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The top 10 healthiest countries to be an expat

A guide to the top 10 healthiest countries to be an Expat

Countries all over the world offer a variety of appealing aspects that may drive expats to relocate there. In recent studies, 6 of the top 10 most healthy countries in the world to live in are situated in Europe. Factors that were considered for the study were life expectancy rates, tobacco use and obesity rates.  Note that any list is somewhat arbitrary and subjective, but here are the top 10 healthiest countries to be an expat for 2019 are the following (in no particular order):

1. Iceland

Iceland has been regarded as one of the healthiest places to live (outside of Europe) for multiple reasons. The population of Iceland live off of a farm-to-table philosophy, meaning they believe in eating foods that are naturally abundant and fresh. They also have phenomenal governmental policies that regulate industrial pollution and encourages businesses to use clean, renewable and sustainable energy sources that aid in the well-being of the countries health standards. The local population has also said that they believe that “Water therapy” is a reason that contributes to their happiness and health. Water therapy is when you sit in the waters on the natural hot springs found all over Iceland, and allow yourself to relax in the volcanically warmed waters. Another very important reason as to why Iceland had made it to the list is their gender equality policies. Iceland was the first country to fully remove the gender gap pay and is a leading country for all gender inequalities for the world.

2. Switzerland

Switzerland has long been known to be one of the happiest and healthiest countries in the world. The way of life encourages a healthy diet and an active lifestyle. One of the reasons Switzerland is famous for is investing in its population. Government spending is budgeted for high standards of education, excellent health care and for innovations for the country. A well-balanced lifestyle has allows the people of Switzerland to be one of the countries with the lowest level of depression in the world.

3. Spain

Why put Spain on the top 10 healthiest countries list? Spain has one of the highest life expectancy rates, and it continues to increase as the years go on. Environmental factors, such as access to clean water and sanitation, a Mediterranean diet, minimal use of tobacco, and low obesity rates are just a few other reasons why Spain continues to be a desirable and healthy country to live in. Spain is also known for its close and important familial ties and bonds that are ingrained into the local population. This, of course, isn’t the main reason why Spain tends to flourish, but it definitely is an important factor.

4. Norway

Norway has also been placed on the top 10 healthiest countries to live in. In a traditional Scandinavian way of life, Norway places a high value on a well balanced, active and healthy lifestyle. Another key point that drives Norway to the top of the list is shorter working hours, where employees are almost never required to work past 4 p.m., as well as a cultural environment that minimally encourages the drinking of alcoholic beverages.

5. Italy

The importance of leisurely dining and a well-balanced diet is extremely common in Italian culture. As the Italians say, always chose quality over quantity. It is common for Italians to source their food, oils and spices from local and non-commercialized sources. Their focus on a Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes local fruits, vegetables, oils, and fish, is also sourced as a core reason as to why Italy has continuously made it to the list.

6. Sweden

A second Scandinavian country to top the list of the healthiest 10 countries to live as an expat is Sweden. Known for a lifestyle of moderations (food & alcohol), Sweden is famous for living under the philosophy of “Lagom”, which indirectly translates to English as “not too little, not too much, just the right amount”. This allows the population of Sweden to live a casual lifestyle, eat in variation and walk everywhere.

7. Israel

The Israelian population flourishes in a culture that promotes a vibrant lifestyle, spirituality and a positive healing environment. They focus on an extremely healthy, fresh and delicious diet that promotes the well being of the nation. Their healthy eating habits and lifestyle is one of the main reasons why Israel is one of the leading countries for life expectancy rates in the world. The emphasis on family and family values are also leading causes for the countries health prosperity.

8. Japan

The first of two Asian countries to be recognized as one of the healthiest countries to live in in 2019 is Japan. One of the main reasons Japan is highly regarded for its health standards is due to their diets and lifestyle. Japan has one of the highest life expectancies in the world, which is due partly to its green landscapes, its family values, and its well-balanced eating habits.

9. Singapore

The second of two Asian countries that have made it to the top 10 healthiest countries to be an expat in 2019 is Singapore. Leading with one of the highest life expectancy rates in the world, Singapore has continuously considered as being one of the most sought out countries to live in as an expatriate. Singapore is well known for being extremely safe and has some of the best food in the world.

10. Australia

Known for the Gold Coast and beautiful sandy beaches, Australia has continuously been placed on the list for the healthiest countries to live in as an expat. Complete with a sport and outdoor culture, Austalia is one of the most active and adventure seeking countries in the world. While some may indulge in a bit too many Fosters and shrimp on the BBQ, this outback country is an excellent expat destination. The country is well known for it’s laid back lifestyle – the Australian population is known for being mostly healthy and happy!

 

Although these countries are listed as being the top 10 healthiest countries to live for an expat, it is still crucial that you obtain international health insurance if you are planning on pursuing an international relocation. Staying healthy is not easy, but everyone gets sick or has an injury at some point in their lives – that is why it is critical for you to prepare for the worst by obtaining global health coverage that will be there when you need it!

Contact us today at info@tfgglobal.com to discuss your international insurance needs and requirements.

Thai Expat Guide to Eating and Living Healthy

A Short Guide to Living and Eating in Thailand for Expats

People need to be independent in order to succeed when living outside of their home countries. If an expat gets ill, they may have to rely on themselves to get by when trying to recover from the medical conditions.  As such, expats need to be extra careful when caring for their health. We have created a Thai expat guide to eating and living healthy for expatriates overseas. One of the ways expats can care for their health is by ensuring that they eat healthily and lead healthy lifestyles. The list of tips to eating healthy and living healthy lifestyles for expats is extensive. Below, though, are just some of the tips expats may refer to in eating healthy and living healthy lifestyles if they are based in Thailand:

1. Monitor all caloric intakes, even the small ones 

Oftentimes, intakes of small doses of calories are the ones that add up quicker than the intake of larger doses of calories. Expats need to ensure that they only seldom eat fast foods. Eating small doses of junk foods often adds up to more than the large doses of calories taken by larger meals, without expats realizing of its effects. It’s important to also remember caloric intakes from beverages. Often these are forgotten about, but they have the potential to add up quickly in someone’s diet.

2. Host healthy physical activities with fellow expats & other colleagues

Expats can surely benefit from weekly group physical activities with fellow expats and other colleagues, examples of these activities are yoga, aerobics, and so on. Expats may initiate hosting these activities in gyms or local community centers. Once organized, expats can invite larger groups of colleagues to participate in order to create a healthy and social activity for everyone.

3. Participate in other travel programs that employers may offer

While working in Thailand, Expats do not need to confine themselves to Thailand for the duration of their stay. If other opportunities to travel for work come their way, it is encouraged for expats to explore surrounding countries. Seizing the opportunities to travel to Singapore, Malaysia, or Hong Kong for work shall prevent Thai expats to have idle physical activities only. Expats will have opportunities to move out and about, and thus, be more physically active, while travelling extensively.

4. Continue eating a consistent healthy diet

It is always better for expats to continue eating in a healthy manner, ideally in the way they have always previously been accustomed to. Expats need to be resourceful in finding proper stores in Thailand that sell the healthy foods which they previously ate back in their home countries. Expats will need to invest efforts and patience in order to succeed in locating these stores in Thailand. Down the road, though, expats shall realize that the efforts they invested in doing this are well worth it in the long run.

Our informal Thai expat guide to eating and living healthy is a rudimental approach for staying healthy while living abroad. Expats currently need not settle with the ways they are living their lives and eating the foods they love to eat. They need to always be open to any alterations which they may need to apply to their lives in order to eat and live healthy lives. Thailand offers excellent food choices for expatriates and locals alike. Don’t be afraid to indulge in local food chocies. In the long run, expats are the only people who may benefit from these choices themselves, and once they reap the fruits of eating and living healthy lifestyles.

For extra protection, ensure that you have an international health plan in place that will provide you with extra security in case you fall ill. Knowing that you have proper medical care will allow you to live a more comfortable and stress-free life. For your international health care needs, contact Expat Financial to discuss all your personal needs today!

How expats can work from home – 5 tips for expatriates living abroad

The idea of working from home can be exciting. And many expatriates will decide to work from home while living and travelling abroad. This is especially important for expat spouses who are living with their partner who is employed but are unable to work in the new country for a variety of reasons, such as work visa issues. However, there are many inherent concerns and challenges to working from home. In this article, we will discuss five tips for expats who decide to work from home while living overseas.

Benefits of working from home

It is easy to understand why working from home has become so popular. The freedom to control over your schedule, the flexibility in pursuing personal interests, and keeping down the cost of commuting.  To many people, it is pleasant to begin their day as early as they wish, so they’re working when they are most efficient and alert to perform their jobs.

Working from home opens up more opportunities for career growth and personal satisfaction. Here’s a practical guide to excel under minimal supervision:

Make Sure You Set Goals 

It is essential to set goals if wish to work from home, especially during the change of family dynamics while living abroad. You will want to break goals down into small daily goals and identify what daily expectations must be to achieve them. It is important to concentrate your efforts if you’re going to achieve your goals.

Avoid Distractions

To avoid an infinite number of distractions while working from home, it is critical to set up a professional home-based office to stay focused on your daily tasks. It is ideal to have a reliable computer with quality internet, printer, business phone and general office supplies. All these items will increase your productivity and save your time.

Another suggestion would be a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. All the outside and inside noises can ruin your day. Construction noise, traffic sounds, even the TV sounds are annoying. Therefore, it is wise to choose a pair of noise-cancelling headphones while working from home.

Work and Exercise Balance 

It is important to get out of your home office and do some exercise. Instead of sitting in front of your computer all day long. Take a short walk outside your house during the day or head to the gym for an hour workout. It will make a massive difference to your emotional and physical well being, as you will have the chance to connect with people, or even socialize with other groups of people who work from home.

Update Your Colleagues Often 

Consistently updating your colleagues will help lower your stress level and will you kee you from feeling that you’re falling behind. Many work-from-home professionals know that they don’t have to do it all alone. Using an online file sharing system such as Dropbox, will allow you to update your colleagues or teammates in real-time. It will also eliminate the problem of working with outdated projects.

Don’t Forget International Health Insurance 

For work-from-home professionals living abroad, it is important to note that you will most likely be responsible for obtaining your own international health insurance plans as you might be working for yourself or may not be supported by an employer. Additionally, the country you live in may have little or no medical coverage and may not provide adequate healthcare facilities. However, some expat employers will employ people working abroad, especially in IT roles.

Domestic health plans may not even cover you or will only cover you in that one country, which is not ideal if you wish to travel or obtain health coverage abroad. You will probably lose your current health plan coverage if you live abroad or it may not cover overseas travel. If you have questions about our international medical insurance plans or you want to discuss your needs and produce a customized quote, please contact us or complete the quote form. Also, don’t forget to obtain individual life and disability coverage as well if you are a work-from-home professional.

5 Tips for expats to stay healthy and fit while working and living abroad

For many expatriates, working and living abroad opens the doors to new adventures and challenges. However, it is imperative to stay healthy and fit while experiencing your new expat assignment. There are many potential health risks that you will want to avoid, especially in some third world countries. In this article, we will discuss five tips on how to stay healthy while living in a new country.

1. Eat Healthy and Drink Clean Water 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), developing a healthy diet helps protect against leading noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and cancer. Expatriates living and working abroad should avoid fast food or street food stands. Always go to local grocery stores or markets to find some fresh fruits and vegetables – but you should be careful about eating raw vegetables in some developed countries. It is suggested to avoid unhealthy weight gain through consuming excess calories, sugar and salt.

Clean water is critical for staying healthy, whether it is used for food production, drinking or domestic purposes. According to a recent report retrieved from World Health Organization (WHO), contaminated drinking water is estimated to cause hundreds of thousands of deaths each year. Expatriates living and working abroad should be aware of the potential health risks of contaminated water and should take steps to secure clean water at work and home. Contaminated water is a major transmission source of many diseases such as diarrhea, typhoid, dysentery, and cholera. It is strongly recommended for expatriates to boil water before drinking if you are not 100% sure that the water is safe. In the end, maintaining hydration is critical both at home and abroad, especially in hot climates.

 

2. Build an Exercise Routine

Physical activity has significant benefits for your health while living abroad as an expatriate. It has been reported by the WHO that physical inactivity has been identified as the fourth leading risk factor for mortality causing 3.2 million deaths globally. Expatriates should exercise regularly through cycling, walking or sports while living and working abroad. Some expatriates may find it hard to rebuild an exercising routine in their destination country due to security risks or extreme climates. One suggestion is to purchase an exercise machine at home or join a gym. A healthy exercise routine will help expatriates to stay active and energetic.

3. Obtain International Health Insurance 

In many countries where local public healthcare facilities may not up to western standards, expatriates will want to use private medical care. However, these private facilities are usually very expensive, especially in emergency situations. Without an appropriate international health insurance plan, expatriates could end up with receiving large medical bills,  putting your financial status at risk. A global medical plan can not only cover large medical expenses, but it can also cover you for preventative health and medical tests that can help you maintain you and your family’s health. This can even include vaccinations and health monitoring.

An international health insurance plan will provide expatriates and their families with worldwide coverage (except in the USA unless you add it as an optional benefit). It allows you to seek medical care internationally and it is critical for expatriates residing in less developed countries where medical care facilities are substandard. Expatriates living and working abroad will benefit from an international insurance plan with day-patient care and full hospital coverage, extensive cancer coverage, dental and vision care, international medical evacuation, and repatriation.

4. Be Aware of the Potential Health Risks 

Expatriates living and working abroad may travel frequently. There are many potential health risks such as tropical diseases, respiratory illness, and open wounds. These diseases may not make people feel too bad at first, however, they can deteriorate and quickly become life threatening. If you feel sick in your destination country, seek medical help as soon as possible. Don’t postpone treatment. To stay healthy, it is often important to update routine vaccinations and avoid any potential health risks. Expatriates should always consult a medical professional about vaccination requirements before traveling.

5. Stay Socially Active and Maintain your Mental Health

Expatriates may find it harder to socialize than they did back in their home country. However, researches have shown that staying socially active can help people maintain good emotional and physical health – especially when you are living abroad and living in a new country and experiencing culture shock. It is important for expatriates to join a group of trusted friends that they can socialize with and plan some activities together in their destination country – most cities have active expat social scenes and clubs. These kinds of social interaction offer many benefits to expatriates. For example, global relocation and stresses may have a negative impact and cause mental health challenges such as depression. Being socially active will minimize the stress level, monitor signs of depression and prevent other mental health issues.

Also, don’t forget to help your expat spouse and children as their new life abroad can be exciting, but also stressful and isolating. If your spouse is unable to obtain a work permit, maybe he or she can work remotely or volunteer. For expat kids who are experiencing difficulties living abroad, making friends and getting used to the new school – maybe consult a psychologist if required. Many expat health plans will cover mental health and counselling.

Expat Financial offers independent advice, solutions and excellent service and support to clients around the world and we have extensive experience in sourcing medical cover for individual expats and expat employers worldwide. For expats who may have questions about international medical insurance plans we offer to individual expats or  expatriate group insurance plans, please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you soon.