This question comes up quite a bit and it makes sense. Black folks who are tired and frustrated with their current location often want better. It’s hard especially when you’re subjected to racialized or ethnic focused violence. But here’s the problem. As much as Wakanda was amazing, it doesn’t exist. And neither does Zamunda.
What is the Best Place for Black People to Live Abroad?
So here’s the reality, there is no one size fits all, because Black folks, like everyone else, have nuanced needs.
The truth is every single location on Earth has their own issues and when you decide to move to a new country, you are deciding to trade your current issues for theirs. There are historical narratives, inter-ethnic relationships, and just general cultural mores that you have to learn. Many of these are interwoven with ethnic, religious, and class identities that may or may not be connected to race.
And what might be a good fit for you, does not necessarily apply to the Black person down the street. You could certainly move to a variety of African countries, if you are looking to be part of a Black majority. But, if you also have an LGBT identity you might be trading ‘blending in’ with the local population for a different kind of concern when it comes to safety.
If you are an individual who is moving with a health condition, you have to consider what locations will be best for your health and wellness needs. You may also have to understand that your passport may influence the kind of experience you as a Black person have in certain countries. In other words, what could be a perceived good place for you as a Western passport holder, may not be the same for a Black person from other regions of the world.
Instead Ask…What’s the Best Place Overseas for My Needs?
Finding the ‘best place’ is a complicated quest because there are so many factors worth considering. Instead of asking a generalized question, focus on finding locations that work best for your situation. This means you need to develop a strategy that centers on your personalized needs. Best is a relative, subjective term but you might be able to find a new environment that works for you, if you put some reflection in your process.
Define your must-haves and your non-negotiables. Create a list of what you desire in a new location. Identify what would make the move worth it. Consider the needs of your household situation – as a solo, partnered or family with dependents dynamics. Recognize what has to be available for you (and your loved ones) to be both functional and healthy — financially, emotionally, spiritually, physically and more. Start there.
Connect with other people of color. Some of the best advice comes from those who lived in the regions you are considering. Talk to experienced expats to get their insight. Speak to POCs that don’t share your nationality to hear a varied perspective. Join expat social media groups. Listen to POC centered expat & travel podcasts, like our own the Global Chatter Podcast and Flourish In the Foreign. That said, everyone has opinions, it’s important for you to discover what will work for your own happiness.
Get an Expat Coach. Sometimes you need help organizing your thoughts and your plans. Talking to someone who not only understands but professionally helps other build design their expat path can be a big help. Connect with a trusted, vetted Expat, just like those in our Expat Coaching Directory, to help you get started.
Find your employment options. If you intend on working, you need to put together a strategy to find a job. You can’t assume it will be the same process as it would be in your home country. Whether you choose to work in the local economy, find a remote job or build a digital business, figure out what will work.
Put a financial plan together. You should always have a budget and this is no different if you’re going overseas. You need to understand your sources of income as well as the cost of living in countries you are considering. If you are retired or plan on retiring abroad, you will need to put a plan together to ensure your finances will cover your lifestyle.
Strengthen Your Language Skills. Do you speak another language? You could use this to your advantage to find places where you can flex that skill. And if you don’t, this might be the time to learn one. There are a lot of languages out there and you may have to build up your language skills in order to succeed overseas. The truth is, it is 100% percent easier to navigate a country, including its governmental bureaucracy, if you speak the language. So before you become enamored with a place, find out how much language study you may have to do.
If you can build your plan using the above tips, you can start to research countries that may align with your needs and values. It’s easier to find the possibilities after you’ve identified your necessities, spoken to seasoned travelers and evaluated your finances. By doing some deep reflection, you can seriously identify what places are possibilities and begin narrowing down your options.
Moving abroad isn’t a panacea. You will exchange one set of issues for another. However, you have to decide what you’re willing to live with and what you won’t to get the life you want.