurance Register my son tonew social structure of their American identity. insurance coverage daycare onlt afterfriends and activities arriving altough i was told the demand is very high for not many placesIsolation Choosing to live in Have nothing to fall You lower your ...and have no support local environment back on if my marriage expectation so much network like family rather than an expat would fail so it lower your onclave standardLots of job changes Adapting another Pension Transfer to a new Having children culture, not sticking to country with no abroad (in not- your comfort zone and professional, financial Everwestern country) other ex-pats and moral support but managed and thrived anyhowEating local food Begin my own Venturing into regions Hiring help from my Taking 9 yr old sonwhere hygiene was company without notifying others own country away from all familiartyquestionable of whereabouts - he now has reactive attachment disorder
Decision to move Challenge the host Learning the public Risky modes of travel Employer strategywithout knowing the culture transportation system changed leaving thecity instead of driving job less than expectedExcessive drinking Being open to Not knowing the Going unmarried Traveled to political strangers (in a new language hotspots place one can try to be more open in light of not having the established network)FIGHTing for my Investment Starting a new Getting pregnant and Financialchildrens rights are business having a babypatients (ADHD & overseasAutism)Making new friends Risky investments Being subjected to Walking streets alone Thinking skillset andand exposing myself landlord whims at night high work ethics will vouch for further work in cultures which are completely "who you know biased"Moving to a foreign Going without a work Walked the streets of Joining a work force Buying property andcountry by myself as a visa huge cities in China by when my language renting it outwoman myself was not perfect RISKS EXPATS TAKE – IN THEIR OWN WORDS
RISKS EXPATS TAKE – IN THEIR OWN WORDSNot really Driving illegally Trying to meet people Going without Riding in a car withunderstanding and fit in considering cultural my children withoutwhether package is differences seatbelts - no choicegood in context of but did it oftenlocal terms andconditionsTotally involved in a Trusted other expat Moving to an area Income Leaving well paid longculture I never thought businesses without wed done no term jobs back inI would understand taking references research on and only London visited onceStability Started a new Leaving my career Eating in risky Housing--unless in business and a social plans behind restaurants protected situation networking community such as employee of large firm, person is always at risk for exploitative landlord or related abuses. attacked and robbed by my landlord. lost nearly everythng I owned.Employment--may not Walking by unknown Risking home life by Eating in the streets Risking financialbe satisfactory or neighborhoods living in a tent for one security by investingadequate in relation to year upon starting our all of our familyexpectations or needs project financial capital into development projects
RISKS EXPATS TAKE – IN THEIR OWN WORDSRisking financial Making new friends Risky investments Being subjected to Change of professionsecurity by investing all and exposing myself landlord whims is always riskyof our family financial because involves verycapital into bigdevelopment projects personalcommitment so is always a risk but in alien environment, it can be much more difficult because of laws and regulations and social barriersDrive at night in Becoming entangled in Leaving my careerAbidjan disputes with groups plans behind who wanted payment for skills training
How have you experienced that other cultures look at risk differently than you or your home culture does? No I havent. People have always emigrated I think since the infrastructure where I live is not to search for what they view as a better so developed, a lot of the things we see as life, prepared or not. dangerous. We get spoiled in the West. My home culture is living day by day. my It is my impression that in The Netherlands current country is plan at least 1 year ahead people are willing to take more risks than in my for all eventualities. home country. The degree of trust in government policies, organizational rules and the easy access to information make actions appear not so risky. Portugal - people prefer not to take risks - this is an extremely risk adverse culture. Everything is conducted within the context of Yes. not so much the country I live in at the what and who people know. In my home moment, but especially in less developed culture the UK - generally people are more countries that I traveled/worked in, people didnt risk tolerant - however, when I go home I really understand how one could quit a good job realise how risk adverse many people and just go abroad without the security of having are, settling with mediocre jobs and incomes an income. (which is logical, given their and not daring to risk their average status co - circumstances) even though if they would say they were not particularly happy. Interestingly a family member asked me whether we were realising I think in my country (Israel) we take much more how lucky we were - the other day when I was risks compare to other cultures and we used to back visiting. This was such a strange leave in unsafe environment. i think other comment to me as I dont see it as luck, I see cultures see us as flexible and not put too much our lives as a result of decisions, choices deep thought into things. taken all with associating risks - ones which they would never entertain.
How have you experienced that other cultures look at risk differently than you or your home culture does?(This is a response from one person…..) Yes. not so much the country I live in at the moment, but especially in less developed countries that I traveled/worked in, people didnt really understandI guess its a fact that mostly people who are willing to how one could quit a good job and just go abroad take a minimum risk will go abroad as an expat. without the security of having an income. (which is logical, given their circumstances)Risk may be a monetary issue. It absolutely depends on the country and its system you are from. e.g. If The US encourages risk-taking and holds up you are used to European full social services and entrepreneurs, visionaries and risk-takers as role good infrastructure (free education, healthcare models (e.g., pulling ourselves up by our system, public transportation etc.) you may have bootstraps, hard work + education = success). The the feeling of taking more risk. If you are e.g. Dutch believe strongly in no one person sticking out American and move to EU you will be more than more than the group (they are big on saying the happy. blade of grass that sticks his head out will be cut off). Too much success is perceived as arroganceLast but not least there is the risk of the cultural gap and self-centeredness. which seems to me being the biggest "risk". Even "Western" countries differ. Lots of expats are not Well, interestingly enough, most of the Germans I sensitive and try to solve problems as they are met would not be willing to move to another country used to in their home country. But this wont in pursuit of adventure. They are generally quite work. Most people are afraid of changes and comfortable here in their protective bubble. I wonder adapting. Actually, if they cant find a new how much of that has to do with the fact that they balance theyll end up isolated, desperate and have six weeks of vacation to travel so they feel like unhappy soon. I am convinced that getting in theyve seen the world. The quality of life is pretty contact with locals is the key to settle-in and good here in Munich, so I can see why they have a feeling home. I experienced that the more open hard time leaving. Though I think it is sad, because it minded people are and the less they compare limits their understanding of the world at large. things the better they like their new home.
How have you experienced that other cultures look at risk differently than you or your home culture does?(this is a response from one person……)I think its evolving in my expat country. Im a 20-something person living in Spain, and the unemployment rate is ridiculously high for this demographic here.So a lot of Spanish 20-somethings are thinking about moving abroad to find work, but they have traditionally minimized risk by living at home with their parents until they get married.Looking at it in terms of being an expat, Id say this is a similar outlook to the view of risk in my home country (Im British and grew up in the U.S.) In the U.S., people my age are also looking further away from home and risking more in order to find paid work (though moving countries is not as common or easy as it is within the E.U.).Well, interestingly enough, most of the Germans I met would not be willing to move to another country in pursuit of adventure.They are generally quite comfortable here in their protective bubble. I wonder how much of that has to do with the fact that they have six weeks of vacation to travel so they feel like theyve seen the world. The quality of life is pretty good here in Munich, so I can see why they have a hard time leaving. Though I think it is sad, because it limits their understanding of the world at large.
How have you experienced that other cultures look at risk differently than you or your home culture does? Much in the same way. Every culture sees different things as risky; Western people like to avoid health, financial and educational risks I think. Asian people like to avoid being casted Most cultures, including my own, are more risk away by the group, financial security is important to them averse than I am. I guess that is why I am a as well I think. Life/health is less important to them I loner term expat. Always looking for the think. Arab people avoid loss of face, loss of power, loss adventure. of image. Latinos like to avoid loss of face, loss of financial security, loss of image... For Africans loss of Germans (where I was born and raised) seem financial security is also risky... Life/health is a bitt less to be much more concerned about taking risks important as for westeners Just my opinion. than the people that I met when living in California for 2 years. Having helped people tweet themselves out of danger during the Arab Spring uprisings from my expat office in Change is seen with various points of vies in Holland, I am more accutely aware at how others will risk various cultures. somewhere it is positive, their lives for political freedom from oppression. I also somewhere very risky and negative. Ex-pats, on now see how brave the migrant workers fom Mexico the whole feel like they have made big changes were to traverse living in my incredibly bigoted home and so try to minimise internal changes that town of Wenatchee in Washington state (USA)...I will could be positive. many prefer living in denial. never look at them with hard eyes again and I will never judge someone for not learning a foreign-to-them language "fast enough"!! People live their life more day by day and seem much happier and less worried. Yes, Africans sometimes take the risk of accepting employment without healthcare benefits for their families, Certainly western societies are more risk not realizing that this can bankrupt them in the USA adverse. Often too afraid to step outside own comfortzone
How have you experienced that other cultures look at risk differently than you or your home culture does? Western teaching is about developing the Different cultures deal with risk very differently. I individual, the eastern approach is focussed on am a recruiter and I speak to different the good of the group. In the west we value nationalities. Southern European cultures are courage and taking risks sometimes only using more likely to move here without knowing the heart. In the east its about taking a more anyone and with nowhere to live without really conservative and measured approach and looking into it taking time to weigh up the options before taking a risk, focussing more on the head as opposed to the heart when making a decision Culture may influence risk-taking behavior, but relating to risk. so does individual personality. Some people are less daunted or simply dont think ahead when striking out in the world. Cultures maybe but mostly individuals. In my experience, its not so much about the country than it is about the background (i.e. city people Leaving home, being mobile is a risk to lifestyle vs. country people) that is often resisted. Germans (where I was born and raised) seem I find the Dutch dont take risks - they claim they to be much more concerned about taking risks are in a recession and refusing to spend when than the people that I met when living in other countries are suffering more California for 2 years. In part of the Islamic world, Ive heard people I think in my country (Israel) we take much more say that trying to avoid risk is defying the will of risks compare to other cultures and we used to Allah. leave in unsafe environment. i think other cultures see us as flexible and not put too much Question not clear deep thought into things.
How have you experienced that other cultures look at risk differently than you or your home culture does? I think my culture is more risk taking and people Riding bicycles in China with the family with helmets for have been through a lot. My host cultures are safety. Helmets and seatbelts are not part of the typical more capitalist (hence uncertain) societies Chinese culture. hence perhaps they like stability and wouldnt dare to challenges bosses etc. Moving to another area of the country is rarely done here. While the Dutch are great travelers, the number of people The American culture is not quick to take risks, willing to relocate due to a job or adventure seems to be and are very comfortable living quiet lives. New much fewer than in the States. They just arent willing to Zealanders are likely to take many more risks. take that risk. Absolutely. For example my view of personal Insurance company and bank refused to pay out after my safety is very different to most ex-pats in Hong purse was stolen from my car whilst I sat in it as I "wasn-t Kong (I am South African). hurt in the theft". (scam in local supermarket carpark) I believe in the UK that I would still have been covered for theft by deception but apparantly not in Spain. Perhaps it is Challenging question. Across the board of too rife!? different cultures, the common denominator noticed is that many will not move alone, or look for security in own cultured networks as the risk I think the British are very cautious.....everyone back home is with the unknown thus subsequently possibly says they could never do what weve done to leave narrowing the expat experience. everything behind. Life in London was very secure...but impossible to raise a family on 1 and a bit salary. But real risks are what other cultures do in desperation for a better US is more open to risk compared to Germany life. Travelling illegally through Mexican borders or on a as failure mainly means opportunity to learn - eg boat to become an immigrant. Risking your life....not just in entrepreneurship. your pension!
How have you experienced that other cultures look at risk differently than you or your home culture does?I usually get it in my face. Some cultures seem to have more boxed mentality.You go to school have degree in x field, therefore you do x.Somebody trained with x cannot do q.Therefore there is denial of persons ability.Its unacceptable that somebody trained to be underwater basket weaver become accountsmanager.It is unthinkable.So I think m cultural mentality can have very big effect on profession and risk-taking.American mentality is that of risk-taking...is hard to say in few words but American ideals are offbeaten track--they are the misfits and crazies, individualists with ideal of "you can do anythng youdream" the Barack Obamas, GlennArmstrong, Abe Lincolns etc... and this can come in conflictwith treadmill mentality of you grow up to be donkey-driver, get your donkey-driving license andwhatever you do never dream of singing like a blackbird because donkey-drivers cant sing.Its not easy thing to define but cultural values and ideals exist that set what amount of risk isacceptable.Even within a society there is split and schisms or US society would not be so rancourous today.But take an American raised with the tin-can to moon mentality and drop the person inconservative central European society whether Austria or CR, you have big conflict of culturalvalues and the one doesnt understand the other so well.US-Japan--ok, there is better communication because of technological values and education andthey can talk in terms of numbers and statistical projections, but it depends on each situation.Cultural values and historical background color definitions of risk and willingness for risk.Its also generational... not easy question to answer and not easy concept to define.Think your questionnaire is too vague.
How have you experienced that other cultures look at risk differently than you or your home culture does? Many people in Zambia seem to I think my culture is more risk taking believe that white people have and people have been through a lot. loads of money. This creates a My host cultures are more capitalist huge challenge in sustainable (hence uncertain) societies hence development, although we are perhaps they like stability and happy to say that we have recently wouldnt dare to challenges bosses found the right partners to work etc. with and help create real and sustainable development for rural The American culture is not quick to communities in Zambia take risks, and are very comfortable living quiet lives. New Zealanders are likely to take many more risks Absolutely. For example my view of personal safety is very Challenging question. Across the different to most ex-pats in Hong board of different cultures, the Kong (I am South African). common denominator noticed is that many will not move alone, or look for security in own cultured networks as the risk is with the unknown thus subsequently possibly narrowing the expat experience.