Parisian bridge at night with lights.

ASK TBE: How do I find information related to quality of life abroad?

Disclaimer: You asked for advice. We’re providing it. But as with anything else, make sure you check with the actual professionals to make the right decision, especially when it comes to immigration.

Questions may have been edited for length and clarity.

Q: How would I find information related to quality of life which includes access to healthcare and a government that supports the basic needs of its people? – GT

A: That’s a pretty big question, but here’s where I would proceed. 

When researching the quality of life, there are a few resources you can look into to start your research:There are some international  reports that focus on assessing quality of life. The main ones are  the Human Development Index (HDI)World Happiness Report and

Mercer Quality of Living.

 

You may also want to review from the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations, and World Bank. I’m not sure of your citizenship but you can  also review the U.S. State Department or the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office. While both our government sites with their respective regional perspectives, there should be at least some basic travel information to give you a starting point. These could be helpful if you’re just looking for a general overview,  even without a particular country in mind. 

 

If you have specific countries identified, you may want to research the healthcare system in the country, including the availability and quality of medical facilities, healthcare professionals, and services. A good place to start is with a country’s ministry or department of health. You may also want to contact expat health insurance providers to see if their plans cover the country you’re interested in. I would also review in-country government websites to get an idea of how welfare services are provided. 

Finally, I would check in with expats in the countries/regions of interest who can give you some of the best counsel as they are living the day to day. Reach out to the various Black Expat groups (we have some of them listed on the website under resources). You may also want to connect with other Black expats on the Xpat App Chat.

If you are just getting started on your search, I would encourage you to check out our Design My Move Abroad: Starter Planner  to help organize your expat thoughts. I know moving abroad can be a big undertaking, and it may help to have some starting planning points. 

Hope this all  helps!

Q: I am experienced creative with international professional experience. How do I start my search for opportunities in Paris, or other major European cities  in general? – JM

A:

Congratulations on your decision to move abroad.

While I think moving to Paris is not impossible, your experience *might be* easier the stronger your French is. About a year ago, we  interviewed Whitney Marin  who was living in France and mentioned how knowing the language made things much easier than they could’ve been, especially given the complexities of French bureaucracy.  

That said, if Paris is the dream, go for it. You may want to start with the French government to get the most accurate information.  

You also mentioned being open to other European countries/cities. I would start by making a list of what your priority locations are. Then, I would do a deep dive on both the department/ministry of labor AND the department/ministry of travel/foreign office for those countries to get an idea of what the skills gap is AND the immigration process. 

Secondly, get connected to expat groups in the places of interest. Reach out to the various Black Expat groups (we have some of them listed on the website under resources). You may want to connect with other Black expats  in those locations as they will have the most on the ground information. You may also want to check out the Expat sub thread on Reddit. Obviously, not Black focused but general information might be able to be answered. 

Since you mentioned having great references from previous European opportunities, leverage that network to see if anyone knows of any opportunities. This might be helpful given how many opportunities are not always easy to find or promoted.

As a side note, education jobs can be really tricky if you don’t have certain experiences and certifications/licenses or language skills. Once again, not impossible, but can be challenging. You may want to look into The International Educator if that’s the route you want to explore. 

That said, what *might* be easier, is securing employment in/from the U.S. that can take you abroad.  Here are some career related articles from the Black Expat archives that may help. 

Good luck!

Need advice? Ask away. Questions may be edited for length and clarity.

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