Work Abroad

Healthcare, Social Life & Visas


Healthcare can be an overrated concern. People in many developing countries often lead healthier lives than people in the industrialised world. Cubans and Jordanians live as long as Americans, and have lower rates of obesity, heart disease and cancer.

Eastern Europe has a remarkably high ratio of doctors to patients, comparable or superior to any Western nation. Countries such as India and Thailand also have Western-trained doctors who charge less then a tenth the price that you would pay in Boston or Los Angeles. As a rule of thumb, unless you suffer from a rare and very serious illness, don’t waste too much time worrying about healthcare provision.

Social Life

The majority of humans are social animals. It can be hard to live in even the most beautiful place unless there are people we can interact with on a fairly deep level. The best thing is to learn the local language, but some also like to live within striking distance of major cosmopolitan clusters where they can meet fellow exiles.

In today’s globalised world, expatriates are living everywhere ni beautiful spots across the planet where you are guaranteed to meet travellers, expats, and slackers just like you.

Visas & Permits

The most attractive countries for retirement tend to have two main strategies when it comes to doling out visas. The first group allows you to stay in their country for up to 180 days in a calender year, and you can stay these 180 days without having to leave the country once. You would need to find another country to split your time between. India is the classic example of such a country. Of course you could just throw away your passport.

The second group allows you to stay as long as you want, provided you leave the country every 30, 60 or 90 days. It doesn’t matter how briefly you are out of their country (even 5 minutes will do), so long as you are out.

An increasingly common trend amongst is to offer long residential visas (typically renewable every year) provided you show evidence that you can support yourself. US$50,000 allows you to meet this criteria easily. Turkey, Nepal, Mexico, Thailand and Malaysia are some of the countries that offer this residential visa option.

The No Hassle Ratio

Do you prefer to be left alone to do your thing? Or do you rather enjoy the attention paid to you by a dozen laughing kids following you around the village. Some people like to travel and live in countries where they can just be themselves. Others like being treated like a minor celebrity, and have touts, children, gropers, stalkers follow them where-ever they go.

Could you eat your dinner with a deformed beggar waving his stump in your face? Or do you need to live somewhere that doesn’t experience power cuts? Try traveling for a few months in your chosen country before you commit – it’s the only way you’ll find out if you can take it.

J. Sim

J.Sim, aka JamJam, is a wharf rat born and bred who went on to become a soldier, teacher, financial and media analyst.