Aetna International, an expat health insurance company, has just published its global survey of expatriates with 1,000 expats participating across six countries (UK, U.S., Singapore, China, Thailand and UAE).
This latest report delves into the true challenges of living abroad, from how expats feel about their new home to how they think they are viewed by locals. It also touches on expat opinions of locals as well as the impact of COVID-19 on the lives of expats.
It was interesting to read that even though social distancing measures should be adhered to which would prevent them from meeting friends and families, 56.3% of the respondents agreed that, if they had the option, they would prefer to be in their own country during the pandemic. Interestingly, Thailand had the highest number of expats who would wish to be home at this time, at 71%. The survey’s published key findings referenced Worldbackpackers.com, which named Chiang Mai as a top three city for digital nomads, as a possible reason, stating, “It may be the case that younger entrepreneurs do not set down roots — start or take families — and therefore have less in-country support network. These individuals may be more inclined to head home in times of crises.”
Interestingly too that Thailand is the most affected nation on mental health with 50% of expats reporting an impact. Considering we have low COVID-19 death rates, this may be related to the fact that the country’s economy is heavily reliant on tourism causing economic stress.
The good news is that nearly 60% of participants admitted to eating more healthily since the pandemic, with only 21% eating less healthy. Thailand takes the crown here with 80% of expats claiming to be eating more healthily. A whopping 43% of participants are exercising more with 27% of people drinking less alcohol and only 18% drinking more. Another badge of honour for Thailand’s expats is the fact that you are all exercising more than anyone with 57% (versus the average of 30% in other regions) saing they are.
Read the full report and survey findings here.