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The Explorer: Looking for an Adventure

Explorers move abroad for a personal challenge and seem to master it very well. While they find it easy to make friends and appreciate the options for socializing abroad, they’re not always happy with their career prospects.

Close to half the Explorers move abroad because they’re looking for an adventure (47%), followed by 28 percent who wanted to live in a particular city or country and one-quarter (25%) who simply enjoys living abroad. “I enjoy living abroad, exploring the local culture, and the travel opportunities it brings,” a US American expat living in China explains, while a Dutch expat in Poland appreciates the “experience of living abroad” in general.

Explorers seem to find it easy to settle down in their new country of residence, with almost three-quarters (73%) feeling at home there. This is nine percentage points more than the global average (64%), and a share beaten just slightly by the Optimizers (74%). Maybe this is due to the fact that the majority of Explorers (68%) finds it easy to make new friends abroad, which isn’t only far above the global average (57%), but also the highest share among all seven expat types. “Meeting people and having friends is very important for me,” a Canadian expat living in Germany says.

Generally, Explorers perceive the local residents’ attitude towards them positively, and 75 percent are satisfied with this factor (vs. 66% globally). In addition to that, they have the highest share of respondents satisfied with their own socializing and leisure activities abroad (76%), compared to 66 percent worldwide. “I just love Vienna. It's a beautiful city, relaxed, and with more than enough to do and see,” says a British expat who moved abroad looking for an adventure.

Aside from making friends, it seems like a good work-life balance is important to the Explorer. Explorers with a full-time job (82%) spend about 1.6 hours less at work than the global average (42.4 h per week vs. 44.0 h). In fact, nearly seven in ten (68%) are happy with their work-life balance, compared to 61 percent globally. Together with the Optimizer, the Explorers have the highest share respondents satisfied with their work-life balance abroad. However, their satisfaction with career prospects (59%) and job security (64%) is not that far from the global average (55% and 59%, respectively). Lastly, many Explorers also express only average satisfaction with their job in general (67% vs. 65% globally).

But as the social aspects of living abroad play a more important role for the Explorers, more than four in five (82%) are still happy with their life abroad. This is just one percentage point below the Optimizer (83%) — who is the happiest of all expat types — and seven percentage points above the global average (75%).