British Expats Shun Making Friends With Locals

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British expats do not mix well with the locals or other expats once they move overseas, according to a new survey.

The British reputation for reserve means many stick with their expat friends from home.

One in 10 confess they rarely make friends with any other nationalities and another third admit most of their friends are British, says a survey by global relocation specialist Robinsons.

Only 10% felt comfortable mixing with expats from other countries or locals in their new home.

The study also ranked the countries where British expats made friends outside their own social group.

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The findings showed the places where British expats were least likely to integrate with friends outside their own enclaves were Africa, Eastern Europe and the United Arab Emirates, even though the UAE is one of the most cosmopolitan countries with a large proportion of expats making up the population.

Friendliest countries

New Zealand came out as the friendliest country, while Canada ranked second and Asia Pacific countries came next.

The old stereotype of British expats being unwilling to learn foreign languages also proved true, according to the research.

Nearly 40% admitted they made no effort to learn the national language in their new homeland, a quarter stated they had no interest in the local culture, while 5% confirmed they hung on to their British cultural background and enjoyed British food rather than the cuisine overseas.

The results came from quizzing more than 1,000 British expats about their social preferences abroad.

“Moving overseas opens expats to new experiences and opportunities, but many fail to take full advantage of living in a new country,” said a spokesman for Robinsons.

“Many seem to find mixing with other cultures and nationalities a little frightening.”

Depressed Italians

Meanwhile, even though British expats may not integrate well overseas, they are often happier with their lifestyle than their local counterparts.

An official survey by the Italian government has revealed nearly two-thirds of expats in the country ranked their lifestyle and general well-being much better than Italians – of whom only a third were satisfied with their lives.

The government research suggested expats felt better off because they were more likely to be in work than Italians and were prepared to take more risks by setting up their own businesses.

Problems with the Italian economy and a lack of work were blamed for making Italians more depressed about their prospects than expats.

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